Interview with Steven Nelson

What have you written?
I have published Memoirs of a Rum-Runner - the translated manuscript of my ancestor’s memoirs from the 1800s. It was truly amazing discovering this gem in the old Spanish language and then like a sculptor trying to bring it into English while being faithful to the original. I have also written a novel named Sic Semper Libertati (a play on the state motto of Virginia) about what happens when the demands of the state become unbearable, and when people stand their ground - even when faced with the barrel of a gun. I don’t plan on publishing this book, although it was a great learning experience.
When did you first start writing?
When I was a kid we would take the movies and video games we played and write and draw our own versions of them. A lot of times I would take minor characters that we liked and create our own story for them. Sort of a 7-year old’s fan fiction.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Two things - I want to bring history to people in a way they have never experienced before. I want to give people something more than the sanitized marble floors of the rich nobility, or the mud-caked wooden floors of the inns and brothels that is all you see in the movies and series about Medieval times. The lives and dreams and hopes and struggles of real people, all of our ancestors really, as they would have lived without the Hollywood gloss or fairytale characters.

Second I want my readers off of the sidelines and walking side by side with the characters, steering their actions as YOU think they should be! I want you to choose which character you want to become, who they will love, what they will do with their lives, and feel the pleasure and pain of those decisions alongside them. With the popularity of eBooks, I believe this kind of interactive fiction is a huge unexplored area just waiting for authors to build it!
How much research do you do?
A lot! During my undergrad years I spent an absurd amount of time digging through primary sources, reading through contemporary authors of the Ancient World and wandering the museums and battlefields of Europe. The way I see it - history is interesting enough by itself without me having to make stuff up!
Where do your ideas come from?
I would like to think that I’m naturally creative but that wouldn’t be true - I get inspired by everything around me. Hanging out in bars and eavesdropping on the ridiculous things people say gives me great back-and-forth dialogue for my stories. The world is always dropping hints and scenes for writers to pick up and further explore on paper. I tell my wife that she has been given the Nelson warning: “Anything you say can and will be used in a story of mine!”
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Focus. You have Youtube, Facebook, videos of cats, going to do the dishes, grabbing a snack, etc. a million things to distract you. It’s finding the resolve to keep yourself nailed down to the chair and hammer away.
Do you have advice for aspiring authors?
Sinclair Lewis was asked once to address a group of school kids and when he walked up on the stage he asked “how many of you want to be writers?” Almost the entire room lifted up their hands and he looked at them and said “Well why the hell aren’t you at home writing?” and then walked out!

I think this is a good attitude.
What is your favorite book and why?
Leon Uris wrote Trinity - it is powerful. It jerks your heart around. One moment you’re smiling, the next you are gritting your teeth and your fingers are trembling! It is the only book that can make me cry even after reading it seven times. And not only from just one scene!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your instincts. You’re doing the right thing, you are on the right track. Don’t be frozen by the darts people throw and the negativity in the world. Speak the truth, always do the right thing and don’t give up. Chin up and fight for yourself!
Describe your desk.
Hmm. First and foremost there is a beer sitting there looking at me where the mouse would normally be. The laptop is in the center, which never moves, and it is connected to a second monitor to the right to keep different websites separated. The whole thing is littered all over with notes, pens, notebooks and whatnot. A basket sits next to the desk with my favorite authors so I can reach to them for inspiration.
Published 2013-12-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Memoirs of a Rum-Runner
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,430. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » History » Modern / 19th Century, Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
(5.00 from 1 review)
This is the true life story of a Spaniard in the New World. Landing in Mexico as a boy in 1816, Clemente is at heart an entrepreneur, or mafioso; he hustles through wars, gambles against revolutionaries, teetering from one side of the law to the other. Between Havana, Tampico and New Orleans, he amasses fortunes and shakes his fist at death. A bronze statue of him still stands in Utrera, Spain.