Hi Groupies! This week we are changing it up a little. The fantastic Stephen Zimmer is on the blog as an author interviewee. Stephen, as you may know, has been mentioned quite a lot on my podcast, Writer Groupie. He is a very inspiring author, and he’s been my friend for a lot of years, and I am so happy to have him on Writer Groupie!
I did make a podcast for you below the interview, and yes, it HAS the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Now that it is December I can finally talk about it!
Official Bio: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker
based in Lexington Kentucky. His work includes the cross-genre Rising
Dawn Saga, the epic fantasy Fires in Eden series, the sword and sorcery
Dark Sun Sawn Trilogy, featuring Rayden Valkyrie, the Harvey and Solomon
Steampunk tales and the Hellscapes and Chronicles of Ave short story
Share about yourself
I am just the kind of guy who keeps moving forward as best as I can. No one thing defines me, but there are a lot of things that are a big part of me. I have a love of writing, music, martial arts, travel, cars, and Kentucky bourbon! I do enjoy many modes of expression, whether it is playing the guitar, or going through a strenuos workout that challenges me, or writing a short story or novel.
I currently reside in Lexington, Kentucky, and am a proud Kentuckian. I work with Seventh Star Press, which includes the Imaginarium Convention and Star Chamber Show podcast, in addition to my author path.
Share about your work
Currently, I have books published in the fantasy, sword and sorcery, cross-genre, and horror genres, with some additional steampunk short stories in the amazing Dreams of Steam anthologies from Dark Oak Press.
My road started with The Exodus Gate, the first book of the cross-genre Rising Dawn Saga. Four of the seven novels in that series are available. My other major series is the Fires in Eden series, which is epic fantasy, ensemble cast, with three of the seven books in that series out.
I have a short story collection set in the world featured in the Fires in Eden series out called the Chronicles of Ave. I also have a colllection of horror short stories, the Hellscapes, with two volumes currently available. My heroic character Rayden Valkyrie , who first appeared in the Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword anthology in a short story, is now featured in a novel, Heart of a Lion, the first of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.
Tell us about your writing style
I would say that my writing style strives to be very visual or cinematic, in a manner of speaking. I strive to evoke imagery and convey the fantastical things of my own imagination in a way that the reader can make their own.
I write in third person, as I like to give a storyteller kind of perspective to a given tale, and make things known that the characters involved may not notice yet. I’m not ruling out doing something in first person, at some point, but I enjoy third person the most.
I also gravitate toward ensemble casts, as life involves ensemble casts. My Rayden Valkyrie tales are a bit of an exception to that, but she embodies so much, on so many levels, that I am pulled to spotlight her on her own.
What do you find challenging about the writing life?
The flood of content out there and the constant challenge of staying on the radar. With the advance of eBooks and self-publishing, it’s the best and worst of times. There are no gatekeepers as in the past, but at the same time there is a tidal wave of content flooding out there and not all of it involves due diligence in terms of the process necessary of producing a quality title. When a reader gets burned on something that’s just been thrown up there into the market (I.E. Essentially a first draft manuscript, without an editor, etc), they are less likely to try an indie or small press author in the future. I see that as a very problematic thing in the market of today as there are many who think that if they throw 100 titles onto the market they’ll get rich. It doesn’t work like that.
If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?
First thought is a mountain cabin, high up on a slope. Smoky Mountains, maybe, or the Rockies, if we are talking about the United States. But definitely a wooded, mountain environment as that always gets my creative jets firing. Second choice would be something ocean-front.
When asked to set goals, what do you see( for yourself or current WIP) in five years with your writing?
I would like to have the Fires in Eden and Rising Dawn Sagas completed, in addition to having more Rayden Valkyrie tales out in both short stories and novels. I also would like to see more volumes of the Hellscapes and Chronicles of Ave collections. Beyond that, maybe a YA Dystopian work and/or something in paranromal fantasy with a strong romantic element. I have things sketched out in both of those latter areas, just need to find the time to develop them further.
What are you reading right now?
In non-fiction I’m reading Black Belt Krav Maga, and in fiction I’m reading Glen Cook’s The Return of the Black Company compendium that includes Bleak Seasons and She is the Darkness.
Who is your favorite author?
I must award this spot to both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I was exposed to Tolkien first, by my mother, who read me the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books when I was just seven. She introduced me to Lewis just after with the Chronicles of Narnia. But both authors really fired my imagination and enthusiasm for fantasy, starting the path that I’m continuing on today.
Give a bit of advice for an aspiring author.
Write regularly and don’t sweat words counts. The important factor is writing on a consistent basis, not whether you crank out 10,000 words in a given session. Write because you enjoy it, as making a living as a writer is an increasingly difficult challenge, when it was already very difficult before. Above all, LIVE life. Having experiences, traveling, learning, meeting all kinds of people, and trying new things are what fuels authenticity in one’s writing, no matter what genre you write in. Feel, taste, touch, and breath and bring your experience into your words. You’ll be the better off for it, not just as a writer, but also as a person.
Stephen Zimmer, links