Today I'm writing and being interviewed over on Ian's Realm. If you click on the link, you can read about the challenges I faced in writing Biblical fiction. But first, stay here and meet a great fantasy author who writes good old-fashioned Swords and Sorcery (plus the odd Biblical hint) and takes me back to the delights of Dungeons and Dragons in my college days. Steven Shrewsbury and Stephen Zimmer (the two Stev/phens) are touring the internet with their great new books, Blood and Steel, Chronicles of Ave, and Hellscapes. Find out more about all three books in the notes after this interview. But first, before my guest, Steven with a V, draws his sword instead of his pen... let's give a warm welcome to author Steven Shrewsbury.
Q: What was the first story you ever wrote? And what happened to it?
A: After re-enacting the scene many times in my sand box, I must’ve been 8 or 9 when I wrote WALLS OF JERICHO about the Hebrew soldiers entering the city in a brutal fight against the inhabitants. I wrote it long hand and showed it to an elderly lady who babysat me a few times out here on the farm. She tore it up and told me never to rewrite the Bible because I will go to Hell for that.
Q: Ouch! And here I am touting my sort-of-rewritten Bible stories, and you've got Philistine coming soon (though perhaps you've found a way to avoid the curse)! Still, what's the most recent thing you've written and what do you hope will happen to it?
A: I’ve been working on a novel about my Widowmaker executioner character, Absalom Abbas, and a novel about Gorias La Gaul. I hope both the WIDOWMAKER novel and WITHIN as accepted & enjoyed someday.
Q: How many attempts did it take before you got a story into an anthology?
A: Good night, I can’t count that high. I had snail mail stories accepted by small press spots in the early 90s, was really happy when BLACK SHADES OF DOOM was accepted by ELDRITCH TALES back then. That was a bizarre retelling of BIG BILLY GOAT GRUFF.
Q: Which story, and which anthology, was first?
A: I had a poem accepted in BIZARRE BAZAAR in 1992. It was an honor to appear with names like Edward Lee, Elizabeth Massie way back when.
Q: You've written short stories, novels, and novel series…
A: Yeah, they pop out in various ways…
Q: How is your approach different when writing types of work?
A: On things that have to have a base in reality, or history, I read a great deal on the topic beforehand. HELL BILLY, that takes places after the Civil War, was the end result of me reading about that era for decades. I did do research to make sure the times, dates, fashion, funeral customs, etc were accurate, plus I’d visited Memphis and the areas around it. Dittos for the forthcoming PHILISTINE, save for I never visited Palestine. For a fantasy tale or a Gorias one, bets are off as that all comes from within my own mind.
Q: Which comes first, the character or the story?
A: Oh, that depends, but since I’ve heard tell I write character driven fiction, I guess I do have a lead in mind that I assign various ideas to. For example, I have a killer idea for a fantasy tale, but don’t think it is exactly right for Gorias, but he may have an appearance, perhaps many other I’ve written about.
Q: Do you have a complete story arc in mind when you start writing a series, or do you find out what's going to happen while you write?
A: Like Howard said of Conan, the tales come to me out of sequence. I don’t have an end game with Gorias as, well, he’s lived for a long time and I can jump around in his lifetime, like in BLOOD & STEEL, one sees him at varied ages. Now, with the PHILISTINE work, well, I figured that was a one time book, but as I wrote, I became attached to his shield bearer and decided a book about him would be good, then I suggested a previous adventure that’d be great to tell, so, yeah, 3 books are easy to see in that way. I never think , wow I’m doing 12 of these f&%kers before I die. Nope. I think BEDLAM UNLEASHED material with Peter Welmerink might have the potential to do that, but…
Q: Do you have a complete world in mind when you start writing a series, or do you find yourself exploring it with the characters?
A: I kind of know it, but it is a discovery process. I read about sectors of the world and their ancient past, and it seemed to volunteer ideas to me. For example, in a forthcoming Gorias novel BORN OF SWORDS Gorias and the scribe, Jessica, that is with him, are in a part of the world where Sicily will be someday. I read there used to be mini hippos there and what do ya know? They see some. Just a tidbit.
Q: Did you always plan to release the Gorias La Gaul short stories in a single volume? And did you always plan to write short stories as well as novels?
A: There will be more volumes and at times, some ideas are shorter than others.
Q: What's next for Gorias?
A: Two novels, BORN OF SWORDS and WITHIN, been hopping from both back and forth.
Q: What's next for you?
A: Coffee and football. Oh, you mean writing? My epic PHILISTINE about Goliath (not featuring his end or David stuff) will be released soon from Seventh Star Press. A few have said it is my ultimate work, but dunno. It is much longer than my usual 75-85k novels, at 137k. Plus, I’m looking for a home for my novels LAST MAN SCREAMING, a Lovecraftian western and ALONG COME EVENING, a survivalist book, kind of like Coen Brothers meet Rob Zombie as a group of weird killers go after a 93 year old Civil War vet with bizarre results.
Q: Oh, and one extra question; how did Gorias La Gaul get his name?
A: When writing GODFORSAKEN in the 2001-02 the Celt god Lugh has a spear named Gorias. I liked that name. La Gaul doesn’t mean THE GAUL or the French guy or anything, it just rolled off my tongue once while drunk and listening to a Ralph Stanley bluegrass song. Seriously. He volunteered.
Thank you so much Steven. I really enjoyed interviewing you, and next time I'll make sure I have the coffee brewing!
