My name is Carol Parsons and I write Christian science fiction. I’m married to Bruce Parsons, a high school English teacher for at risk kids and pastor of Champion Baptist Church, which is set in the middle of cotton fields and wind turbines in West Texas. We have four children: Douglas, William, Richard and Joanna. I’m also the editor of the Colorado City Record, a weekly paper in Colorado City, Texas. We live in Roscoe, Texas and served for 11 years in Ecuador as missionaries. I like archaeology, science and technology, Japanese anime, instrumental music and traveling.
I began Advent Phoenix as Time of the Phoenix back in college and spent the next two-and-a half decades trying to get it published. I finally went with a self-publisher since the genre is rather esoteric. My husband is the one who encouraged to me try again (I had given up) and my second son was the one who suggested the new title when the original title was rejected by the publisher. Our first son designed both the book cover and the bookmarks I used as promo material. It’s been a family project all the way around.
And now it's time to Take 5 with Carol -
Q: How does your faith impact your writing?
A: I couldn’t write without it. Faith is the underlying strength for all the characters I create, the reality behind the settings. Faith is what helps my characters confront and overcome the tough issues that form the core of the story. It also means I have certain standards about what I will and will not put in my stories. I refuse to settle for substandard values.
Q: Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A: The first five novels I’ve written have simply unrolled in my head like a movie. I would actually see the scenes, then have to write it all down on paper, polishing and filling out as I went. Unlike most writers who always remember the first line of their books, I know the last line before I ever start writing. It’s the goal I work towards.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the writing business?
A: I love going to conventions and books signings where I can meet people. Getting to know readers, whether they buy a book or not, is exciting. I love learning what people like, how they think and what motivates them.
Q: What’s your least favorite?
A: Definitely proofreading and polishing up the story. Once I have it down on paper, I absolutely hate having to re-read and change it.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a fledgling writer?
A: It’s the same advice my high school English teacher told me: a writer’s job is to write. Too many people talk about writing, but never put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. It’s never about getting published, although we all love seeing our words in print. It’s about writing. Just do it.
Q: What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
A: Star Trek’s replicator, definitely. I hate to cook or sew and the idea of having a complete meal or dress instantly created by voice command is right up there with a self-cleaning toilet.
Q: Why did you decide to self-publish?
A: It was more or less a decision that was forced on me. I write Christian science fiction novels, and while the science fiction section in secular bookstores is growing by leaps and bounds, Christian publishers still shy away from it. Also, secular publishers are still leery of publishing books that are Christian in any shape or form.
Q: Have you been happy with your decision to self-publish.
A: Yes and no. Yes, I’m glad I went that route because it’s a good foot-in-the-door approach for first novels. No, because self-publishing still isn’t very well respected and depends heavily on the author being aggressive in publicity and marketing; something I’m not very good at.
Q: What’s the biggest obstacle for a self-published author?
A: Overcoming the stigma of self-published novels being synonymous with poor quality.
Q: What’s the biggest blessing?
A: Being able to bypass the big publishing houses in order to see your book in print.