Interview with Stephen Michael Natale

You’ve published three different books now, all in different Genres and we understand a fourth in still another genre is soon to be released, why?
The simple answer is that’s just how each story worked itself out. When I write, I begin with a base premise, perhaps it even starts with just a plot twist, but I never really know where the story is going to go until I get there. I may start with a particular genre in mind, but sometimes it doesn’t stay there, most of my stories end up crossing genre lines.

Starting with the Children’s Book, ‘Christmas Light Crusader’ the story begins with a true account, perhaps stylized; of when our dogs found a baby squirrel in a downspout; we named her Pearl. That fight to survive is combined with a real problem we have a Christmas time, and a whimsical story developed from there.

The latest release, ‘The Reverie of Jedadiah’ is a pure Romance Novella. I wrote it after seeing a photograph in a beauty salon and decided to explore the genre. My editors were working on the fourth book and there were some changes I wanted to make to it, so I decided to experiment. When I sent the manuscript to some of my test readers they loved the story, so I published it.

Now the first book, ‘The Shopkeeper’ was conceived with purely one aspect in mind; that was simply keep the reader guessing. I didn’t even have a story. The plot developed from the “who done it” genre, but as the story took shape it gained facets of Suspense, Thriller and Romance, most of that came from developing the characters.

The fourth book, ‘The River Kings’ came basically from a great number of reader requests wanting more of the character lives from ‘The Shopkeeper’. I had an adventure storyline I wanted to write and that fit very well with these characters, so The River Kings is the next chapter. But even that Adventure plot morphed across the genre boundaries, into romance and suspense.

I think the stories wander across those lines because, I guess as a male Author, you can’t really have beautiful women in a story without falling in love with them a little bit.
What do you mean by that?
Well one of the secrets to my stories is they are all based in a bit of truth; some by history, some by actual events. The majority of my Characters are real people, composites mostly, stylized certainly, but all based on people I know; especially the female characters. I’m not permitted to say who they are, but let’s suffice it to say, I’m a pretty lucky guy and there are parts of the books that are not fiction.
Where do you write?
Most of my story ideas come while I’m out on the water, which I guess is why so far my story settings revolve around the lakes and rivers in Florida. I’m lucky to have such a panoramic office, so some of my work is written on a laptop out in the boat, but I also have my own writing den to hibernate in. I use multiple computers with extended desktops over four different monitors. I’ve been known to sequester myself for seventy two hours or more. Mostly in the office, I like to write at night when it’s quiet. I spend a lot of all-nighters.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Living in Central Florida there are so many choices of things to do. I call it living a beer commercial. Have you ever seen one? You never see anyone doing anything that isn’t fun. I get to do something like that nearly every day though, most of my time is spent on the water or on a bar stool near the water.
Which book of yours do you think is the best?
Well they are all different. The Children’s Book, ‘Christmas Light Crusader’ is not written for a Child to read. It is intended for an adult to read to children. There are so many influences and agendas pushed into a child’s life any more, in the media and in schools, sometimes parents and a particular family’s values get marred or shoved to the side. This book is designed to give parents an opportunity to teach their children, their own traditions and beliefs. It is presented in a way that purposely excludes political /social agenda or any secular references, those aspects of a child’s upbringing are clearly the parents’ domain. The story is also offered in a way that should prompt questions from a child, that will give a parent or grandparent an opportunity to answer in a way that conforms to their own values and no one else’s, not even mine as the writer.

The ‘Reverie of Jedadiah’ is simply a romance novella most people will find can whisk them away for a few hours. I test all my work before I do a final manuscript rewrite, and my test audience is a pretty tough crowd. They are actually all avid readers that I “met” via the internet, I really don’t know any of them; they all said that with this novella, they the lost time reading it. One of them wrote me a one word email; it said merely, “Wow!” I was pretty impressed by that, it was kind of humbling.

‘The Shopkeeper’ as my first book of course has a special place and I love getting emails from readers asking me if they figured out the mystery correctly. That’s kind of fun, and I have gotten so many requests for a sequel that I couldn’t, not write one; but after the storyline of ‘The Shopkeeper’ I decided to take the characters to another level in ‘The River Kings’ which should be released shortly. It is currently in final re-write and is scheduled to be available by the end of the month.

