Stephen Black just may be your favorite science-fiction/fantasy author, and you just don’t know it yet! Wait until you get a peak into the sublime psyche of this Northern Irish writer whose latest book is captivating readers in the US and UK. We sat down for a virtual trans-Atlantic interview recently.
Stephen Black hails from the beautiful city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he lives with his lovely and three amazing offspring (from Dad’s point of view, and I’m sure he’s absolutely correct).
On the off chance that you have not yet visited Belfast (and why not?), here is a link to a short video overview of the beautiful city that Stephen says “is a character in the book” [The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square. See my in-depth five-star book review at https://authoririschacon.com/?p=5735 on April 21, 2020.]
IRIS: Thank you for joining us, Stephen. I’m excited to meet the author of such a marvelous book, TKSC: Skelly’s Square. What is it that inspired you to write?
STEPHEN: I’ve always had an interest in writing, but the death of my father ten years ago was the catalyst which inspired me to first blog and then start a novel.
IRIS: What is your writing process like? For example, are you an outliner ora seat-of-the-pants writer?
STEPHEN: I’m a complete seat-of-the-pants writer. I start with a vague idea as to where the story is going, but it largely writes itself. Much of my writing is akin to an out-of-body experience. It’s as if I’m watching the characters write themselves. The only sections of the [Kirkwood Chronicles] books I researched are the Waterloo battle scenes. I wanted them to be as accurate as possible.
IRIS: I know you are an avid historian, and it certainly shows in your descriptions of the people and events and mundane details of the Napoleonic era. I hope you’ll write a non-fiction book about that era someday. But don’t stop writing fiction yet!
IRIS: Which brings me to my next question, when you write fiction: Do you listen to, or talk to, your characters? How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?
STEPHEN: As I said they largely write themselves, especially when in conversation with one another.
IRIS: What is the most important, or most frequent, advice you give aspiring authors about writing?
STEPHEN: Write consistently. Get into a habit of getting words down every day. It’s as much discipline as it is inspiration. The more you write, the better you will get.
IRIS: What influenced your decision whether to publish traditionally or independently? What is your advice to new authors?
STEPHEN: I ended up with a small English indie publisher who did a great job with Skelly’s Square. I had my fair share of rejections before that though. Again, you just have to persevere.
IRIS: Would you change anything about the world of writing and publishing, if you could?
STEPHEN: I’m not a fan of the literary agent. They still wield too much power and their communication skills with querying authors leaves a lot to be desired.
IRIS: What genres do you write? Are there any genres you read, but don’t write?
STEPHEN: The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles are fantasy. I read a lot of fantasy, speculative fiction and psychological. I also read some military history for research purposes.
IRIS: How does faith or morality affect your writing? Does it change the topics you write about, the audience you write to, or the way you craft your text?
STEPHEN: I’m not a fan of unnecessary swearing in books, and I don’t write sex scenes. My writing has some underlying spiritual themes but nothing overt which might turn some readers off. It’s good vs evil as opposed to any specific religious message. I’m not a fan of organised religion.
IRIS: Are there favorite books or authors that you recommend to readers?
STEPHEN: I grew up on [J.R.R.]Tolkien & [Stephen] King. At the minute I’m reading a lot of Gillian Flynn and the ‘Dublin Murder Squad’ series by Tana French. Indie writers I like include Peter Martuneac, Lydia Russell and a fellow Northern Irish author, Lauren Anderson.
IRIS: Where can readers and writers find you and your work on the Internet or social media?
STEPHEN: You can find me on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram as Stephen Black Author. I also blog most days as http://fracturedfaithblog.com
IRIS: Where can readers and writers find your books or other works?
[STEPHEN] Book Two in the Kirkwood Scott series, ‘A New Jerusalem’ will hopefully be released towards the end of 2020.
IRIS: Thank you so much, Stephen Black, for sharing your time, your work, and your Irish charm with us today. We look forward to the second book in The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles, hopefully later in 2020. Stay safe and well during these unusual pandemic months, and keep writing great books for us to enjoy.
Readers, be sure to follow author Stephen Black on FACEBOOK to receive notice of his Facebook LIVE events, when he reads from his work and answers questions from readers like you.
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