Author Interview with Steve Rzasa!

Today Steve Rzasa, author of the (totally awesome) Face of the Deep series was kind enough to answer a few questions for my blog’s first interview!


What was your original inspiration for The Face of the Deep?

The idea itself came when I wanted to do a story about a son and a father running a cargo ship in deep space. What if they found something everyone else didn’t want them to have? What if that item wasn’t money or secrets, but the Bible?

Tell us a little bit more about your latest book, and will there be more in this series?
The latest book is The Word Endangered, which follows the adventures of surveyor Zarco Thread and his crew as they uncover a new danger to the Realm of Five. It takes place 10 years after the events of The Word Reclaimed and The Word Unleashed.

How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
It used to take me about a year, but when it came time to finish the last 3/4s of The Word Endangered, I challenged myself to write 5 pages a day – or as close to that goal as I could get. Found out, it’s doable. I had 100 pages of TWE done by September of 2015, and wrote the remaining 350ish in about 2 and a half months. Since then I’ve written two more novels, of 400 and 250 page lengths, and am currently writing a third.

If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Flight, couple with superspeed. Though I’d rather not hit something at hundreds of miles an hour. But since I’m not a comfortable flier, I imagine flying myself would help me overcome such anxiety.

What is your story’s spiritual theme?
The overarching theme of The Face of the Deep series is the supremacy of God and His Word. Mankind’s efforts to get rid of it always fail, and it has a power beyond our understanding.

What kind of research did you do while writing The Face of the Deep series?
I did a lot of research on theoretical technologies, advances in spaceflight, and the like. I also read a lot of history, because so much of our past repeats itself.

Was The Word Endangered easier to write than the others? Or harder? And if so, why?
It was easier to write than my first two novels, simply because of how many years had passed and how much practice I’d had since then. What surprised me was how quickly I was able to get back into the story world, after having been “absent” for four years.

If you could trade places with any character from any one of your books for a day, who would it be and why?
I would probably trade with Caz Fortel, the hero of my independently published book For Us Humans – not because Caz is a lapsed Christian with questionable impulse control, but because his job is recovering stolen artwork. Getting those works returned to the rightful owners appeals to me.

Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pants author?
When I started out with The Word Reclaimed, I was definitely a pantser. But as I’ve progressed, I outline more and more. Still, there are large portions of a story in which I have no idea what’s going to happen until I get there. The surprise to myself is part of the fun.

What are the strongest influences on your writing?
Pretty much all the space opera I’ve watched and seen influences, especially (but not in any particular order): Firefly and Serenity; the Star Wars movies and the trilogies of Heir to the Empire and The Black Fleet Crisis; Star Trek in all of its media forms; books of David Drake, David Webber, Ben Bova, and Frank Herbert, not to mention The Martian by Andy Weir and The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters; and superhero movies, such as the three Captain America films, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, and the TV shows Arrow and The Flash. Whew!

And finally, what do you want readers to take away from The Word Endangered?
There’s been a lot of debate about Christian speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi and horror included), which boils down to whether or not books are too preachy, not preachy enough, and whether or not they are “clean” – as in devoid of swearing and sex. (Violence is okay, it seems, but I digress.) My goal isn’t to preach, but to show Christians living their lives and their faiths in fantastic environments, whether they’re traipsing across the galaxy or using magic to protect the innocent or partnering against crime with an alien. At the same time, people should understand my writing will always have those people interacting with other characters who don’t share the faith; how those interactions impact the characters is just as important.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me, Steve!

 

Free books from Enclave Publishing

Enclave / Gilead publishing, one of my favorite spec-fic publishers, has been on my mind lately with the list of new titles that are releasing this week. Tomorrow in fact.

See earlier post: Cover Love: Enclave Publishing Covers – Summer 2016

So, to celebrate that, right now most of my posts are going to be related to that in some way.

Currently Enclave has a number of awesome series starters up for free right now if you want to check them out for the first time. Click on the cover to go to the Amazon Page.

    1. By Darkness Hid – Jill Williamson

Description:
Darkness divides the land.

Half of Er’Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them.

It’s called bloodvoicing. Some say it’s a gift. One of the newly “gifted” wish it had never come.

Achan had been a slave all his life. Worse than a slave—a stray. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell’s true identities—and a different kind of voice is calling them both.

Toward a destination that is by darkness hid.

My Thoughts: This one is an old favorite of mine and one of the earliest fantasy novels I read. I highly recommend this one!

2. The Restorer – Sharon Hinck

Description:
Soccer mom in our world. Promised deliverer in another.

Susan Mitchell thought she was an ordinary homemaker.

She was wrong.

