My latest book is a collection of short fiction and poetry, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie… It’s a mishmash of drabbles, flash fiction, short stories and poetry written in the genres of dark fantasy, sci-fi and horror. It’s also my first foray into publishing a manuscript exclusively as an ebook. You can find it on Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/28423) among other online stores.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
I really hope there is very little of me in my characters since many of them tend to be immoral, vicious, bloodthirsty killers, or unwise enough to get themselves into situations where they are maimed or killed. Well, maybe they share my odd sense of humour.
How has your background influenced your writing?
My Scottish/Celtic heritage has influenced my writing quite a bit, since I use that history and culture in my stories. And being Canadian, I grew up reading as much British history as I did of Canada’s past, so that’s probably why good old Britain keeps finding its way into my books.
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I don’t keep much of a writing schedule. I basically write when I feel like writing or when I have time, although I do try and write something every day even if it’s just a paragraph or a line.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve got two books simmering at the moment. I’m still working on my musical wizards fantasy novel, Song of the Wind and Sea. I had to fix some kinks in the plot, but things are getting back on track. I’m also working on a short dark fantasy novel, Ruined City, which has an unusual format. The story of a cursed city is told through twelve separate, but interconnected, short stories.
Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?
I do have the target audience of fantasy lovers, but I think anyone who likes a nice dark psychological tale of mayhem would like my books. Even with vampires, wizards and an occasional ghost thrown in the mix.
What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?
The most difficult part is writing the middle section of the plot. I’m great at churning out beginnings and endings, but I always have to work at writing the stuff in between.
What is the easiest part of the writing process?
For me, the easiest element of writing is the dialogue. I rarely have a problem with the flow of dialogue. Possibly because I can hear all those character voices whispering in my head.
Does writing come easy for you?
Yes. Things keep coming out of my head on to the page. Of course it has to be polished and edited and tweaked, but I seldom have trouble working out the problems and the plot points. I only had one instance so far where I had major writer’s block.
How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?
Currently, I have probably a dozen or more short stories and book ideas bouncing around in my brain. Some of them are being written and some are still germinating.
What do you like to read?
I like fantasy, science fiction and mysteries best, but I read anything that looks interesting, from general fiction to romance to historical fiction.
What writer influenced you the most?
I think that title would have to go to Ray Bradbury. He’s not my favourite writer (that credit juggles between Neil Gaiman and Guy Gavriel Kay), but his lyrical writing style impressed itself on my mind more than anyone I’ve read. And Harlan Ellison probably snuck his influence into my mind as well.
What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?
Don’t treat it like one big ad campaign. Book promotion is more than promos and emails saying “buy me”. You need to interact with the public, give them free excerpts, contests, discussions, answer questions, and get them interested in you and your book.
Have you written any other books?
Yes. I have a dark fantasy vampire novella, Chronicles of the Undead, two other fantasy short fiction collections, Passing Fancies and Inside Realms, two books of poetry and two slightly humorous, non-fiction books about action movies.
Where can people learn more about your books?
The best place to learn about my books is either my website, http://afallon.bravehost.com/, or my page at Goodreads.com, http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/838705-a-f . You can also check out my blog, http://afstewartblog.blogspot.com/, or my Twitter feed, http://twitter.com/scribe77