Steve Rzasa was born and raised in South Jersey. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communications in 2000, and then spent seven years as a reporter and assistant editor at weekly newspapers in Maine. In 2007 his family moved to his wife Carrie’s home state of Wyoming so he could work as the editor of a weekly newspaper. Today Steve works at the local library in Buffalo where he and Carrie live with their two sons. His short story “Rescued,” set in the same universe as The Word Reclaimed, won second place in the Athanatos Christian Ministries fiction contest this summer.
Hi, Steve, I understand your novel, The Word Reclaimed, has already been released. Can you start by telling us what your novel is about?
Baden Haczyk lives in contention with his father aboard the family cargo starship Natalia Zoja. This young man’s routine existence is turned on its head when he finds a book in the wreckage of another ship. And then he hears voices in his head.
Suddenly, the omnipresent religious police are on his tail, and will stop at nothing to seize that book. Baden finds himself confronting a powerful faith, and runs in to allies who are fighting to stop the overthrow of the royal Realm of Five.
It is set in a future where all printed materials are banned – only electronic media are allowed, and the royal family owns the companies that make all computers, handheld devices, etc.
Have you always been a fan of science fiction? When did you realize you wanted to make the leap from reader to writer?
I’ve always loved reading, but it wasn’t until high school and college that science-fiction books became my favorites. I watched all the Star Wars movies and as many “Star Trek” episodes (original series and “Next Generation”) as I could manage, so you can imagine my excitement when Timothy Zahn came out with the Heir to the Empire trilogy in the early ‘90s.
Space opera seems to me the last great domain of high adventure—fantasy aside, of course. I love the idea of voyaging to uncharted worlds, meeting new people, and most of all, hanging out on cool starships.
I love Kathy Tyers’ excellent Firebird series that offers a different take on familiar Old Testament prophecies, and Chris Walley’s Lamb Among the Stars series that shows a distant future in which sin returns to a galaxy that has largely been at peace. But my all-time favorite sci-fi book is Merchanter’s Luck by C.H. Cherryh.
When creating a fictional world, is there still research involved in writing the novel?
There is, especially in this one. I wanted it to feel lived-in and realistic, so I did a lot of legwork on different languages to include. I also spent a lot of time reading up on futuristic spaceship engines, the physics of acceleration and future weapons, and the like. Plus, reading about history helped me.
What is the novel’s spiritual payload?
The word of God is powerful—sharper than a sword, as the scriptures say. I hope to show people how God’s word impacts a person’s life, and how it can give rise to faith. Without God’s word, Christianity is a drab shadow of the full glory of Christ.
What is the most challenging part of the novel to write—the opening line, opening paragraph, first chapters, middle, or perhaps the end?
The most challenging part for me is not so much a section, but descriptions. I’m constantly rushing ahead to the action without stopping to think that the reader might not imagine scenes as I do—hence, they need more illustration with words.
How did you meet and connect with Marcher Lord Press, the publisher of your novel?
I spotted MLP while I was scouring the Internet for literary agents and publishers. Jeff Gerke’s new company and its specific focus on Christian sci-fi/fantasy intrigued me, so I submitted my manuscript. Thankfully, he brought me on board!
If you consider all the books about writing you’ve read, and the feedback and suggestions you’ve received, what one or two things standout in your mind as having the biggest impact on your growth as a writer?
The best thing I’ve learned is about description and point of view. Balancing out which points of view to use in which sections of the book was really interesting—it made me stop and consider just how I wanted things to proceed.
On this blog, Steve, we tend to enjoy having a good time. So before you go, could you tell us what you enjoy doing for fun and relaxation—when you’re not writing, of course. 🙂
I enjoy drawing—I have this need to illustrate my fictional universe to better expand my imagination. I also enjoy the outdoors, video games on the Nintendo Wii, playing LEGOs with my two sons, and, of course, reading.