With a “gift” for sarcasm and a love of wit, C. S. Johnson is the author of THE STARLIGHT CHRONICLES. The first book in the epic young adult series, The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering won 2nd place in the 2012 Munch Writing Contest. She writes in a variety of genres, including young adult, fantasy/sci-fi, and spiritual/apologetic fiction. With a heart for people, but a personality for the Internet, she is engaged in a variety of charity projects. She currently lives in Atlanta with her family, cats and caffeine addiction.
What inspired you to write your book?
In a word, it has to be pain. I’ve found that conflict is an accurate term for the tearing at the heart that renders tears and words. But also things in everyday life inspire me, for which I can only thank God. I’d hate to write about pain all the time. Writing The Starlight Chronicles series began out of pain that I faced in high school, largely a confused, outcast-rejection type of pain. I really just wanted people to love me, respect me, and accept me, regardless of my foibles or my faith. I didn’t really feel like I managed to get that across to them very well.
How much of the book is realistic?
I have to laugh here, because I purposely tried as hard as I could to make it sound realistic, even if the situations are not. I wanted to show people how, when things happen to us and we cannot process them, we are left wafting between mental instability and self-doubt. The idea of having faith in God, for example, is hard for some people to come to terms with; but the truth is, faith with concrete evidence is not faith. That is pretty hard for some people – particularly people like myself, who strive for logic and linear in life – to grasp.
Are characters and experiences in your novel based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering, the characters are not based specifically on people I know, more like ideas and parodies of people I know. The experiences are about the same: they parody, metaphorize, and personify challenges in my life, as well as the lives of others, but they are ideas, not the actual experiences. I did draw heavily from my own life, though, so I could add more realistic commentary to it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. I have worked on this story for a long long long long time. It’s been floating around in my head for about 5 years, and I’ve only managed to get the first book published! The rest of the story is on its way, but it is still the editing process which kills me every time. While the novel is currently written out in first person mostly limited, my initial draft was in third person omniscient, and that change alone took months to switch over. It was also originally a lot longer, with more detail, but I’ve learned that more people enjoy the book when they have room to imagine things themselves, so I dropped a lot of it and let the reader assume more. So far I’ve gotten several great reviews on it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I don’t think I really learned anything but I had to be reminded of a lot of things. A lot of my books carry a message – for those of us who enjoy that kind of thing – and sometimes I am surprised at the ones that carried through the most ardently at the end. I think that the nice thing about my novel is that a lot of it can be seen as cliché – but there is a twist. So people get to both enjoy the stuff they usually get to enjoy (true love, adventure, the quest, humor) but also get something completely different.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? As a writer I often feel misunderstood and kept away from the rest of the world; partially by choice, but largely by a strong viewpoint. People often go through life working stories through their heads, but they don’t write it down, and they don’t stick with them. Kind of like dreams. Some of us remember them, believe in them, and hope for them to come true – while others forget their dreams when they awake to an already made reality every morning. Because of this outsided-ness, one of the challenges was rationalizing the time I needed to write it. That meant giving up date nights, study nights, and other things. On the upside it usually meant getting my fru-fru coffee.
What genre do you consider your book?
I love this question because it easily fits into so many genres! My background is in English education, so when I was writing it, I wanted to incorporate a lot of things that teachers could use to teach students about literature. With regards to genre, it follows the hero’s journey, so it is an epic, and it is also a sci-fi/fantasy book, and I would also consider it coming of age. That is the complex answer. I tell people the simple answer is spiritual fantasy or apologetic fiction. The weird answer is neo-modernism.
What are your current projects?
I am currently working on a few projects, but the one I am simultaneously most proud of and least proud of is my debut into adult fiction. In my own opinion, I think there is a law handed down from the Ivy Tower Literature Lounge that requires adult fiction to deal with unpleasant, controversial topics, and really I don’t like to think of all the evil the world is capable of, never mind writing about it. But the story is good and I think it’ll be a hit with my intended audience.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My love of writing can be seen just like a novel can be analyzed; over and over in my life, the pattern emerges where I love writing, and I am good at writing, and people (generally) like my writing. It is my preferred method of catharsis. I actually had this idea to create a drink which would unlock the secrete motivation drive in people to get work done, not just give them energy to get the work done. I was torn between the name “Catharisis” or “Moto-go” (Like Motivation to Go) so that project has hit a snag. Plus I am not so good at chemistry.
Why should people buy your book?
The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering is a book full of questions both for the enjoyment and pursuit of the reader. Why do we believe what we believe? It is a book meant to drive people out of apathy and mindless, passive thinking. It’s got it all for entertainment – true love, good vs. evil, games, high school drama, friendship, hardship, superheroes, and coming of age as well as coming to know the self. If nothing else, I tell people to read it for the humor. It’s hilarious!
People can find the book here:
The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering (Book 1 of the Starlight series) can be found at Amazon.com, BN.com, Booksamillion.com, and Westbowpress.com.
You can find me at www.facebook.com/thestarlightchroniclesslumbering (for book), www.csjohnsonetc.blogspot.com (for blog), and Twitter @C_S_Johnson13 (for fun). If you like the novel, please leave a review!