Pulled through a portal into another world, she finds a desperate nation waiting for a promised Restorer.

While she struggles to adapt to a foreign culture, she tackles an enemy that is poisoning the minds of the people, uncovers a corrupt ruling Council, and embraces a profound spiritual journey.

Will this adventure demand her life? Can she find a way back to her family? She has always longed to do something important for God, but can she fill this role?

Explore this new expanded edition complete with devotional guide, bonus scenes, and other fun extras.

My Thoughts: I read this book back when it was originally published through Navpress. But that was so many years ago that I really don’t remember much about it anymore. However I do recall not being able to stop until I had finished the whole trilogy in a matter of days. I need to go back and find it on my Kindle to read again.

3. Daughter of light – Morgan L. Busse

Description:
What if with one touch you could see inside the soul?

Rowen Mar finds a strange mark on her hand, and she is banishedfrom her village as a witch. She covers the mark with a leather gloveand seeks sanctuary in the White City. She lives in fear that if shetouches another person, the power inside her will trigger again, aterrifying power that allows her to see the darkness inside the humanheart . . .

But the mark is a summons, and those called cannot hide forever. For the salvation of her people lies within her hand.

My Thoughts: You really have to get this book. Morgan writes an absolutely incredible series here. This first book is a little slower than the others, but you won’t regret it. Book 3: Heir of Hope was my favorite read of 2015. Very heartfelt and thought provoking.

4. The Word Reclaimed – Steve Rzasa

Description:

Baden picked up the wrong book.

In the far future, the civilized worlds have finally been freed of the curse of religion. Tolerance now rules the five colonies.

Thanks to the secret police, no one has been bothered by so much as a hymn in two generations—much less a Torah, Koran, or that most dangerous of books, a Bible.

Baden is a young man with an attitude. He spends his spare time salvaging wrecks in deep space, claiming for himself whatever the pirates leave behind.

One day, Baden finds a book. A strange and very old book, preserved carefully against the ravages of deep space. Thinking he’ll become rich if only for the value of the paper, he takes it. He counts himself lucky beyond all imagining.

Until it begins talking to him.

Amidst an interstellar war that threatens to overthrow the monarchy and drive great families to oblivion, Baden must evade the secret police and their attempts to get that book.

Baden never had much use for religion. But it seems one has use of him.

My Thoughts: This is definitely one for the guys. Not that I didn’t like it too, but it definitely has a more masculine appeal. There is a lot of military action in this one. The plot never stops moving for a minute. It remains one of my brother’s favorites and we are eagerly anticipating the long awaited sequel out this week.

5. Failstate – John W. Otte

Description:
Why did Robin Laughlin (a.k.a. Failstate) think being a superhero on a reality show would be a good idea?

Things seemed so simple: Win the show, become an official, licensed hero. But with his brother, Ben (a.k.a. Gauntlet) stealing America’s heart—and with Rob’s own powers proving too unwieldy for TV—Failstate begins to wonder if he’s going to live up to the failure in his name.

Until one of his friends and fellow competitors is murdered.

Robin vows to find the killer, and he sets out on a very real quest to unmask the hidden villain. Can Failstate find justice? Or will his lunk of a big brother ruin everything-including taking the girl who has stolen Rob’s heart?

Very soon, Failstate and Gauntlet will come to blows.

Which has been the villain’s plan all along.

My Thoughts: This book is awsome! I’ve never been much of a superhero novel fan but this one had me locked in to the end and had me wanting more. Must buy!

6. Firebird – Kathy Tyers

Description:
Her death was expected, but something more powerful kept her alive.

Lady Firebird was born to the royal family of Netaia. Because of her birthplace in the family, however, her life is expendable. Honorable suicide is the highest calling she could hope to attain. When she is chosen to lead an attack on the neighboring planet of Veroh her death is expected. Instead she is taken prisoner during the battle and is held by the enemy.

With her own people seeking her sacrifice, Firebird must choose between two worlds before she can carve out her new destiny. This is the story of Lady Firebird’s personal battle and its eternal consequences, not only for herself but for everyone around her, and especially the man who loves her.

My Thoughts: Firebird is a classic. It was one of the very first Christian spec-fic novels to hit the market, a real groundbreaker. It deserved it. Now on its fourth round of publication, Firebird remains strong as ever.

7. Crosswind – Steve Rzasa

Description:
Aeroplanes and intrigue…

It’s been almost five hundred years since the collapse of the Great Commonwealth. The plagues left folk few and far between. City-states rule the continent of Galderica. There’s coin to be had in trade—whether you take your wares by aeroplane or ride them over the rails.

Winchell Sark has a fine life as a reporter for the Perch Advocate newspaper, a good family at home and a faith that seems downright peculiar to most everyone else. So when he is called out to investigate a biplane crash at the foot of Perch, the finest center of aviation in the Sawtooth Mountains, he doesn’t think much of it.

But there are dark powers at work—powers that have their eye on Perch. Powers that mankind long thought consigned to the trash heap of mythology. ’Cept they were wrong.

It’s up to Winch and his brother, Copernicus, a hotshot pilot, to save their people—and it ain’t going to be easy.

My Thoughts: I actually haven’t read this one yet. It’s still buried somewhere in my to-be-read pile. But it’s steampunk. so it has to be good, right?

Cover Love: Enclave Publishing Covers – Summer 2016

Hey, everyone! Is there anyone?

*scans room*

Hmm. Well, anyways, to anyone who might happen to come along, you have just got to check out the covers of the latest releases by Enclave Publishing for this summer. They really outdid themselves with this lineup.

And what’s even more awesome? They’re releasing next week! Yup, that’s right folks. set your calendar for July 2oth.

Now without further ado, Here are the gorgeous covers as well as their purchase links on Amazon and a brief description:

NO. 1

Beast by Chawna Schroeder:

Beast

Isn’t it absolutely stunning? This is by far my favorite cover of the four. The colors, the eyes… oh wow, those eyes. I could just stare at this cover all day. Gorgeous work.

Book Blurb:

I am Beast. I serve the master.

For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master’s dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold she dreams of one day becoming her master’s favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire.

When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers, hunting down the loners.

They are so strong, and she is only a beast . . . or is she?

For anyone who has found a monster within, Beast is a tale of truth and transformation.

Intriguing, no?

You can find the book on Amazon here: Beast

And the author’s website here:Chawna Schroeder’s Website

NO. 2

Chains of Gwyndorr by Joan Campbell

chains-book-cover-1

This cover is my second favorite. I just love the colors and the fantastical feel.

Book Blurb:

Secret schemes. Stolen magic.

Trapped behind Gwyndorr’s towering walls, Shara longs to unlock the secrets that surround her. She believes the Cerulean Dusk Dreamer is the key. The power rock gives vivid dreams of the past and future but it also has a dark side.

Its forces lay siege to her future, tightening her chains. In seeking help, Shara rekindles a forbidden friendship with Nicho, the Lowborn lawbreaker facing banishment to the Rif’twine Forest.

Together, Shara and Nicho must thwart the plans of their enemies. But what if the power they unleash is an even greater chain than what they’ve come to bear?

You can find it on Amazon here:Chains of Gwyndorr (The Poison Tree Path Chronicles Book 1)

And the author’s website here:Joan Campbell’s Author Website

NO. 3

The Word Endangered by Steve Rzasa

the word endangered

Here we can see a lush forest broken up by what appears to be a crashed starship. Doesn’t it just make you want to jump right on in to find out what happened? I borrowed the first two books in this series years ago and loved them. Lots of action. I’ll totally be looking into this one.

Book Blurb:

So much for peace and quiet.

Now that the government overthrow is said and done, a new frontier awaits colonization.

That’s where Zarco Thread and his wife enter. He and Ria head up a surveying crew, commissioned to report on worlds with potential for settlements. However, nothing is settling about what they discover.

A conspiracy threatens to unravel the progress the Five Realms made in the last decade. Not to mention, strain the development of Zarco and Ria’s marriage.

This time it’s more serious than revenge…

A dominating force exists in the Realm that has recruited their long-time enemies, tempting them with a greater plot, one that will endanger the Word once again.

You can find the book on Amazon here: The Word Endangered (The Face of the Deep Book 3)
And the author’s website through here:Steve Rasa’s author website

And finally,

NO. 4

Space Drifters: The Iron Gauntlet

the iron gauntlet

This cover has a great cool color scheme that I love. Kirk DuPonce always makes the most awesome covers.

Book Blurb: 

Reality check.

No good-luck charm can help Captain Glint Starcrost out of this no-holds-barred reality show. The Iron Gauntlet pits competitors against four of the most fearsome, fang-filled, alien fighters in the universe.

He’s one of the few human challengers ever chosen to contend, but he’s not alone.

A fan, a mysterious benefactor, offers Glint and his ragtag team support. The catch? If Glint loses or withdrawals from the competition, it will mean a permanent game over for his crew and the woman he loves.

Will he have the mettle to medal? Or is the game too much of a gamble?

You can find the Amazon link here: Space Drifters: The Iron Gauntlet

And of course, the author site: Space Drifters series official site

Enjoy!

C. M.