BLOGWORDS – Thursday 26 January 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – REVIEWER INTERVIEW – CELESTA THIESSEN
CHAT THURSDAY – REVIEWER INTERVIEW – CELESTA THIESSEN
“Being a writer is magical – spinning nothing into stories – stories that can light the way to a different world.”
“Settings are easy for me because that’s what’s always going on in my mind. I tend to spend very little time in the present in the real world. Most of my time is spent far away in fantastic places. I like my invented worlds because they’re unique and exciting and the dangers are life and death.”
rem: Hullo Celesta and welcome! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
CELESTA: I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It’s the largest city in Manitoba – near the center of the continent of North America. I really enjoyed growing up there, right across the road from a huge shopping mall. It was a great place to live. Now I live in Steinbach, Manitoba. It is a very small city (more like a town, really) that is one hour away from Winnipeg. I just love it here because it’s so quiet, there’s no traffic and it’s a more Christian community with lots of churches and Christian heritage.
rem: And not a little bit cold right about now, I imagine! BRRRR Tell us three things about yourself.
CELESTA: I’m a homeschooling mom, I have a business with my husband making apps for iPhone and iPad, and I write books for Jesus.
rem: Books I knew, writing apps I did not! What do you do as a hobby?
CELESTA: My hobbies are reading, taking photos and LARPing. Live Action Role Play(LARP) is like playing adventures dressed up in costume in a world like in Lord of the Rings.
rem: LARP’ing sounds like so much fun – I’m an actress don’tcha know! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?
CELESTA: Soldier – I’ve watched that so many times. I just love that movie! As for TV shows, I don’t love them as much as movies but I recently enjoyed watching Super Girl. I also really liked Once.
rem: Haven’t seen that one (Soldier) but will take your recommendation to see it! What is the first thing you notice about people?
CELESTA: This is the first time I’ve actually thought about that question. But the first thing I notice about people is if they are looking at me. I guess I look to see if they are paying attention to me to see if I should try engaging with them. I find connecting with people hard so if they’re not even looking at me then I usually just go back into my own world in my head.
rem: Interesting take on it but oh so true! Hugs or kisses?
CELESTA: Kisses, totally. But hugs are nice too, but only with close family. I’m not a hug-everyone type of person.
rem: I need some kisses in my life! Hugs too! Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?
CELESTA: My favorite Bible verse is 1 Samuel 16:7b– “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I feel like a lot of people don’t understand me or get where I’m coming from. But God gets me. He made me the way that I am and he knows my heart.
rem: Isn’t that so comforting, that no matter what, God “gets” us!! If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
CELESTA: My super-awesome, brilliant, patient, kind, supportive and attractive husband, Leo. I’m SO lucky ❤
rem: Best.answer.ever What do you think is significant about Christian fiction? How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
CELESTA: I think Christian fiction is important because it gives an alternative to the soulless, misleading mainstream fiction that is pushing the enemy’s agenda. It can lead people closer to the Truth (Jesus) and help people grow in their relationship with God.
I feel like God called me to write. I think being pushed outside of your comfort zone makes you grow. I always hoped I would be able write a book one day. Now I have over 30 books published. I couldn’t have done it without God. Writing has made me tune into him more and rely on him and follow him more closely.
rem: I agree, well written Christian Fiction draws us closer to Father and to the Truth. And yes, I also believe Father called me to write. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?
CELESTA: I’ll stop reading a book if I don’t care about any of the people in it or if I can’t see it. Sometimes when I’m reading an indie book the description is so sparse or confusing that I have trouble seeing the story.
rem: Yeah, I tend to go overboard with description… LOL Which is more important: plot or characters?
CELESTA: Honestly it’s characters. My favorite genre is sci fi so I love plot and action! But the reality is that I’ll read a good sweet romance if the characters are great and I’ll love it but I’ll drop a sci fi book if I don’t care about the people in it.
rem: Isn’t that true in life, too, though? If we don’t care about the person we are less vested in what happens to them? What would you do if you weren’t writing?
CELESTA: If I wasn’t writing I’m pretty sure I would feel way more miserable like I did for the first ten years of my working life – being a round block trying to fit into a square hole. I used to be a schoolteacher.
rem: Oh how well I know the round block in a square hole syndrome!! Too many years! And I’ve never been happier with what I’m doing than with my writing! What are you reading right now?
