Today, I’m interviewing Richard H. Stephens. He’s from Canada and is the author of the Fantasy Series The Soul Forge Saga. Here’s a bit about him in his own words.
I began writing circa 1974, a bored child looking for something to do. As my reading horizons broadened, so did my writing.
A trip to a local bookstore saw the proprietor introduce me to Stephen R. Donaldson and Terry Brooks. My writing life was forever changed.
I worked in a warehouse for 22 years, supporting my family, before I reattended school to complete my education. Graduating with honours, I joined our local Police Service.
In 2017, I resigned from the Police Service to pursue writing full-time. With the support of my family, I have finally realized my boyhood dream.
He’s even got book trailers! Check this one out:
DR: How did you decide to write in your genre?
RS: I began writing Hardy Boys type stories when I was 9. In ’77, Star Wars came out, inspiring me to write a 600-page sci-fi. In my 17th year, I had recently finished reading The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks, and Lord Foul’s Bane, by Stephen R. Donaldson, and was listening to the heavy metal song, Run to the Hills, by Iron Maiden. A switch flipped inside my head and I sat down to write the opening scene of, The River Styx. As time went by, The River Styx sat on a shelf until a few years ago. Transposing the original text into my computer, the story underwent several name changes as I worked on completing the manuscript. In early 2016, The River Styx became Soul Forge, and the saga was born.
DR: Is there a common theme or element in your work?
RS: Since I write fantasy, my stories will always have magic and strange and wonderful creatures who interact or do battle with all sorts of eclectic characters. I guess the common theme would be good versus evil, but my stories also tackle the shadowy areas in between—the everyday conflicts people and creatures struggle with on a daily basis.
DR: What does a typical writing day look like for you?
RS: I’m usually in my home office before 8 am checking social media, researching writing engagements, engaging fans, and looking into different ways to market my books. This typically requires a couple of hours. I then open up my WIP and edit everything I wrote the day before which generally consists of 2,000 to 3,500 words. This takes me until lunchtime. After eating and taking a walk with my better half, I spend a few minutes remaining current on social media before I sink my teeth into my story. I frequently come up for air to recharge my thinking process, but I keep writing until suppertime. After supper, I may go for another walk, or jump back into writing if I have nothing else going on. I follow this routine Monday to Friday. On the weekends I may or may not write, but I endeavour to edit Friday’s writing session before Monday morning in order to be more productive.
RS:There are many days writing doesn’t come easily. Some scenes, though necessary to carry the story forward, are tough to write. On those days I force myself to write one word, and then the next word, and then the next word until the struggle eases and I slip back into the groove. Sometimes that take 100’s or words but that’s how I handle what many writers refer to a writer’s block. Just write something. If it’s crap, who cares? That’s what editing is all about. That’s where you can polish it, rewrite it, or cut it out and move on, but if you don’t write it, nothing else matters.
DR: Where can we find your books? Which one should a new reader start with?
RS: My books are listed on Amazon and are in the Kindle Unlimited program. Hardcover editions are listed with Lulu. I use a local printer for my paperback stock on hand that I take to Cons and other writing events. I also offer signed copies through the following link.
With regard to which book a new reader should start with, I would recommend Soul Forge, the first book in the Soul Forge Saga. I released two stand alone prequels almost a year before Soul Forge, namely: Of Trolls and Evil Things and The Royal Tournament. That being said, the prequels are loosely written accounts. I wrote them to help me better understand my characters. They weren’t meant to be published, but I realized that self publishing was going to be a huge learning curve, so I decided to learn to dos and don’ts with the prequels, hopefully ensuring a smooth transition for when Soul Forge released in August of 2018. To better appreciate vague references in the Soul Forge Saga, by reading Of Trolls and Evil Things, the final words of Into the Madness, the third book in the trilogy, will resonate with the reader.