BH: Stephen, thanks for visiting us today! What’s your one-paragraph pitch for your latest book, Beta?
SB: There’s this time traveling guy who flits around the universe in a British police call box. Usually he has a beautiful companion…wait, that’s the premise of one of my favorite TV shows. Let me try again.
Private Investigator Mallory Petersen, a fourth degree black belt with her own taekwondo school in Des Moines, Iowa, splits her time between teaching martial arts and her often inane cases. When she accepts a case to find Cheryl McGee’s kidnapped eight year old daughter, Mallory is pulled into the dark underworld of child pornography. The trail soon leads to the Quad Cities, where Mallory partners with an officer from the Special Case Squad. Mallory discovers that there’s more to the girl’s disappearance than her client let on. Adult readers will find grave issues tempered by humorous scenes.
BH: I notice one of your previous books, Night Shadows, is only available in eBook form, and I have some writer friends currently exploring publishing their manuscripts as eBooks. Can you tell us what influenced your decision to publish Night Shadows as an eBook?
SB: What influenced me? Two huge guys in black suits who slammed me against the wall, wrenched my arms behind my back, and told in calm but raspy voice that if I didn’t do as they asked, then bad things were going to happen to my collection of Batman comic books. Well, what else was I supposed to do?
Actually both books are eBooks. When I contracted with Echelon Press, they mentioned all new authors start with eBook format.
BH: You’re involved in Taekwondo – you’ve even got your own academy (click here to visit that site). How does your martial arts experience relate to your writing…or do you try to keep the two separate?
SB: Do you want to know about my experience getting knocked out at a tournament or the time I took on five guys one night outside a local bar? Oops, sorry I was dreaming there for a second. Actually I did get knocked out once, but I don’t think I suffered too many after effects. I’m sorry, what was the question? My favorite ice cream?
In Beta, I have Mallory Petersen use a lot of the skills I’ve practiced over the years. The challenge was to come up with different techniques she can use so the reader isn’t always getting the same front kick or punch. So I had to devise various scenarios where she can show off.
BH: What are you currently working on? Can you share any details?
SB: Does working on my tan count? You probably don’t care about the details. Oh, you mean writing projects.
I’ve started on a few different stories. I’m stalled in the sequel to Night Shadows trying to determine the direction of the story. The next Petersen story is finished so I’m gathering ideas for the third book. I’m also working on a thriller with a woman who uses Army Ranger skills to survive in the woods after being attacked by four men. I’ve also started (and don’t let it be passed around too much else my reputation will be totally shot. Lol) a romance. I’m hoping to collaborate with another author on this one.
BH: Which of your characters do you think is the most like you, and why?
SB: Mallory. Yes, she’s a woman, better looking, and way more talented, but she has a cool sense of humor, is intelligent, caring, and dedicated to her jobs.
BH: What does your workspace look like?
SB: Surprisingly, or maybe not so much, I do very little writing at home. I usually wait until I go to work. Since I work the graveyard shift, I rarely see anybody and I have a lot of free hours. So I’ll sit behind the desk or out in the lobby with either a notepad or the laptop. It’s quiet except when I turn on the classical music station and I’m usually not distracted by too much activity.
BH: What is your favorite book on the craft of writing?
SB: Any Dr. Seuss book. Especially Green Eggs and Ham. Awesome book.
Seriously, I tap into Todd Stone’s Novelist Boot Camp. It’s helped tremendously when I go through the editing phase.
BH: What is the best writing advice anyone has given you?
SB: “Take a hike, loser, you bother me.” Oh, wait, that was what the last girl said when I asked her to dinner. Then she proceeded to…well, we won’t get into that right now.
I think my Dad has helped me a lot. He encouraged me to keep up the writing. Also, when I’ve needed assistance, he’s told me I can pay him back “When I’m a rich and famous author.” Words like those that have kept me persevering.
BH: Stephen, thanks for visiting today! Everyone else, for more information on Stephen and his books, check out his website here, and his blog here. You can buy Night Shadows by going here. He’s also on Facebook and Twitter.
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