Wakefield alumni releases his first novel

Author+Stephen+Ragon+shows+off+his+new+novel%2C+Galaxy+Asunder.+

Photo Courtesy of M. Ragon

Author Stephen Ragon shows off his new novel, “Galaxy Asunder.”

Justin G. Belmonte, Staff Writer

Wakefield’s long list of notable alumni has just added a new legacy to its list. Author Stephen Ragon is a Wakefield alumni from the graduating class of 2016. On March 25, 2022, he released his first book, a science-fiction adventure space opera titled Galaxy Asunder. The book follows three navy soldiers named John, James, and Rana and an alien mercenary named Jyn-Solyek as they navigate an interstellar war and cross paths, leading them to form an unlikely team as they join forces to save the galaxy from destruction. The book is planned to be the first part of a series of a planned total of five installments.

“You could almost compare it to Star Wars,” Ragon said. “It’s a dramatic, emotional adventure set in space.”

Ragon describes how he wanted to make the novel different from other science-fiction novels due to modern stories of this genre having been declining in quality.

“I feel like recently, science-fiction has been beginning to feel sterile and lacking the element of humanity,” Ragon said. “So I created my story to have a mythical, spiritual element; I wanted the story to have a soul.”

Ragon believes that writing the book like this gives it better development. Ragon describes how stories he read when he was younger they were able to make him reflect on his own life because of how well thought out the stories were and believes a story should not only entertain the audience, but also make them think.

“I think writing my story with a ‘soul’  really fleshes out the setting of the story,” Ragon said. “You get to learn about the culture of alien species, the history of all the planets, and you get to reflect on the characters’ journey through the story.”

Ragon came up with the idea for the story when he was still in high school, but only began writing the book when the COVID-19 pandemic began, which gave him an opportunity to write out his ideas for the story during quarantine. When writing the book, Ragon used the video game franchise Halo in creating the world-building, citing it as a major inspiration for the story.

I created my story to have a mythical, spiritual element; I wanted the story to have a soul.”

— Ragon

Halo was my favorite franchise, I played the games a lot when I was a kid and read all the books,” Ragon said. “That’s what really got me thinking, ‘I want to create my own world that other people can experience.”’

Ragon, who was a part of the NC State’s student newspaper in 2019, the Technician, cites it as an influence in developing his novel.

“[Student journalism] taught me how to use lesser words in my writing while communicating the same message,” Ragon said.

Ragon also recommends student journalism classes to young people who are looking into writing for a career choice.

“It’s able to teach you how to take in a lot of information and then rework it into your own words and put it back out in another form,” Ragon said, “It forces you to cut the fat out and allow you to say what needs to be said in your writing.”

Ragon gives advice for other students who also want to be a writer and achieve what he has done. He also cited a quote from author Stephen King in an interview he had previously seen as an inspiration when he began writing his book at the beginning of quarantine.

“I feel like a lot of writers wait until they are inspired to begin writing,” Ragon said. “But I remember King saying ‘if you wait until you’re inspired you’re never going to do it, so you should push yourself to do it.”’