CJ: Welcome back humans! Today is a big day, as we have our first ever author interview! It’s my pleasure to welcome Emily Starling to the blog! Thank you for being here, Emily!
ES: Thank you for having me! I'm honored to be your first interview!
CJ: I’m especially excited to talk to Emily because we are at such similar stages in our journey. Emily is also a recent graduate and has just begun to share her journey on Instagram. But before we get into the present, I’d like to ask Emily about the past. What inspired you to start this journey, and how long have you been writing?
ES: I’ve always been one to make up stories in my head. I came up with one particularly long storyline that I absolutely loved when I was twelve or thirteen. At the time I didn't realize I could write though. When I was about fifteen, sitting in my granny's extra bedroom, I found a writer on YouTube. After that I was just about always plotting something in my head with the intent to write it, although never got very far with any of it. A year or so ago, God put it on my heart to use this passion for Him.
CJ: That’s beautiful! I know YouTube authors were a big part of my start as well. Seeing someone else who lives your dream and offers advice on how to get there can be a huge boost. Now that you’ve decided to lean into this passion, what are you currently working on?
ES: I'm working on plotting and drafting a novel called Please Come Home. It's a ya/na Christian fiction full of redemption, accepting God's forgiveness, healing from mental illness, found family, and some good clean romance.
CJ: That sounds so inspiring! I for one love anything with found family, and some clean romance is always a plus. What inspired you to write this novel?
ES: I do too! It was kind of a combination of things that inspired Please Come Home. I had an idea for a character who had run away from her family years before because of something she did. This character also knew that one of her childhood best friends was looking for her, so she was running from him. I had just set another project aside that I knew, that I wasn't ready to write, when I prayed and asked God that if He wanted me to write something in this season of my life, He would give me a story and help me write it. In the next few weeks the idea of the girl who'd run away from home and the friend who was chasing her grew with prompts from pinterest and ideas from songs into Please Come Home. I didn't realize it at the time, but as its developed, God has helped me understand how He could use the story in the life of someone who is running from their own guilt.
CJ: It's so cool how you let God gradually inspire you to write this story. I experienced a similar thing weeks ago regarding my whole attempt to be an indie author, wondering if I should even continue. But now here we both are! And the message of redemption is always needed for someone to hear. If there’s one thing you hope people will take away from Please Come Home, what would it be?
ES: That's a really good question. From the story itself, I hope that people see that they are never too far gone. God is waiting with welcoming arms, if you're willing to accept it. I also hope that people see with the writing process that God cares about our stories and that, when you surrender to Him, He will do beautiful things that you couldn't have even imagined.
CJ: Absolutely. I’m so impressed by your surrender and faith. We need more creatives like you who aren’t afraid to share their art and their convictions. Now, in addition to writing, Emily is also an artist! What mediums of art do you gravitate toward, and what are your favorite things to portray through your art?
ES: Most of the time I use oil paints, but I also use graphite, and pen and ink. Both my art and what I write go back to John 21:25. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." I want to capture the many places I can see Jesus, either in the peacefulness of the moment or the story behind it.
CJ: Amazing! There are definitely endless places to see Jesus, and it’s so fitting that you use your talents to capture those moments. Obviously Emily is a talented creative soul. In addition to this, she recently graduated! Congratulations, Emily! What does it mean for you to be embarking on a new stage of your life, and what are your plans now that school is out?
ES: Thank you so much! After a lot of praying in the past year, I felt God telling me to go all in with the passions He's given me. Finishing school is giving me more time to do that. In the next few weeks I will, Lord willing, start doing art mostly full time. And I hope to finish Please Come Home either late this year or early next.
CJ: It takes a lot of courage to go all in with creative ventures. I admire your trust in God as you start this new adventure! Now, one of the things I want to highlight on this blog is the importance of Christian creators, particularly in fiction. Emily, what does it mean to you to be a Christian writer and artist in this day and age?
ES: I love that! Stories all throughout history have shaped the minds of readers and the culture as a whole. We all need stories. We all crave stories. They help us go to beautiful worlds and go on grand adventures, and they help us understand truths we wouldn't on our own. Even Jesus taught using fictional stories. Christian fiction is important because all over the world there are people who crave that. We as Christian writers need to write fiction with solid Biblical themes for those people.
For me, being a Christian writer and artist means standing against the crowd and holding to the foundation in God's word. I want to glorify God with everything I create, whether that be in a long, drawn-out fantasy series or in a simple painting of a landscape.
CJ: I couldn’t have said it better. Emily, your mission is beautiful, and I wish you the best going full time! Where can people find you?
ES: Thank you! For my writing I can be found @angelisalsowriting on Instagram and TikTok, and for my art I can be found on Instagram @angelispainting. Thank you again for having me!
CJ: My pleasure! I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the author interviews. You’ll be in my prayers going forward, and I’ll keep an eye out for Please Come Home!
CJ:This marks the end of our first ever author interview, and I think it was a beautiful success! Thanks again, Emily, for agreeing to chat with me today. To the rest of you, don’t forget to check out Emily’s socials and show her some love! Until next time, fly safe everybody!