Last week I shared my review of the whimsical Middle Grade fantasy Legend of the Storm Sneezer. Today I have the honor of interviewing the talented author Kristiana Sfirlea! Sfirlea resides in Michigan. A fun fact about her is that she is double jointed and can walk on top of her toes (like on the knuckles)! She also told me she can do a killer Gollum impression…I really want to see that! Read the full interview below!
Q) What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A) Most of my hobbies are book-related in some way, from the 50 or so books I read a year to Bookstagram! Funky socks, tulle, and Beanie Babies—I love creating Instagram posts that promote my favorite books. Another way I support the authors I enjoy and their stories is through my bimonthly blog series called “Bite-Size Book Reviews,” which also supports gastroparesis awareness, a rare and serious digestive disease that I struggle with. I also have a variety of crafts that I like doing, from creating duct tape rose pens to storm cloud hats and storm cloud squishies. These are all related to my novel Legend of the Storm Sneezer, and I sell some of them at book signings and Comic Con events, which are more ways I like to spend my free time.
Q) How long have you been writing?
A) I’ve been seriously writing for 10 years now, but I started writing for fun (fanfiction) when I was 8 or 9.
Q) Why do you write?
A) I write because I fell in love with the beauty of creating and how it helps me process everything that is going on in my life. I love putting words and characters to my passions and convictions. Somehow fiction makes them more real to me.
Q) What is your favorite genre?
A) My favorite genre to read is fantasy. But not just any fantasy. Fantasy that pops with humor and banter like Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant. Fantasy that is shivering with spooks like Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. Fantasy that tries daring new storytelling formats like James Riley’s Story Thieves. Fantasy that is driven by special relationships like Sophie and Monster in Sarah Beth Durst’s The Girl Who Could Not Dream. And if you mix all of these together? Well, you might just have a book like Legend of the Storm Sneezer.
Q) Describe yourself in three words.
A) Passionate, funny, perfectionist.
Q) What song would be your life’s theme song?
A) Either Superchick’s “It’s On” or Children 18:3’s “Bravo.” The first is a powerful anthem to pressing on and the second is a poignant reminder to do my best for the only audience that matters: my heavenly Father. I’m easily discouraged sometimes, and music—Christian rock music, especially—has a way of giving me the perspective I need to get back up and try again.
Q) What inspired Legend of the Storm Sneezer?
A) I started writing this book a decade ago, and the inspiration came in big and little things all along the way. I think it started with a love for thunderstorms, but the sneezing and Stormy didn’t come till years later. I get that question a lot: “How did you come up with sneezing a magical storm cloud?” And the truth? Not a clue. It just came to me one day, as most of my ideas do. When I’m coming up with story ideas, I’ll often ask myself, “What’s the most random, creative thing I can do in this situation?” And then I run with it.
Q) Rose was such an energetic and refreshing character to read! If Rose was to describe herself, what would she say? What about if Marek was to describe Rose?
A) Rose would describe herself as a loveable, formidable goofball with a penchant for bringing out the best in the worst. Marek would describe Rose as a girl after his own heart, full of compassion, faith, and good humor.
Q) Can you give readers a hint to what they can expect in book 2?
A) Readers can look forward to some fun Five Nights at Freddy’s vibes. I had a fantastic time playing with my childhood phobia of animatronics, and there are a couple seriously creeptacular automatons in this book. Also, get ready for all the Rose-and-Marek feels! These two are a joy to write, and their unshakable friendship kicks it up a notch in Legend of the Rainbow Eater!
Q) Can you tell readers about your current WIP (Writing in Progress)?
A) I am currently working on Book 3 of The Stormwatch Diaries, and it’s a doozy. There isn’t much to tell yet, but I will say that before writing each of my books, I try to set a challenge for myself, a way to stretch and grow as a writer. For this book, I decided my challenge would be writing dual POVs, something I’ve never done before. It’s been, well, a challenge! Rose is, of course, still the main character who takes up most of the narrating, but she is now teaching her good friend Sephone how to write in her and Marek’s special diary. These two girls are so opposite each other, and I think it makes for a really engaging story!
