Interview with M.J. Stevens

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love writing. Being an indie author is probably the only way I'm going to make the jump from author to published author. I want to tell the world my stories and I don't want to wait around for a company to believe in me the way I believe in myself. If I can make one person happy by reading my tales, then my job is done.
What is your writing process?
I usually start with my characters. I develop characters and the world forms around them. I also listen to a lot of music which helps me paint a mental image.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh god yes. I think it was a bad Dragon Ball Z adaptation with me as my own character, mixing it up with the anime crew. I was always from another world, always named Selestia - now the world I use in Bound. So I kind of like to think of those stories as a starting point for my current work. Pretty cool.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I didn't really start reading a lot until my early teens. Reading was such a chore and now to even say that actually hurts. The first book that moved me was probably Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. It's just a wonderfully weird little easy-to-read teen fiction novel with create characters, a quirky story and powerful life message about accepting change.
How do you approach cover design?
I put my cover design in the wonderful hands of K.A. Last who is not only a talented writer, but designer too. I knew roughly what I wanted and together we made it happen.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love Japanese manga. I hammer down hundreds of volumes a year. It's a great break from fiction novels and because of the right-to-left (backwards) layout it really works that brain.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a kindle. Mostly because I don't have an ipad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have most of the bigger media forms which help: Website, Facebook, Twitter and of course using sites like Smashwords and Amazon to promote and distribute the ebook. Connecting with other writers on social media is key.
Describe your desk
Laptop. Pencils. Two folder holders. Internet box. Phone signal booster. Headphones. Mobile. Done.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Bound" is a story that I have been sitting on, in one way or another, for years. I think I started my first draft back in 2006 and it's been a dream ever since. In 2012 I took out three characters, sent the entire book into the trash and said to my characters, "All right. I have a pen, now... tell me what 'really' happened." And they did. It sounds creepy as all hell when I say it like that. But they do speak to me when I'm writing. After all these years I owe it to them to publish this story.
Published 2013-12-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.