Interview with Stephan Michael Loy

Published 2023-08-30.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Indianapolis plays an important role in much of my writing. It is the primary setting of Last Days and Times and is actually an important "character" in Conqueror's Realm and my latest, Voice of the City. I've spent much of my life in this mid-sized city, and I prefer to write about places I've actually been rather than places I looked up on Google Earth. Not that I haven't traveled. Washington, DC, Chicago, London and the genteel, rolling environs of central Germany also feature heavily in my work.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first complete story I ever read was Space Cat, by Ruthven Todd. My mom took me to the public library to get my first card, and that was the story they let me check out, provisionally until my card came in the mail. I was five years old. This book, a bit above my reading level, was to me a magnum opus of literature. I have read that book at least four times, even as an adult reading it to my young boys. The only book I've read more would be Anna Karenina. Space Cat demonstrated to me the heights the imagination could reach. I wouldn't be surprised if elements of Space Cat could be found deep in the DNA of my space fantasy Shining Star, certainly in Galactic Geographic.
Describe your desk.
My God, my desk. It's a disaster area of epic proportions, to make fair and accurate use of the cliche. It's an inexpensive particle board-covered work table supporting my Mac Studio, my printer, oftentimes my Surface Pro, and piles of books, clipboards, and hand-written notes on whichever projects hold my attention at the moment. And yet, I know where everything is, sorta. At least, I know if it's on my desk. Most specially, I have three talismans somewhere amid the wires, cups of pencils, and scribbled notes and drawings. I've a pencil in a vial, a message printed on the glass that says, "In case of computer failure, break glass." I have a little paper origami tank, as in a tank whose progenitor would shoot big bullets at people. My oldest son made it for me. And I have a lensatic compass from my Army days. It shows me the way, so to speak. These things irrationally focus my attention on writing. After reading my books, you might feel that explains a lot.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I used to read on an Apple iPad, but I've since gone on to a Microsoft Surface Pro. The iPad is great, but the Surface doubles as my primary writing tool. It runs Microsoft Word, something an iPad can't do just now. I also own a Kindle, but it has been relegated to a kitchen recipe holder. The Kindle's screen gives me headaches as there is not enough contrast between the text and the background. The 1980s Soviet-era control interface is also a minus.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Inspiration is highly overrated. The productive artist gets out of bed with the rising sun, if not before, because he has work to do, not because he feels inspired. When inspiration strikes, that's a wonderful thing, but if you wait for it, you get nothing done. So, I get out of bed at 5AM because that's when I can grab a few hours of uninterrupted work, three hours on each day of the weekend. Inspiration usually chums up to me while I'm mowing the lawn.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm married, I have two houses to take care of, one of which is the home of my thirty-something autistic son. I hike in the state parks, take an occasional trip to the national parks, and take care of my two cats, Buffy and Oz. That pretty much fills my hours unless I'm watching DVD re-runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (hence the cat's name) or The Walking Dead.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, published just yesterday, is Voice of the City. It's a superhero-urban fantasy mash-up starring Sally Reiser, the protagonist of previous books Last Days and Times and Redemption Song, and supporting character in Uncivil Service. Through the lens of a decidedly gritty superhero treatment, Voice of the City tackles important and touchy social issues like racism, gang culture, gun violence, and communal fear. It's part of my vaguely overarching Nightwatch series, in which the fears and nightmares of mankind, manifested in an alternate universe, come back to plague us all. Confronted with our fears, our prejudices, our isolated perspectives, hoping for something, anything better, we have one avenue to escape the grind of unending conflict. We must widen our communities, embrace those different from us, and see and accept (though not necessarily agree with) the ways in which they perceive the world.
Of the books you have right now on Smashwords, which one would you recommend to readers most?
That's like asking a parent which child is their favorite. There is no fair answer. But, to answer rather than evade the question, I would point to Isis Wept. Isis Wept is a standalone story. Unlike many of the others, it does not enter into the storyline of my Nightwatch series. It's also a different sort of high fantasy. There's a strong thematic element, a specific and colorful literary voice, lots of action and suspense, and it's ancient Egypt, with gods and everything. What else could anyone want? Of course, I could make just as strong an argument for Shining Star, but the question demands just one highlight. Really, though, if you like action, suspense, and amazing stuff going on, any of my books would constitute an excellent read. If you want your reading to be intelligent, introspective, and philosophical, then that's an extra treat my work provides. No cotton candy cardboard stories here. Not allowed.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Latest books by This Author

Price: $3.99 $1.99 USD. (50% off until July 31!) Words: 150,210. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2023 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
She's French, homeless, and trans gender living on the streets of Paris. Governments hunt her. Criminals threaten her. And something ancient, malevolent, and full of hate needs very much to murder her. Why? She's a teleporter. She can transport instantly between one place and another. She can break the confines of universes. This power could enrich or kill her. Where will it take her today?
Voice of the City
Price: $3.99 $1.99 USD. (50% off until July 31!) Words: 168,500. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2023 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
A mysterious vigilante stalks the urban streets, beating down gang members and crooked cops with his bare hands. He is the Voice of the City. To some, he is a dream; to others, a nightmare against which they seek revenge. He strives to stop an ancient enemy bent on wanton destruction. To do so, he must rein in the baser, violent instincts of the city. Can he do it, or is the city too far gone?
Uncivil Service
Price: $3.99 $1.99 USD. (50% off until July 31!) Words: 143,360. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2018 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
(5.00 from 1 review)
NIGHTWATCH, Book 7 FIONA STREET is back as the government's most dangerous black ops agent! She's saved a nation from political gangsters. She's helped save a universe from destruction. Now the government's most super of super-spies leads a misfit team to grapple with nightmare menaces no one can imagine. Can she succeed? Can she survive? She wins, or we lose. Book 2 of FIONA STREET.
Bad Lands
Price: $3.99 $1.99 USD. (50% off until July 31!) Words: 135,410. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
NIGHTWATCH, Book 6 Bad Lands. A western that ain't quite right. A marshal tracks a notorious bad man wanted for murder, mayhem, terrorism, and conspiracy to destroy the eighteen contiguous universes. The lawman's posse of inter-dimensional misfits must brave the weirdest of weird western enemies to save the multiverse from destruction. It's Blazing Saddles meets Wild Wild West. Take a gander, pard
Galactic Geographic
Price: $3.99 $1.99 USD. (50% off until July 31!) Words: 176,530. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
NIGHTWATCH, Book 5 Meet Charlese Tilbrenner, romantic, ex-Galactic Marine and new-minted reporter for Galactic Geographic, the universe's premier news and feature magazine. From the slums of Mars to deep, deep space, Charlese brings you the most astounding stories from the stars. Galactic Geographic: the world's first military sci-fi romantic comedy satirical travelogue. What's in YOUR worl
Redemption Song
Price: $3.99 $1.99 USD. (50% off until July 31!) Words: 185,080. Language: American English. Published: July 21, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
When Sally Reiser joined the secretive network, she did so to protect her handicapped child. But the network that kept them safe has been infiltrated and has taken up a sinister new purpose, to murder Sally, the seer of God, and also her eight-year-old autistic son. How far and fast will this mother run to escape a fate fueled by fanaticism and decreed a thousand years before she was born?
Fiona Street
Price: $3.99 $1.99 USD. (50% off until July 31!) Words: 106,200. Language: English. Published: July 10, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
NIGHTWATCH, Book 3 Through advanced electronics and neuroscience, a special ops agent is paired mentally with an alley cat. Her skills and the predatory instinct of the cat make her the most feared and efficient agent in the world. Her first mission is to bring down her employer, the special prosecutor for the United States government. Think Ghost in the Shell meets The 6 Million Dollar Man.
Blood and Water
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,860. Language: English. Published: March 9, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Egypt, 8000 years ago. A god dies. His soul does not. Men quest into the world to find it. This is Blood and Water, a high fantasy novella that explores the mystery and power of man's relationship to his environment. Unlike nature, man can choose the manner of his existence. Will he kill by the sword, or live by his reason? Sometimes, that choice is one of faith. An Isis Wept adventure.
Walter Cheatham's Cannibal Christmas
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,460. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Walter Cheatham is a detective, a finder of lost things. Today, Christmas, he’s busy finding a kidnapped ten-year-old girl. Time is a factor, for this child is invited to her captors’ Christmas dinner – as the entrée. In a strange dystopian world where death and horror color a dull, gray existence, Walter must learn what truly matters when not even life has value.
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,650. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Christmas is good cheer, nog, and family get-togethers. Often, those reunions are strained. How much more tense might the holiday dinner become if you add space travel, time dilation, and alien influences into the mix? Charlese Tilbrenner and Bernie Oldman, heroes of Stephan Michael Loy's upcoming novel Galactic Geographic, are about to find out. A heartwarming comedy on the meaning of Christmas.
View their profile to see all of their books