Interview with Stephanie Sparks

When did you first start writing?
I started writing around age 12. Before then, I was exercising my imagination by crafting stories and drawing pictures. As a kid, I never thought of it as writing or that doing something I loved could be a "career" until my sixth grade teacher praised me for a choose-your-own-adventure story I wrote about a boy living next-door to a vampire (I hadn't yet seen Fright Night). But Mr. M.'s words on my paper changed my life: "You could sell this!"
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember exactly the first story I ever read, but I do remember one of the first horror stories ever read to me, and by my mom. She borrowed several Halloween-themed books from the library for us and read from one of those books (which I believe was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) a story about a man who marries a woman who refuses to remove the ribbon around her neck. Then one night while she's sleeping, he unties it to see what the big deal is and (SPOILER) her head rolls off.

Though medically and supernaturally there's no way a ribbon can hold anyone's head on their neck, this story has haunted me ever since. It was the M. Night Shyamalan twist ending before M. Night! My sister and I still talk about it 20 years later and wonder why our mom read it to us (she doesn't remember anything about it, of course).
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Fear! Just kidding. I started writing as an escape from a job that was sucking out my soul. I hadn't written fiction in ages and suddenly this story was just dying to be told. I had never finished a draft of a novel before -- there had been so many stops and starts, and I wanted to share this one. I'll admit I was hasty about it and should have gone through the drafts process with more grace and patience. I wanted the instant gratification of holding something in my hands -- and having complete control over everything from the final draft to the completed cover.

And also because it was my first go at publishing something of this length, I was afraid of rejection. So, yes, fear! More than anything, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this and have something I could share with family and friends. Now, as I'm working on three more novels, I try to be patient with my process to ensure my readers get a really good story.
What is your writing process?
Time is a huge factor in my process. I wrote about it in July 2015 on my website:

I absorb a lot of advice from people. One piece of advice I received through my writer's group was that after finishing a draft, I should leave it alone for weeks or even months. Let it breathe, give yourself distance from it, so when you return to give it an edit or another read-through, you'll be a bit more detached from your "baby." Just as writers have to be disciplined (and almost frenzied) to get their initial concept/draft down, they have to then turn around and move slow. Patience is your ally when you get to the editing stages.
Who are your favorite authors?
This is a doozy of a question (because I don't want to leave anyone out). Off the top of my head, here are a few, along with the notable book that makes me love them. In no particular order:

-Ernest Cline (Ready Player One)
-Laura Lippman (The Power of Three)
-Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson
-Stephen King (The Stand)
-VIctor Gischler (Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse)
-Richard Matheson
-Max Brooks (World War Z)
-Richard Laymon
-Sarah Lotz
-Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters)
-Cassie Stocks (Dance Gladys Dance)
-Gillian Flynn (Dark Places)
-Andrew Pyper (The Demonologist)

Buy these books now! And if you can't, borrow them from your library!
Published 2015-09-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Final Girl Part III
Series: Final Girl. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,660. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
“Jess Kendall. So you’re back. Like a bad sequel.” It's all too true—Jess and her friends return for a family reunion when her axe murderer father calls her back home. But in the little town where tragedy struck too early in her life, Jess uncovers a much greater evil at work.
Final Girl Part II
Series: Final Girl. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,350. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Final girl Jess Kendall is back as the hunt continues for the next Unholy Seven killer.... Mad scientist Robbie Pendleton III saw something bad when he escaped from the prison van—something that shook him to his rotten core. He won't stop running from it, but he can't run from his sick compulsion to play god....
Final Girl
Series: Final Girl. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,910. Language: English. Published: February 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
When a terrorist group of killers known as the "Unholy Seven" escape custody, final girl Jess Kendall becomes their main target. To survive the onslaught of horrifying maniacs, deadly slashers, and unspeakable monsters, lone wolf Jess must learn how to play nice with others—and hopefully not get her new friends killed in the process.
Bridezilla vs. the Monsters
Price: Free! Words: 1,390. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
(5.00 from 1 review)
When a disgruntled former bridesmaid breaks open the gates of hell and unleashes a firestorm of monsters, what else is a blushing bride to do? Grab her axe and rally her troops (er, bridesmaids) of course! You are cordially invited to. . .Bridezilla vs. the Monsters!
Price: Free! Words: 7,630. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
In this short story by Stephanie Sparks, an introverted woman becomes hell-bent on revenge after meeting a girl who avenges wronged women.
Killer Celebrity Island
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,430. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A group of celebrities-including an actress out of rehab, a hot-tempered football star, a reality show spitfire, and a punk rocker with a bloody past-are taken to an island and given a chance to play a game to win $300 billion. The catch? There can only be one winner and everyone else must die. It's a last-one-standing, winner-take-all, knock-down, drag-out survival-of-the-fittest celebrity.