Q) What goals do you have for your writing?
A) To make readers laugh. To inspire faith. To tell stories in a way that no one has ever read before.
Q) You are an indie published author. Will you tell us a little about your experience?
A) I didn’t set out to be with an indie publisher, but now that I am, I’m grateful for all the perks that come with it, like a personal relationship with my publisher (the ladies at Monster Ivy Publishing are the sweetest!) and having so much say in the editing process and things like cover art. One of the best things about being with an indie publisher, I think, is how daring and creative they allow me to be with my stories. They aren’t concerned so much with appealing to the masses as they are serving their niche well. And for that, I am so happy to be an indie author.
Q) May I ask how your religion and your writing intersect?
A) My faith and relationship with God are the most important things to me, and I knew going into my career as a writer that I wanted my stories to bring truth to life in the lives and relationships of my characters. I love exploring the questions I have through the voice of Rose, and Marek always seems to have the answers that God is whispering in my heart. When I was first coming up with their soul signias (magical powers), I wanted to take a different approach to the tired light vs. dark, sun vs. storm tropes. Because of the hard things I’ve experienced in my own life (more on that below) and knowing the beauty that God has brought out of those circumstances, I wanted my two main characters to have shadows and storms as their soul signias, even though those particular powers usually represent evil. To me, this symbolizes how God uses the hardest, most painful parts of our lives for our good and His glory. While I fully believe that both Christian and non-Christian readers can enjoy my books, my prayer is still to spark faith in my readers as they dive into the lives of two protagonists whose faith in each other fills the pages.
Q) Will you tell us a little about your own faith journey?
A) Absolutely! I grew up in a Christian home, and my parents and siblings really modeled their faith to me through a lot of hard stuff my family went through—namely, a car accident that injured my mom and turned our world upside down. I was also very sick for most of my childhood and teenage years, going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out an unknown illness that was becoming progressively worse. There was so much fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, and I really feel this was where my faith and my relationship with Jesus became real to me. I was finally diagnosed at age 18 with a very rare digestive disorder known as gastroparesis—a paralyzed stomach. I am now on a kind of tube nutrition that bypasses my digestive system completely, and I rely on God’s grace every day. This disease, which is one of the worst things in my life is also one of the best because, if I let the Holy Spirit have His way with me, it brings me close to my Savior through the struggle.
Q) What advice would you offer aspiring authors?
A) I’ve answered this question multiple ways since becoming a published author, but I think I have my new and perhaps final answer: Don’t follow every bit of writing advice you hear. In fact, you can ignore this writing advice if you’d like, except by ignoring it you’ll be following it, and…did I mention I write paradoxes for a living? 😉
But seriously. Every writer is unique, and writing advice is not a “one size fits all.” Listen to the authors you respect and consider what they have to say. But in the end, only you can know what works for you. Don’t try to be something you’re not just because it works for someone else. You be you. The most important part of being an author in community is not our similarities but in the way we cheer each other on!
Q) Is there anything else you would like to add?
A) Book 2 of The Stormwatch Diaries, Legend of the Rainbow Eater, is coming out August 3rd this year! It’s available for preorder on Amazon and almost anywhere books are sold. Feel free to reach out to me on my website, www.KristianasQuill.com, or on social media @KristianasQuill on Instagram and Twitter and @KristianasQuillBooks on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you!
And thank you, Kayla, for having me on your wonderful blog. ❤
Be sure to follow Sfirlea on social media!
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristianasquill/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stormsneezers
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/KristianasQuill
- Website: https://www.kristianasquill.com/
Remember to request copies of Sfirlea’s books at your local library, and if you want your own copy of Legend of the Storm Sneezer you can order it here. If you want your own copy of Legend of the Rainbow Eater you can pre-order it here.