Wednesday 3 July 2013

Stephen Shea - Author Profile Interview

Steven Shea according to his public profiles "is the pseudonym of a semi-famous author who is switching genres and hats". I loved his YA book and when I discovered he had published two novella's and a short story I could not wait to read them. So I reached out and asked Stephen if he would so an interview. So here in his own words, Stephen Shea aka Arthur Slade!

1. Your novella The Not So Simple Life has been described by reviewers as freaky deaky, pleasantly unpredictable and as close to masterpiece. What inspired this story?

Two things. One, I worked in a radio station writing advertising for several years. So it was easy to imagine a copywriter going on this adventure. And I've always had a strong interest in Tai Chi. And in Chai tea. But those are different things.

2. One of the greatest strengths of The Not So Simple Life is the characters especially Casey. Is there a chance we will meet Casey again?

I don't think so. He's off in some magical world where he no longer has to hear Golden Oldies being played. Then again…never say never.

3. You have a real gift for phraseology, you come up with lines that hit the reader and stick with them for a long time. Some examples are:

"Surprisingly, I felt alive. Something had squeegeed away the bustle and confusion and for the first time I was hearing and seeing the world with a powerful clarity."  The Not So Simple Life Kindle Locations 135-136

"Nineteen years on this earth and this was the only truth he could trust. The truths they preached in schools and churches had deserted him. There was only the present, because no matter how much you grabbed, scraped, and pulled, the past slipped out of your grip and the future, the future, ha! The future was shit. The future only brought something worse, some new torment to scratch its way into your psyche and leave scars upon the scars." Damage Kindle Locations 62-65

What sparks your creative process?

I am constantly looking for a new way to write a sentence. To put a twist on it, so to speak. But also, I'm attempting to find the right voice for the character. What words would he or she use? And how do they see the universe. That's the fun part of writing.

4. I have heard that you work at a walking desk. What prompted this change and how do you find it for writing, corresponding, …?

Oh, the middle age spread prompted it. I've been doing it now for 4 years and I can't imagine not walking and writing at the same time. It keeps the motor running, so to speak.

5. Do you track mileage? Do you know how many mile or kilometers you walked for each of your three published works?

I do track kilometrage. But not for each specific book. And when I was writing some of those books I didn't have a treadmill desk yet. Heck, I didn't even have this name yet.

6. Your book Damage draws upon both Canadian legends and yet mixed with Norse mythology or beliefs. Why are you drawn to such themes and will we likely see more along the same lines from you?

I just write what comes naturally to me. Obviously I live in the Great White North and so much of the landscape, and the people, especially the stories of both natives and immigrants inspire me. Yes, there will likely be more. Just need the right idea.

7. Your stories have a darkness, or grittiness to them, and yet they somehow stay Canadiana. I have compared your writing to a cross between Chuck Palahniuk, Douglas Coupland and Irvine Welsh. You maintain a Canadian sensibility, a sense of the prairies and yet capture a dark side to life, society or specific events. Is this intentional or just a natural byproduct of your process?

I just found it easier and creepier to look into my own backyard. I'm certain there are creepy backyards everywhere in the world. But I just wanted to concentrate on those home grown tales or ideas. That said I certainly am willing to follow wherever the story (or creepiness) takes me.

8. Your books are currently only available via Amazon Kindle, Do you have plans to make them available through Kobo or other vendors also?

At this point I don't. These are self published and I haven't yet found the time to change them into the various formats. But I'm learning as I go and may change my mind on that front.

9. Your short Story Viper is based on several "you wouldn't believe this happened" true stories. This is such a raw gritty story. Did you experience some of these stories with people you know directly?

It's more of an amalgamation of stories that I heard through friends of mine. Viper became the central point to all those stories, though they may have originally happened to different people. And, of course, I used my imagination here and there. Thankfully, I didn't experience any of it myself.

10. For your stories do you do specific research or draw upon your knowledge and general reading habits?

It's a combination. For the Tai Chi novel…well, I actually was studying Tai Chi so I drew on that. I think for fiction, especially if it has a fantastical edge, it can be more powerful when parts of it seem more real. It makes it much more believable.

11. What was your worst idea for a story and how much time did you spend on it before you realized that?

A fantasy novel about a bard who sang a song that would save the kingdom. It really was stupid. And I spent far, far too much time on it.

12. Do you keep all of your writing or once you abandon a project do you discard all of the files associated with it?

I keep them. I'm a big believer in recycling, both pop bottles and ideas. I flip through them when I'm not writing books and look for spring boards for other stories. Or, if I'm lucky, I'll see a new way to take an idea.

13. If you were not a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?

Librarian. Or a police officer. Or a police station librarian.

14. Who were some of your earliest supporters in pursuing a writing career?

Teachers. Parents. And all those writers I was reading (though they didn't know they were supporting me)…especially Stephen King.

15. What does the typical day look like for Stephen Shea, between writing, tweeting, Facebook and such? Do you have a typical schedule?

I must admit, I laze about in my great big boat and soak up the sun, just typing out a word here and there. Oh, wait, that's in my dreamlife.

16. Why sort of music do you listen to Stephen Shea while you are writing?

Silence. Long, ominous silence.

17. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?

Stephen King's The Stand and The Shining. Actually, If it's the extended version of The Stand, I'd never get time to get to another book. I expect I'd also want How to Survive on Coconut Milk and Building a Raft 101.

18. Stephen Shea is the pseudonym of a semi-famous author who is switching genres and hats. What inspired this name and what is its significance?

My mother's last name. And the name I almost was given.

Thank you Stephen if if you have not read his books year check out his writing published as either Stephen or Arthur they are sure to be entertaining.

Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story

Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)

John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Dust (2001)
Tribes (2002)
Monsterology (2005)
Villainology (2005)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Jolted (2008)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)

Flickers (2016)
Crimson (2018)
Death by Airship (2019)
Mr. Universe (2021)

Hunchback Assignments Series:
aka Modo Mission Clockwork Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)

Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)

The Northern Frights Series
Draugr (1997)
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)

Northern Frights Reprint Editions:
Draugr (2020)
Drang (2020)
Loki Wolf (2020)

The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)

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