- What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
My name is Steven Drake. I have a free blog, aspiesteve.wordpress.com where I post short articles on whatever catches my interest. I don’t post as much as I used to since I spend most of my time on my book series, but I enjoy a change of pace now and then. I do not have a Facebook Page but my book series has one. It’s not very popular yet, but I hope that changes eventually. www.facebook.com/TheDemonsBlade. No twitter. With my writing style, there’s not much worthwhile I can say in fewer than 140 characters.
- Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
I work for a small business that sells remanufactured printer cartridges, essential oils, microroast coffee, and a few other wildly unrelated things. My employers have several business ventures and I run their computers, help with spreadsheets, make deliveries, basically whatever needs doing. They tolerate my eccentric nature and have inspired me with their entrepreneurial spirit.
- How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
I actually started with my blog, which started as mostly something for my friends and family to read. I wrote a couple of short stories which I got a lot of positive feedback on and decided to try writing a fantasy novel. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’ve now written the first four installments, so I’m still early in my writing career. I’m always eager for any feedback that will help me improve as a writer.
- What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc.
J.R.R. Tolkien is easily the single greatest influence on my writing. That’s a pretty standard answer among fantasy authors I imagine. I must have read those a half dozen times as a teen.
- Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…
I’m working on Book 5 of the Demon’s Blade saga. Hope to release that sometime in 2018. I’ve always got a couple possible blog entries bouncing around in my head. When those will ripen, I couldn’t say. Beyond the Demon’s Blade saga, I have the concept idea for a YA series, but that one will be a while away.
- How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I do some outlining, but it’s all in my head. I don’t write it down or anything. I know more or less how I want the story to go
- What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
I think the strongest aspect of my writing is my characters. I really take a lot of care as I write to put myself in the mind of each character. When I’m going through doing revisions, I’m constantly asking myself whether the characters thoughts, words, and actions are the best reflection of the person I consider them to be. In my mind, they’re all real people, and I care about them. I also have watched a lot of movies, television, video games, and anime that are centered on combat, whether it’s in space with lasers and giant mechs or in some medieval fantasy setting with demons, monsters, swords, and magic. I’ve seen so many different kinds of fights between characters with so many different abilities, I’m usually able to make my battles and action scenes more interesting than clanging swords and throwing fireballs.
My greatest weakness is probably my inexperience and lack of formal education in the arts. I’m sure anyone who’s an experienced professional writer could point out some amateurish mistakes I’m making. I hope eventually some of them will leave reviews or contact me so I can improve my style. I’m sure my grammar isn’t always perfect and my sentence structure could improve a lot. Hopefully that will come with time and practice.
- After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
I’m woefully awful at marketing. I suffer from a few disorders, most notably Asperger’s, that make socialization tiring and difficult. I don’t do it very much or very well. I’m terrible at any form of social networking and largely clueless when it comes to forming relationships with actual flesh and blood human beings. So marketing is a challenge, and usually comes down to budget. There’s very little I’m comfortable or skilled enough to do on my own, so I pay for advertising when I can. I hired a publicity firm for the release of Fallen Star, and it’s produced some good marketing opportunities. If I can afford it in the future, I’ll do more.
- What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
Ha, I feel like I should be the one asking. Really, I don’t have enough experience myself to give any advice. I’ve still got a long way to go.