‘The River Kings’ is a much longer novel with multiple plots lines, romances and story twists that it goes well beyond where ‘The Shopkeeper’ left off. One of the more interesting comments I have gotten back from these two books is that the storylines are so different from the main stream; they are not the same old, “cop chasing a serial killer” or “some government agent saving the world from a maniacal foe.”

In “The River Kings” the Characters from ‘The Shopkeeper’ go on with their lives and become involved in a race to find a mythic treasure. During the adventure a myriad of incidents and some intriguing new characters complicate their pursuit, and impact their lives. These exploits turn the story into winding carnival ride of unpredictable suspense and irrepressible romance, challenging conventions and unmasks a few shifting taboos. If you like to read stories with Pirates and Native Americans, Conquistadores and Princesses, Smuggling and Terrorists, Strippers and Mercenaries, as well as Beautiful Women and Roughhewn Men, oh wait did I forget a bit of Florida history and a legendary treasure, I think you just might like ‘The River Kings.’

You might not be able to imagine how, but they are all in there, and you won’t believe the journey or where it all ends.
Where do your writing influences come from?
My first novel THE SHOPKEEPER was actually motivated by Ralph Glendinning’s book ‘The Ultimate Game’. I liked the idea of a completely unidentified Character. As a matter of fact, that’s really about all I remember from it. I think I read it in the late eighties, and even though I didn’t begin writing until nearly fifteen years later, that base concept is how THE SHOPKEEPER started.

That conception, though I modified it somewhat, is to keep the reader trying to figure out who the Title Character is and questioning if that entity is protagonist or antagonist. That really is the simple question throughout the THE SHOPKEEPER, though the answer isn’t quite so simple; but then, that’s the fun and intriguing aspect of the book. The same type of character is in THE RIVER KINGS as well, and adds a bit more suspense and mystery to the adventure.

How I write is somewhat inspired by a few lines in Rowdy Herrington’s, movie ‘A Murder of Crows’ and a lot of the influence into the plot work for THE RIVER KINGS and THE SHOPKEEPER, comes from one of my favorite authors Clive Cussler. His older work before he took on co-authors.
Published 2013-09-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Anna's Vestige
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 31,060. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
Everything Kendra Cartwright loved and dreamed was taken from her…all a result of harsh fates not of her seeding. She held tightly to one small glimmer of optimism, a hope sustained by a reoccurring dream. Unknown to her, this secret vision is shared by another and within, a miraculous gift lays hidden within tragedy. Anna's Vestige the requested sequel to The Reverie of Jedadiah. Read as a Set
The River Kings
Series: The St John’s River Dyad. Price: $9.83 USD. Words: 110,400. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
A Hunt for Unfathomable Treasures Leads to Appalling Treachery CIA Deputy Director Warren Jumper uncovers an outlandish Jihadist plot to finance their next 9/11. Their plan, find hidden Pirate Treasure along the banks of the St Johns River in Florida.
The Reverie of Jedadiah
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 31,490. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
Sometimes Love is in Another Place They were as far apart as a man standing on a beach is from the moon, & like the moon he could see her luminosity, yet she possessed no perception of the man on the beach, or the tides within him she influenced. She's a Star, but also a prisoner, locked in a tower of celebrity, barring her from her real dream. He a writer soon to meet his muse & the falling moon
Christmas Light Crusader, Guardian of the Lights
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 2,490. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
The Christmas Crusader is the story of a tiny squirrel named Pearl, telling her true life struggle to survive and how a squirrel learns to be a member of a family. As she grows Pearl receives a magical assignment and discovers the wonders of Christmas.
The Shopkeeper
Series: The St John’s River Dyad. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 77,000. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 8 reviews)
“Evil can only triumph if good men do nothing.” When a relatively young woman’s body is inexplicably found in the garage of her home, an imperceptible breeze of vindictiveness and greed floats into Central Florida’s St John’s River Basin and a tiny town on its shores. One man perceives a whispering of malice he cannot ignore pushing its way into this idyllic place. This man is THE SHOPKEEPER