Interview With Author Christen Stovall

Christen Stovall is no stranger to hard work and the soul-searching struggle of profound loss. Shortly after marrying, Christen’s soul mate and husband ended his own life.

To cope with this devastating loss, Christen turned to writing as a way of making sense of it all. This mourning process conceived her trilogy The Song of Souls Trilogy.

Christen lives Kansas in the home she and her late husband shared. 

Now that I’ve introduced you to Christen let’s get to know her a little better.

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Hello, Christen, and welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?
I can’t really say it was one defining moment. I can’t remember a time
when I didn’t engage in some form of storytelling. I’ve always daydreamed, or imagined detailed stories in my head.

More than one teacher told my parents I was “a good student, but she’s constantly daydreaming.” It wasn’t until I was in my mid-teens that the idea of actually writing a story occurred to me.

It became something of an addiction after that though it was still years before I considered writing a book.

Is writing your full-time profession?
Yes. I do some odd jobs on the side, but writing is my career and absolute focus.

How long have you been writing?
I was sixteen the first time I wrote out one of my stories. I’ve always been a storyteller though.

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall

How many books have you written?
I have published the first two books of the Song of Souls: Soulbound and Soulfire. The third book, Boundless, is going through the editing process now. It’s scheduled for release in August of this year.

Which genres do you write?
High fantasy, with some romance mixed in, but that’s secondary. I will probably branch out occasionally but fantasy is my passion. 

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?
Finding new ways to tell the kind of stories I enjoy. I want to give my work a timeless quality and enjoy mixing classic fairytale and folklore aspects.

The difficulty with that is that it’s become super trendy to brand those kinds of things as “tropey.” I try to give them a twist, but there will always be critics.

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
That’s not a simple answer. Each character I come up with is inspired in a different way.

My experiences inspired in the Song of Souls Trilogy heroine, Aislynn, and her Soulmate, Rorin, and the struggles as a young widow. They were inspired by my own experiences, but are not meant to represent myself, or my late husband.

It’s more a representation of the complexity of grief, and of moving forward after loss. Other characters have been inspired by friends, and some are inspired by a piece of music, or even a single look on an actor’s face in a movie or TV show.

Inspiration is literally everywhere if you keep your eyes and ears open to it.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
When a reader contacted me and told me how much my books, and my own story had impacted her. Her husband was killed in an accident a few months prior to discovering my books.

We exchanged messages for some time, but have lost touch since. Knowing it helped her in some way makes everything worthwhile.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Write all the time, even if it’s just for fun. Also, and this one is crucial, hire a PROFESSIONAL editor. Do not ask a friend, get someone who will rip your work apart and force you to grow and improve.

No matter how good your story is, or how proficient your writing, you need an unbiased pair of eyes. Get an editor, park the ego, and listen to what your editor tells you.

They aren’t there to fawn over you and tell you how great you are. An editor is there to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how to be better.

Photo courtesy of: Goran Horvat; courtesy of: Pixabay
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text 741741 for free, confidential support via text message.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
I would actually. I want people to know about my personal story because it has so much impact on my writing. When I was twenty-eight, after a year and a half of marriage, my husband ended his life. I was devastated.

In the blink of an eye it shattered all my hopes and dreams beyond measure. We didn’t have children, our life together was only beginning. Suicide doesn’t bring an end to a person’s pain, it only puts that pain on the people they loved. It’s a tragic and terrible reality to face.

But I persevered and found my strength and my smile again.  I also found my voice, and the inspiration for the Song of Souls Trilogy was born. Writing these books has helped me work through and share my story in a way that felt safe and comfortable.

They’ve given a legacy to my time with my husband and meaning to all the pain of losing him. I will write other books, but these will always have special meaning.

What message are you sharing in your books?
That no matter what happens in your life, there’s always hope. You can overcome anything if you believe in yourself and hold to that. Live your life from a place of love, for the people around you, and for yourself.

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall

What are your favorite books/authors?
Tolkien’s work is a definite favorite of mine, and a big impact on my writing. Juliet Marrillier is probably my favorite author though. Her Sevenwaters Series is AMAZING! If you’ve never read her work, you should start today.

I recommend the aforementioned Sevenwaters Series, (it’s my favorite). The first book is Daughter of the Forest. It’s a brilliant retelling of the fairytale The Six Swans. I’m not usually a fan of retold stories, but this one is amazing.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
As far as movies go, name a fantasy film and it’s probably on my list. A few worth mentioning specifically are Lord of the Rings (obviously), The Princess Bride, Willow, Stardust, The Wizard of Oz.

My favorite TV series include The Tudors, Outlander, Game of Thrones, Versailles, Legend of the Seeker, most of the Star Trek Series, Once Upon a Time (though the later seasons were a bit redundant), and The Last Kingdom.

I recently started watching Bodyguard as well. It’s not my usual taste, but well done.

When you‘re not writing where can we find you?
Well, Facebook, Twitter (though I’m not great about tweeting, lol), Instagram, Goodreads, and possibly Realm of the Mist Entertainment.

I used to co-host an online radio show there but stepped back to finish my trilogy. I have since been approached to return, but we’re looking at whether it can be worked out with my schedule.

Guilty pleasure admission, I love the online game Star Wars: The Old Republic and have been known to sneak around as an Imperial agent by the name of Inari-zun in a galaxy far, far away, lol.

A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?
Totally a thing I’ve imagined, lol. Presumably, it would be made into three movies since I have a book trilogy. I think in the first one I’d like to be one of the Soulbound.

In the second, I think it would be fun to be a random baddie that one of my heroes takes out. I’m not sure about the third book, something that has a bit more meaning, I suppose.

Agent 12-25 from Chris Kringle’s Cops

An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?
Offer him a tissue and a lozenge, and ask if he can help me get into Rivendell, lol.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
I do!
Book page – https://www.facebook.com/SoulboundSongofSoulsTrilogy/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/christenstovall

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/christenstovall/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14246037.Christen_Stovall

I’m currently looking into creating a new website.

Where can we find your books?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble (upon request), a limited number of bookstores in Kansas, and through me personally for residents of the United States.

Thank you, Christen, for spending time with us and sharing your story. It is wonderful to hear how you turned your greatest struggle into a creative strength. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall