Stephen, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?
When I was in second grade I wrote a short story my teacher really loved. The handwriting was terrible, the spelling awful, but the creativity was off the charts for a child that age. My teacher encouraged me to keep writing. Over the years I continued honing my creativity and have come to where I am today, although my handwriting is still terrible and my spelling only slightly improved. Thank goodness for spell check.
Amen to that…What makes you passionate about writing?
I am passionate about the beauty of this world and the people that live in it. Writing is just a way for me to express my feeling about what is happening around me. Some things going on in the world make me happy and some things make me angry. I write about the ideas I care about most at the time. My motto is to write about the things I care about the most in my life. I ask myself, If I died today, what would I want my children and friends to read about me that I care about the most? This is my guiding principle.
Nicely put…What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
I started by taking my book to several local publishers. They reviewed the book and gave me some good feedback. Both publishers rejected my book in the end because they stopped publishing science fiction. I took their critiques and spent another year making editing changes. With confidence gained from their positive reviews I took the book to another smaller publisher and TriQuest Publishing agreed to publish it if I paid to print the books. I agreed and got my foot in the door. I printed about 200 the first round and over the last few years have sold just under 5,000 books.
That is great, were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Writing has always been my way of coping with discouragement. My frustration with life comes across through the characters in my books and the situations they have to deal with.
What books have most influenced your life?â€¨
The most influential book for me is the Book of Mormon. Now that may seem odd to some, or even religiously fanatic, but the book is full of the most wonderful stories and pure Christian truth of any book ever written other than the Bible itself, which is of course my other favorite book.
Nice to know. Do you just sit down and write? Or do you outline first?
I start out by writing snippets of chapters. I jot down on my computer funny and dramatic scenes I want to make sure get into the book. Once I get a bunch of those written I start to outline in a way to weave in my favorite scenes. My writing may change the outline as I go, but I have to have an ending in mind before I begin the actual writing.
What is the name of your Christmas book?
The Santa Claus League
HowÂ interesting…Gives us a back cover blurb
Julia Martin is the most incredible girl in school, and Mason Howell is hopelessly smitten by her. Julia in charge of the local Charity Christmas party and sheâ€™s pleased with how everything is going…until her Santa Claus calls in sick. In a panic, she begs Mason to help her by wearing his grandfatherâ€™s heirloom Santa Claus suit. Mason agrees, to impress the beautiful girl, but things donâ€™t go as planned…as soon as he puts on the suit, he gets all the powers of Santa Claus!
Together with John Patton, Masonâ€™s best friend, they learn his grandfather was a member of an ancient league of men and women dedicated to helping St. Nicholas use Christmas magic to save the world. The three of them could become the newest members of the Santa Claus League…if they can learn the secrets of Christmas magic!
Sounds so good. Whatâ€™s your secret to making the characterâ€™s in your books come to life?
I base my characters on people I know. Since I am a writer my imagination is pretty vivid, so I take the basic character from a friend or an enemy, and put them into my story.
Best way I know of. What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
My best complement is when they tell me they couldnâ€™t put the book down. The mark of a great story is when it captures the reader and transports them into another world.
Yes it is. Where can readers go to find your books?
Barnes & Noble
My books are available on Amazon, Eborn Books, BYU Bookstore and various other small book stores.
Our best to you, Stephen.Â