Interview with Stephen W. Dunne

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first "fantasy" story I wrote was when I was in 5th year in school. I'd have been about 14 or 15 at the time. Of course I never finished it but it was a sort of eye opener in that the more I wrote, the bigger the universe was becoming and the more detail would need to be filled in. The story began with some kind of cosmic entity awakening and coming to life and using its powers to create worlds and see how his own experiments would render different effects on them. Not really sure on where it was going but that was when I knew I wanted to write fantasy and sci-fi.

The first story I wrote was an essay in primary school; 5th class maybe. I'd have been 9 or 10. I don't remember what the story was about but I remember having to read it in front of the class. I felt proud of it when it took a side step from the plot and jumped back on track by saying "anyway...". The class giggled, at me or the story I'm not sure, and I wanted to write more from then on.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
There were always tons of books at home to be read although I didn't start off by reading them. I was a huge fan of The Beano, a British comic book home to Dennis the Menace. I had a huge stack of them and even some editions which I'm pretty sure would be fairly valuable these days. I didn't like the Dandy so much but of course I had a few of them too.

At some point the house my family was living in was being redesigned. We all moved out and the builders moved in. With such a big operation going on there was always going to be random bits and bobs hidden away in cupboards or attics or any place else. Including my treasured comic book collection.

Needless to say their destruction has had a massively negative impact on me...
What are your three favorite books, and why?
Magician by Raymond E. Feist. Although this was the second book I'd read by Feist, it was the one which had such a huge influence on me. The story of Pug growing up with this hidden magical talent and eventually becoming the worlds greatest sorcerer was just astounding to me. Loved every bit of it!

The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I read this for the first time in 2003/2004. I'd just left school and started college. I hadn't a clue what I was supposed to be doing and the journey from my hometown to the college was almost 2 hours long with 2 painfully slow busses. I hated the course and had no interest in studying and learning any more. The Lord of the Rings was an escape that represents the period of my life quite well, although I failed to finish reading it till years later. Arwen and Aragorn just got far too boring near the end.

The Wheel of Time: Eye of the World. The prologue to this book left me stunned and thrilled. This was the next step in my fantasy journey. It was grittier, darker, more complex than anything I'd read before and the clues and plots and characters left every corner of my imagination truly stimulated. For hours I'd dream up theories about who would do what and what would happen when. I don't believe any of them were right.
Describe your desk and how it helps you work.
I have yet to settle into "my" desk. Finding the right place to write has always been challenging for me. At home, there are too many distractions like tv and xbox and just not writing. The opening scenes of Brother and Twin were written in bed. When I try to settle to write at my desk it's a long winded task. Coffee, facebook, word, youtube, music, write.

I've discovered the local library with great light, great space and free access to the internet. I can sit down there, switch on my music and get stuck in almost straight away. I'm not sure why it happens but I go with it, and it works.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Brother and Twin is the first in a series of stand-alone novelettes surrounding the system of Nox Caelum. There are two stars in orbit of each other and between them there are 14 planets, mostly inhabited by humans. This first installment follows the story of Floroen Black, an aging general who's lost control of his forces while under pressure from an advancing and ever hostile world called Brother.

In an attempt to save his home planet Twin he relinquishes all of his power in favour of a review by Planetary Commonwealth. What happens next is based on favouritism, political alliance and underhanded dealings. Floroen must find his own path to power in order to save Twin from destruction.
What are you working on next?
I'll be working on getting my first novel The Crystal & the Peak fully edited and ready to send out to agencies and publishers. It's almost there, just some formatting left I believe. And then I guess it'll be the next chapter of Nox Caelum although that's yet to be fully decided. At the moment I have no other ideas outside of that universe. At some stage there will be a horror story too. We'll see what happens...
What's the greatest joy of writing for you?
About an hour or so into the writing process, when the "flow" gets going and the characters take on their own personalities and I'm transported into the world I'm creating, that's when I get the most joy from writing.

Coming away from a solid day's work and feeling a giddy excitement about this huge place full of people I've created and wondering what's going to happen next, that's why I'll always continue to write these stories regardless of who wants to read them.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Mostly at the hotel where I work. It's a full-time job, it's a tough place to work but I guess it's my other passion in life. It pays the bills and it's a job I feel rewarded in. Maybe when I'm sick of working in hotels I'll be able to become an hospitality critic and get paid to stay in hotels around the world and write about them. Yup. Livin' the dream!

The rest of the time I like to relax at home with the ever amazing Carolyn and Barnaby. Together we make a pretty good team!
Published 2015-10-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Histories of Nox Caelum: Brother & Twin
You set the price! Words: 13,750. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Floroen Black, Director General of Twin is faced with his home planet's ultimate destruction by the expansive and industrious planet Brother. In the heat of argument and with no other choices he relinquishes power to the ruling Planetary Commonwealth of Nox Caelum. He soon realizes his last grab for hope may have been a push too far, and power could easily fall into the wrong hands.