Interview with Leo Stableford

What do you read for pleasure?
The time I can spend actually reading text is limited, so articles from magazines mostly. I have a long commute, though, so I listen to a good deal of audio content on the way. Recently I have enjoyed The Dark Tower series, several volumes in The Dresden Files, American Gods, The Complete Sherlock Homes and the first two volumes in Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards series.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Ancient Sony e-Reader, also a Nexus but the Sony e-Reader is somehow more placid.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I actually don't believe in marketing. I like to know people, at least to share a pithy one-liner with and connect with them on a more personal level. I am not out to be a best seller (although it would be nice) I am out to share my work and hear the response, good or bad. I'm not stand-offish enough to be good at marketing.
Describe your desk
A nightmare hewn from black wood (actually MDF probably but hey) littered with papers, serving as a chaotic in-tray. Laptop perch raises one screen, and a second, larger screen for when I'm coding. Above me my shelf of shiny things includes a statue of Doctor Strange, a lego Ghostbusters car, a replica of the Assassin's Creed Apple of Eden, a Millennium Falcon bluetooth speaker, a few esoteric reference volumes and my buddy, mini-Cthulhu.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in South Wales, which is a strange and beautiful location. The strangeness and the beauty are only connected on the deepest of levels. The surface strangeness is not beautiful and the surface beauty is not strange in the slightest. The population of Wales is very low with most people living on the South Coast. You can drive for forty minutes and swear you'd reached the outermost edge of civilisation. Wales crams a lot into a small space and I think it gave me a versatility in writing different environments, coast, mountain, city, country they're all squashed together in Wales and it gives you a great facility for getting a feel for different locations.
When did you first start writing?
When I was 10. My dad is a writer, so I always approached writing as something a person just did. I hang out with writers now who regard their writing as something they did which was brave, or some kind of personal disclosure. I don't feel like that. Writing is what I was built to do. I do it even though very few people care to read what I write. I am better than the number of readers I have would suggest. I know this. I can't care about it because it can't stop me. If I could stop I would. I've managed a couple of years without and by the end of it I was getting weird creativity headaches. For real.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My wife told me that she had once worked in a haunted nightclub. That was the hook. Haunted house moves to a nightclub. Okay.

But me being me I couldn't have it just be the ghost of some dude who died trying to emulate John Travolta in Staying Alive, although that would have been both funny and ironic now I say it. I made this huge narrative about an ancient evil force, stretching back to Roman Britain and the infamous Legio IX Hispana, and alchemy, and Nottinghamshire ghost towns, and voodoo, of course. But the haunted nightclub, that's where it began.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am a control freak.

My stories are not commercial, or concerned with being commercial. I write what I want. I'm a developer so I'm not afraid of the tech involved in publishing for myself. I am, however, pants at marketing. It's such a chore. But as Meatloaf reassures us 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

In the end I love fiddling with the written book as a product. I am happy to treat my work as a thing to be manipulated in a variety of computer programs. I like playing with software. I cannot imagine leaving all the fiddly bits up to a third party. Now it comes to it though, I could probably stand to outsource some of that book marketing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Hitting your stride with a project where the damn thing is just flowing out of you. There's no such thing as writer's block, just a point where you have an unresolved problem. There comes a point where there are no more problems. And at that point you can enter the "writer trance" and just bang it all down. That's the best part. Nowhere is this more in evidence than the last Sunday before the end of Nanowrimo when you have 20k to go to finish. That is known as "Sore Finger Sunday" round my way.
What are you working on next?
Starfall created a backlog of at least 5 books I need to finish and get out into the world. So I am ignoring those and embarking on a new collaborative project, obviously.
Who are your favorite authors?
Authors who write weird, ungainly things that are not at all commercial and quick, tight, well executed works of genre fiction. Storytellers. Neil Gaiman is the lord of all storyteller writers to me, I also love Scott Lynch because his books are so insanely complicated and pretty different in the fantasy genre. I have a lot of time for Kim Newman's stuff. I like trash, I like genre, I like quick reads. On the genre side I like Jim Butcher and I also love Luke Preston an Australian genre writer who's work is simultaneously very hard boiled and very antipodean. Basically I like things that either capture your imagination with grand whimsy or punch your imagination square in the face and run away laughing.
Published 2017-09-07.
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Books by This Author

Starfall
Price: $4.00 USD. Words: 143,790. Language: British English. Published: October 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
A battle over the old, dark earth, between gods from a variety of pantheons, will change the lives of spirits and mortals alike. The participants revealing a dark mystery that stretches from the Roman Empire to the present day. A mystery centred upon a nightclub known as STARFALL.