The other day someone sent me a DM on Twitter telling me that I needed to remove my books from the market promptly or I was going to Hell. He quoted Revelation 22:14-15.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

I told him that I appreciated his concern but didn’t agree. He then said he would be blocking me on Twitter because I “refuse to repent.”

I don’t think this man is trying to be mean. I think he really thinks I’m going to Hell as long as my books are for sale. But he isn’t paying enough attention to verse 14, Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

My robes have been washed by Jesus Christ. I am clean! By God’s grace through Jesus, I who belong outside the gates am welcomed in. Thank you, Lord!

How do I know I am saved? How do I know that I am not going to get to the gates and hear, “I’m sorry, you wrote magic into your books, so you aren’t welcome here.”?

For one, because I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross, taking the punishment that I deserve. I have been deeply grieved by my sin, repented, and am made new. My life looks completely different than it did before I was saved, and this is a work of God. You can watch my testimony here. I have one mission in life that fills my whole heart—to glorify God in all I do.

So why is magic in my books? How does that glorify God? There are also words like “damn” and “hell” on occasion. Why would they belong in there? I write books for kids, after all.

Long story extremely short, fiction is made-up. It isn’t about real events but can deeply affect your real life. Any sane human being, even middle grade children, can decipher when something is fantastical or not. For the majority, a child isn’t going to read a story with a witch in it and choose to become a witch in real life. But the ideas that a story plants will be carried on. There is a lot more going on with the ideas that are woven into any given story. Those you do need to pay close attention to. As for my story, Brumbletide, it is one of salvation and redemption. Before we are saved, we are messy, and I want to connect with the messy out there. I want them to see themselves in Maggie. This is for you, you reading this, just the way you are. And let the real magic happen from there.

As for the magic in Brumbletide, the man accusing me of witchcraft hasn’t actually read the books. You’ll have to read them for yourself and see if you agree with him. And yes, he thinks Lewis and Tolkien are going to Hell too. I asked.

But you should know something especially if you are worried about your child seeing the word “damn” or “hell” in a book they pick up. Most parents love when their child finally opts for a book instead of the television or electronic device. But if you are concerned with the far-left ideologies that seem to be blasting their way to our children from every angle of society, the bookstore is no safe haven. Traditional publishers have one narrative that they are publishing these days. I urge you to visit the website or social media of the publisher of your choice and see for yourself. Harper, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, take your pick. They are all sending the same message. If you write a book that in any way distracts from this message, it simply will not be published traditionally. If you are upset with the things you see for children on TV and movies, “damn” and “hell” should be the least of your worries at your local school book fair. You may be thinking of some of your favorite books that do go against far-left ideologies. Those are from a different time—a different world. We no longer live there.

Newsflash: every author, every children’s author, has an agenda. The imagination is an extremely powerful thing. I love movies and walk away from many of them deeply touched or pondering the message for weeks afterward. But when you take away the visual, our minds are left to “fill in” the space and this is where the true magic happens. Without the restriction of a given visual, our minds find the most fantastic treasures! We create our own visuals and “What else?” and “What if?” over and over and over again until we have learned much more from the book than what was apparent at first glance. This is wonderful—and much more dangerous than a film. Yes, a good movie will touch us, motivate and inspire us even. But a good book spreads its leaven into every nook and cranny of the mind—the attention, the reason, the memory, the pleasure—and permeates quietly. And then it will rise.

The work of the fiction author is to create a story that will stimulate the imagination, spreading the desired leaven throughout the mind that will rise to maturity one day long after the reader puts down the book.

What leaven is being sown in your mind? In your child’s?

What will rise?