Interview with Stephen L. Nowland

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I've got an old-style Kobo half-filled with all of my favourites. Having so many books in the palm of my hand is pretty cool!
When did you first start writing?
I always enjoyed creative writing back in primary school. The tv show Star Blazers was a huge motivation for me, so my first 'books' were little space adventures! In terms of trying to write a novel, I began in the early 90's when I wrote the first half of a D&D style adventure that wasn't very good. I switched to fantasy writing when I came to the realisation that I simply didn't have the technical grounding to write proper sci-fi. Fantasy suited my vivid imagination too!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The protagonist, Aiden Wainwright, is tired of fighting a war that seems to have no end and no purpose, so he works with his old companions to try and find a peaceful solution. Things don't go well in this regard when they uncover a conspiracy at the heart of the kingdom.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom to have people read my work without having to go through a conventional publisher is priceless. It also gave me time to hone my writing skills while getting feedback from those who have read it. My style and professionalism have grown immeasurably over the past few years and I couldn't have done it any other way.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being whisked away into a world under my control I suppose! I also enjoy crafting vivid characters and the challenges they face. When I was young, I read lots of fantasy and sci-fi novels which caught my imagination. I'd lose myself in a book every night, reading til the wee hours of the morning, and I'm hoping to create the same experience for others.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on book 6 of my series, the finale. After that, I have another series in the middle of being planned out, set in the same world a few years later. I'll be challenging myself as a writer by having a female protagonist this time!
Who are your favorite authors?
Raymond Feist is probably the most influential writer in my personal history. Magician and A darkness at Sethanon blew my mind and showed me where one could take fantasy writing. Terry Pratchett is also very important to me, though it took me longer to get into his work (but it pays off in the end). Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny and Fred Saberhagen round out my sci-fi heroes.
How do you approach cover design?
In addition to being a writer, I'm also a landscape artist and paint my own covers. They hang on my wall in the room where I write, to remind me of what I've accomplished, inspiring my efforts! Each cover is basically a scene taken from that book, although my skills aren't yet good enough to depict the characters themselves. Basically I picture one of the scenes that doesn't spoil too much, and make sure it has a strong atmosphere to it. Then I take a photo of the finished work and bring it onto the computer. I don't modify the photo much at all, as I want to make sure the painting and the cover match. Then I put the title and such over the top and it's done!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Before I started writing, I enjoyed a good sleep-in. Now that I'm painting and writing almost every day, I just can't lay there! I have to get up and crack on with it, because of the immense feeling of satisfaction that comes with completing a day's task.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In winter I slow down a LOT, so when I'm not writing or painting I tend to veg out completely, watching movies or tv, or reading something if I have the brainpower left over from working. In the warmer months I enjoy the beach, parks or running roleplaying sessions (I'm working on my own fantasy roleplaying system with my friends).
Published 2014-07-01.
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