Hey Travelers of the Word, Creators of many things,
Saturday is upon us and we are lucky that another author guest is here to divulge their writing tips and talk books. What could be better? A. F. Stewart is here with us today so let’s get this interview going! Grab your snacks and read on.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been a storyteller; even as a small child I was telling stories and scribbling them down. My imagination keeps leaking out my head, so I think it was inevitable that I’d turn to writing. I’m also an avid reader, so inspiration comes from authors such as Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, and Guy Gavriel Kay.
When did you decide that you wanted to publish your first story?
I wanted to publish for years before I actually self-published in 2007. I had unsuccessfully submitted some short stories to magazines, wrote a couple of books that never went anywhere, but floundered mostly in my publishing dreams. I didn’t know much about getting published prior to entering the independent author scene; they were my lifeline and support system.
Describe your writing space.
Messy. I have a nice little background for when I do videos and the rest is stacks of books and boxes of things (mostly office supplies, my art supplies, and more books). My computer desk is littered with scribbled notes.
How do you do research for your books?
Gleefully and often. I love research, and since I base my books on history and mythology, two of my favourite things, I enjoy diving into the facts and tidbits I need for my novels. I generally do some basic research to start and for story background, and then research as necessary as I write. It can be time-consuming and sometimes you fall down rabbit holes for a few hours, but it’s fun.
What motivates you to keep writing?
The ideas that keep popping in my head. There have been many times when I’ve been discouraged, then get a new idea for a story or book and I’m back at it. As long as there’s another story to tell that’s motivation enough.
Writing can be emotionally draining and sometimes stressful- particularly when stepping into the publishing realm of things. Any tips to share for the aspiring writers out there?
They should remember writing is art, but publishing is business. As much as they need to hone their craft, they also need to educate themselves on the types of publishing, the pros and cons, contracts, publishing rights, etc. and choose the best way forward for them. Ask questions in writing groups, talk to other authors; avoiding pitfalls in the beginning will save them stress.
Tell me about the books you write.
I write in two main genres: horror and fantasy (although I do write poetry as well). My books are dark and weird, the characters are dysfunctional, often homicidal, and come in all shapes and sizes. You’ll find mythological elements, Celtic and Norse mostly, but my fantasy trilogy was based on Greek myth. I occasionally throw in bits inspired by the Cthulhu mythos and characters will die (sometimes more than once). I love magic, demons, protagonists that are not above doing bad things for good reasons, and monsters. My villains are evil and complicated, actions have consequences, characters scheme and lie, and happy endings can be optional. Most of my horror is psychological, but I’ve been known to toss in the gore here and there. You won’t find a lot of romance though; my characters tend to kill not kiss.
How many books have you written so far? Are you in any anthologies? Which book has been your favorite to write? If you have a one that is. 🙂
I’ve written about twenty books so far (that includes poetry books), although a couple have been retired and are no longer available or are in limited distribution. I also have short stories published in about 15 anthologies, plus another steampunk fairytale story upcoming in another. My favourite story so far has to be the one I wrote for the Hell’s Empire anthology called Infernal Patrol. It’s a quiet, poignant horror story that I was very proud of and enjoyed writing. My favourite book is probably Gathering Hallows, book two of my Camelot Immortals series. It hasn’t been published yet, but it has a cheese-loving troll, a scheming pirate, nice elves who get into trouble, and my favourite snarky witch Nimue.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written? Why are they your favorite? Are they the main character? Tell us about them.
My favourite, as I mentioned above, is my Camelot Immortals witch, Nimue. She is the main character, at least for the first four books in the series. She’s snarky, impatient, she drinks too much, swears too much, doesn’t like liars, and has a tendency to turn her enemies into things like trees and rats. What’s not to love? She’s also full of insecurities and doubt and doesn’t quite see her own self-worth. It was fun writing her character arc and seeing her evolve.
Tell us about your latest writing project.
That would be the Camelot Immortals series. There are five proposed books so far, and two short stories. The short stories have been repackaged and published as Eternal Myths, while book one, Past Legends, has an October publishing date. The rest of the series has a 2021 publishing schedule planned. The premise of the series is that magic can make you immortal, so most of the legends of Camelot are still with us in today’s modern world. Trouble is brewing as Nostradamus resurfaces (yes, he’s an immortal wizard in my book) and Nimue and her friends clash with him. Magic needs saving which leads into more trouble, manipulations, schemes, prophecies, old friends and enemies, and one huge impending doom climax in book four. Book five starts in new arc from the ending of book four, but that’s hush hush at the moment because of spoilers (but the Greek mythological witch Circe may show up in book five).
Let’s get to know a bit more about you. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like art: painting, drawing, graphic design. I also read, watch sci-fi/fantasy TV shows, and watch action movies.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Quiet, quirky, loyal.
If it were possible to have your favorite season all year long what season would it be?
Why did you choose that particular season?
One Word: Halloween. But I also like the changing leaves, and the whole wild feel of the season. ( exactly!)
What songs/ music are on your playlist?
I don’t listen to music as much as I used to, but I still love rock and roll. With some jazz and blues thrown in as well.
What is your favorite food?
Who is your favorite author and why?
Neil Gaiman and Guy Gavriel Kay are in a perpetual tie as my favourite author. They are both extraordinary in the emotion they convey on the page and in their prose. They are a joy to read.
What are you reading right now?
Right now I’m mainly reading Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang, Beneath by Katie Salidas and J.E. Taylor, and Trapping the Butterfly by Debra Parmley. But my TBR list is very long and getting longer.
What is one thing your readers don’t know about you?
I do have several phobias: a fear of heights, a fear of fire, and a fear of snakes.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
You can find everything on my website: https://afstewart.ca/
I have all my books listed there, plus some extra tidbits, my social media sites, and my book swag.
Thank you for joining me on my blog today. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we head on out?
I’d like to thank you for letting me ramble on today, and it’s been a pleasure to be here.
And it has been a pleasure having you. Thank you for spending a bit of your Saturday here at |Wanderlust| Ink & Tome|