Author Interview: C. E. Stone

Next Saturday, June 19, is the day – it is the release of the highly anticipated Christian space opera Starganauts by C. E. Stone!

Book Blurb:

Kaity Anderson was a new bride on her wedding day. Samantha Harris was an engineer who had given up all to follow God. 

Kaity’s reception is ruined when an alien gunship incinerates the surface of Earth. Rescued from the apocalypse by a strange prophetess, Kaity, her husband, and five others are drawn across the galaxy. While the prophetess promises God has a plan, Kaity grows increasingly desperate as their chances of survival—and water supply—dwindle.

Samantha didn’t ask to be God’s prophetess. Yet once she answers the call, the Spirit leads her to an inhospitable world with Kaity and several of Earth’s survivors. Hounded by the master of the gunship, the Earthlings search for water as their alien pursuers and dehydration close in. Only God’s promise of a future in a distant city gives Samantha any hope of survival. But could the answer to all their problems lie in eight, mysterious orbs? The discovery of these crystals will change their lives—and the destiny of galaxies—forever.

Thus begins Starganauts, a clean, compelling Christian space opera adventure by C.E. Stone. Fans of Star Wars and Star Trek will enjoy this series that explores how God’s plan prevails, even against impossible odds. 

***

To celebrate the countdown of this epic release, I had the privilege of interviewing C. E. Stone. In addition to being a wonderful writer, Stone is a self-employed private tutor. Stone lives in California with her husband. Though she rarely has free time, she does enjoy editing, web design, and sketching – she’s also always up for a long conversation. A fun fact about Stone is that her husband was the first person to ever publish her work! Back when they were just friends, he published one of her short stories in his homeschool group’s creative newsletter. Stone says, “He was one the first and biggest fans of my stories, and it’s a fun aspect of being married to him. He’s also more than happy to be my science editor.” Read our full interview below to learn more about Stone and her writing!

Q)  How long have you been writing?

A) Since I was 10. My friends got me into this book series called Redwall, by Brian Jacques, and it inspired me to write medieval fantasy stories about goblins. Later, I wrote a sort of fantasy with aliens, and that led to “The Sorcerer’s Realm,” my first space opera. It was also my first explicitly Christian story.

Q) Why do you write?

A) It is a natural extension of who I am. Stories have always poured out of me, so it made sense when I began putting them on paper. I also write to glorify God and edify believers. More details on that later!

Q) What are your top three favorite books and why?

A) Fellowship of the Ring, The Silver Chair, and Beyond the Summerland by L.B. Graham. The Fellowship of the Ring was the first book by Tolkien that I loved. The locations, quest story, depth, and characters opened my mind to the scope of epic fantasy, influencing my sci-fi worldbuilding. The Silver Chair is second because I identify so much with Jill and feel like the other characters are very relatable. Puddleglum is the best! Also, as a reader with aphantasia, I struggle to see anything that I’m reading. For whatever reason, I can visualize almost all of the Silver Chair vividly.

Beyond the Summerland has a special place in my heart. I spent most of my early writing years absolutely discouraged and feeling like I couldn’t write. A friend had just told me my characters were super flat, and I was about to give up when my mom found “Beyond the Summerland” in a Christian bookstore. It had a sword-wielding woman on the cover. She knew that was my kind of book, and she was right. I absolutely devoured it, and it reignited my passion for writing. Graham is a master at character development, and I learned how to craft more dynamic characters by reading his works.

Q) Who is someone that inspires you?

A) Several people inspire me. One is my adopted grandma Audrey. I recently lost her to cancer, but she was a delightful, godly, and super sweet lady. Audrey took me on as her granddaughter because I’d lost all of my own grandparents and she didn’t have any biological children. She inspired me to make the most of every day God gives me, and that includes writing for Him.

Other people who inspire me are my dad and my best friend. My dad’s courage taught me to face my fears and overcome them, while his faith has been an example. My best friend M.H. Elrich inspires me because she’s so much bolder than I am and we’re both authors. She encourages me when the going gets rough and when my timidity is holding me back.

Q) What inspired Starganauts?

A) The desire to play out my own sci-fi TV show with Legos. I grew up watching Star Trek, the Star Wars movies, and playing the video games. Starcraft, a movie called Titan A.E., and many other sci-fi franchises influenced this as well. Starganauts began as Lego play, though I feel like God took it and shaped it into something greater.

