My Bookshelf

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Interview with Stephen Christiansen

Please welcome Stephen Christiansen

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 45, married to a wonderful and beautiful wife. We just celebrated 17 years of marriage. We have a lovely 13-year-old daughter. We live in Everett, Washington and both work together in medical billing, for the same company. We are very active in our community and help with Camp Fire USA.

I was a Navy brat for 16 years before my dad retired and moved to Camano Island, Washington, so I've traveled a lot and got to explore the world. I feel very fortunate to be able to see great landscapes, mountains, deserts, and forests. I’ve seen ruins of ancient civilizations and some of the greatest cities of today. I’ve seen the best and the worst of people and now I’ve been able to put it all into a great storyline.

What bought you to the world of writing?
I’ve always loved reading. It let me go to new, fantastic places and meet wonderful people in the realms of imagination. I guess my mind has always been very creative and now I’m able to release that creativity and share it with the rest of the world.

When I think about it, I think it was a way to escape from the traumas of my childhood. I wasn’t raised in the best of environments and writing let me create a world that I could live in for a short amount of time. I guess this series is still an outlet of my younger years.

What is your first book and what do you think of it now?
My first book is the first book of the Orbbelgguren Series called “Istobarra Commencement.” 

It’s a little slower in the character development than some of the other books of the series, but I didn’t want a several hundred year old female lead to change her personality over night. I think the readers have been very pleased with the book and it sets a good ground level for the rest of the series.

What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your reader’s needs?
I write fantasy fiction, or high fiction. It’s similar to Lord of the Rings or the Dr’zzt books by R.A. Salvatore. Yes, many readers of high fiction have come to love the books.

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one?  Tell us about it?
I would love to feature the 10th book of the Orbbelgguren Series called “The Troll Wars” 

This book looks at war in its entirety. It shows bravery and stupidity, sacrifice and self-promotion. It looks at famine and disease. It talks about financial, political and religious points of views. This will test relationships and allies. In the end, every life that this war touches will never be the same again. It’s very action packed and very emotional. I think my fans will like it.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
I write about one thousand words a day so a typical book of about 100,000 words takes about 3 months to write the initial first draft. However, “The Troll Wars” is 120,000 words so it took 4 months to write. Then, when the book is done, there is another month of editing.

Do you plot or not, if so why?
I plot about half of the book. I know where I want my characters to begin and how I want them to end. I also know some of the middle of the plot lines. However, I leave room for the characters to surprise me, as they often do. I find that good characters write themselves.

On the other hand, the plot of the series as a whole is complete. Each book is part of a great plot line, each plot is a minor portion of a greater whole.  

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you do both?
I usually write in third person, but now that the question has been asked, I think I’m inspired to add some first person perspective. There may be a point in book 14 to bring that into play. We shall see.

How do you edit your work?  Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?
I do some minor editing during my writing. However, after my initial rough draft, I do a spell check and a first read through. Then I put the story into the correct format and redo some of the structuring. When that is done, I do a second spell check and my final read through. I’m usually very happy with the results by then.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to?
I market to a lot of geeks and gamers, those who would be interested in Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and dark elves. However, many of my readers aren't into these genres and have still loved the series. I think readers have a way of surprising an author and a good plot line reaches beyond its genre. 

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Publisher?
Currently I’m a self publisher through Lulu. It’s not easy when I have to write, edit and then try to promote my own books. I still have a family, home, and full time job, so there is a lot of work to be done. An agent may be helpful, however that would start to get into profit. I’m still bouncing around the idea if I should go with an agent eventually or not.

How do you promote your writing?
I post to my Facebook page 
my Lulu page 
blog on my Goodreads page 
and finally tweet as 

Where can we buy your books?
You can buy the books on Amazon 
 on B&N 
and iTunes 
But the lowest prices available are on Lulu 

Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite author is Edgar Allen Poe. My other noteworthy and influential authors are Stephen King, R.A. Salvatore, and Silverberg. I think that readers will be able to see aspects of each in several of the books.

Do you have any more information you’d like to share with us?
There have been some shows that I used to watch that have contributed to my inspiration. These include “The Outer Limits”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “Ray Bradbury”, and “Tales from the Dark Side.” These have given me off-the-wall plot lines, twists, turns and different perspectives. I think the reader will be able to see some of these influences in the series and will be pleasantly surprised.
Thank you for your time Stephen, we look forward to hearing more about your up and coming books.


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