CELESTA: I’m studying scripts right now because I’m going to write for TV one day. Also, I’m reading, Save the Cat – a book on writing screenplays. I feel like I’m learning a lot about story structure.
rem: How fun is that! I mentioned I’m an actress, ya’d think I’d want to write scirpts but nope, no interest in that at all! LOL What do you munch on while you write?
CELESTA: Nothing. I need to focus and have trouble doing two things at once. I’m one of those people who can’t chew gum and walk J
rem: LOL I don’t listen to music (or nothing) at all when I’m writing for the same reason – too distracting. (I do have to eat though, blood sugar… ) Tell us a little about your writing journey.
CELESTA: I wanted to be a writer since I was twelve years old. The summer when I was sixteen I really tried to write. But I found is SO difficult that I basically gave up on it as a career goal. Then when I was 32 God closed every other door to me so that I was forced to really consider doing this writing thing that I knew he wanted me to do all along.
rem: Isn’t it “funny” how Father narrows our path like that? What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
CELESTA: I write in my office. My office is the walk-in closet in my bedroom. My routine is that I wake up in the morning by 6am, sometimes earlier. I do some Bible memorization then I start in on my writing. I do most of my writing in the morning before 8am.
rem: Yikes! And kudos to you, ya morning person you! LOL What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?
CELESTA: The constant struggle is battling the enemy’s never-ending barrage of lies. I can’t do it. No one will read my stories anyway. What I do doesn’t matter. No one cares what I do. My stories aren’t any good. I’m not a real writer. I have 20 sticky notes up on the wall in my office. Everyday before I start my writing I read these things out loud to myself. On the sticky notes are Bible verses and other things I believe that God wants me to remember. I also sometimes listen to Christian music to drive away the paralyzing negative thoughts.
rem: And he’ll do whatever he can to stop us from fulfilling Father’s will and plan for us, won’t he? You keep your focus on Father and His Word and the enemy (and his lies) can’t touch you! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
CELESTA: Making up stories in my head is the easiest part for me. It’s the getting them down AND the perfecting them parts that are hard work.
rem: Right. I’ve had stories in my head always! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
CELESTA: Spinning nothing into stories that can light the way to a different world.
rem: Beautifully said, Celesta. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
CELESTA: The hardest part about publishing was learning how to do it and publishing my first story. Now the actual publishing of the stories is easy for me. Once you learn how to format them the right way for the different places then it’s easy.
rem: What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?
- Write what you love.
- Just write anything (you can always fix it later).
- Do what only you can do – tell the story that only you can tell. rem: love this one!
- Don’t Compare – Comparing is a trap that makes you lose! à If you think you’re better -that’s pride. If you think you’re worse you’ll just feel bad. Your journey might not be the same as other people. Success is to obey God.
- Don’t listen to the voices that tell you that you can’t do it.
- Don’t give up. If you don’t give up you will succeed, eventually.
rem: You write a variety of stories—sci fi / fantasy, kids stories, inspiration, and a devotional—where do you get your greatest ideas for writing? (And how do you keep up?)
CELESTA: I haven’t written a devotional. I have written a marriage book, though. After 20 years of marriage and walking a journey from a horrible marriage to a beautiful, fulfilling, God-honoring marriage I feel I have a lot to share on the topic J
I get ideas from life, TV, movies, books, dreams and after that I just make random stuff up. I never really know which ideas are the greatest until I start writing them down or sometimes when I hear others respond to the story. As for keeping up I’m still figuring that out. I feel like I’m juggling and I drop the balls sometimes.
rem: Oops, thought it was a devotional! :-O What a wonderful testimony, and even more wonderful of you to share what you’ve learned. You’ve co-authored several books with your daughters. How do you balance that and who does what?
CELESTA: When I write with my daughters I sit at my computer and write while they shout ideas and phrases at me that I incorporate into the story. In our story there is one character that represents each of them so that character usually speaks with my daughters’ exact words.
rem: Sounds like a fun set up. I’m hoping to collaborate with my granddaughter – she’s eleven. How do you choose your characters’ names?
CELESTA: To choose characters names I sometimes get help from Facebook friends. I describe the character and ask for help naming them. People tend to like that and I really appreciate their input. Sometimes, when I’m in a rush, I just name them the first name that comes to mind. When I do that, though, half the time I end up changing it because the name doesn’t end up suiting them.
rem: I’ve done both but my main characters introduce themselves to me so their name is “predetermined.” Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?
