Friday, December 11, 2009

I Need Friends Friday: Rachel Starr Thomson

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is Rachel Starr Thomson. Rachel is the author of the fantasy series, "The Seventh World Trilogy." She can be found on the web at

Here's my new friend, Rachel!

SME: Welcome to INFF.

Rachel Starr Thomson: Thank you! I'm glad to be here.

SME: I am curious. You and I have never met. We live in different countries on opposite ends of North America. How
did you find your way over to

Rachel Starr Thomson: A few months ago, you interviewed my friend Rachel Rossano--

SME: Ah, yes. Another Rachel.

Rachel Starr Thomson: --I read the interview and really enjoyed it.

SME: She rocked that interview, especially considering the kinda mean, really hard game I had her play.

Rachel Starr Thomson: Yes, she did. She's always been fantastic at drawing people into her world.

SME: You write fantasy. Have you always liked fantasy best or did it sort of just happen?

Rachel Starr Thomson: I'm not sure I'd say I like fantasy "best," but I've always been drawn to it. My dad read us the Chronicles of Narnia when we were kids and I t
hink I grew addicted to that sense of the magical and beautiful that may be lurking where we least expect it.

SME: I have always felt like a really good fantasy is, when it boils down to it, good versus evil. The Force vs the Dark Side. Harry Potter vs Voldemort. I am assuming you have both sides in your "Worlds Unseen" trilogy.

Rachel Starr Thomson: Oh, yes.

SME: I realize that summarizing a series in a couple lines is tough, but give us a glimpse into your trilogy.

Rachel Starr Thomson: The Seventh World Trilogy centers around a young woman named Maggie Sheffield and others who have always believed certain things about their world--but when they encounter another side to reality, they realize that everything they've always believed about their history is a lie. In reality, they're at the center of an ancient war, and two opposing forces are about to return to their world and try to claim lordship. Maggie and the others have a role to play in the triumph of light or of darkness.

SME: So, pretty classic fantasy.

Rachel Starr Thomson: It's very classic in the sense of good vs evil, little guys vs terrifying villains. But there are no elves or dwarfs, and the setting is a little grittier. Sort of a mix of Victorian and medieval Europe.

SME: And the first two books are available now, right? And you're working on the third?

Rachel Starr Thomson: Yes, Worlds Unseen and Burning Light are available through my Web site (in fact, they're on sale right now for $25 for both). The Advent is in progress. Actually, I'm very much hoping to finish the first draft of The Advent today -- and you are the first person online to learn that.

SME: Wow. I feel very privileged! (This interview was conducted quite a few days ahead of time, so this probably common knowledge amongst Rachel's fans, but I still feel privileged to have been the first to know!)
So... what's your favorite continent?

Rachel Starr Thomson: I don't believe in playing favourites. I love Europe for its history. I love North America because without it, my life would be very different.

SME: And I love the way you spell favorites. We are kind of boring with spelling in the US.

Rachel Starr Thomson: That's true.

SME: I understand you co-direct a Christian ballet company.

Rachel Starr Thomson: I do! We were out on tour yesterday from 6:30 a.m. to nearly midnight. The company is called Soli Deo Gloria Ballet and we're currently touring this year's Christmas production, "Behold the Child."

SME: I'll let you in on a bit of Sarah M. Eden trivia that has never been revealed on this website...

Rachel Starr Thomson: Ooooh, exciting.

SME: I was a dancer when I was even shorter than I
am now. I specialized in ballet, tap and injuring myself.--->

Rachel Starr Thomson: Well, then you have far more experience in dance than I will probably ever have. My job is coming up with ideas, picking music, and watching everyone else do the hard work. Although I also sing and narrate in our productions.

SME: So, see, we are women of many talents.

Rachel Starr Thomson: We are!

SME: Knowing you are connected with dance and I was once a little prima ballerina (ok, not really--I was always too clumsy to be any good), I have devised a special game just for us with a dance theme. Isn't that fantastic?

Rachel Starr Thomson: I can hardly wait.

SME: I am going to ask you a few random trivia questions having to do with The Nutcracker Ballet. Get the answers right and you win nothing, but you'll look really cool.

Rachel Starr Thomson: Fire away!

SME: #1: The Nutcracker Ballet is based on what?
a.) a book
b.) a traditional Icelandic folk tale about a sea lion and a mermaid
c.) a nightmare I once had when I was very young after getting my finger caught in my grandmother's wooden nutcracker soldier

Rachel Starr Thomson: I'm gonna go with the book. Although I don't actually know of a book on which The Nutcracker is based.

SME: The answer is A!! "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" was published in 1817, and the ballet was first performed (with Tchaikovsky's wonderful music) in the late 1800's! You're 100% so far!

Rachel Starr Thomson: Great.

SME: #2: Which of the following versions of The Nutcracker Ballet is NOT considered a classic?
a.) Mikhail Baryshnikov's, premiering in 1976
b.) George Balanchine's, premiering in 1954
c.) the version I personally choreographed and performed as a kid in my backyard on my roller skates (true story)

Rachel Starr Thomson: I'll have to choose c., although I think that was probably just a failure of media coverage.

SME: Definitely a marketing issue. Yes. The answer is C!
Okay, last question... #3: In the original story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," the tale ends with...
a.) The mouse king changing his evil ways and opening up a kiosk at the local mall selling prepackaged nuts
b.) Marie (who is renamed Clara in the ballet) and the Nutcracker (transformed by her love back into the handsome prince) marrying and living happily ever after
c.) All the men in the audience breathing a collective sigh of relief. Oh, wait. That's the ballet.

Rachel Starr Thomson: I choose b. But that's kind of weird. How old is Clara, 12?

SME: Yea. Weird. I'm going to assume that she grows up a lot over the course of that book. Like many, many years.

Rachel Starr Thomson: I hope so.

SME: Guess what? You answered all the questions correctly. You're the INFF champion!! (fanfare and streamers and shouts of celebration!)

Rachel Starr Thomson: Thank you, thank you.

SME: Well done.
Now on to the part of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend. You!

Rachel Rager: How exciting!

*a frenzy of creativity*

SME: Tuh-duh!

Rachel Starr Thomson: Looks just like me. I love the shoes.

SME: Oh, yes. I am an avid fan of mary jane's. Cute and sensible, just like me.
Well, last question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog in
terview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Rachel Starr Thomson: 1. I got to talk about my favourite subjects.
2. I got to use Canadian spellings.
3. You unveiled secret information about your past as a dancer.
4. It made me laugh several times.
5. Now I'm all excited about finishing "The Advent" today!

SME: Congratulations on that. There is just something about finishing a first draft that is exhilarating!

Rachel Starr Thomson: That there is.

SME: Well, thanks for stopping by.

Rachel Starr Thomson: Thanks very much for having me. I've had a great time.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

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Rebecca Irvine said...

You always draw such cute shoes.

I had no idea the Nutcracker was based on a book. Thanks for helping me learn something new today.

Rachel Starr Thomson said...

Thanks for the great interview, Sarah!

David Kennedy Bird said...

Great fun! A lively and occasionally informative interview. I must confess to having learned a couple of new things about Rachel by the time i got to the end, heaving a sigh of relief. No, wait, the sigh of relief was at the conclusion of The Nutcracker a couple of nights ago. At any rate, shplendid job!


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