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In 2010, Ted Dekker closed out The Lost Books in a stunning fashion, returning for a two-book salvo that picks up where the initial four-book set (Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, and Chaos) left off. These final two books take place chronologically after Red and put our heroes (and renegades) into a vastly different Other Earth than the one they left. And along for the ride—sometimes taking the lead—was newcomer Kaci Hill.
Kaci had followed Ted since book one, been a moderator on his forums, and formed a key circle within the Circle. She was also a writer, which made her a natural fit when Ted wanted to someone to come alongside to finish the series. I doubt Kaci thought that over ten years later, people would still be wanting to know her story, but she was gracious enough to sit down with me for an interview. Dive deep!
The Interview: Lunatic and Chaos with Kaci Hill
This excerpt has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above or subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Josh Olds: As a reader, how did you first learn about Ted Dekker?
Kaci Hill: Honestly? My mom and I went to the bookstore and my mom found—Which one was it? Not When Heaven Weeps—The gold cover.
Josh Olds: Heaven’s Wager.
Kaci Hill: Yeah, that was actually the first one. So I’ve basically read them all in order.
Josh Olds: Wow. So everyone out there thinks that I’ve been a Ted Dekker fan for a long time, but you’ve been there from the beginning.
Kaci Hill: Yes. Wow, that’s really funny.
Josh Olds: So like, what was your initial like thought of his books?
Kaci Hill: When I first started reading, yeah, I just I loved it. So I’ve always really enjoyed the supernatural aspect of things. I cut my teeth on Bill Myers and Frank Peretti. So I have kind of always been drawn to that. Ted was sort of the next one that included a lot of that.
Josh Olds: Okay, most people, when they start to read a book from an author and become a fan, that doesn’t parlay itself into writing a book with that author. At some point, you went from being just like, “Oh, I like this guy’s books, I’m really involved in the community” to the point where I’m now writing a story with him. How did you go from point A to point B?
Kaci Hill: Magic? No, not really. My real answer is God has a sense of humor. So, I was in high school and in high school, I had a thing where if I really, really enjoyed a book, I would find the author’s method of communication and would contact them and say “Hey, I really enjoyed this book, explain why and just thank them. I don’t know, I figured that I liked feedback, I’d give them some. He and I had actually emailed a little bit through that and I met him at a book signing and went down as the girl who wouldn’t talk to him. I got nervous.
So that’s like when we met in person and again, just kind of kept general contact. When I saw the forums go up, I became a part of that. Then one day he actually asked me said, “Hey, can you send me some writing?” So I did. And then he asked me “If I give you a writing assignment, can you do it?” He told me write a wedding on the beach, which is not a scene I would ever write on my own. It was completely out of what I usually do. So, being me, I had to make it entertaining. And shenanigans ensued. So, yeah, so then later on they called me like “Hey, you want to write a book?”
The Books | Lunatic & Elyon
Five years have passed since the Chosen One and his crew were last in Other Earth. Chaos ended triumphantly, with them successfully thwarting Alucard’s evil plot to destroy our earth, and the last page turned as they put their bloody hands on the Books to return home. But five years is a long time, and they find themselves immediately thrown into a world almost as foreign as Las Vegas.
The Horde has overtaken Middle Forest, and Thomas and the Forest Guard are nowhere to be found. When Darsal is imprisoned by the Horde, she discovered that something even more drastic than the Guard’s defeat has occurred in their absence. Apparently, Elyon has changed the rules. Convinced by a fellow prisoner named Jordan, Darsal learns that Elyon’s water had been tainted—been mixed with blood—and now followers of Elyon no longer needed to bathe daily, but actually drown in the water in order to escape the Horde’s scabbing disease.
Lunatic takes a reader on an incredible journey through Other Earth, from the lairs of Shataiki to the bowels of Teeleh’s temple to the depths of the red waters of Elyon. The mythos is expanded as new characters and even new races are introduced. Everything has changed in the time Johnis has been gone. His journey is not yet over, he believes he can still save the Circle and destroy the Horde, even if he has gone Lunatic.
Elyon draws out more of the Dekker mythos, giving just a bit more information on the Leedhan. Kaci Hill again characterizes Shaeda to perfection, shrouding the character in mystery and seductive evil. From Kaci Hill’s perspective, Lunatic and Elyon are killer debut novels. It’s not every day one gets to pen a debut novel with a NYT bestselling author. It’s a fun series that’s sure to bring smiles to fans of Dekker’s fantasy works and a great way to introduce younger readers to the world of the Circle.