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Q&A with novelist and Bethel Alumna Cara Weston

Former Clarion-editor-turned-sci-fi-author publishes her first book

Former Clarion-editor-turned-sci-fi-author publishes her first book

By Lindsey Micucci

Bethel alumna, Cara Weston, has published her first novel “She Is The End.” The sci-fi novel — the first in it’s trilogy — tells the story of a queen, Relai Aydor, whose identity is stolen by an unknown source to rule over the galaxy. She and her friends she meets along the way must come together to fight a war approaching their world to restore peace to the galaxy.

Where was the birthplace for this sci-fi book and to create a world that is not of this one?  

“It started as a fun thing to do with my friends in high school. We invented this universe. We each had our own set of stories that we were writing in the same world. And this is the world, there was something at the core of what I wanted to tell, and I just wanted to finish it. So I scrapped all of that and started rewriting this draft throughout all of college, and I had about half of this book written and then I scrapped all of that. I started writing it three weeks after my first daughter was born while I was on maternity leave. Sci-fi is my favorite genre to read, and watch, I think it’s a fun way to not have to follow all the same rules that other genres have to follow while still getting at big ideas.”

Part of the book is set in the Twin Cities. Is that home for you?

I’m from Colorado. That is one of the things that I contributed to the book. Coming here, I came in with an outsider’s perspective and I sometimes can feel like an alien here. So I explored that more [in the book] when the aliens come to the Twin Cities. They’re all human, or so they say, so they’re humans here and feeling out of place and not understanding how things work. It’s kind of how I felt for awhile.”

What are the big themes?

First and foremost, it’s about the tension between justice and mercy. It’s feminist in the sense that I’m writing it from my perspective and I want to do justice to all of my female characters;  them having have complex inner lives and motivations that are set apart from the men around them. Within lots of layers in society, I explore spiritual and social issues at the same time; one has implications for the other. The characters having to confront their individual situations helps change the way they see the rest of the world and the galaxy.”

What do the hands on the book’s cover represent?

It’s is about the main character Relai struggling against a whole bunch of people who are trying to manipulate her, control her and kill her. She’s on the run, so that is the struggle with all the hands.”

Since the book is self-published, do you have an editor that you go to?

“I have a developmental editor who I am married to. He’s a historian, so he helps me do a lot of research and groundwork for real history. He also gives me feedback on the structure of how the scenes are, how the book is going [and] he helps makes it more understandable. The ‘A’ in ‘A.C. Weston’ is for Alex, my husband.”

Do you have any other projects that you’re working on?

I’m finishing the sequel. I also have some children’s books I’d like to write, because I have kids now. We talk about writing and I want to write books for them.”

You’re out of the high school friend group where this world began, and now you’re married with three children, where do you find the inspiration for the Trilogy now?

I come at it from two directions. One, I had to spend many, many years figuring out what I wanted to put out into the world. What do I want to say with this? I don’t want it to just be nonsense or some silly, fun [or] brainless thing. I want to actually say something. So I spend a lot of time developing that; a lot of introspective work. And then I also want it to be fun and exciting for readers. I really enjoy all sorts of sci-fi. I like surprising myself with the writing and I like surprising the reader, so I want it to be a good combination of fun and also something meaningful. Hopefully when people get through the third book of the Vada Chronicles, they’ll feel like they’ve read something that really means something.”

she is the end
Photo from https://www.sheistheend.com

What do you think readers will connect with most?

“I definitely want everyone to love the characters, most of all, because I love them. I would like people to think and challenge themselves about the issues that I’m exploring. I really am interested in how we balance recognizing that we are all flawed and sinful and deserve condemnation, but we desperately want to be shown mercy. The outcry for justice in a world where there’s so much injustice. How do we balance those two things? Holding other people accountable while still asking for people to show us mercy. When do we show others mercy? When do we think we deserve it and they don’t? When they deserve it and we don’t?”

“She Is The End” is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Weston is currently writing the sequel. Weston will be signing her book at the HarMar Barnes & Noble on June 2 at 2 p.m. You can also join her mailing list via the contact form on her website or check the A.C. Weston Facebook page for future event information.

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