Today we have fantasy author Serena Chase with us. Serena lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and a big white dog named Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, Serena is an avid reader of young adult fiction and inspirational romance and has become a respected influencer within those communities. When not engaged in her varied roles within the publishing industry, Serena can be found watching action movies and dreaming about someday living in a cottage by the sea.
1) What is your favorite thing you have ever written?
In The Ryn (Eyes of E’veria, book 1) there is a scene in the Bay of Tirandov when Princess Rynnaia is swimming with these little creatures of light called enikkas. In that scene she finally comes to understand the motivation of the Romancer of her Soul. I wept while writing that scene… and I still get choked up whenever I think about it. I’ve never felt like I could really take credit for being its author, though… it was one of those rare moments when my fingers flew, and the scene poured out, and I was being more of a vessel for the Author than the creative force behind the resulting beauty. That scene is His—and He entrusted it to me. It’s . . . pffft. I’m undone by it. It overwhelms me. There are no words.
2) What do you want readers to take away from the Eyes of E’veria series?
As human beings we have an inherent need to belong, but it’s starving in our technologically-driven culture. Online hours are counterfeiting the concept of relationship, usurping abundance, depth, and true connection. Too often, I think we feel like we’re stuck in a cruel sort of Divine PE class in which we are the perennial last pick no one wants on their team. We’re picked, yes… but we are not chosen. There’s a difference: default vs. desire. This mode of thinking can cripple the heart of a Christian, allowing her to believe that since she prayed the salvation prayer, now God has to take her. He’s stuck with her. She is fooled into thinking God loves her by default and forgets she is Beloved. She is Chosen.
Throughout the Eyes of E’veria series so far, the theme of adoption—of finding the concept of family in unconventional places—has been flowing just beneath the surface. In The Seahorse Legacy, Prince Julien says to his sister Erielle: “An interesting concept, isn’t it? Being lost? If one is lost, does it not follow that there is, in fact, a place where she belongs?” I agree with him. We can’t be lost—or even feel lost—unless there is a “found” around the bend, waiting discovery–our place to belong as Beloved and Chosen. We may not be there yet, but it exists . . . and that is hope. That is what I want readers to find for themselves within my characters’ stories: hope.
3) What were some of the challenges for you writing The Sunken Realm?
Non-writers may not be aware of how an author’s personal life can affect their creative process. This past year found me trying to write through a series of difficult relationship issues, some health problems, issues with anxiety, insomnia… it was rough. When life becomes overwhelming you can lose the ability to focus on anything, be it the story you’re trying to write or even something as simple as making a grocery list. It is frightening and defeating and can be quite paralyzing, creatively. You may put in the time, subscribe to that “put your rear in the chair and just write” theory (I certainly did that!) but it produces little quality. Nearly everything falling out of you onto the page is drivel and tripe. Trust me, I wrote a lot of drivel and tripe over this past year because that was what was taking up residence in my heart and my head. Hopefully, I’m coming through that season and The Sunken Realm will be a stronger book because of the struggle to make it so.
4) In what ways does your faith impact how you approach writing?
I’m always surprised to discover the way God inserts himself into my stories. I did not set out to write The Ryn as a Christian fantasy. I just wanted to reinvent a favorite fairy tale. God had other plans, I guess! Beyond that “let’s see when/how God will show up in this story!” pantser attitude, however, my faith inserts itself into other areas of content. The last two books of the series are much edgier in content than the first two—how could they not be with such different protagonists?—but I have faith-driven boundaries I will not cross, even though I know it would sell more books to cross them.
5) Star Wars or Star Trek?
Loaded Question… so I’ll give a loaded answer. I like the original Star Wars movies the best, the ones that came out when I was a kid (not the prequels, I did not care for the more recent prequels!) I’m a fan of the Luke-Leia-Han storylines and I’m looking forward to going to see the new one when it comes out… but after the crowds die down a bit! More than the Star Wars originals, however, I love the “rebooted” Star Trek movies with Chris Pine & Co (but I do NOT love the old TV show—honestly, I recall long hours of torture, being forced to watch reruns of that show with my dad and my brother as a kid. Blrgh.) I adore the new Star Trek movies. The cast is perfection.
6) What can you tell us about any future releases you have planned?
My next release will tie up the Eyes of E’veria series, at least for a while. I need a break! The Sunken Realm (book 4) has been my most difficult book to write to date. My next project is a contemporary-based paranormal romance series and I am very excited to dive into it!
7) How would you like to be remembered?
I hope I will be thought of as someone who loved well, was kind, and never took herself too seriously.
8) Who would you most like to thank for their involvement in your writing career?
About ten years ago I took the Apprentice Course through the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Through divine intervention (it could be nothing less!) I was assigned Sandra Byrd as my mentor. Sandra has been the most amazing coach toward my becoming an author and she always encourages me to grow, to stretch, to say what needs to be said. I would never have published a single book without her guidance and prodding and cheerleading. I am so blessed to call her my friend. Thank you, Sandra Byrd!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Serena! Here is where you can find Serena online:
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