Today we have author, Steve Shilstone joining us. Great to have you here, Steve.
Q) When did you start writing? What keeps you going?
A) I began writing as a fifth grader in Seattle, Washington, probably on a rainy day. The title of my initial effort was ‘Art Ant Off To War’. Thankfully, a veil has been drawn over any of its content. I keep writing because writing is so very, very, really awfully quite a lot of fun.
Q) What was your most encouraging moment as an author?
A) It was a day in 1995 when I opened a letter from a publishing house, Breakaway Books, and read that my literary baseball novel, CHANCE, had been accepted for publication.
Q) What was your most discouraging moment as an author?
A) Rephrased for me, the question would be, ‘What was your most discouraging moment while playing?’ That noted, every rejection is a paper cut. Death by a thousand paper cuts would be rather discouraging. And yet, after multiple paper cuts, a word of encouragement balm tends to show up with the latest rejection.
Q) What’s your antidote to writer’s block?
A) Once I have a few characters and general story line, I am able to plod forward without writer’s block. Between stories is where I sometimes stall. Finding a plot and somebody to live it are the toughest barriers for me to conquer.
Q) Describe the typical writing day:
A) When I have my characters and a list of tentative chapter headings, I face a blank piece of paper, pen in hand. A firm believer in the short chapter, I scrawl all of Chapter One. The following day I enter the scribbled chapter into the computer, editing as I go. I print out the chapter. Next day I read the printout, editing again, and proceed to write Chapter Two. Next day – Enter Chapter Two into computer, edit it, print it. Next day – Read Ch. 2 printout, edit, and write Chapter Three. When, after a few months, I type ‘The ‘End’, I have a triple edited manuscript, which I then edit again, mostly adding foreshadowing and other changes made necessary by surprising to me plot developments.
Q) From where do you draw your inspiration?
A) I’m writing stories I’m sure the fifth grader in Seattle, back in time before the dawn of man, would have pulled from the library shelves to read along with all the horse, dog, and Oz books he loved.
Q) Tell us about your latest book.
A) Here’s the tentative blurb for Book Five of The Bekka Chronicles, THE BLUE HILLS:
In Book #5 of The Bekka Chronicles, Bekka of Thorns awakens one morning feeling uneasy and not knowing why. Then it hits her. Silence. Complete. A stiff sort of silence, if silence can be called stiff. She looks around and notices that the only magic item she possesses, The Carven Flute, is dead wooden brown in color instead of its usual flush yellow pink. Alarmed, she hurries from her hut and heads for the nearby bramble bower hedge, home of her bendo dreen (bramble dwarf) younglinghood. Slipping inside, she heads down the tunnel toward the Assembly Bower and encounters a pair of bendo dreen frozen in place. Carefully passing them by, she peers into the Assembly Bower and sees the rest of the bendo dreen population, some sitting or caught in the act of sitting, some standing, some in mid-stride, some with mouths wide, some posed gesturing, but all motionless, all silent. Now fully stricken with fear, she flees the hedge to return to her hut. Her steps falter, and she slows to a standstill at what she sees. What does she see? A bird. A beeketbird. Above her hut, midair, wings spread wide, hanging motionless. Thus begins for Bekka a new quest, a new journey.
Q) What author have you been most influenced by?
A) First, James Joyce. He freed me from the shackles of convention. He gave me permission to play with language. Now, I’m a toddler with pail and shovel in the sandbox of words. Second, Georges Perec, French genius and author of LIFE: A USER’S MANUAL. He demonstrates how to build a structure and hang stories off of it, A tie for third between the Reverend Charles Dodgson of the ALICE books and Edward Lear, nonsense king of the 19th century. My RAKARA, Book Three of The Bekka Chronicles, pays particular homage to Mr. Lear.
Author Bio: Steve Shilstone is an elderly benign hippie lite loon UCLA Anthropology graduate with a fun-filled history as a postal worker, unloader of trucks, department store stock associate, painter, baseball coach, and father. The first 4 (BEKKA OF THORNS, THE CARVEN FLUTE, RAKARA, THE WOODLOCK) of his children’s fantasy ebook series, The Bekka Chronicles, are available at http://www.wildchildpublishing.com
Links website, etc. Fantasy support site: http://bekkaofthorns.com
Self-indulgent sandbox nonsense site: http://dochortonsloondiary.com
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