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Interview with Steve Rzasa

When picking up Steve Rzasa’s The Face of the Deep series, you’ll want a space suit, a space ship that has adequate weaponry, and a keen eye for watching your back. Action, political intrigue, and mystery—combined in the cold recesses of space and on planets afar—that, my , describes Steve’s brainchild.

But first things first. Why is there a Z in Steve’s last name? “Polish,” he said. “It's pronounced Ra-zah. The actual pronunciation in Poland is closer to Zhonsa.”

Filled with detailed knowledge of that sort, and knowing his in-depth research of the sci-fi genre, I expected Steve to respond to my questions in Klingon. Or perhaps answer entirely in Star Wars quotes. Maybe even to discuss the finer points of Duncan Idaho from Dune. He’s capable.

Instead, he’s a pretty well-rounded guy. “I studied a lot of history in school, and still find time to study up on politics and news from around the world.” But there’s a twist. “Space opera, especially, fired my imagination.”

In the beginning…

Pinpointing a date when Steve said, “hmm, I’m going to write a book,” is difficult. He’s always loved writing. He’d written several short stories as a child and finished his first manuscript in high school. But it wasn’t until the space series that he believed he could both write and be published. “No matter what happens, I believe it will always be,” he says about the greatest moment of his writing career, “when I got my first box of The Word Reclaimed from Marcher Lord Press in 2009. My dream solidified into reality.”

Writing that novel took Steve a little more than a year. With a family and a library job in Wyoming, time was hard to find. But with The Word Endangered, his latest work, he challenged himself to five pages daily, around 1,300 words, and since, he’s managed to stay close to his goal.

There is grinding and music…

Steve rolls out of bed, eats, and showers before writing. He grinds the five pages, usually with a rough outline now that he’s had some experience, then rushes off to work. Hitting his word count is usually doable, since he goes to work late, around 10 a.m.. Sometimes he waits until lunchbreak for his writing session. Other times, he doubles up. After getting home at 6 p.m. “By writing in the morning, I leave evenings open for my family, and my weekends, too. I don’t tend to binge write longer sections on the weekend, so I can spend time with my wife and sons.”

Music controls Steve’s tempo as he writes. “I don’t organize a playlist; rather, I have an eclectic collection of songs and soundtracks muddled on my MP3 player and I let them run. Sometimes the music influences the pace of a story, and other times I know I’m writing a particular kind of segment or chapter, so I’ll set up a run of music that fits that tone. What I like most is how music focuses me on the work. It blocks out distractions, and is not a distraction in and of itself.”

But now…

Publishing a novel was Steve’s dream. Once it came true, it was nothing like he imagined. Now, though, with dream accomplished, he asks himself, “Well, what’s next?” followed by, “Okay, God, what’s coming up?” Responses have been exciting. “My goal now is simply to come up with new stories I enjoy and want to share with others. Stories that make the imagination of my readers run wild.”

Steve Rzasa and his secret superhero identity as Superman!

Those new stories will come from the artistic ether created from diverse influences such as authors Timothy Zahn, Kevin J. Anderson, Frank Herbert, David Drake, and Christopher Walley. Movies like Star Wars; shows like Star Trek, Firefly, and even modern ones like Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Castle, and Bosch. But that’s not all. “Historical works also impact my inclusion of politics and espionage in my stories,” Steve said. “Pretty much anything I watch or read is fair game to get mashed up in my mind.”

Steve’s research is stellar. Writing space scenes with any accuracy is difficult (watch any sci-fi movie, and you’ll see), but after reading up on theoretical space drives, habitats, and shaking off the rust from his physics classes, the space scenes have a ‘real space’ feel. The more fantastic the environment, the more research Steve does.

The ships are described with fantastic detail, but that’s because he draws them first. “For one novel, I charted out a complete deck plan of the entire forward half of the ship—it helped immensely as I worked through the story. Now, if I could get a sketch and plan to someone who could make a 3D model for me, I think I’d be one happy author.”

Comes The End and the pondering

The series has an ingenious way to incorporate God’s Word—Christianity is illegal. A teen, Baden, discovers an illegal Bible, and slowly learns what this Christianity is. Steve didn’t want to preach.

“I wanted to show people the power of the Word, but also leave it up to them to ponder. They don’t need me thumping the Bible; they can do that themselves.” His books, he admits, do that with varying degrees of success, some with more preachiness than others. “But it doesn’t stop me from trying.”

Currently, Steve’s working several manuscripts, including a superhero epic. Does he have time to do anything else? Oh yeah, he plays Magic The Gathering, Star Wars board games, sketches, and rides his bike. He’s reading Mike Duran’s Saint Death, and just came home from Salt Lake’s Comic Con—with seven books to read!


Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at

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