CELESTA: Never. About half of the time I have setting, main characters, problem and the resolution to the problem. But these latest two books I started writing with nothing at all and just pantsed it. (Wrote it flying by the seat of my pants.)
rem: Ya, 100% Pantzer here! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?
CELESTA: My current project is THE DREAMERS. It is a sequel to WHISPERS OF A FADED DREAMER – which is currently free on Amazon!
rem: What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?
CELESTA: I like this book because it shows that God can rescue any situation, no matter how bad it is, if we turn to him.
rem: I think that’s the saddest thing ever, for someone to feel God cannot reach into their circumstance and redeem it and them for His glory. Talk about lies of the enemy! 😥 Tell us about why you wrote this book.
CELESTA: I just started typing and that’s what came out.
rem: Pretty much my modus operandi. Please give us the first page of the book.
CELESTA: Okay, how about I give you the first page of the first book in the series. Giving you the first page of the second book would be a major spoiler J
This is the story of a faded dreamer for that is what I am.
I was sitting on a large, flat rock on the sandy beach. With the city behind me, I looked out over the calm blue water as the sun shone down on me. But the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze didn’t touch my soul. I was alone. The horror was fading but tears filled my eyes again. I’d lost everything. I wouldn’t be able to help anyone, ever again. Tears spilled out and coursed down my cheeks. I let myself cry. There was no reason to try to be brave anymore.
“Now, who will dream my dreams with me?” I whispered.
“Cara Pierce, you know I don’t like you helping all the guys all the time.” Dennis stood too close to me in the school hallway. He towered over me, regarding me with his serious blue eyes. He was so sincere but…really? Scolding me and calling me by my full name?
Taking in his lanky features and fair hair, I took a small step back and tried for a smile. “I help the girls too.” I didn’t like where this conversation was going…again.
“It’s just…I’m your boyfriend. I want you talking to me, spending time with me.”
“I know…but you’re not in my Math class. My teacher likes that I help the other students understand how to do the assignments.”
“That’s not the point. I’m a guy. I know what guys are like. You’re a pretty, blue-eyed red-head. I know what they’re thinking. You’re sending the wrong signals, Cara. I don’t like you flirting with other guys.”
I looked at him incredulously. “Dennis…it’s not flirting – at all.”
He had been talking so loudly that people were staring at us. Dennis glanced down at his watch. “Gotta go. The bell’s about to ring.” He turned away from me and walked quickly down the hall.
Reluctantly, I entered the brightly lit classroom. I took my usual place, at a desk beside Jason, someone who appreciated my help. But it really wasn’t flirting.
Our elderly Math teacher went up to the front and droned on for a while about the topic of the day. I tried to pay attention to the examples that he put up on the board. Opening my binder and pulling out a pen, I copied down the problems and their solutions. I wondered if I should feel angry at what Dennis had said or if I should feel guilty. But the truth was that I felt bad about it already and I wondered how I would be able to make things up to him. I’d have to make sure I wasn’t sending the wrong signals. I wasn’t trying to send the wrong signals. Were boys really so complicated? I sighed. Dennis was such a good guy. I really loved him. But I was just never able to do good enough – even when I was really trying. There was an ache in my heart again. It seemed like I’d been struggling with that for a long time. I blinked and tried to refocus on the examples. It would never do to cry in class.
Finally the teacher stopped talking and wrote down which questions we needed to do from the textbook. After re-explaining how to do these problems to Jason, I started on the questions myself.
“How about a little help over here, Angel?” a guy called from across the room.
rem: Um, okay, I’m hooked! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?
CELESTA: I hope they see truth in my books and feel hope.
rem: And that’s what the life of a believer is all about, isn’t it? Anything you’d like to add?
CELESTA: If you have kids you might also like to check out these interactive Bible story apps for iPad that my husband and I have made. http://visionsencoded.com/interactive-bible-stories/
rem: Wonderful! I’ll check that out for my grandgirls. Celesta, thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today! It has been my pleasure to have you here!
rem: And where can we find you online?
#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Celesta Thiessen, Whispers of a Faded Dream, Amber Rain, Dragon and Warrior, Salt Eden, Nightcat, Please Fix My Marriage