Friday, September 7, 2012

Author Interview #2 + read books free!!!

This week's author is Rachel Starr Thompson, a writer who I discovered just as I was beginning to take my own writing seriously - she's definitely been an inspiration to me. The beauty of her writing style simply makes me want to write, as well as read, more. She's also an awesome editor - I loved her writing so much that I chose her to edit a short story of mine, and she was definitely worth it! 

I reviewed one of her books, Taerith, which can be read online here. On the left of that same page are links to Worlds Unseen, which can be downloaded for free. Either one will give you a taste of her stories, and leave you wanting more! 
Most recently I read Reap the Whirlwind, because the premise reminded me of the To Kill a King story, which I happened to write just before I saw RtW. The introduction says,
"Years ago I had a dream. A city was burning, and inside the overthrown palace, two young women were confronting each other. One was a princess. The other was a bitter, battle-scarred rebel, there to kill the princess. 
But they had a secret that would change the course of history for them both: they had once been friends, and the power of that friendship had never truly died." 
Awesome, yes? :)

Actually one of my favorite things she has written is this, though. You see why she inspires me to write? 


And after that rather long introduction, here is the interview! :) Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Rachel!



How many books have you written and can you give a brief overview of them?
Right now, I have twelve books out--some digital, some paper, and some both--plus a handful of individually published short stories.

Worlds Unseen, Burning Light, and Coming Day make up the Seventh World Trilogy. They're semi-allegorical fantasy about a world with a buried past--a past that is alive and coming back for them. Angel in the Woods is a gentler sort of fantasy, a fairy tale about a young man who wants to be a hero and the patchwork family in the forest that teaches him how. Taerith follows the adventures of an outcast warrior whose life intertwines with the fates of a princess and a slave girl. Reap the Whirlwind is one of my earlier stories--I wrote it while I was still a teenager--about a friendship pushed to its limits by political upheaval and personal rivalries.

Lady Moon is a love story (sort of) and the zaniest tale I have ever written. Theodore Pharris Saves the Universe was my first complete novel ever, and I still think it's funny--it's the story of an eight-year-old who must save the universe from aliens who want to blow it up.

Then there are the nonfiction books: Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled was cowritten with my cousin, Carolyn, and is a collection of humorous stories from our growing-up years. Pieces of Grace (And What They Mean) is a paperback collection of short narrative pieces used by our ballet group; it also includes "Fallen Star," one of the short stories you can get on its own in digital. Heart to Heart: Meeting with God in the Lord's Prayer and Letters to a Samuel Generation are collected devotional essays.  

How many are you currently working on? 
I'm currently working on a secret nonfiction project (which I will be editing and contributing to rather than writing all on my own), and writing short stories that will eventually come together in an interconnected book called Wayfarer's Road. I'd like to get going on a novel, but am between projects at the moment. 

What book/author has influenced you the most?
  It's impossible to name only one. As a kid I read hundreds of books in just about every genre you can think of, and they all coalesced into one giant influence. But it was obviously the fantasy writers who made the biggest impact--C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Stephen Lawhead, Terry Brooks, and a lot of others. 

How many words per day do you write, on average?
When I'm working on a book, about 2500.

Do you have any advice for writers considering self-publishing?
Learn what you're doing, don't pay for anything you can do yourself unless it makes good business sense to do so, don't do yourself what you should pay for, and get in it for the long haul.

How does ballet fit with writing?
Better than you might think! Ballet has always been a form of storytelling. In a typical Soli Deo Gloria Ballet production, we mix dance and music with poetic or narrative readings (which I write and perform). The words and dance play off each other in really powerful ways.

If you could make your Seventh World Trilogy into movies yourself, who would play your main characters?
Answering that question would require me to have some clue of who and what is happening in Hollywood. Unfortunately, I don't. So I'm open to suggestions :).

What is the most important thing God has taught you through your writing?
Use the gifts God has given you in any way you can see to do so, and trust that he will direct you to his glory. Don't wait for him to show you exactly how he's going to do that before you'll start using the gift. God sees better than we do. It was the guy who buried his talent who lost it, not the guy who took risks with it.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done for story research?
Going to an old bar in Corktown, Detroit, with my dad. Mind you, we actually went for the blues. But the atmosphere is definitely going to make it into a story of mine sometime. (I drank cranberry juice. I'm so adventuresome.)

When will your next book be published and what can you tell us about it?
The next book out will probably be the Secret Project mentioned earlier, and that's coming in November. In the meantime, Letters to a Samuel Generation is coming to digital, so are several more short stories, and paperback editions of Taerith, Angel in the Woods, Lady Moon, Reap the Whirlwind, and Theodore Pharris Saves the Universe are all in the works.

Is there any particular lesson or idea you hope readers take away from your books?
I hope they come away with wonder and understand that beneath the surface of what they see is more purpose, more power, and more beauty than they have dreamt of. 



2 thoughts shared:

Miss Melody Muffin said...

I had never heard of her before, but now I will definitely be looking her up!

Katherine Sophia said...

Good! Her books are certainly worth checking out! :D

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