- Steve, your book Longclaws went through a pretty major cover re-design recently. What was the reason you decided to give the book a new look?
I am not a graphic designer. I am not in a financial position to have my covers designed. It was kind of learn as you go. The more I studied other covers and read about cover design the more I felt compelled to make changes. The previous cover bothered me because it attempted to tell too much of the book’s story in a single image.
- I know you aren’t new to writing and being an author but what do you find to be the hardest part of the “business of writing” that we, indie authors face?
I don’t think I am any different than anyone else who does this. In the old days, a traditional publisher took your book, edited, created a cover and had their publicity department send press releases to three hundred newspapers book reviews sections and work to get the author on TV and radio talk shows. Those days are gone.
Today the toughest battle authors face is making people aware their book exists. And this is not just for indie authors. I’ve noticed several big name authors doing long and hard book signing tours this year. Getting the word out has always been a problem, even when the publishing industry printed fifteen to twenty thousand titles a year. Now with that many titles going up online every month it is more difficult than ever to make people aware of a title. That’s why blogs like yours are important and will become more important as the new, reshaped industry develops.
- If you had to pick 1 music genre to listen to while you write what would it be? (I’ll even take 2 if that’s easier)
I have playlists marked: suspense, horror, love, anger, power. The one I used the most is suspense.
- Is there a genre in literature that you just flat out don’t like? Why?
To paraphrase a political comedian most people don’t remember, “I’ve never read a genre I didn’t like.” Sometimes I read a book about a subject in which I have no interest because of a review, a post on a blog, a friends suggestion because of the way the writer wrote it. As I’ve grown older I try not to read books which hold no interest for me but I still like to learn from other authors.
- I read on Aarron Speca’s post for the book tour that you are a big fan of mythology and I know this played heavily into Longclaws and other books you have written. Joseph Campbell is one of my idols and his “hero’s journey” idea plays into my own writing. What are your favorite myths from around the world?
I think my favorite have to be Celtic and American Indian (First nation). The reason I like them so much is they were the last to be bastardized by Romans and the Catholic Church. They somehow have a purity to them that separates them from other cultures’ myths.
While researching Otherworld, a nonfiction book that presents evidence that ancient man had to deal with denizens that crossed into our own from parallel dimensions. I found a slew of tales in Celtic lore about humans falling asleep is special places, waking up in another land. They usually stayed a day or two then returned to their own world where time dilation caused everyone they knew to have grown old or died. The Iroquois have a great story about a group of young braves looking for the end of the earth. When you read it you will see so many striking similarities to alien abductions it is frightening.
- For myself and other writers it can be hard to find adequate time for writing with responsibilities such as families, school, kids and careers. Do you ever find it hard to give yourself a good balance between your family time and writing time? How much time do you spend a day on writing and do you buy into the notion writers need to write every day?
Balancing writing, family and earning an income was almost impossible for me for the last forty years. I managed to write in spurts. I hated myself for not writing more but responsibilities to my children had to come first. Now kids are grown and I live in an old farmhouse in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Even now I do not write every day. I think writing is a lot like golf (which I can’t afford to play) in that a great golfer plays all the time. If the golfer takes a year off, he can still play but his game is not as sharp as it was when he played three times a week. A lot of my writing is in my head, so if you count that, I write every day and while I’m asleep at night.
- Some countries governments around the world are now releasing documents and “proof” of alien existence. France is one that comes to mind more than others. What do you think of this almost sudden willingness to acknowledge something most governments such as our spent decades denying?
In the 1950’s my father was an Air Force base intelligent officer. He was involved in project Bluebook. Later he was transferred from the Air Force to NASA where he became the head of all security. He knew things but he took his oath’s seriously and never spilled many beans. One time I asked him, tell me one thing you can about UFO’s? His reply was, “Never report one.”
- How big is your writers slush pile?
I have six books that are partially written ranging from five thousand to twenty thousand words and I have notes for another twenty-four.
- What do you think is the biggest myth when it comes to being a writer and the modern writing world?
Writing is not glamorous. At least for me it is not. It is hard work, mentally and emotionally. A writer has to have empathy for their characters, when a character feels pain the author feels some of it. When a book is finished there is a sense of loss when you stop spending every day with your characters. Most of the writers I know have some form of torment in their lives.
10. If you could co-write a book or book series with any living author who would it be and why?
Stephen King, then I could finally earn enough from this gig to buy groceries.
11. How do you deal with writers block or lack of motivation to sit down and write?
I have suffered from depression for twenty years. Sometimes I have difficulty finding the motivation to get out of bed. When I am in one of those fugues, which are farther and farther apart these days, I can’t write or do much of anything else. When I have writers block I reread the last ten or so pages of what I am working on and then just start typing. I end up with four or five pages that have to be thrown away but it usually gets me back into the story.
12. What is your favorite science fiction movie?
That’s a tough question. There are a lot, as you can imagine. If you make me pick a favorite it would probably be This Island Earth. I saw it as a boy and it made a huge impression on me.
Steve thanks so much for pleasure of letting me do this. Your answers were honest and brilliant!
Their world is crowded with active volcanoes, sulfur and acid rains, permanent thick clouds turn day into deep twilight. It is a violent place: moment-to-moment survival is victory, every creature is constantly predator and prey, sleep is certain death. This is home to the longclaws, beings of super-human speed, strength and senses. Their predatory skills allow them only a tenuous niche in their hellish environment. Though smart and fierce, their rank in the food chain is far below the top. One clan leader draws from ancient legends of paradise and devises a plan to escape and take his clan to the otherworld – a world filled with slow, defenseless prey. The clan activates an Indian mound deep in southern forests and enters our world -hungry for prey. Torrential rains and washed out bridges force a runaway teen, an old dowser and a Cherokee healer to face the horrors of the clan’s merciless onslaught. Mankind’s legends are filled with vampires, werewolves, dragons and other nightmarish. Perhaps our legend of hell is based on the world of the Longclaws.
Buy Longclaws or Alien Agenda here
Steve is on tour between 12th and 26th July – you can check in with tour central here, and please check back each day to read more fascinating thoughts by this eloquent and interesting author.
Tour arranged by The Finishing Faires