Interview with S T Xavier

What are your five favorite books, and why?
David Weber's Honor Harrington series. I don't think better space opera exists anywhere. The strong characters, well-developed universe, deep political intrigue, and glorious space battles are one of my biggest inspirations.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World is fantastic. It's a 'little guy in extraordinary circumstances' story that is just fun to read.
Terry Brooks' Landover series is one of the best fantasy realms I've ever had the chance to live in. His characters are humorous and quirky, even during extraordinary circumstances. I learned how to combine drama and humor into 'normal' characters from these.
The Fables graphic novels by Bill Willingham is wonderful. I love contemporary takes on old fairy tales. Fables does it right.
Finally, Hitchhiker's Guide, because Douglas Adams. What more needs to be said?
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've been writing short stories for a while, but never had an idea for a full-length novel, let alone a series. The Ugly Dirt Box Universe came to be through three words that came out of a conversation with my brother: elves on spaceships. It had never been done, and I suddenly had to do it. Once I started thinking about it, Rylae Westiel popped into my head and started telling me her story. It would have been a disservice to her to fail at writing it down properly.
What is your writing process?
I write the story as it's shown to me. I have a general idea of what's going to happen, but the characters tell me the story. I just write down what they do. It's very organic that way, and I feel it makes the story and characters more believable. Every time a character makes a decision, it's because they're making the decision at the exact place in the story where you're reading about it. I point my characters in the direction I want them to go. They do the hard work. I just take notes.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a computer geek by trade. I work for a software development company telling the nerds that write programs when they do things wrong. I'm also a major devourer of stories in any form - books, music, art, graphic novels, movies, television, video games. If the story is excellent, then I want it. I live for good stories.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I've lived in a lot of places, and visited a lot more. I grew up in the Mid-Atlantic (Baltimore, MD), moved to the Great Smokey Mountains (Chattanooga, TN), spent some time on the west coast (San Francisco, CA), moved to the Midwest (Cincinnati, OH), then moved out to the East Coast again (Charleston, SC). I've spent time in France, Canada and Mexico. I've met a lot of different people, seen their differences, and seen their sameness. Knowing real people helps you build believable characters, and seeing a lot of places helps you build believable settings. My stories are driven by the characters and settings. They have to be believable.
What do your fans mean to you?
I write stories so they can be read. It means nothing if no one is reading it. Without fans, I have no reason to write. I want to know that people are enjoying living in the worlds I create as much as I enjoy it. I want them to live in it with me. I want them to write their own characters in the Ugly Dirt Box Universe. I want them to design their own worlds. I want them to create their own art. I want to share the Ugly Dirt Box Universe with the fans.
What are you working on next?
Rylae has a lot of stories to tell. Book one was introductory. Book two is kinda sappy. I don't know how many more books there will be, but I expect a lot of them. There's a lot of places in the Ugly Dirt Box Universe to visit, after all.
What is your goal as a writer?
Similar to an earlier question, I write to be read. I want everyone to read my stories. I want everyone to know my characters. These days, that's entirely possible with the right fan following. If enough people love my stories, and they share it with enough other people, then eventually everyone will be reading my stuff. 6 Degrees of Rylae Westiel, if you will. As such, my goal is to get as many copies of my books to as many readers as possible and have them enjoy them. That comes through readers sharing my stories with friends, and posting reviews so unknown readers can find them. As such, check my website. Anyone can contact me for a book. Beyond that, anyone who writes reviews for my books can be added to "Rylae's Friends List". Rylae loves to share stories with her friends. All of her stories. So let me know when you write a review (on any site) and I can get you on her list.
Published 2014-09-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Trade Havok
Series: The Ugly Dirt Box Universe, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 92,950. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
The Corsari's next mission - arbitrating a trade agreement between the dwarven world of Hallowforge and the elven world of Andriennein - is simple enough that Rylae is put in charge of running it. She's looking forward to her time as 'temporary Captain'. When the body count goes up, Rylae realizes the trade meeting isn't as simple as she was prepared for.
Elven Gambit
Series: The Ugly Dirt Box Universe, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 90,940. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Rylae's visit to her home world of Tir Tairngire is far from a normal vacation. Strange assassins, risking her life, hiding in trees... to protect her parents, Rylae needs to quickly figure out what trouble her childhood friend brought back home with her, and how to keep it from burning down everything around her.
Rylae's Storm
Series: The Ugly Dirt Box Universe, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 95,910. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.86 from 14 reviews)
Book One of the Ugly Dirt Box Universe. Commander Rylae Westiel is the elven Executive officer of the UCST Corsari, an ambassadorial starship. Her mission to a goblin homeworld to prevent a war turns out to be nothing like she expected. Continuing to learn how to become Captain of her own starship, Rylae has to learn one very important point - goblins won't always be goblins.