Sunday, July 17, 2011

Interview with Yvonne Anderson, author of "The Story in the Stars"

Who do you think would like your book? (Or alternately: Please tell prospective readers why they’d like your book.)

This story would probably appeal most to fans of soft SF and space adventures (Star Wars) or fantasy (Tolkien), because it's a little bit of both: it's a fantasy played out on the backdrop of space. However, some of my writer friends who never read that sort of thing enjoy it too. Even the romance writers love it--despite the fact that there's no mushy stuff in it.

What is your favorite thing about your story?

I enjoy creating my own little world and being allowed to live in it every waking moment! But that's from my perspective. From the reader's point of view, I think they enjoy visiting that fantasy world with me, meeting some fun characters and seeing familiar personalities reflected in them. But since these characters are in an alien world, you never know what to expect, so there are surprises around every corner. Often, even I'm surprised.

Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and find a publisher?

I wrote the first draft about five years ago. I don't recall how long that took, but probably about a year and a half. I originally wrote it just for my own fun; I had no intention of every showing it to anyone, and I wasn't in any hurry to get it finished. After completing the first draft, though, I realized it was something I wanted to share with the world, and I've revised it several times, trying to make it presentable. Risen Books contracted it in January of this year, which was four and a half to five years after I started.

What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite books or authors?

I like books with depth, that make me think, that raise interesting questions (even if I don’t agree with their premise) or that teach me something I never knew before. I don’t like formulas, I do like surprises. I like subtlety. I like humor. I like stories that resonate in my mind long after I’ve put them down.

Favorites? I have a hard time picking favorites of anything -- colors, foods, authors, books. I enjoy too many things to narrow it down.

Anything interesting in your past you’d care to share? Like have you ever worked as a rodeo clown, for instance? :)
I'm a very boring person and always have been. Probably the most interesting thing in my past is, in the early 1980s my husband and I had a mini-farm and raised enough of everything for our own use and sale that, bottom line, we ate for free. That's not to say it wasn't a lot of work, because it sure was. And there was also a considerable investment. But when we added up the cost and then subtracted the gain at the end of the year, we spent nothing for groceries but toil, sweat and tears. (The tears were mostly from the kids, who told their grandparents we worked them like farmhands. I think they'd have preferred we were rodeo clowns.)

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

Ha! I don't pick favorites, remember? But in this case, it's not because I enjoy so many things -- fact is, I don't much care for movies or TV. In fact, I don't even know how to operate a TV anymore, they've gotten so complicated. But when pressed to choose a favorite, I usually say the original TV miniseries "Lonesome Dove."

Can readers contact you?

You can find me at my blog,, or email me: yvonneanderson @ (leave out the spaces from the email address, of course).

If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any hairstyles that now make you cringe?

I was alive in all those decades, and my hair always made me cringe. Still does, in fact. With three cowlicks, it does what it pleases no matter how I try to make it behave. Shaving it off might be a solution, but I don't want to look like a Cephargian pirate.

Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.


The inhabitants of the planet Gannah are known as bloodthirsty savages who once tried to conquer the galaxy. Now a plague has ravaged the planet and only one survivor remains, a young woman named Dassa.

Pik, 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 de facto enemy, Pik, to help her.

Brief excerpt (1st page):

Dassa trudged through the Ayin Forest across a crusted snow, her weary steps fueled by the nearness of her goal. Soon, she told herself. Soon this will all be over.

On much of the planet Gannah, winter was drab as an old faded photo, but the foliage in Ayin boasted the colors of a prism and the trees kept their leaves until spring, when the new growth pushed them aside. The frosty forest pulsed with color as Dassa quickened her pace despite her exhaustion and the steepness of the slope.

Labored breath billowing like smoke from a puffing firedrake, she crested the ridge and cast her gaze into the valley below.

A warm rush of delight coursed through her weary body. There it was. Home, the comforting outlines of the domed green roof barely discernable through the trees. Revived by the sight, she hastened down the hill across the sun-spangled snow.

She smiled as the round, two-storied house came into view. It was no mansion, like her childhood home. It couldn’t compare to any of the seven provincial palaces from which her father, the toqeph, reigned as the ruler of all Gannah. But she could think of nowhere she'd rather live than in this yellow stone cottage at the edge of the forest with her husband, Rosh, and their two boys.

Nor could she imagine a more perfect late-winter's day. Gannah's volatile temper was unusually mild that afternoon, with the sun smiling down from an azure sky and breezes caressing with a mother's gentleness. And today, this most beautiful of days, she, Atarah Hadassah Hagah Natsach, would finish her quest and be made Nasi.

Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your book! :)