Bad-ass Book Covers: Sharp.
Relevant Storylines: Done.
Reader Lover: Never-ending
Here's a little bit about Steve before we dive into the interview:
State of Residence: Maine
Currently, I’m in the middle of a non-fiction/essay collaboration with Randy Powers, a personal readiness consultant based out of Georgia. We’ve taken about twenty preparedness/survival topics and plan to write an essay for each subject. Each chapter will feature a short selection from one of my post-apocalyptic novels related to the topic, followed by both essays. We’re hoping to launch this in early to mid August, a few weeks after the launch of Point of Crisis, the last book (for now) in my The Perseid Collapse post-apocalyptic series.
That’s a tough question to answer. I wake up every morning (5 AM or earlier), excited to sit behind my desk. I love every aspect of what I’m doing, especially the autonomy of making my own decisions and determining my own path. I’ve never had that before. It’s unnerving at times, but mostly liberating. The business side can be a little consuming, and often requires as much time as the writing itself, but that’s the price of running a business.
Beyond the lifestyle surrounding full time writing, I absolutely love creating stories. When I first started writing, I had no expectations of where this would lead, beyond “telling a story.” Four years later, I’m closing in on nearly 150K paid readers across seven novels and a novella. I can honestly say that this far exceeded my expectations, and I believe it’s just the beginning. It’s hard to believe I get to sit down everyday and do this for a living.
Throughout the last four years, I’ve made some incredible “virtual” friends through writing. Dozens of Indie authors, who have supplanted many of my favorite authors in the same genres. At this point, my reading list is 90% Indie, saving a few spaces for the occasional favorite like Stephen King or Robert Harris. My goal is to share these discoveries with my readers, with the hope of filling their Kindles with talented authors that consistently produce quality novels at a much quicker pace than most traditional authors.
It helps in couple of areas.
First, it lends an authenticity to the interactions between the characters. I understand the lingo and the unique way military members interact That’s the polite way of saying I understand how they “break each others” balls—constantly. The military is a unique environment, where you create friendships and camaraderie rarely found in the “civilian” world. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grizzled five-tour combat veteran, or an admin clerk who’s never deployed, there’s a base level of hardship and sacrifice understood by all service members. I like to bring this to life in my novels.
Research is another area where I see a direct impact upon storytelling. I didn’t serve with a super high-speed unit while on active duty, but I did serve with a wide variety of units, across the major services. Because of this broad exposure, I generally know where to go (internet or personal contacts) to expand research into an aspect of my stories. I strive for realistic descriptions of equipment and tactics, though I do leave the door open for “fiction,” but the closer I can get to the “real deal” for my readers, the better. Not everything I create in my novels is real, but very few will ever know the difference. That’s the fun of writing technothrillers…always on the edge of reality.
This is by far one of the most rewarding aspects of writing. There’s nothing like opening my email inbox at 4:30AM to find a thank you from a reader. I always answer, though it might not be the same day (same week if I’m really dug into my writing). It’s important because readers are your link to the real world of writing. I stare at numbers and ranks on some of my sales channels, which tell me I’m still making a living, but behind every sale is a reader that took a chance on my book. It’s a humbling thought. When a reader reaches out to get in touch, it jars me out of the numbers world and reminds me why I get up at “zero dark thirty” to write another chapter.
Also, word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to increase your readership as a new writer. I can’t count the number of times a reader has emailed me to let me know that they’ve recommend my books to their friends, family and colleagues. This is how my career started, and I’m forever grateful. It’s the grassroots of any writer’s career.
A big thanks to Steve for fitting us into his busy schedule. If you haven't done so already, please pre-order his latest novel, Point of Crisis. It's due out July 31st.