For this week’s Feature Friday I am happy to introduce fantasy author A. F. Stewart. For great book reviews and writer resources check out her blog. Her other blog, In the Spotlight, promotes the best of today’s entertainment, including books, movies, TV shows, and DVD’s.
On to the interview!
Your book, Chronicles of the Undead, is a vampire story set in the Georgian Era, what were your challenges writing in that time period?
The main challenge was getting the customs and the culture right in an era I wasn’t overly familiar with. There was a lot of research involved to recreate the time period, from the layout of the city of London to marriages and society and history of Oxford University. One of the most interesting challenges was figuring out the way business was conducted in the late 1700’s England, (one of my character speculates on the Stock Exchange), and the intricacies of the coffeehouse where many businessmen of the era congregated. Another challenge was actually writing the book as diary entries. It was interesting to try and balance the small details of the background and the character’s lives while still advancing the plot; especially considering there’s no dialogue in the book.
What was it that helped you decide that you would be a writer?
Maybe the fact I have very little aptitude for anything else? Seriously though, I really didn’t decide anything; I’ve been a writer of poems and stories since I learned to pick up a pen and scribble. Getting them published seemed to be a natural evolution.
What can you tell us about your current projects?
I am currently working on two books. I’m trying to finish the first book in a proposed fantasy series, Song of the Wind and Sea; it’s going to be the story of musical wizards drawn into an epic war. I’m also working on a short, dark fantasy novel, Ruined City, written as twelve consecutive and interconnected short stories. Each story tells a separate tale of the cursed city of Elowen, and as a whole they will narrate the history of the curse from beginning to end. That’s the plan anyway.
And waiting in the wings are my stalled online vampire novel, The Elite of the Blood, and the next in my Incomplete series, The Incomplete Guide to Monster Extermination.
What are you currently reading?
I review books (mostly from indie authors) as well as write them, so I’m currently reading four books at the moment, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen Maze, The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt, The Empire by Elizabeth Lang and Becoming by Marc Johnson, with several more waiting in the to-read pile. One sci-fi book I recently reviewed, Refracted by Sheila Deeth, really impressed me; it is an amazing book.
Many of our readers debate between self publishing and seeking representation, what has been your experience?
I’ve enjoyed my self-publishing experience, and it has certainly given me an education in how the worlds of marketing and publishing work, but it is also not the route every writer should take. My past books were not the typical fare that appeals to agents and traditional publishers, so self-publishing gave me the opportunity to get them published, but I never rule out a more traditional route for future books.A writer needs to explore all the options available for publishing.
Why do you choose to write in the fantasy and science fiction genres?
I write in those genres because I love them. I believe they are very underrated, and often dismissed as just “popular entertainment”. Some of the most beautifully written and reflective books I’ve read were classed as fantasy or science fiction. Many of the writers who inspired me, such as Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, and Guy Gavriel Kay write in those same genres.
I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and still call it home. I’m youngest of a family of seven children, I’ve always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. I’m fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), cats, action movies, and oil painting as a hobby. I’ve been writing forever, mostly fantasy tales of a darker nature; I love history and mythology and often work those themes into my books. I also write poems and short stories and I’ve self-published several collections of poetry and short fiction. Rounding out my resume of published books are some tomes of non-fiction and one horror novella.
A big thanks to A. F. Stewart for her time and talent! Questions are welcome, leave them in the comments section below.