Interview with Steen Belhage

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Once in a school class, a teacher told me to write a short story of my own choosing. With a heart full of vigor and a mind full of ideas, I dived into the project, and came out with a small 30 pages worth of story material. This was my first dance with storytelling, and I found out that my ceaseless day dreaming could actually be used for something useful. I dreamed about my world, about my characters, about my plots and all that jazz. So now, since I can't stop day dreaming, I can't stop writing either!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I feel it has given me one step closer to professionalism (if I haven't reached it already). It makes me realize that it is no longer a hobby, and maybe even something I might one day make a living of. I see it as a stepping stone between obscurity and 'proper' publishing. But I may be terribly, amazingly wrong. Maybe Smashwords is all I need!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork." as Peter De Vries so eloquently said. Although that is only half true for me. I love seeing the pages grow, and there is hardly any better sight than a completed stack of storytelling lying on my table in front of me. However, what truly drives me, is to know that I managed to inflict some kind of emotions on my readers, be it tears or laughter. I love to know that my scribbles had some impact on people. If I can tear people away from the superficial thinking of every day life, and shove their faces down into a deep bowl of emotion, then I'm happy!
...Even though they might not be.
What do your fans mean to you?
In that way, I suppose I am a little eager for the 'fame'. Although it's not as much fame, than it is confirmation that my stories made an impact. If people come crying to me, asking me why I did this part in that story, and how I could be so cruel, then I know that I did something right. I wouldn't be able to stand endless praise, rather than I would appreciate some good feedback and critique, to know what I did right (or wrong). Fans with voices are great. Fans with opinions are greater.
What are you working on next?
I suppose I will always be messing around in the Fantasy genre. Ever since I was a very young lad I immersed myself into a more exciting world than this one, likely because I don't really like how this one turned out, or how I experienced it. I was very familiar to the Fantasy genre, and I still consume Fantasy books like a pig would consume truffles. I always kept to myself when I was younger, delving into my own mind and stubbornly staying there. I've never left since.
Who are your favorite authors?
I am quite fond of Blake Charlton's works. In his book 'Spellwright' I am amazed by his creative approach on magic. Mostly magic is presented as 'hold out your hand and a fireball happens'. Why? 'Magic!', but Charlton manages to make the reader understand how the magic works, and even explain the logic behind this which is otherwise so illogical.
Someone who can think out of the box like that, and write an enthralling tale like that deserves quite a bit of praise.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock.
Jesting aside: I get out of bed because I am a man of routine and schedules. I do everything very neatly planned, counting the hours of how much time I should spend on this, and how much time I get to spend on that. I like to think that I have my day very tightly and expertly planned, and if I didn't get out of bed each morning, I would be destroying my own schedule! What horror! In truth, there is very few things that annoy me more than a ruined schedule.
Sadly, having the conviction that I am cursed and Fate is playing a cruel game with me, my schedule almost always gets ruined. My script very rarely goes as planned, since there always tends to be this little thing that sneaks in and ruins my entire schedule. I see Fate as a pigeon that just LOVES to strut around on my puzzle and fly away with random bricks and bring back dead frogs to replace them with. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Daydreaming. By far most of the time, I just stare out my window, listening to music and dreaming my way to a world far more pleasant than this one. I may not be an alcoholic or a smoker, but I most certainly am addicted to music. All kinds of music. It is one of my many sources of inspiration. I often just delve into the rhythm of the music, letting myself being whisked away in its tunes while I read a book, play a game, or chat with friends. With music, I always keep myself in another world somehow. As long as there is music going, the back of my mind is always somewhere else.
But the day dreaming really does take its toll sometimes. I am incredibly distracted nearly all the time, and those who know me well will know that I can often ask "Wait--could you repeat that, please?", not because I wasn't listening, but because it just didn't seep through my head. There was too much traffic, and those words just didn't get through. I like to think that people aren't offended by this.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I actually haven't been looking that much into e-books! I dislike reading on a screen, as it gives my eyes the flimmers (is that a word? It is now). Which is strange, since I write on a screen all the time, and that doesn't bother me. However, since I don't have a kindle or any other portable reading tool like that, I stick to the good old-fashioned physical books!
However, if I'm going to have any kind of success on Smashwords, I sure hope people aren't all like me.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
If I do! It was the most horrendous, boring, cliché piece of nonsense on this side of the Milky Way. It took place in the Warhammer Fantasy universe, since I hadn't even considered making my own world by then, and it was only half-way through that I realized it was almost a copy/paste rip-off of Lord of the Rings. Needless to say, I was a little depressed, and figured I'd just shut that project down and try something else.
What is your writing process?
Strict! I don't allow myself any breaks, unless it is Sunday. I write a 1000-word quota every day, and do so as soon as I get home. I often sit down and let myself fall into an out-of-this-world trance through music, before I get going with my scribbles. However, since I have this 1000-word quota, I also have an idea that I shouldn't exceed it either. Which is stupid. So sometimes, if I've already written my quota, but later on feel like writing even more, I see writing as an excluded option. So that's one habit I need to get rid of...
Published 2014-02-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tales of The Mortal Realm: Innocence
Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 166,490. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The tale of Eadric, Cain and Nyeepa take place in The Mortal Realm--a world caught in the endless war between The Aetherworld and The Netherworld. Although vastly different, these three characters must set aside their differences when evil rears its ugly face. They embark upon the same journey, fighting the same foe, but each have their own goals in this quest: justice, family, or love.