Behind the Scenes with Ray Star

Ray Star is the author of the Earthlings trilogy, young-adult fantasy fiction with a vegan message at its core.

Lisa talks to Ray about her journey as an author and writing fiction as a form of activism.

Find Ray’s books on Waterstones or Amazon or visit her website for more updates:

In activism, we always say start with the skills you already have. How did you discover that writing could be your way of furthering the vegan cause?

From the moment I began my vegan journey in 2017 I wanted desperately to do more to help animals. The desire was so strong that it was all I could think about. I began with a blog sharing my positive experiences with veganism, from having two plant-powered pregnancies, raising vegan children, and sharing recipes. But it wasn’t having the desired impact and it became apparent that I needed a different approach. That’s when the idea of writing an epic fantasy trilogy with a subliminal vegan message came to me. What better way to create empathy for animals than to put readers in their pawprints? The Earthling’s tale of magick, adventure and reversed speciesism tumbled out of my mind and onto paper from there, and thankfully, this time around, my unexpected approach to activism through the arts seems to be having the desired effect.

Your books were originally aimed at young adults but, like a lot of fantasy fiction, you’ve also found a fan base amongst adults too. Have you been surprised by that?

I wrote Earthlings within this category for this precise reason. I wanted to ensure Peridot’s journey was read by as diverse an audience as possible to hopefully create the biggest impact, and whilst stories such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Shadow and Bone may be aimed at younger audiences, they are read (and watched) far and wide throughout all age groups. I wanted Earthlings to have the ability to pique the interest of as wide an audience as possible and to have the potential to make it onto the big screen as well. My youngest reader that I know of is 10, and the eldest is 64, but the main readers seem to be aged 15 to 35, and I welcome anyone of any age group to join the Earthlings world.

Your books are very cleverly named after vegan documentaries. Do readers make the connection and go on to watch the films too?

I hope so! In my author’s note at the end of each book within the trilogy (Earthlings, Dominion and A Land of Hope and Glory) I implore people to watch the documentary each book is named after and provide the necessary links. I wanted to create awareness for these documentaries as they are some, of many, that helped me see the realities of how animals are treated in modern-day society behind closed doors, and to substantiate some of the chapters within my books.


Did you get any pushback from your publisher against the core vegan message of the book?

I count my lucky stars to have been picked up by Chronos Publishing, who are dedicated to their writer’s best interests. Other than pointing out my many grammar mistakes, Earthlings was published exactly as I’d submitted it, word for word. The owner is an amazing woman that shares similar spiritual beliefs to me, and whilst she isn’t vegan she does understand the purpose behind the trilogy and has taken on all 3 books. She has had my back from the moment I signed my contract, and I am very, very, grateful to have her on this journey with me.

"Delve into your inner self and find the story inside that makes your veins burn with fire and your cheeks flush excitedly."

Part of promoting a book is also promoting yourself as an author. How have you dealt with that very public process?

It’s very time-consuming. Marketing the book has taken up more of my time than writing it, but I’ve recently closed the business I’d had since a teen to dedicate my time fully to my writing, which I am so glad I did. It was a daunting leap of faith but I’m in this for the long haul. I want to save animals and I believe my writing can achieve that, so I had to commit fully to my intention.

Writing under a pseudonym makes switching off from work a little easier when it’s time for family life, although I’m looking forward to mixing the two – I have a lot of vegan events I’m booked to appear at this year that I’m looking forward to taking my children along with me. Vegan Kids Festival for example – my boys will love it. I’m thrilled to be hosting Writing For Nature workshops there and at other events throughout the year. I’ll also be at VegFest this November to celebrate the launch of book two of the trilogy Dominion, and I’ll also be there on the author panel in the Vegan Business Tribe Village as part of Tribe Live. I cannot wait!


You also have a young family, so how have you kept up the energy and motivation to produce and promote a trilogy?

Truthfully, I wonder myself sometimes! I’m very lucky to have an amazing family that loves and supports me, and my boys are amazing too. I know all mums think that about their children, but Orion and Lucian are my world, and if I’m being honest, Earthlings is partly written for them too. On my vegan journey I became aware of the horrors that animals endure, but also the horrors the natural world endures. The climate crisis is very real, and it is happening every second of every minute, and worsening across the globe by the day. When my time comes, I want this world to be a safe habitable world for my boys to live in, but if we keep going at the rate we are now, that won’t be the case. It’s my duty as a mother to do my bit to try and make this world a better place, for the animals, for the environment, and for my boys.

What would your advice be to anyone else thinking of helping to expand the vegan fiction genre by writing their own book?

Delve into your inner self and find the story inside that makes your veins burn with fire and your cheeks flush excitedly. Search your soul for the characters that fuel your passion and then get writing; the rest will follow. If you’re writing to try and help others, then your story will most definitely be worth reading – and I’ll be first on your reader’s list.

Find Ray’s books on Waterstones or Amazon or visit her website for more updates:

Lisa Fox says:

Vegan activism comes in many forms and it’s often at its most effective when you begin with the skills you already have. The stories we read are at their best when they help change our world view.

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