By Diane Holmes
“Yvonne Anderson is an amazing talent. Her stories remind me of what I love best about Madeleine L’Engle’s writing…depth with subtlety. Yvonne has a fan in me for life.” — Gina Holmes, best-selling author of Crossing Oceans
A plague has ravaged the planet Gannah and only one survivor remains, a young woman named Dassa. The doctor from the League of Planets assigned to her case hates everything Gannahan and wishes every last one of its people had died.
Bereft of everything she’s ever known, Dassa clings to her God and the story he has written in the stars. He has given her an assignment: to return to Gannah and replenish it with a new race of people. But she must first overcome the prejudice of the entire galaxy and recruit her ancestral enemy to help her.
Every author is driven by an idea or scene that compels them to write the book! What’s the fascination for you?
The inspiration for The Story in the Stars came after I swore off writing altogether. My first four novels hadn’t sold, and I started drowning my sorrows in nonfiction.
Somewhere in my meanderings, I stumbled across an old book, originally published in 1882 but reprinted in the 70s, called The Gospel in the Stars. The premise is that the constellations proclaim the message of the gospel of salvation for all the world to read. Of course the language in this book was archaic, and it was hard to follow. It also probably didn’t help matters that I know nothing about the stars, so what I was reading was altogether unfamiliar.
But the idea intrigued me. As I tried to make sense out of it, it occurred to me that it might be fun to write a story based on the concepts. It’s completely different from anything I’d ever written before.
Though reading the Gospel in the Stars was the inciting incident, my book soon developed a life of its own. The Story in the title is, in fact, the gospel. But, though the gospel is truly “the greatest story ever told,” it’s incidental to the novel’s plot.
In a futuristic backdrop of space travel and life on other planets, Stars takes the reader through global plague, pirate attack, a duel to the death, a crash landing, and a search for missing treasure, while touching on issues of racial animosity and religious bigotry. So whether or not you go along with the original premise, you couldn’t describe the book as dull.
Tell us about your favorite character.
A doctor named Pik from the planet Karkar. Though he’s seven feet tall and has twelve fingers and toes, he’s kind of an Everyman. Or maybe I should say, he’s the Everyman we are on the inside, even though we might put on a good front. He’s vain, arrogant and self-serving, he complains constantly, and he’s afraid of change. But somehow he ends up doing the right things for the right reasons despite his flaws, and he brings a little self-deprecating humor into the story.
What stories influenced you in bringing Stars to life?
Star Trek or Star Wars, to a small degree. But I was a rabid Tolkien fan as a kid, and he was the biggest influence on my style.
So you’d say your book would appeal to Sci-Fi fans, then?
Probably that would be the largest audience. But most of my writer friends, being women, write romance (I try not to hold that against them), and by and large they say, “I don’t read sci-fi, but I love this story!” So I hope the book will have fairly wide appeal, as long as the non-SF reader isn’t put off by the girl in the spacesuit on the cover.
What’s the easiest way for readers to find you?
I have an author blog called Y’s Words, and I’m a regular contributor at Novel Journey. Plus I’ll have local book signings in Ohio, possibly also in Iowa and Virginia, as well as meet-the-author things at public libraries, and that sort of thing.
Give us the scoop on what you’re writing now.
After spending more time on the planet Gannah, I realized it needed to be further explored, so in 2009 I went back for another visit. That second book was drafted and already in the process of revision when my publisher, Risen, asked me about doing a series. Risen offered me a three-book contract with the possibility for more. The over-all series is called Gateway to Gannah, because I like alliteration.
A lot of Christian publishers have a list of controversial subjects they won’t touch for fear of offending someone. I’d been afraid my book was doomed, being too secular for a Christian publisher but too Christian for the secular market. But Risen Books has the courage to venture out of the cushioned pews and into the world.
Thank you so much, Yvonne! Your book has a great concept and fresh spin on the thriller genre.
To learn more about Yvonne, please visit her website.