Stephen Michael Natale, author of The Shopkeeper

By Stephen Michael Natale
Available @

What is your book about?

In a nutshell the premise of the story is how the wronged respond, and in a way, the limits placed on those responses via fear of moral cultural acceptance or the justice in law. Many do not possess the fortitude to act…some men do.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I’m not so sure there is much of me in any of the characters, perhaps a few of the moral traits and some of the quandaries, but almost all of the characters are composites of people I know that live in my little corner of paradise, the strong, the lovely and the wicked.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Geez I’m not sure I can in the space allotted. There are a group of characters that would be considered protagonists, but then again throughout the book readers will be wondering if they are. But that is the point of the book, just who is The Shopkeeper?

Then there is another group of antagonists; hateful, vengeful, deceitful but in way real, as I mentioned above these are composites and at times caricatures of people I know.

I think, though a powerful supporting main character, my favorite Character maybe Sheriff “Bump Soloman. He is one that really gets caught up in the trap of loyalty and the law.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

I think Ivory Fallow probably fits this bill the closest; she is also the character truest to real life. She is a composite of four maybe even five very beautiful women I am fortunate enough know.

How long did it take you to write your book?

This work was actually an evolution, one of a story and two of a writer. I initially wrote the first few pages over ten years ago, and though more off years than on I cobbled it together working on it during work breaks, sometimes at most only a week or two at a time until I had a working manuscript. Then I set is aside for about 4 years. I finally sat down for about a month with the test read comments and concentrated on refining it in 2009 and set it aside again. Then did rewrites and more fleshing out in the summer of 2010 until we went to publishing.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Hardly any, the story developed as I wrote, and rewrote. The only concept I stayed with throughout was to write a story that keeps the readers guessing as to who the title character is.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

Actually I did quite a bit into the historical aspects of the novel, primarily the Civil and Seminole Indian wars using mostly the net and local museum resources. Given the setting in South there is a wealth of history to work with that’s lends itself to cultural viability in modern day.

How has your background influenced your writing?

In The Shopkeeper my construction and technical background and the fact that I live and play in the setting of the book make everything in the novel easy to write because it is real. In the situations I create, there are no flaws from a technical aspect because these things can be done by someone with the know-how, (that would be the Author), and the scene descriptions are straight off the bow of my boat.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

Not really, I like to crack open a bottle of scotch, which is a bit of a conflict because I also like to write very early in the morning, between about 4 and 7 AM. Then again when I was really moving through the story I might be on the keyboard straight through, up to 36 hours or so.

What are you working on right now?

A sequel to the Shopkeeper called The River Kings and a humorous How-to Book called The Gentleman’s Guide to the Honey-do List.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Finding the time, especially uninterrupted time to create the story aspects and then be sure there are no holes.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

Same as above, I find writing a good story just as entertaining as reading one.

Does writing come easy for you?

Yes, but I hate grammar and editing. Think about writing with a Southern drawl? That should give you some idea why my editor and proofreaders despise me. I think I might have to include a little note about this in the preface of the book so the grammar Nazis don’t go insane.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

Nope I made’em for slaughter.

What writer influenced you the most?

Easy the guys I liked to read, Dean Koontz and Clive Cussler.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

Rather than a book I think I would have preferred to record “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. Though if I had I might not be writing… but I would be long retired.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

Being entertained. I am not really into message heavy, cerebral works or pieces that are academically appraised as “great writing.” I read for recreation. When I read I want to be drawn into the story, akin to watching a good movie, and I will allow an Author that opportunity, but if I’m not enjoying the experience… matter what the genre I loose interest. My book should keep readers entertained because it is written with this concept in mind. That may be one of the reasons many consider it a quick read. Most people I know that have read the book complete it in a weekend or less. Some have told me they got so involved they read it cover to cover overnight.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Gotta’ write those yet. I think all the things I wished someone would have told me when I was too young and stupid to listen, you know, when I knew everything. It would have been a lot easier to have been told rather than to learn on my own.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My website

3 Responses to “Stephen Michael Natale, author of The Shopkeeper”

  1. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Nice to meet you. Fun interview.

  2. Stephen M. Natale Says:

    Thanks so much for the interview. And as just a little update, the Novel is now in trade paperback. It was released 2/27 and is available through my website or Amazon

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