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Saturday, 28 August 2021

My Chat with Stephen McClellan...Author and Advocate

Stephen McClellan is a multi-genre author, advocate, and educator who gives back to the world in more ways than one. With his talent as a writer, he has created worlds to escape in, starting with his first book To Dance He's been writing off and on his entire life, and through his writing, he's been able to give back, which he shares with me in this chat. His Instagram posts are inspiring as well as educational. 

I believe that he wants people to know through his writing that there is hope and that people can survive their pain and learn to live in spite of their fears. Through his own words in our previous interview, he wants people to know that they have value. Read our chat and learn more about this incredible young man who is an example of love in a world that often feels unloved. 

Introducing Stephen...

What do you love about your life right now?

 I think one aspect of love is tied to gratefulness. And I have an endless list of things to be grateful for. But on a very basic level, one thing I love about my life is that God’s already qualified me and equipped me with what I need to become the person I was created to be. I don’t have to wait for that. It’s something I can wake up and pursue in the present. To have the opportunity to enter each day with that kind of expectation and anticipation is a privilege in itself. I’m fortunate and blessed, grateful, that I can wake up and pursue this life in all its beauty.

 You have three books on publication through Amazon and other sites as well. Who was your biggest inspiration to become an author?

 I can’t pinpoint one specific person or thing that inspired me, one “lightbulb” moment after reading someone’s work or encountering a certain experience. Rather, it most likely would be a number of people or things who consciously or subconsciously inspired me along the way. Like my mom, who was a writer herself and instilled in me the importance of reading. My father, who was a pastor and empowered me with his words. Authors I read throughout my life who were beautiful storytellers—Stephen King and John Green. Men of faith, like Erwin McManus wrote books that challenged me to pursue a higher vision. Experiences in life like attending school at a military academy and living overseas in Southeast Asia for two years. My faith journey, all-encompassing. All of those things inspired me and continue to inspire the perspective I develop of the world.


Was there a particular event like maybe the pandemic that inspired you to write The Space Between Fire and Ashes, or did that play a part at all in your inspiration to write it?

I wrote TSBFAA from 2018 to 2019. The original idea was actually birthed on a trip I took to Pigeon Forge, TN one weekend. While driving out of the town, I looked off to my right and saw what looked like an abandoned bungee jumping bridge off in the distance. It jutted out from a cliff or rock face, and something about it felt eerie to me. A thought struck, “That looks like a place where someone might go to jump to their death. Like a place known around town as the place to go if you wanted to disappear.” Then as soon as that thought had appeared, a new one manifested: “But what if more than one person was thinking the same thing and they ran into each other while trying to take their life? That’d be awkward.” And so, the idea for the book was born. 


As I mentioned to you on IG, I think The Space Between Fire and Ashes has the potential to become a film. Your description and plot info on IG was what got me thinking: film. I know the book was just released, but has that thought crossed your mind since publication?

 Without a doubt. I’ve always loved movies, always envisioned certain aspects of my life as a movie in real-time, so when I’m envisioning and writing a story my mind naturally gravitates to what that story would look like on the big screen. I can definitely see TSBFAA as a film (and the potential to be a pretty good one I think), so that would be the ultimate vision turned reality.


You have a generous heart in giving back to charities from the royalties from your books. Is there one you’ll be giving to with The Space Between Fire and Ashes?

 Yes! All the royalties from TSBFAA will be reinvested to support The Jason Foundation, Inc. Based out of Tennessee, this organization aims to form a triangle of prevention by equipping students, parents, and teachers with the tools and resources needed to identify and assist individuals battling the “silent epidemic” of youth suicide here in the United States.


 Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to give back from your royalties?

 In general, you could say the concept of reinvesting my royalties into different local or global humanitarian efforts was born from doing some extensive self-reflection over the question, “What will you do with what you’ve been blessed with?” How to take your talents, passions, gifts, and abilities and, as John Maxwell so beautifully states, “reinvest them into areas where eternal factors are involved.” Now, the decision to reinvest the royalties of TSBFAA into JFI was inspired by an individual named Brooklyn, whose story I’ll be sharing more about moving forward with the book release.


Indie Writing Wisdom is a book you’re a contributing author to along with ten other writers. What can readers and writers expect from this one?

 IWW is an all-encompassing instruction manual for individuals wanting to write and publish a book. It covers topics from motivation to character development, to plot structure, to marketing tips, to publishing advice. I highly encourage anyone who is just starting out their writing journey to look into it!


With successes, there were failures before it. We all have failures. Some we learned from, some we didn’t. Do you have a “favorite failure?”

 For the risk of being boring, I can’t think of one in particular. Being a perfectionist by nature, I honestly hate failure ha-ha. I recognize the importance of it and the inevitability that we will all fail, but I can’t stand it. Offering myself grace is something I still struggle with. With that being said, perhaps some of my most important failures aren’t correlated with writing but with the people, I care about. Failures connected to the people we love are the most significant, and therefore, have the potential to teach us the greatest lessons about life.


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what message would you want to convey to millions? What would it say, and why?

 Every new school year, I post one phrase in my classroom that I want my students to remember. This year, it’s “You belong here.” So, I guess that’s what I would put on a billboard. You belong here. On this earth, in this room, as a human being—your life has value. I think the message of purpose lies at the core of who we all are, what we want to know, what we desire. It’s important that no person questions their worth, so that’s why I would make sure is affirmed in their mind.


In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

 My wife, Megan, and I will have been married five years this October, so I’ll apply that question to what I’ve learned since I got married. And I would have to say that one of the most important mindsets I’ve had to maintain is learning to live sacrificially. It’s something I’m still striving to achieve but that I’ve found it to be one of the most important aspects of marriage as well as how human beings should love each other in general.


Describe yourself in one word.


You can purchase his latest book on Amazon. Follow Stephen on his social media:




 Thank you for reading my interviews!




About Maria Rochelle

Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
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