Interview with S.D. Stevens

Published 2018-04-10.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life, love, family and a pay-check at the end of the month. I am an optimist but also a realist. I love life but I have problems just like everyone does. I choose not to dwell on the bad and live for the good. I am religious and I am blessed with the ability to see God's hand in the miracles of life that happen every day.
What do your fans mean to you?
Without my fans there would be no point in writing! It gives me a great buzz to know that someone likes my world or has fallen in love with one of my characters. I love to listen to fans, I've got a couple of good ideas from them too. I'm still quite unknown and new to all this publishing stuff but the fans I do have are awesome!!!

I love to hear from readers so don't be afraid to email me add me to your social media pages <3 <3
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a council estate in the heart of Yorkshire, England. We didn't have much in worldly possessions but we had what mattered - Family! My Dad worked for the coal board which meant every now and then they would have strikes! I remember a good few of those when I was growing up. My siblings and I never had all the stuff that our friends had but I didn't care. As long as I had books I was happy. My sister took me to the local library and I was in heaven! I didn't need any money to get the books I wanted to read.

I think where I grew up influenced me by helping me add a bit of realism in to my fantasy tales. Our personal stories often don't have a happy ending but there is growth and joy to be had if we look for it. The estate I grew up in had lots of streets with a huge foot path down the middle. It separated us, caused us to have sides where we would be in competition with each other. Sometimes that would be team games like footy or a game of hide and seek that went on for hours. And sometimes it would mean fighting too... like kids do!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Wow! That's a long time ago but I do remember writing a story about my sister and her boyfriend, who had a motorbike. She told me it was very exciting sitting on the back and feeling the speed and the wind rush by. So I wrote about a journey they took to the seaside. It wasn't very long but when I showed her, she loved it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first one that comes to mind and possibly the first one I read on my own was By the Shores of the Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved that book and imagined myself as the little girl in the story. I didn't know I could lose myself in a book until then. I remember adding my own little stories to it and imagining I lived in that time. I can't remember it making me want to write but it had a huge impact on how much of my spare time I would spend reading.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Well, I do have a couple of hobbies and interests that could be considered odd or different. The first would be my love of Steampunk!! My husband and I often attend Steampunk events and love to dress up. The Victorian/sci-fi genre appeals to me on a creative level. We design and make our own costumes, which ties me into another hobby; sewing and jewellery making.

The next one is Burlesque!! Yes, I am a burlesque dancer but not on a professional level. I joined a lady's fitness class three years ago and love it! We put on shows and perform where we can but we are all normal individuals with different abilities and ages!! It's so much fun and a great confidence boost.
When did you first start writing?
When my children were small and where tucked up in bed at night, I outlined a couple of stories and began to write but nothing ever came of it, but that didn't stop me from enjoying writing. I also had a note book or two that I wrote poetry in. Some of it was so badly written it now brings a smile to my face to see how much I have grown.

Then years later I was asked to join in on writing fan fiction for an MMPORG (mass multi player online role-playing game) my family and I played. The stories where enjoyed and had good reviews, unfortunately the game disappeared into obscurity, as did my short entries.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Control! I want to write what inspires me and what I enjoy. I don't want to work to deadlines or even add content that will cover some issue that a publisher demands. It's also about taking out the middle man and getting the product out to people at a reasonable and acceptable cost. With the availability of such innovations as smashwords and social media sites it makes following your dreams believable and accessible.

I have also had lots of encouragement from other indie authors and I think I would have given up before now if it wasn't for them. So here's a huge thank you to Jan Gordon, Nicky Charles, Candace Carrabus and Rae Edwards. (To name a few). The indie author community is a place to gain knowledge and learn by other peoples examples!

Independent publishing is not a get rich quick scheme! It's a long process of learning and growing and in some cases laying down some hard cash. It has never been about money for me, it's about hoping readers will enjoy my stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!
What is your writing process?
I write my first draft in pen. After jotting down a few ideas for characters I begin building the story line. I try to keep away from the computer as much as possible as I get distracted far too easily. However, once I have maybe 3/4 of the story line done I will start collecting images and ideas and stick them in a folder on the computer. It's the one time I allow myself to let my mind wonder off. I bounce ideas off my family and friends but mostly my editor, who happens to be my daughter and adds a hell of a lot of ideas.

As I write I may underline words that I want to change and points that need checking up on. My notes can often be baffling to me once I start the next process. Each book is written in A5 notepads. I have them all over the house. My children know if they are stuck for a gift on birthdays and such, just to keep my supply of notebooks coming.

The next step is to start typing it up. I use a program called Scrivener, it has some cool stuff on it but I try not to be distracted and just type up what I have written. That's when the fun starts and the editing begins. After the story is fully typed up I will start on the edits, flesh the story out and even take bits out that don't fit. As I'm doing the first draft I tend to write everything that comes to mind and this is when some of that gets cut.

The editing stage is the most stressful. All the toing and froing from me to her can appear to go on for eternity!!! But saying that, it can also be a time where we laugh the most. Editing stage is also when I will start promoting the book on social media, thinking about the cover and other marketing issues.

Off to the beta readers it goes! And comes back and goes..... you get the drift. We try to hash out every mistake but some always get through the cracks.

There is a point where you have to step back and say yes it's ready to be published! If you don't it will never get done. Once it's out there on the Word Wide Web, you can always do a bit of tweaking ;)
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Sisterhood Trilogy came about after spending weeks creating the magical world of Alhanassa. I wanted to get behind why the two main factions of this world could never get on. It get it all in straight in my own head I started Lynwen's story and it soon escalated from there.

Dark Magic Rising - The Sisterhood Trilogy book one. Using her magical abilities to decipher ancient text Lynwen embarks on her journey to the far reaches of Alhanassa. She and her colleagues discover a fallen god who plans to wreak havoc on their world. Lynwen fast realises that magic is no match for this new foe. Romance flourishes amid a battle for their lives as the beasts created by the fallen god tear their newly formed trust apart and send them hurtling into a trap. Will this new found unity be enough to save them all?
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on The Sisterhood Trilogy book two. This one is about Sash'ha, another sister in the Clar'han Order. She is searching for where she fits in, as her own ideals do not match that of The Order's. The leader of The Clar'han Order sends Sash'ha on a task that will lead her to discover what she truly wants to do.

We see some old faces from Dark Magic Rising, Stewart and Lynwen play huge parts in Sash'ha's story. There are new characters; Princess Brigantia, Several members of the Royal Guard including the sexy Markus Borningtun, and members of The Order. But not every sister has The Order's best interests at heart and it's up to Sash'ha to figure that out.

I don't have a tittle for this book yet! I am hoping to get it finished for early 2019.
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