Friday, November 13, 2009

Eight Questions for Rachel Starr Thomson

Last week, I did a review of Worlds Unseen, a YA fantasy by Rachel Starr Thomson. This week, Rachel has graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her work.

What is your favorite part of being an author?

Where to begin? The copious amounts of tea. The fact that I don't need fashion sense and can dress eccentrically because people think writers are eccentric. Being able to sit in coffee shops and take long walks and call that "work." But actually, I think the best thing about being a writer is the writing itself, in those moments when it really catches fire, when I can't type fast enough to keep up with the story or the message or whatever I happen to be writing.

What are some of the outside influences on Worlds Unseen or your writing in general?

Other writers, certainly; any writer I happen to read becomes an influence in some way. It's hard for me to pinpoint specifics; I read hundreds and hundreds of books as a kid and I know they're all still exercising influence on me. My faith is a huge influence. Its ideas and challenges and scripture itself inform everything I write.

What prompted you to write Worlds Unseen?

The Seventh World Trilogy, which starts with Worlds Unseen and Burning Light and wraps up in The Advent, which I'm currently writing, is a fantasy about young people who discover another side to their world--a spiritual war that has been covered up for centuries. A lot of influences came into it, but I think it was inspired by seeing the spiritual war we're all fighting every day. I looked at my family and my friends and saw their lives with this sort of epic vision. I transported that into another world so I could write about it in an open, imaginative way. Writing about God in our world intimidates me, but in a fantasy setting, I can write about yearning and faith and doubt and fear and courage and forgiveness and all those things without the same intimidation.

What is your favorite part of Worlds Unseen and why?

I'm not sure I could isolate a single scene as my favourite. Virginia's encounter with the Earth Brethren was one of my favorite scenes to write, and I love the conversations between Nicolas and Maggie. And of course, Maggie's gradual transformation of identity.

What impact did writing Worlds Unseen have on you?

Well, it proved I could write a book that was over 100 pages long, something I'd never accomplished before! More than any of my earlier work, I think Worlds made a writer out of me. It started the journey I'm on today, of making a living through words, and it opened up a world of possibilities as far as exploring truth through fiction.

What is one book you would recommend besides the Bible and your own work?

Off the top of my head? Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It's all about seeing life anew. In fiction, some of my recent favourites are the Auralia Thread books by Jeffrey Overstreet and Blaggard's Moon by George Bryan Polivka.

What is one question you have never been asked but wished you had been, and what is the answer?

Well, I've never been asked this question before! I've never been asked what career I would have pursued if I wasn't pursuing this one. And there are many possible answers. I love the idea of being a folk singer. Or I might have gone into missions. But as it is, I'm doing quite a lot of ministry, both through writing and through other things, and I get lots of opportunities to sing too. Life is pretty wonderful.

Anything else you would like to add?

If you'd like to read my books, you can buy them at or from any online retailers. You can also download Worlds Unseen for free, read the stand-alone novel Taerith, and read some of my nonfiction writing at .

No comments: