Let Me Introduce You To…Paul Regnier

As I talked about in my last blog post, I’m going to be spending the next few weeks/months introducing you to brand new authors within the little known genre known as Christian Speculative Fiction (or Christian fiction that falls into the sub-categories of fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, etc). But don’t let the ‘Christian’ part worry you. These books will be enjoyed by readers of all persuasions. I promise you that. And there’s no better example of this guarantee than tonight’s featured author…Paul Regnier. 
I first learned about Paul while perusing through the website of Enclave Publishing, the premiere publisher of Christian Speculative Fiction, as I was looking for a publisher to shop around a few of my own stories. As most of my readers know, I’m a book cover enthusiast. If I had my way, there would be museums dedicated to the best covers the publishing world has ever developed. So, I’m not ashamed to admit that the moment I laid eyes on Paul’s book covers, I was instantly compelled to purchase them (not only in ebook, but paperback as well…I HAD to have those covers on my physical bookshelves, after all). 
Anyway, I read the first book in his series, Space Drifters, and absolutely adored it. Not only was it a great space opera, but it was witty, smart, and laugh out loud funny. I’ve told a lot of people that it reminded me of one of my all time favorite computer games…the Sierra classic, Space Quest. There were also hints at Galaxy Quest, Firefly, and a slew of other great sci-fi classics. 
Here’s the book description for book one in the series, THE EMERALD ENIGMA:
Captain Glint Starcrost is not having the carefree, adventurous life the space academy brochures promised star pilots.

Broke, with an unreliable star freighter and a bounty on his head, Glint is desperate enough to try anything. Even set out on a quest to find a fabled good luck charm, the Emerald Enigma.

Now for a crew. A passive aggressive ship computer, a peaceable alien warrior, and time-traveling teen from the past aren’t what he had in mind. But they’ll have to do.

The Emerald Enigma won’t wait forever and neither will the bounty hunter tracking him.
 Sounds great, right?
Well, recently I was fortunate enough to chat with Paul about his series, as well as writing, Christian fiction, and anything in between. Here’s what he had to say:
1) You have a written a rather unique sci-fi space opera series called ‘Space Drifters’. Tell us a little about the series. What are some of the inspirations for this great, humorous series?

Space Drifters follows the wild exploits of the starship Captain Glint Starcrost and his rag-tag crew. Captain Starcrost is a down on his luck star pilot desperate for a change of fortune. Since the captain is an impulsive, shoot-first-ask-questions-later type of adventurer, desperation drives him to some ill-advised corners of the galaxy.

His crew doesn’t share his foolhardy vision and strives to thwart his efforts at every turn.

Whether it’s seeking after good luck talismans of legend or ending up in gladiator style challenges to the death against aliens far superior in strength and skill, Captain Starcrost is constantly in over his head.

My inspirations for writing the series arose from the type of stories I wanted to read. I grew up with the original Star Wars movies and Star Trek TV series and I’ve been hooked on those type of space adventures ever since.

I love the space opera style of wild west adventure where your imagination is the only limitation. I’m also a sucker for humor in adventure stories. Some of my favorite movies are Galaxy Quest, MIB, Ghostbusters and Guardians of the Galaxy where they mix humor with adventure in a seamless way that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of either. That enjoyable blend of adventure and humor was my goal with the Space Drifters stories.  

2) Can you tell us a little about the characters and their personalities readers will discover? Do you have a particular favorite character? Why are they your favorite?

The characters have a wide variety of personalities that often clash in humorous ways. Captain Starcrost is headstrong and impulsive. Blix, his second in command, is an imposing seven-foot lizard man with considerable combat skills that seeks a life of peace. While the captain charges into action, Blix avoids confrontation whenever possible, instead suggesting negotiation and reconciliation. Jasette is a bounty hunter looking to cash in on the captain’s bounty. They form a tenuous partnership filled with mistrust and attraction. Lastly, Nelvan is a time-traveling teen from the past just trying to make sense of the insanity of their dangerous predicaments and stay alive.

I’d have to say Blix is my favorite character because he was so much fun to write. The contrast of his battle-ready abilities and the captain’s conflict filled adventures pitted against his desire for peace and civility provided an enjoyable tug of war.  

3) Now this series is marketed as Christian science fiction. What do you think is the underlying difference between Christian sci-fi and mainstream sci-fi? What prompted you to write in the Christian genre as opposed to mainstream?

