Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Interview: Steven Montano

Steven Montano has also published numerous short stories, Dungeons & Dragons RP material and many articles for Wizards of the Coast. The third book in the BLOOD SKIES series will be published in March 2012. You can visit his site, which comtains his blog, here. The first in the series 'Blood Skies' is available on Amazon and 'Black Scars'- the second in the series- is also available on Amazon. You can follow him on twitter @daezarkian

Now for the interview: ↓ 

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.  
Steven: Well, I'm an accountant by day for Wizards of the Coast.  I've been writing for over half of my life (and yes, that's a long time...), and last year I decided to stop waiting around for a publisher to come charging out of the night on a white horse and instead went the Indie publishing route.  And it's been a blast.  When I'm not busting my tail with 12-hour workdays and cramming in writing, blogging and reading, I watch pro basketball, watch TV and drink wine with my gorgeous and awesome wife, and play video games.  I'm also a fitness nut, and I like to cook.  Plus I'm neurotic.  (I'm guessing that last part is self-explanatory, eh?)

Me: Have you always wanted to write? When did it all start?
Steven: I've been making up stories since I was a kid, conjuring up worlds and scenarios for my action figures, and later just for myself when I was wandering around the backlot.  I just didn't start to write them down until I was in high school which, coincidentally enough, was when I started to read a lot.  Clive Barker, Tanith Lee and Stephen King got me started down the dark path initially, Tad Williams and John Marco got me back in the game after a short hiatus, and no writers like China Mieville and J.V. Jones keep me motivated.  I also played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons in college, and I actually got my start as a writer producing material for the game.
Me: Blood Skies is a book series. Out of the two books you have published so far, which was hardest to write and why?
Steven: The first book was definitely harder.  I'd actually written a handful of complete novels before BLOOD SKIES, but I consciously made an effort to slow down and make sure that I was doing that one right.  Something felt special about it compared to my earlier works.  By the time I started to write BLACK SCARS, the words were flowing pretty well, and for some reason the story really built momentum.  While Book 3 (SOULRAZOR, coming in March) had times where I was challenged, BLACK SCARS practically wrote itself.

Me: Did you find world-building easy?
Steven: I wouldn't say it's easy, but, like anything, if you enjoy doing it, then there are times when it FEELS easy.  I enjoy wondering how the different pieces of a fantastic locale work with one another, and how problems unique to the setting can be crafted into stories all their own.  I've always had something of a knack for crafting new worlds, or creating unique settings in existing worlds.  Having an escapist imagination that never shuts up is a big boon to world-building endeavors.

Me: Have you ever written, or attempted to write, a different genre to dark fantasy?
Steven: My first couple of novel attempts where much more in the mold of heroic and epic fantasy, and I've written a number of horror short stories.  I also have a horror novel that I'll be prettying up for publication eventually.
Me: What gave you inspiration for Blood Skies?
Steven: I don't remember my dreams often, but when I do, they're pretty vivid.  BLOOD SKIES is based on a dream I had about maidens trapped in a dark forest glade, where they were hunted by black unicorns.  The imagery from that dream really haunted me, and eventually became the foundation for the origins of magic in the BLOOD SKIES universe.
Me: Are you planning on releasing anything new in the upcoming year?
Steven: Book 3, SOULRAZOR, should be released sometime in March, and it follows the adventures of Cross' new mercenary team and a very sticky situation that Eric manages to get himself into.  Book 4, CROWN OF ASH, will be released later in the year, and with luck I'll also have a horror novel out around Halloween and a collected BLOOD SKIES edition of Books 1-3 out by next Christmas.  So...yeah, a few things. =D
Me: Any advice for fellow writers?
Steven: Too much to sum up here.  The three biggest: 1) Don't stop writing.  Marketing the crap out of yourself is great, but if you stop producing work, you're just shooting yourself in the proverbial foot.  2) Don't give up.  Sales will come slow, and maybe not at all.  Keep at it.  The tortoise and the hare, and all that.  3) Chill out and relax.  Really.  Don't get worked up.  Be diligent, do what you have to do, but at the end of the day remember to have fun with it.

Quick fire questions:

Me: Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?
Steven: Lord of the Rings.  Harry's great and all, but I'll take Gandalf over Dumbledore any day.
Me: Fast food or a home-cooked meal?
Steven: Home-cooked, all the way, but with two kids we often find ourselves at Taco Bell or Burger King.  No wonder I can't stay thin.
Me: Dinner or Dessert?
Steven: Dinner.  Dessert is great, but I have so much sweet in my coffee I don't usually need the after-dinner sugar. ;D
Me: Summer or winter?
Steven: Fall.  I love the cooler weather and the gorgeous color, but I also like still being able to go outside without wading through snow or melting in place.

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