A.C. is a talented young writer and I'm excited for her new novel as well as what she has in store for the future. I hope you enjoy her interview and check out the links that follow for a giveaway and the Destiny Trilogy prequel shorts!
On to the interview!
Can you tell us a little about you and your writing journey?
I started writing My Little Pony fanfiction when I was in Kindergarten, before fanfiction was a thing. This was back in the 80s, before computers and the Internet were even a thing. And back then, I didn’t even realize that people actually wrote for a living. I guess I just thought books and stories just happened (sort of like Sherlock with his morning tea, I suppose). I never considered writing for publication either. I just wrote because it was what I loved to do. I started writing intentionally when I was 11 because I had a whole world in my head that my friends wanted to experience too. That created a passion for storytelling in me that I’ve never lost. Somewhere before college, I realized that writing was something I could make a career out of. It took a while, working odd jobs and gaining experience in positions I didn’t really like, but I started my own writing company in 2015, shortly after my first novel Nameless (Steel Rigg Books, 2014) hit the shelves. What I love about writing is that there’s always something new to learn. You never arrive as an author; you just keep growing.
What authors do you look up to and how have they inspired you?
Ted Dekker. He tops the list because when I first started reading his books (Black, Red, White, Three, etc), I’d never read anything like them. The closest was Frank Peretti, but Ted Dekker had an edge to his writing that inspired me and encouraged me that the stories I loved to tell actually had a market.
Tosca Lee. I love Tosca’s writing because she infuses her faith in her characters so that truth is organic and never forced. Plus, she’s just an amazing person.
And third, I won’t list his name, but there’s a particular author I’m very thankful for, because he ignited a stubborn streak in me that hasn’t burned out yet. I heard him speak at a conference I attended early in building my career as an author, and I sat in awe, shocked as he basically discouraged everyone in the room from trying to get published. It was too hard. The market was too difficult. Working with an editor was too distressing. And even if you did get published, you wouldn’t make any money. I remember sitting at the back of that room listening to him and thinking to myself, “Is that what I’ll be like in ten years if I get published? Is he right about giving up now before I even start trying?” Thank you, good sir. Whether you were just having a bad day or not, I’ll never know, but your Gloomy Gus attitude inspired me to tackle this often-frustrating, usually disappointing career path with a sense of faith and optimism, always seeking to learn something new and always striving to be an encouragement to others.
Your novel, New Name, Book Three in The Destiny Series just released. What led you to write this series?
I never dreamed I would write something like the Destiny Trilogy, Nameless, Namesake, and New Name. It’s very different from anything else I’ve ever written, and it shocks most people beyond words when they first read it. That came out of your head? I’ve had to assure several people that, no, I didn’t grow up in that environment. No, I never had relationships like that. And no, I don’t drink, kill people, or frequent brothels.
The Destiny Trilogy grew out of my experience during my freshman year of college. I attended (by my own choice) an extraordinarily strict Christian college. It was a veritable bubble of Christian Life with no outside influences, no worldly pleasures, and—of course—rampant hypocrisy. And during those two semesters, I kept asking myself, what would happen if these people actually got their way and their safe little Christian bubble world became the norm. What would happen to the rest of the world? That’s where the concept of the Destiny Trilogy came from. The Christians took all the Bibles and all the believers and left Earth for a space colony where no one but believers are welcome, and they left the rest of the universe to their own devices. So when our hero comes into the picture, the universe has been more than 200 years without any biblical influence.
I wanted to write a Christian thrown into that environment. What would she say? How would she act? And how could she maintain her faith and her testimony when no one around her even remembered there was a God to begin with?
What are you most excited for readers to experience in New Name?
The last ten chapters. That’s all I’m going to say. #justkeepreading
Who is your favorite character in the book?
This is a tough one, because I love them all. But my favorite character to write in this specific story is Rain Stormcloud. She’s a new character, introduced just in this book, but she’s a riot. Sassy, hilarious, dangerous, impulsive, larger than life—she’s a ton of fun to experience as a reader and as a writer. Fair warning, though. She’s got quite a mouth on her. So don’t be surprised if some of what she says is pretty shocking.
What type of reader would be drawn to New Name and The Destiny Series?
So many different people have loved the Destiny Trilogy. College students, career-age folks, retired folks—I’ve been shocked at the variety of fans. But if I had to narrow it down to a type of reader, I would say it’s best suited for readers who like unpredictable stories with an edge. The Destiny Trilogy is written for people who have faith but who don’t like reading faith-based stories. It’s best been described not as a Christian book, but a book about a Christian. It’s dark and gritty and challenges what you believe, and book two presents some disturbing realities, but the point is that having faith doesn’t mean everything is going to be happy. Faith means that the ending will be happy eventually, but eventually rarely happens in one chapter. And it’s all the chapters in between that make the difference.
This is the third book in the series. What’s on the horizon?
The Destiny Trilogy is actually the first trilogy in the Morningstar Series. There are six more books (two more trilogies) planned, and I’m in the planning stages of the next one, the Covenant Trilogy, right now. And I can promise a lot of very exciting adventures, which will actually include time travel. There will also be some pretty great twists and turns, some unexpected surprises, some familiar faces, and several shocking moments. There’s no release date yet, but there’s definitely more coming. The Destiny Trilogy is really about the concept of faith and what it looks like. The Covenant Trilogy is about hope.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about you or your books?
I do love happy endings, I promise. Most people who finish Namesake (book two) think I don’t. But I’m a fan of the trilogy model of books, where the second installment looks like all hope is lost. Think: Empire Strikes Back. Also, I’m a huge fan of Easter eggs. My favorite thing to do is hide characters and symbols deep in beginning books in a series, so that when people go back and reread it after the series is over, they see things they missed before. So I really encourage people to go back and read the books over again once they finish, because certain objects and people may catch their eye on the second or third read. My personal writing goal is to never waste a sentence or description and to always leverage every word so that a reader can get as much out of a story as possible.
Again, a big thank you to A.C. for stopping by. If you're thinking of checking out New Name, here is a little about it:
An unlikely sisterhood.
An unwanted child.
An unthinkable sacrifice.
Aura Morningstar takes the last fragment of the time travel stone and escapes the Knightshade Syndicate by stowing away on a mercenary ship. Despite a rocky start to their relationship, Aura builds a new life with the crew, eccentric mercenary sisters Snow and Rain Stormcloud.
But the consequences of refusing to change history are only beginning.
Aura discovers she is pregnant with Darien Stone’s child. The Stormcloud sisters are pressuring Aura to terminate the pregnancy, but Aura knows all too well the easy choice isn’t always the right one. Can she ever truly accept a child born of rape? Can she face the constant reminder of all she has lost? And if she keeps the child, will Snow and Rain continue to shelter her? Without their protection, Knightshade will find her, take back the time stone, and rewrite history for their purposes.
Aura must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice—Stone’s child or history itself.
Reach out to A.C. and let her know what you think!
Have a great week!