Interview with Sidney Maris Hargrave

When did you first start writing?
I was eleven, and at the time, utterly besotted with the Harry Potter books. My grandmother sent me the link to the Warner Bros. website, which in 2001 was actually very popular, and I was immediately hooked. Someone had, in their signature, a link to a fanfic, which was my first experience with it. I, who'd always had the ideas for stories, suddenly realized that I could put them down and people could read them. It was really exciting!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I've moved around constantly, my entire life, and I think the longest I've ever spent in any one residence was probably about three years! It's never bothered me, though, because I've always spent most of my time reading and drawing and exploring, so it's always been an adventure. I like to think that this means I have a better grasp on the idea of transitioning from one world to another, and to sudden changes that you don't really understand.

And, I dunno. It's really very fun, going to places you've never been. I try to incorporate that into my stories when I can.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Ohh gosh well, since at the moment "latest book" refers to "second published book", I'll talk about Seven Stories. Originally, it was going to be a set of quite different stories, although some are the same! After publishing the Black Hills, I decided to put together some of my short stories, and in doing so, realized I had a small pile of shorts that were very fairy tale inspired. So I rearranged things a bit, and here we are!

A lot of SS is inspired by dreams I've had, or else by my intense, unending love of fairy tales. I think I spent the majority of 2007-2008 reading fairy tales, honestly!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sharing my worlds with other people. That is the absolute best part.
What are you working on next?
A quartet, a series of who knows how many books, various short comics, short story anthologies, a few standalone novels, maybe some scripts. I have my fingers in all the pies.
Who are your favorite authors?
This is a hellish question and you ought to be ashamed. That said, my top eight; Susan Cooper, Diane Setterfield, Terry Pratchett, Arthur C. Clarke, Rachel Hartman, Jacqueline Koyanagi, Ellen Kushner, E. Jade Lomax.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Drawing, video games, playing on the internet! If the weather's nice(ie. not blazing hot) I like to get out and explore or go to the beach or what have you. Parties are fun too, in small doses. I also work full-time at a shipyard.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
If we're counting ones I wrote for elementary school assignments, then oh gods no. Otherwise I suspect the first story was a Harry Potter fanfiction about a girl named Erika who was better at chess than Ron and turned into something ridiculous, like a specter.

( But I mean, there's also the war epic I wrote around the same time in a tiny spiral notebook that I have since lost. I'm hard put to remember which was first. )
What is your writing process?
1. Idea!
2. Write down idea in shorthand that makes sense at the time
3. Forget about it for half a year
4. "What the heck is this file??"
5. Cobble together an outline
6. More outlines, more tweaking
7. First draft
8. Forget about it for a year
9. Rewrite
10. Crippling self doubt
11. Forget about it for another few months
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was four, so... no. No I do not. But whatever it was, it inspired a lifelong love of reading, which led later to a lifelong love of writing, so, I mean, it must've been pretty all right.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
(In no particular order)

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper - the first book I ever read of the Dark is Rising Sequence. I was nine. It scared the shit out of me. I immediately fell in love. I love her style, and the way she incorporates mythology, and it was just utterly fascinating at the time.

The Gift by Patrick O'Leary - picked up at random from the library because I liked the cover. The worldbuilding had me hooked from the start.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - I don't remember how I found out about it, but I adored it the minute I picked it up. The writing style drew me in and wouldn't let me go, and the pacing is perfection.

Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells - I actually didn't like this book much the first time I read it, because I was a silly 14 year old(and I liked her book City of Bones better. I still adore that book too, but). Older woman of color as the main character? Fab worldbuilding and characterization? Heck yes.

Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones - I actually do not have a favorite in the Dalemark Quartet so I'm just picking the first book, because it was my introduction into the glorious worldbuilding experience that is the quartet, and oh it was like a drink of the freshest water.

Bonus: Beanstalk by E. Jade Lomax - Because I have no words to describe how I feel about this book. I love it so much.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy, mostly! And sci-fi. And comics. I generally like my fiction more on the technical side - give me the detailed science, give me the detailed magic, give me everything.

Then again I also like stuff that doesn't do that, so, well.
Describe your desk
A hellacious mess.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By accident, usually! Someone will tweet about a book or it'll show up on Tumblr, that sort of thing.
How do you approach cover design?
Haphazardly. I usually hem and haw over it for a while, and then slap down a few thumbnails. What follows is a blur of loud music and screaming, and then ta-da! Cover art.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My phone!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to get something, anything published. I've been sitting on my hands for years, and finally I thought, "To hell with it!" and did some research on self-publishing.
Published 2015-12-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Seven Stories
You set the price! Words: 17,210. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
The first is jealousy, saved through faith; the second safety, found in homecoming. The third is no more or less a journey; the fourth a lonely stretch of street. The fifth is a dream which haunts; the sixth a mystery which taunts. The seventh, alone, is ended and begun.
The Black Hills
You set the price! Words: 15,220. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
When his best friend's cousin comes to town, Aaron Reynolds thinks nothing of it at first. In a group of weirdos, what's one more? This is his first mistake - and as he finds out firsthand, mistakes like that can have tragic consequences.