Interview with Laura Stephenson

Describe your desk
My desk is covered in various things: three notebooks, a stack of random paper, the current book I'm reading (at the moment it's The Screwtape Letters), several pens, several things of chapstick and lipgloss, a few empty glasses, and a shaker of seasoned salt (from the last time I had tater tots. I eat at my desk). The desk itself was handcrafted by me, with a maple stain and dragons carved out of the sides.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I hate the question "Where did you grow up?" because there's no definite answer for me. I lived in five different states during the period I would call "growing up," though the longest (and latest) stretch of it was in Oklahoma, where I met my husband and made all my lasting friendships. But when I look back on my childhood, it was mostly lonely and confusing. It only sweetened up in the handful of years preceding adulthood.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing at the age of eight. But let me go back to when I was six for a moment. I hated reading. It was a chore, done out loud to my dad. The books I was made to read were boring, and whenever I said "um" or mispronounced something, I was scolded. It was only when I was given "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and I read it in private in my room, that I found that reading was a wonderful thing.

I had always loved drawing, and when I was seven or eight I decided I wanted to be an animator for a TV show. I made up a story and started drawing . . . and after weeks I got a foot-tall stack of papers, which when I read through I realized only covered a few minutes of story. I was forgetting where I'd been going with it. So I decided to write down the plot, so I wouldn't forget, and realized writing was way more fun anyway, and I'd just stick with it for its own sake.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I used to roll my eyes when people said their book inspiration came from a dream . . . well, now I'm guilty of that myself. I had a dream about a mage making a deal with a devil's son, and it was way more coherent than my dreams normally are, and I got excited about the story. I talked it over with my husband, and kept thinking, "But wouldn't it be cool if--"
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Partly I don't know for sure that traditional publishing will survive the next decade or two, but I'm sure eBooks will. Partly Brandon Sanderson said it didn't matter whether you were published traditionally or not, as a breakout author you have to do the same amount of self-marketing (and the marketing is what I was really loath to do myself). And partly, I just felt the time was right, and I didn't feel like going through the emotional turmoil and delays that traditional publishing includes. It's so much wrapped up in luck.
What are you working on next?
I've got several things churning in my head: a classic heroic fantasy with a tragic heroine, a middle grade trilogy where they find a portal to a magic world, an urban fantasy where the main character is employed by the government to wipe out his fellow magi, the second book in the series I started with The Complete Guide to Being Evil, etc. I haven't settled on one yet. I will soon.
Who are your favorite authors?
First and foremost is CS Lewis. Then there are a bunch: Terry Pratchett, JRR Tolkien, Jim Butcher, Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, JK Rowling, Christopher Paolini, and Shannon Hale.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My bladder. :D
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working (for now), playing video games, playing board games and role-playing games with friends, exercising my bad back (infrequently), watching sitcoms, and teaching my kids everything extremely early.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I honestly still buy more physical books than ebooks. But sometimes I'll be doing research on a particular subject (such as discipline, which led me to Setting Limits, or a more accurate Bible translation, which lead me to NET Bible), and I'll find it much cheaper or easier to get in ebook format, so I'll pick it up. When it's fiction, it's always that the author was offering a deal on the ebook version. My ebook library includes such works as the Dresden Files, The Legends of Eli Monpress, and Wilder Mage.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! It was about an alternate Earth where an alien planet had been flung across space and into our solar system, and the peoples of both worlds had constructed a large shaft on each planet that buckled together and created a bridge between them. The other world included people who had dragonfly-like wings attached to their arms, yet they flapped them like they were birds, and there were lots of silly creatures as in Pokemon. But then, I was eight.
Published 2013-09-22.
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Books by This Author

The Complete Guide to Being Evil
Price: Free! Words: 58,760. Language: American English. Published: November 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
What can evil do for you today? *** A young, impetuous mage named Kalara angers a local necromancer, who tries to kill her. Instead of leaving town, laying low for a while, or trying to appease him, she makes a deal with an incompetent devil to gain more power and win her little magi war.