About Steven Shrewsbury: Steven L. Shrewsbury, from Central Illinois, enjoys football, history, politics and good fiction. Over 300 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media. His small press novels include OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, THRALL, BAD MAGICK, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR, GODFORSAKEN, the forthcoming PHILISTINE and BLACK SON RISING. These titles run from horror to historical high fantasy. He tries to drown out the rumors that he is Robert E. Howard reincarnated with beer. When not wrangling his sons, he can be found outside in his happy place.
About Stephen Zimmer: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author of speculative fiction, whose works include the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Rising Dawn Saga (epic-scale Urban Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon tales (Steampunk), the Hellscapes tales (Horror), and the Rayden Valkyrie tales (Sword and Sorcery). He is also a writer-director in moviemaking, with feature and short film credits such as Shadows Light, The Sirens, and Swordbearer.
About Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul, Volume 1 Book Synopsis: Journey into the dangerous and exciting world of Gorias La Gaul in this collection of short stories from highly-acclaimed author Steven Shrewsbury! Volume One includes the tales “Day of Iniquity”, “Ashes of the All-Father”, “Author and Finisher of Our Flesh”, “Insurmountable”, and “Beginning of the Trail” (a prequel story leading into the events found in the novel Overkill). Fans of authors such as Robert E. Howard are sure to love the adventures of Gorias La Gaul, as he battles all manner of adversaries wielding two blades fashioned from the wings of angels! Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul is Sword and Sorcery as the genre was intended to be!
About Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1: Book Synopsis: Escape into the wonders of Ave in this first collection of short stories featuring the fantastical world from the Fires in Eden Series by Stephen Zimmer. “Into Glory Ride” tells the story of a young Trogen Warrior who is called to go up against insurmountable odds when an Elven raid strikes his homeland. The Trogens have only begun training winged steeds for combat, but time is of the essence and a momentous choice has to be made by the young warrior. In “A Touch of Serenity” a conscript laborer working on a massive wall constructed under the orders of the Divine Emperor begins to hear ghostly voices asking for help. His response leads him on a journey that will test his courage, wisdom, and compassion. In “Moonlight’s Grace” a young man goes to help his people when a Midragardan raid strikes Gael. He seeks to prove his worth to the chieftain whose daughter he loves with all his heart. The novella-length “Winter’s Embrace” follows a warrior-monk into the depths of dangerous woodlands in the heart of winter. There he will find his faith tested in ways he never anticipated, when he must help a forest witch against an enigmatic, immortal being known as the Undying. “Lion Heart” introduces the heroic Sigananda of the Amazu people, who must confront things that transcend the laws of the physical world when powerful Wizards threaten his homeland. In “Land of Shadow” a knight who is part of a band of Avanoran mercenaries discovers how perilous the mysterious Shadowlands are when they undertake a journey to locate a site to build a fortress. A world of wonder beckons to be explored and fantasy enthusiasts are invited along for the journey in these half-dozen stories from the world of Ave! Also be sure to take further adventures in Ave in the Fires in Eden Series, beginning with Crown of Vengeance, Book One!
About Hellscapes, Volume 1: Book Synopsis: Journey into realms of darkness and explore the regions where angels fear to tread! Welcome to the Hellscapes, featuring tales of the infernal in settings where the horror never ends and the inhabitants experience the ultimate nightmare. In “Blood Dreams” follow the tale of a woman who knew great political authority and influence in life, as she discovers the reward awaiting her in the next world. “The Grove” welcomes a new arrival, a wealthy man who is looking forward to a weekend of indulging in lust and libation, as he has for many years in this secluded convocation for the elite. Something is different this time, though, and he soon finds that his visit will be taking a very different turn. In “The Smallest Fish”, the story is told of a ruthless business mogul who finds himself in an abandoned, ruined version of the city he knew well, in life. This city won’t be remaining vacant for long. “Drowning in Tears” tells the story of a young man’s unhealthy obsession for a suicidal girlfriend that leads him on a path of severe transformation. The final tale of Volume 1, “Lords of War”, follows the story of a man who wielded military power on a worldwide scale as a Secretary of Defense, who now learns the deeper nature of war and what kinds of monstrosities it breeds. Hellscapes, Volume 1 is the first release in an exciting new themed horror collection from Stephen Zimmer, the author of the Rising Dawn Saga and Fires in Eden Series.
Dont' miss these other stops on the tour!
9/30 Library Girl Reads and Reviews Contest
9/30 Ian’s Realm Interview with Stephen Zimmer
9/30 Book in the Bag Review
10/1 Azure Dwarf Review
10/1 Bee’s Knees Reviews Reader Interview Stephen Zimmer
10/1 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post-Steven Shrewsbury
10/1 Lost Inside the Covers Review
10/2 Beauty in Ruins Character Post-Gorias La Gaul
10/2 Come Selahway with Me Guest Post-Stephen Zimmer
10/2 Sheila Deeth Interview – Steven Shrewsbury
10/3 Deal Sharing Aunt Promo Spotlight
10/4 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Promo Spotlight
10/5 Spellbindings Promo Spotlight
10/5 Jorie Loves a Story Review
10/5 Jess Resides Here Review
10/5 SpecMusicMuse Guest Post – Stephen Zimmer
10/6 The Flipside of Julianne Promo Spotlight
10/6 L. Andrew Cooper’s Horrific Scribblings Review
Amazon Links for Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul, Volume 1
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Steel-Legends-La-Gaul/dp/1937929280/
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Steel-Legends-Gaul-ebook/dp/B00EI5BFHA
Other eBook formats:
Amazon Links for Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Ave-Volume-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/1937929302
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-of-Ave-ebook/dp/B00EYNPRYI
Other eBook formats:
Amazon Links for Hellscapes, Volume 1
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Hellscapes-Volume-1-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/1937929361
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Hellscapes-ebook/dp/B00F01WWKA
Other eBook formats: