The Story in the Stars - Yvonne Anderson
Adding religion into a book, especially a science fiction book, is a bold move for any author to make. Not only does it seem like spirituality is taking a back seat these days, but fewer and fewer people are willing to openly talk about it for fear of offending someone or drawing unwanted and controversial attention to their work or posts.
I was not aware of the Christian subtext when I began this book, but it very quickly made a strong and intriguing appearance. But unlike some reviewers, I didn't have an issue with it being woven into the plot. I enjoy seeing various adaptations of religion, especially differing perspectives on Christianity, brought into fictional works.
Yvonne does so in a way that did not offend me, did not detract from the plot (in my opinion), and further enhanced the strong character of Dassa. She is a determine woman on a mission and her deep faith enhanced those points.
I thought this book was very well written. I enjoyed the progress of the plot. The one drawback, for me, was the character of Pik. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that he was poorly written. I'd argue the exact opposite actually. He brought out emotion in me, which I feel is the very definition of a well written character. I simply didn't like him. He was too volatile and rash in his decisions. And his angry outbursts would have scared me a lot, had I been a character in the story.
But this did not make me dislike the book. I enjoyed reading it and am interested to see where she takes Pik and Dassa in the rest of the series.
Some Bio Information
Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.
The Story in the Stars, the first in the Gateway to Gannah series as well as her debut novel, was a Carol Award finalist in 2012. The adventure continues with Words in the Wind and Ransom in the Rock and concludes with The Last Toqeph.
She lives in Western Maryland with her husband of almost forty years and shares the occasional wise word on her personal site, YsWords. She’s been with The Borrowed Book blog for a couple of years now and coordinated Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest for unpublished novelists since the beginning of time. (Or at least, since the contest’s inception.)
Oh, yeah: she also does freelance editing.
1. Who is your favorite author?
You would ask that question, wouldn’t you? Here’s the problem: I don’t have a favorite author – nor a favorite color, food, movie, song, or anything else. I don’t know if I’m terribly wishy-washy, or if I simply enjoy too many things. But I find it impossible to pick a favorite among so many great choices.
That said, here is an alphabetical list of some of the authors whose books I’ve enjoyed: Maeve Binchy, Athol Dickson, Ken Follett, Neil Gaiman, Graham Greene, Khaled Hosseini, Stephen King, Wally Lamb, Ann LaMott, C. S. Lewis, Chaim Potok, Salman Rushdie, Amy Tan, James Alexander Thomp, J. R. R. Tolkein, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others.
2. What would you like readers to take away from your book?
Other than an enjoyable read? A clearer understanding of the Christian gospel.
There seem to be a number of misconceptions about that, even among people whose belief system falls under the heading of “Christian.” So when I wrote about the gospel message that some say God told in the stars, I wanted to be unambiguous as to what that story is. Certainly the reader is free to reject it, but at least she’ll know what she’s turning her back on.
3. What does this book say about you?
I hope it shows the object of my faith. It might also be evident that I’m not a big fan of science fiction. Quite a few readers say they’ve never read anything quite like this, that it doesn’t seem to be derivative of anything. Not having read much in the genre, I haven’t been influenced by things I’ve read.
4. Describe your favorite place.
Home. Wherever that happens to be.
5. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I think about a story for quite a while before I write it, but I don’t do any “pre-writing” (outlining, character sketches, that sort of thing). I generally have a beginning and a destination in mind, and I know a couple of the high points that will have to occur along the way. I also know my main character inside and out before I write the first word. For the most part, though, I don’t know what’s going to happen until I start writing.
In the case of The Story in the Stars, it all started when I read about the theory that when God created the heavens and the earth, He put the constellations in skies to write the gospel message for early man to “read.” (Kind of like the original graphic novel, once you think about it!) I thought it would be fun to write a book in which the characters discovered this story in the stars. I started with creating the planet on which the story would take place, and it all took off from there.
6. What’s your dream vacation?
If you’re paying, I’d enjoy going just about anywhere.
Seriously, I don’t dream about any sort of vacation; I like my life and don’t usually feel a hankering to get away from it. However, I’m working with a lady in Tasmania to help her with a nonfiction book she’s writing, to get it ready for publication. We’ve been communicating via email and in real-time on Skype, but it would be wonderful to visit Tasmania and meet her face-to-face. While I’m in that part of the world, I’d also like to visit other regions of Australia and also Middle-Earth – I mean, New Zealand.
7. Is the story over for Pik and Dassa?
The Story in the Stars is the first in a four-book series. It was originally published in 2011 by a small publisher, Risen Books. They also published the second title, Words in the Wind, in 2012. I self-published the last two titles, Ransom in the Rock and The Last Toqeph, in 2014. Risen Books has now released me from my contract, and I’m republishing the first two titles myself with a few minor tweaks – and more importantly, new cover art. I was never wild about the original covers.
Readers who want to know what happens next for Pik and Dassa can follow all their adventures in the Gateway to Gannah series. Each title can stand alone, but put together, they tell one epic tale. All four are currently available in both print and e-book formats.