Welcome, Yvonne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Though I don’t know if I succeed very well, I try to separate myself from my characters because I don’t want a bunch of little clones running across the pages. But some things, particularly the faith of the protagonist, are very much mine.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Writing a science fiction series though I was never a sci fi fan.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Fourth grade. Once when we were supposed to write a sentence using each of the week’s spelling words, I made the sentences tell a story. The other kids got mad at me because they thought I was showing off, but I was just having fun. I couldn’t figure out why everyone else wasn’t doing it too.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I like books with depth, that make me think, that raise interesting questions (even when I don’t agree with their premise) or that teach me something I never knew before. I don’t like formulas, I do like surprises. I like subtlety. I like humor. I like stories that resonate in my mind long after I’ve put them down.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I keep my life as simple as possible. I learned long ago to say “no” and make an effort not to over-extend myself. And I start each morning in prayer and Bible study. Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “I have so many things to do today, I must spend at least the first three hours of it in prayer.” I’m sorry to say I’ve never spent that long at it, but I do take it seriously.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Depends on the characters. Native Gannahans all have Hebrew names, so I look in the Bible for those. I try to make meaning of the name suit the personality of the character. The characters from the other planets have made-up names that came from my imagination. As far as Earthish characters, I don’t have any particular way of choosing names. I just try to find something that fits.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
After my first child was born, I was certain that, although women had admittedly been having babies for millennia, no one had ever done it as well as I did. I mean, I was completely convinced of that, and was enormously proud of it. I eventually came to see how foolish that is, and I can’t say I’ve ever been proud of any other accomplishment. Instead, I’m immensely thankful for the opportunities the Lord as graciously granted me.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d probably be a cat, because I’m self-sufficient and don’t require a lot of attention. But certainly not because I’m graceful! Let’s say I’m a clutzy cat.
What is your favorite food?
I love good food and couldn’t pin down a favorite to save my soul. Thankfully, the salvation of my soul doesn’t depend on that.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Time. Finding it, organizing it, prioritizing it. Still working on that.
Tell us about the featured book?
The Story in the Stars is a space fantasy. The first in a series called Gateway to Gannah, it was inspired by a nonfiction book called The Gospel in the Stars, which presents the theory that the constellations proclaim the gospel to the world (Psalm 19:1-3). I thought it might be interesting to write a story based on that concept, but things quickly got out of hand. The Story in the Stars imbeds the message of Christ’s redemption in a sweeping tale of adventure involving old racial animosities and cultural misunderstandings, an attack by space pirates, a treasure hunt, and some teasing romantic tension. Though the truth of the gospel is treated seriously, the surrounding events are fun, and there’s a bit of humor scattered throughout.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Dassa trudged through the Ayin Forest across a crusted snow, her weary steps fueled by the nearness of her goal. Soon, she told herself. Soon this will all be over.
On much of the planet Gannah, winter was drab as an old faded photo, but the foliage in Ayin boasted the colors of a prism and the trees kept their leaves until spring, when the new growth pushed them aside. The frosty forest pulsed with color as Dassa quickened her pace despite her exhaustion and the steepness of the slope.
Labored breath billowing like smoke from a puffing firedrake, she crested the ridge and cast her gaze into the valley below.
A warm rush of delight coursed through her weary body. There it was. Home, the comforting outlines of the domed green roof barely discernable through the trees. Revived by the sight, she hastened down the hill across the sun-spangled snow.
She smiled as the round, two-storied house came into view. It was no mansion, like her childhood home. It couldn’t compare to any of the seven provincial palaces from which her father, the toqeph, reigned as the ruler of all Gannah. But she could think of nowhere she'd rather live than in this yellow stone cottage at the edge of the forest with her husband, Rosh, and their two boys.
Nor could she imagine a more perfect late-winter's day. Gannah's volatile temper was unusually mild that afternoon, with the sun smiling down from an azure sky and breezes caressing with a mother's gentleness. And today, this most beautiful of days, she, Atarah Hadassah Hagah Natsach, would finish her quest and be made Nasi.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My blog is at http://www.YsWords.com. I’m also a regular contributor to http://www.NovelJourney.blogspot.com.
Thank you, Yvonne, for stopping by to visit with us.
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