My interview with Marie Lavender
1) Hi Stefan. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
Guardians of Shadow continues from Through the Valley of Shadow. After destroying a Kran invader, Terr, Teena and his alien brother Dharaklin, head for Orieli space where they will begin their cultural exchange mission. In a devastating Kran attack, Teena is taken and Terr seeks to rescue her. To win a war that threatens to consume the Orieli and the Serrll Combine, the fabled Wanderers must march against the Krans wielding the hand of Death.
The first chapter of the book was posted on my website in May, while I had the manuscript edited. It would have been released sooner, except that I spent two months in Europe visiting relatives. I needed to get the story out of my head! The book is available from CreateSpace, Amazon and Smashwords.
2) Is there anything specific that inspired you to write the most recent book in the Shadow Gods Saga?
I have spent most of my adult life dreaming up plots for what eventually turned into eight books in the Shadow Gods Saga. Although my website will show a sequence of books in the series, they were not written in that sequence. With Shadow and Thunder was actually the first book written. Having started, I couldn’t leave my principal characters dangling; I had to add more to the story. That led me to writing other books in the series, which also allowed me to develop my writing craft.
Finishing Shadow Masters some four years ago, I branched out into writing contemporary political action thrillers, culminating with Strike for Honor. However, the Shadow Gods Saga kept churning in my head. I couldn’t let the series end with Through the Valley of Shadow. I can only hope my readers will find Guardians of Shadow a worthy successor, and it does leave a window open for further additions.
3) If this series was made into films, who would you cast in them?
Ah, you got me there. The films these days rely so much on action and computer-generated special effects, they hardly have time to tell a real story or give actors a chance to develop their characters. It’s sad. As to who might fit the role of my primary character? I would have to check the latest Hollywood gossip sheet for that, as most actors out there don’t impress me a lot. However, Matt Damon would fit into the role of Terrllss-rr very nicely.
Now for some general questions.
4) When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks? And why?
I have always loved the tactile feel of a real book in my hands, and the smell of aging paper. There is something comforting being able to crawl into bed, a tumbler of good bourbon by my side, and getting lost in a wild yarn. It’s hard to do this with an ebook. However, technology has caught up with us and there are many tablets and palm devices that can simulate the feeling of a real book. Still, it’s not a real book!
5) What are you reading now?
Right now, I am into some heavy stuff, The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama. The book deals with origins of man’s social organization, from tribalism, family groupings, clans, to how modern states developed. It is a fascinating insight how economic, territorial, political, and religious drivers came to determine the landscape of current world states. I am sure the information will get used somewhere in my future writing.
6) When you get an idea for a book, what comes first usually? Dialogue, the characters, a specific scene? Or do you plot it out before you write?
Lots of ideas float in my head for possible future books, by they are all mostly visual scenes that set the theme for something to be worked on and developed. I don’t consider dialogue when doing initial story plotting. That comes out when I actually sit down to write the thing. When considering an idea, I do give some thought to possible characters and the likely interaction between them. It helps me to identify the plot elements. But before doing any serious writing, I spend some time researching, especially if it is a contemporary novel, and detailed plotting. See my article on planning and writing your novel.
7) What do you have planned next, Stefan? Or is that a secret?
Having finished Guardians of Shadow, I have already started doing initial research into a political thriller Torn Horizon. The book will involve several characters from my previous contemporary novels, but will also introduce a new cast. I cannot reveal more, except to say that a major natural calamity is initiated against the United States by a not so friendly emerging global power. I will leave the rest to your imagination. I would hate for someone to beat me to the punch if I revealed more!
8) Is there anything you’d like to add? Any advice for new writers?
If there is one thing I learned over the years as a writer, if anyone is contemplating taking this on seriously, he should be prepared to spend many lonely hours with a pencil and paper, and sitting behind a computer screen. There will be disappointments, frustration, angst … and moments of sheer exhilaration and satisfaction when the words flow and the creative process produces something wonderful. Writing is a gift, but it can also be a curse. But once bitten with the urge to create, there is no cure. Oh, yes. Become a marketing guru!
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