Q) What do you hope readers take away from your book?

A) For Christians, that God is at work even in the most painful situations. Starganauts is very much about suffering, hope, and finding a new purpose in Jesus…even when the life you knew falls apart. For non-Christians or those on the fence, I hope my book serves to get them thinking about faith, Eternity, and salvation.

Q)  Are you willing to tell us about your personal faith journey?

A) Sure! I grew up in a Christian home and prayed the prayer to accept Jesus when I was 7. But I don’t think I understood what that meant. I fell into a sin when I was 12, and realized I wasn’t sure I really believed in Jesus. I also lost a biological grandma at this time and we didn’t know whether she was a believer. In addition, the Left Behind Series was popular and the thought of the Rapture terrified me. These things led me to my knees. I read Revelation in one sitting and prayed the prayer to truly accept Jesus. My life turned around and I was on fire for Him. Five years later, God called me to write faith-filled stories.

Q) Does your faith influence your writing? If so, how does your faith align with Starganauts?

A) ABSOLUTELY!!! Starganauts is about real people facing real issues in a fictional setting. Most of the team are Christians or those who think they are. I interweave things God has taught me or issues I’ve been studying about in the Bible. Sunday sermons, musical worship, or the Spirit’s leading often inspire my plot points. There’s a great scene where a non-believer has an encounter with God, and that was 100% unplanned and Holy Spirit-inspired.

My faith aligns with Starganauts in that I try to write about the Lord Scripturally. I seek to avoid denominational issues, instead presenting the Biblical Jesus and imagining how He might work in a fictional/alternate galaxy with aliens He created. I personally don’t believe aliens exist. But that’s the beauty of fiction, isn’t it? You can let your imagination run wild while still presenting Jesus as the Savior of the Universe. Even if that universe might include a few dozen aliens who, like us, are also in need of salvation.

Q) You are an indie published author – can you tell readers about your experience?

A) It’s been crazy but, honestly, kind of nice. Traditional publishing always scared the heck out of me. I tend to feel very nervous when experts or authorities look over my work, and I hate promoting myself. Indie publishing has been freeing in that I’m able to be my own boss, work at my own pace, and not worry about rejections. I’ve also had a very unusual experience, which resulted in me being given a publishing budget and having a marketer for free. More on that below.

Q) What advice would you offer aspiring authors?

A) Invite God into your creative process. Pray about your stories. Follow His leading, whether He wants you to write explicitly Christian stories or general market. Don’t let others pressure you. Also, find a writer’s group that will be both honest and encouraging. I struggled mightily with confidence for 15 years. It wasn’t until M.H. Elrich and I formed our own writing group that I ran into others authors, and finally learned that yes, I can write. My stories weren’t the worthless trash I had believed them to be.

Q) Is there anything else you would like to add?

A) Up until a year ago, I was planning to be a traditional author. Lol! The more I researched, the more I realized that I would need to do massive amounts of work either way. God led me to publish independently, and my authorly journey is almost as crazy as the Starganauts’! Lack of confidence has been my Achille’s Heel all my life. I prayed years ago about publishing and, at the time, I told God, “Lord, you’d better send me a miracle, because that’s what it will take to get timid, scared, un-confident me to publish!”

Three years later, I felt God nudging me to edit Starganauts because “it was time.” Despite having no budget, no publishing plan, being insanely busy, and loathing marketing, I did so. Within 10 months, I had a fully-edited manuscript. A relative gifted me with my entire publishing budget, and M.H. excitedly agreed to be my marketer in exchange for editing. God worked that miracle, so now, I’m publishing! Nothing is too impossible for Him. That’s the message of Starganauts and, ultimately, of my own journey.

Starganauts will be released NEXT SATURDAY (I’ll share my full review then, too)! Preorder your copy today using the link here. Also, be sure to follow C. E. Stone on Instagram and Goodreads, and check out her website.

Published by theunicornwriter93

My name is Kayla E. Green, and I am a poet and writer. Follow me for book reviews, author interviews, bookish shop features, and my personal writing journey! Check out my collection of Christian poetry entitled Metamorphosis available on Amazon now!

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