Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Going Dark by Special Guest J.M. Hackman (Burn Blog Tour)

We are so excited to welcome friend and former Lands Uncharted contributor J.M. Hackman to the blog today to celebrate the FINAL book in The Firebrand Chronicles!! Burn just released yesterday, and Jill stopped by to share an inside look at the conclusion of her trilogy!

Take it away, Jill!

Going Dark

The opening scene for Burn was something I’d thought and prayed about, and my mind kept conjuring a scene with the main character at her lowest point. It was a struggle to know whether readers would still pull for her when it was obvious she’d made a mistake. You know, the kind where you cover your eyes and yell at the book? No? Maybe that’s just me then.

Brenna James isn’t perfect. She struggles with ADHD, has no filter, and regularly makes impulsive decisions. But with this story I wanted to add another problem, a pretty big error in judgement. I’d done research to see how ADHD kids handled stressors and discovered kids with ADHD used alcohol more often and earlier than their neurotypical peers. With everything that had happened to Brenna in Flare, I knew there’d be a breaking point—she’d either handle the stress in a healthy way or make a mistake.

In Christian fiction, regardless of genre, there’s often a resistance to the characters going dark. Don’t show depression, the dirty messes, the ways people screw up. And be careful writing about the big mistakes like addiction, self-harm, or any of the other dozens of things people do to hurt themselves. Only recently have writers begun to bravely tackle these issues.

I understand that avoidance. As Christians, we shouldn’t glorify or dwell on the negative. And as a Christian parent, I don’t want my kids to read stuff with a moral compass pointing in a different direction from what we’ve taught them.

Despite this, I kept circling back around to how I thought she’d behave, especially without a lot of parental supervision. After more prayer and discussions with those smarter than me, Burn became a story where she battled herself, learned, and then made better choices.

The Firebrand Chronicles has always been about second chances, something all of us need. In Burn, I hope instead of darkness, the reader sees light emerging from the dark, beauty growing from ashes, a kind of redemption rising from past mistakes.

I so appreciate this open, honest approach to writing, and it makes me even more excited to read Burn! Here's a little more about the book:

Life: 1. Brenna James: 0.

An AWOL talent, an enemy-occupied hometown, and a Life Shade boyfriend—Brenna James just wants something to go right. Although her family has been given sanctuary in Syeira, Brenna will never be safe as long as Rune is hunting down and killing Firebrands. 

Can someone please wake her up already?

When a prophecy sends Brenna and Baldwin on a confusing quest, they aren’t sure where to begin. They must find the Caelestis Staff, a powerful object that both cuts and mends space itself. Rune wants it too, and he’ll use any lethal tactics necessary to obtain it.

Yeah, nightmare material right there.

A traveling oasis, plenty of man-eating mermaids, and one Skeleton King later, Brenna
seriously doubts she has the edge she needs to confront Rune. When Brenna’s faced with
the biggest test of her life, will she burn like the Firebrand she is? Or will she burn out?

Eeeek, I can't wait! You can find order links for Burn HERE. And here's a little more about the author:

J. M. Hackman loves thunderstorms, bookstores, and happy endings. She’s never met a reading nook she didn’t like and prefers soul talk to small talk. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her two munchkins and her handsome husband who supports her in this crazy profession. Her days are filled with writing stories, consuming massive quantities of dark chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds. 

You can connect with her on her website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Amazon. Thank you so much for stopping by to share with us today, Jill, and congratulations on your new release!


  1. Thank you for sharing this! <3 The other day I was telling my husband about a story idea and he commented how dark it could be and though I know like you also mentioned, that isn't usually a "thing" in Christian fiction, it is something I want to pursue for my own story (because I'm coming become more passionate about the said topic in question). So, truly, thank you! <3 It is encouraging!

  2. Thanks Laura! You have to write the things you're passionate about - someone out there may need the message you want to share! :-)

  3. Thanks so much, Lands Uncharted, for having me! It's always a pleasure to come back to visit! :-)


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