An Interview with Karen L. Redmond
Tell me what you want readers to know about Rise of Starseed Nation.
Well, the book is a continuation of Dakota’s story from Prince of Terrastar. Dakota now knows his true identity, which is Tharagar, the Ruler of Terrastar. He knows that he originated from the Planet of Vega and that he is a Starseed. The book is a continuation of his spiritual journey.
What inspired this series?
Anyone who has read my work knows that I write to tell a great story and enlighten readers along the way. I am all about peace, respect, compassion, and acceptance. I wanted to write a middle-grade novel that would grab and hold young readers’ attention, while offering a little counterbalance to the barrage of negativity that is hurled at our children through social media. That endeavor resulted in the middle grade novel, Prince of Terrastar.
How does Prince of Terrastar offer counter-balance?
I wanted to write something that had not been done before, at least not to my knowledge. There are all kinds of books out there about galactic beings, and they are always the bad guys. So I wanted to create a race of aliens who were good guys, with a wisdom and logic far superior to that of the human race. Hopefully, readers will pause to question the logic and temperament that is governing our world, because I think it can be greatly improved upon.
The galactic beings live in a place called Terrastar, which is equivalent to Utopia. Through Dakota’s interaction with them, readers are led to consider the ways of the human race; how we attack and destroy each other, how we abuse the Earth, and continue to embrace a logic of “divide and conquer” when what we really need to do is knock down barriers, embrace and respect each other, and enhance our own spiritual experience through unified growth. In Prince of Terrastar, the galactic beings try to show the human race a kinder and healthier way of life.
You released Prince of Terrastar as a middle-grade novel and Rise of Starseed Nation as a young-adult novel. Why the change in genre?
I started telling a story, and as the story evolved it became a better fit for the young-adult genre. Tharagar is 17 in this book. He also develops a love interest. Besides, I write for all ages. Don’t forget that Prince of Terrastar was a big success among adult readers. I anticipate the same results for Rise of Starseed Nation.
Do you feel that changing genres is fair to your middle-grade readers?
Absolutely. If they want to follow Tharagar's story, they will be inspired to navigate a slightly more-complex storyline. Also, Rise of Starseed Nation is not full of hard-to-pronounce words. It is simply a bigger book.
Do you plan to write a third book in the Terrastar series?
I will write about Prince Tharagar as long as there is an interest.
What do you want readers to know about your Jasara series?
I originally wrote Jasara as a chapter book series, but felt the message and characters were too sophisticated for that genre. So I am revamping the books and releasing them as a middle-grade series. Jasara lives on an animal preserve in Africa with her father who is the veterinarian. Jasara is friends with all of the animals because she has a very special gift; she can communicate with her animal friends. Although her father is unaware of her true identity, Jasara is known and respected throughout Africa. She was chosen to serve Hatima, which is an entity of light that serves to defend those who need protection from dark forces. When she battles evil, she travels with a lion cub who, through the magic of Hatima, can transform into a grown lion that is three-times the size of a normal lion. Together they are unstoppable. The characters in the book are adorable and quirky, which makes you laugh while learning that it is okay to be different, because that is what makes you unique and special. If we were all the same, the world would be a pretty boring place.
Jasara makes a statement in her book(s) that you will never see a picture of her or read a physical description of her. Is that true for the entire series, or will we get to have a look at her in the last book?
Oh no, that will never happen. I want every girl who reads my Jasara books to imagine herself as Jasara. This series is all about soul empowerment, and I do not want the silliness of physical attributes to get in the way of that message. I am tired of reading about young girls who struggle with low self-worth because some media campaign or mean-spirited person told them that they don't have the right look, therefore there is something wrong with them.
The message of this series is clear; true beauty is inner beauty, and if someone tells you that there is something wrong with you, don't listen to them. Negative behavior is a taught behavior. If someone lashes out at you, they likely learned that behavior because someone lashed out at them. Why would you listen to that person's words and let it affect you? You can feel sorry for that person, because someone has clearly hurt them, but don't take their words to heart. I really want kids to empower themselves with this logic, and feel free to embrace the amazing beauty that is uniquely theirs.
Do you have a favorite character?
I love all of my characters. I think Louise, the giraffe, is by far the quirkiest. She is a lot of fun to write. Of course when Tabu appears as his alter-ego, Inspector Kluliss, he's right up there with Louise in the quirky department.
Do you plan to write more Jasara books?
Not right now. It will depend on how the first three are received by readers.
Both the Terrastar and Jasara series are about crystals. Do you write about crystals in all of your books?
No. It is just a coincidence. These series were written 5 years apart. I wrote several other books that don't have a single crystal in them. And the books aren't about crystals. Jasara enters into the crystal cave when she is selected by Hatima, However, Terrastar is deeply entrenched with crystal technology.
What category do you think your books best fit into?
I have been asked that before, and what I came up with is spiritual science-fiction for my Terrastar books and spiritual fantasy for Jasara. I added the spiritual label because I write about soul respect, enlightenment, and empowerment.
So you consider your books to be spiritual in nature?
Of course. We are all spiritual beings, and I am always going to write books that hopefully inspire that spiritual light inside all of us. My books are spiritual in nature because I write about respecting your soul and believing in yourself. That being said, my books do not adhere to any specific dogma. Regardless of the religious path you choose in life, you seek that path in search of spiritual guidance and enlightenment.
Most kids follow the religious teachings of their parents. I certainly did. But there are some kids who receive no guidance. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to believe; I just want kids to know that they are unique and special for a reason, and they should embrace who they were born to be - especially if it makes them different. If you don't give up on yourself and stay true to what you feel inside, you can absolutely be whatever you want to be. Of course I deliver this message through a book packed with action and adventures that keep kids turning the pages.
If you could sum up your writing in one sentence, what would it be?
I write about the soul, and the beauty that resides inside you. Don't waste your time on hatred, jealousy, insecurity or doubt. You are so much greater than that, and life is so much easier when you eliminate those emotions from your life, because what so many people fail to realize is that those are spiritual burdens that you place on yourself. Well...that answer ended up exceeding one sentence, but I wouldn't change a word.