Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest Blog: Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits by Melody Carlson

Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits
By Melody Carlson

Have you even wondered why some teens are drawn toward things like Ouija boards or psychics? Or why séances are still popular at sleepovers? Does it just have to do with Halloween and that spine-chilling need for a good scare? Or could it be something more? And, as a Christian, should you be concerned?

Those questions, as well as some confused reader letters, prompted me to tackle the “supernatural” in one of my teen novels (Moon White, TrueColors, Nav Press). And whenever I write an issues-based novel, I’m forced to research—and often in some dark places. So I began scouring websites, learning more about Wicca and the occult, trying to grasp what was really going on with today’s teens—and how I could write about it in a helpful and relevant way.

But, as usual, when I write a teen book, I go back to my own adolescence...trying to connect with my inner teen...and I suddenly remembered a short era when a friend and I got very interested in witchcraft. I had honestly forgotten about this time and was fascinated to recall how we scoured some witchcraft stores on a local campus—I think we even purchased a few things. Fortunately, this interest was short-lived and I became a Christian not long afterward.

However, as I reconnected with my inner teen, I had to ask myself—why had I looked into witchcraft back then? Why do teens dabble with it now? Suddenly the answer became crystal clear. I was searching. I’d been calling myself an atheist for several years by then, but I was spiritually hungry—starving in fact. Consequently I was looking for spiritual answers—something that would fill that empty void within me. I wanted a supernatural force in my life and I didn’t even care where it came from. I needed something bigger than me, more powerful than me, something to hold onto. I had no idea at the time that I was really searching for God.

This realization changed the way I viewed my research. Instead of feeling disgusted and dismayed by the witchcraft/Wicca sites (which are not particularly enjoyable) I began to recognize that these people (mostly girls) were simply searching too. They wanted a power source in their lives just like I wanted one in mine. They just hadn’t found God yet.

This led to another discovery. A girl who’s attracted to a religion like Wicca is usually seeking to gain some control over her life. Something is wrong and she wants to change it. To do so, she’s often enticed to purchase something—like “magical herbs”—to create a potion that will give her some control over her situation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t even realize she’s being tricked.

But think about it, wouldn’t you love to have control over a bad situation sometimes? Wouldn’t you love to be able to change the circumstances that make your life unpleasant? So what if someone offered you the “power” to do just that? Perhaps if you’re fifteen, you wouldn’t see that person as a charlatan and you would fall for it.  Which brings me to another important factor in understanding this generation’s attraction to the supernatural. Follow the money. The more I researched, the more it became painfully obvious that Wicca and witchcraft and the occult are money-making enterprises. Thanks to the internet, these savvy distributors sell anything imaginable—and many things you can’t. That leads to some serious motivation—these marketers want to hook their unsuspecting young customers and reel them in. Of course, these potions and trinkets and how-to books don’t come with a money back guaranty. Nor are they approved by the FDA. Yet they are a multi-million dollar industry.

So, in a way, it’s a perfect storm. Teens that are insecure, lost, unhappy, and up with an unregulated industry that offers supernatural answers and power and control...for a price. And, oh yeah, I never even mentioned how this opens a door for Satan to slip in and wreak havoc. For’ll have to read the book.
About Moon White by Melody Carlson

Heather's curiosity in Wicca brings new confidence and reassurance but alienates her from others. Even so, this enchanting path seems harmless, even helpful.

But when terrifying things begin to happen that Heather can't explain, it becomes clear that she has less control over her world than ever before.

The eleventh book in the teen fiction series TrueColors , this book discusses spiritual warfare, tragedy, anger, and more.

In My Mailbox (5) + Swag comment giveaway

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

Another great week, and what makes it so hard is there are several books here I am dying to read, yet I have commitments to fulfill.  Sigh, but I'll get to read them soon.  What did you get this week, or if you are a reader not a blogger, what here do you see that you are dying to read or haven't even heard of.  I'll throw some bookmarks and swag in an envelope to one lucky commenter this week, US/Canada only, ends 9/23.

The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas
On sale date: November 1, 2011
From: publisher
Tour Date: October 18, 2011

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy
On Sale Date: October 4, 2011
From author for reviewing The Promises She Keeps (which I loved)

Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Anthony John
On Sale Date: April 12, 2012
From Teen Book Scene Tours

Remembering You by Tricia Goyer
 On Sale Date:November 2011
From Litfuse Publicity

My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid
 On Sale Date:August 30, 2011
From: Publisher for Teen Book Scene Tour

MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
 On Sale Date:January 3, 2012
From: Publisher 

The Night Eternal by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
  On Sale Date:October 25, 2011
From Publisher 

Say You'll Be Mine by Julia Amante
   On Sale Date:October 25, 2011
From Publisher 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (win)
  On Sale Date:September 13, 2011
Won from Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer

Dreamland by Alyson Noel

  On Sale Date:September 13, 2011
Won from Marcie at To Read or Not to Read