Sometimes I wish the classification wasn’t necessary. I read plenty of general fiction with underlying non-religious and even anti-religious messages or themes. And yet, these books aren’t categorized as “atheist fiction” or “agnostic fiction.” It seems the complaints generally surface when a book promotes Christian faith rather than marginalizes it. Personally, I’m open to reading all sorts of books with differing world views as long as they’re not preachy or heavy-handed. I think messages in books should be subtle and natural.  

As far as why the category exists, I’m guessing many Christian readers grew tired of starting a book and getting invested in the story only to find underlying messages that ran counter to their faith. That frustration probably led to a well-meaning effort to categorize books that weren’t “hostile” to their world view. While I totally understand that effort, I think one of the unfortunate results has been to relegate stories with the label of Christian fiction off to the “special interest” corner of book stores. I think some people are hesitant to read something with that label for fear of being preached at. 

So, that being said, why would I choose to write in a category that is often less visible relative to similar general fiction? I suppose it comes down to writing the story that I want to write and that I feel called to write. I do my best to avoid preachy or heavy-handed messages but I refuse to shy away from letting my faith come through my stories. Not to sound like some “writing martyr” or anything but if showcasing Christianity in a positive light in my stories slaps the label of “Christian fiction” on my book, so be it. You have to be true to your faith and your art. 

I must add here that I know plenty of Christian writers who write for the general market and weave their faith through their stories in subtle and yet powerful ways. There’s not one “true Christian writer” path out there. I think it comes down to pursuing excellence in the craft of writing and in the call of your faith.  

4) Now a lot of Christians aren’t aware that Christian fiction even has a sci-fi (or speculative fiction) category. If you could tell the world anything about this genre, what would you like to say?

I wasn’t aware of this category of books either until about seven years ago. Since I became aware of it, I’ve seen a rise in Christian speculative fiction both in quantity and quality. 

I published my Space Drifters series through Enclave Publishing. They are a real champion for Christian speculative fiction and lead the way in providing those types of books. For anyone looking for great spec-fic with a Christian worldview, Enclave is a great place to start your search. 

Some Christian publishers and booksellers have been hesitant with speculative fiction. It doesn’t quite fit the common mold. The brick and mortar stores generally have small sections devoted to those titles. But with the shift toward online book sales and the rise of self-publishing, it seems to me some of those previous barriers to entry are removed. I’ve also noticed a wider variety of spec-fic cross-over titles that can be classified as general fiction yet still maintain a Christian worldview, albeit a more subtle one.
5) What projects do you have coming up? What should readers be looking out for?

The third book in my trilogy, Space Drifters: The Ghost Ship, is due to release in April 2018. The kindle version is available now for pre-order: 

I’m so excited with how the story concluded and can’t wait to share it with those readers who’ve enjoyed the series so far!

6) Who are some of your favorite Christian speculative fiction authors? What are some of your favorite books to read?

My all time favorite author is CS Lewis. I’ve read the Narnia series through several times and enjoyed his space trilogy as well as The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce and many others. I can’t help but mention another favorite writing titan of the industry, JRR Tolkien. Part of my childhood will always be lost somewhere in Middle Earth.

The last several years have introduced me to some fantastic modern writers such as Tosca Lee, Jill Williamson, and Kerry Nietz just to name a few.

7) If you could offer just one piece of advice to aspiring writers out there, what would it be?

Stay true to that desire and joy that first made you want to write. There’s so many voices out there telling you what to write, how to write, how fast to write, what genre to write, what kind of marketing and promotion you need to do, and on and on and on. It’s so easy to get caught up in all those things you’re supposed to do that it squeezes the purity and enjoyment of storytelling right out of you.

I have to constantly remind myself to just focus on my story and enjoy the process. Tosca Lee has a great quote, “Write like no one will ever read it.” It’s a great perspective on cutting out all the voices that tell you to write a certain way for money, marketability, reader expectations, reviews, etc… 

In the end, you have to write the book you’re happy with regardless of the results.

I want to thank Paul Regnier for taking the time to answer these questions and I wish him the very best of luck in this great series, as well as other stories he might have planned for the future. 

In the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at his books and give them a read. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I have. You can pick up his books here

And also, check out his website here!

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