Name: Stephen B. Pearl
Let’s put it this way. I’m not as young as I use to be, but I’m not as old as I’m going to be.
Where are you from:
A small rocky planet third out from a class G star in a remote spiral arm of an un-spectacular galaxy. I’ll draw you a map. J
A little about your self `ie your education, family life, ect:
Well, I’m told the interesting thing is that while I am severely dyslectic I graduated top of my class from a two year community collage program and completed about half an undergraduate degree in psychology before I ran out of money and endurance in equal measure. I have since completed a verity of classes had had six novels published by third party publishers.
Personally I have a wife and cats, live in a house that I am renovating and drive an older car that I am repairing. I’m quite handy.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is that my new novel, a paranormal romance, Worlds Apart has just had its official launch and I have another novel War of the Worlds 2030 coming out in mid September. Seeing a new book in print is always a rush.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Twenty seven years ago. My gods it’s scary to think in terms like that. I swear I was 23 just yesterday.
As with most worthwhile endeavors I did it to impress a girl. A hot little number with the bluest eyes you could ever imagine and an English accent that sent a shudder up my spine. Nice thing is while I don’t really hear the accent anymore she still has those eyes and I love her more deeply now than that youth ever could have imagined. I wrote an absolutely horrible fantasy novel with her as the damsel in distress, yeah right, I honestly think Joy could scold a dragon into good behavior. In any case the book is awful and will never see print, but it showed me I could do it. Years later my writing has grown to a point where others want to read it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmm. I think when I held a paper copy of Tinker’s Plague. There is something about holding a book you’ve written.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I think I answered this above. She was very cute, light brown hair with a pretty face.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes… Oh you want more. For me writing is a lot like role playing gaming. I design the world populate it with characters who have a predetermined skill set then throw situations up in front of them and say “cope.” I’m sure most of my characters would like to give me some lessons in coping. Funny thing is I tend to like my main characters. That may be why I have an addiction to having some semblance of a happy ending. Except for my dinosaurs they all die. I didn’t cause the great cretaceous extinction so don’t blame me. It’s a book I’m trying to market.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my temporally unavailable novel, Tinker’s Plague, the title was simple because it is about a Tinker, in this context a Doctor of General Applied Technologies, dealing with a plague. The tinker part came from a tinkerer or Jack of all trades.
For Nukekubi: www.darkdragonpublishing.com/nukekubi.html I used the name of the species of mythical beings from which my antagonist is drawn
For Slaves of Love: http://www.clublighthousepublishing.com/productpage.asp?bNumb=164 the story involves a drug that turns people into Love Slaves by heightening the infatuation response to ridiculous levels.
For The Hollow Curse: http://www.clublighthousepublishing.com/productpage.asp?bNumb=114 The curse that drives the action was the source of the title both because of the way it makes my protagonists feel and the fact that in essence it is a hollow thing devoid of real power.
For Worlds Apart: http://www.darkdragonpublishing.com/worlds_apart.html it is a love story involving a Wiccan Priestess from our world and a wizard from a parallel earth. Thus they are from ‘Worlds Apart’ yet oddly closer than many who were born on the same world as themselves.
For War of the Worlds 2030: http://damnationbooks.com/index.php this is the publisher’s home page address because the book will not be released until mid September. This is homage to the brilliant work of HG Wells who stood as midwife at the birth of my love of the Science Fiction genera. It takes some of the ideas he addressed in his book War of the Worlds and updates them while spinning an original tale. It seemed only right to use a title that harkened back to the masterpiece that inspired this work.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, now enjoy the books and if I’ve done my job well it will slip in without you noticing. This is something a lot of folk seem to forget. The first duty of fiction is to entertain, if it can enlighten or educate as well it may transpose from good to great, but unless it has the foundation of entertainment to stand on it has failed as fiction.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
This depends very much on the title. Tinker’s Plague is a realistic extrapolation of current trends.
A lot of things are taken from the real world in all my books. I have spent time in many of the real world environs I use in my books. I also incorporate bits and pieces from my life and experience often in a twisted form. I have worked as a professional psychic and done some ghost busting and the knowledge and experience from that is incorporated into my paranormal works. I am a good general handyman which tends to be reflected in my characters. I’ll leave you all guessing when it involves my smutty books. 😉
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I’ve never battled a Nukekubi, traveled between parallel Earths or fought in a war (thank the gods for this last and all honor to those who have faced the great folly of man). I have however dealt with spirit phoneme, faced people who hated me because of my faith, Note: I’ve also known people of other faiths who helped me in need and demonstrated the best of human traits.
I think what a writer, epically a speculative fiction writer, does is find a parallel to his characters’ experience in his own life and draws out the emotion from that and puts it on the page.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Lord of the Rings, it taught me how to live.
Dune, it taught me how to think.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would think HG Wells. His books were very fast paced for the era he wrote in and he got to the point. He strove to be consistent with science as he understood it but never lost sight of the fact that science affected society and human beings and that was what the story was really about.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Cupid War by Timothy Carter ISBN 978-0-7387-2614-4. So far I’m enjoying it. Then again I expected to. I’ve read Tim’s other young adult novels and really enjoyed them.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Ira Nayman, he is possibly the funniest person I have ever read, his book Welcome to the Multiverse (sorry for the inconvenience) ISBN 978-1-908168-09-2 is brilliant.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on a cyber punk comedic piece called Cats, where a group of people get trapped in a VR5 immersion Video game where they are turned into cats. They can’t leave the game because the crazy ex-boyfriend of one of them has tweaked the code so that the nanobots in their brains that allow for the VR interface will rip their brains apart if they try.
I’m doing a short story set in the Tinker universe for a post apocalyptic anthology I’d like to submit to.
I’m promoting Worlds Apart and War of the Worlds 2030.
Breathing is a nice hobby; I’ll have to take it up when I have time.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My cat is family so I won’t give his name. I could name several friends, but I don’t rank people like that. Let’s just say if you have shown me kindness and respect it is remembered and I will try to reciprocate. My Gods rank right up there as well. I don’t mean this in a pushy holly roller way, faith is a personal thing and a source of personal strength it shouldn’t be peddled like door to door vacuum cleaners. The names you use are unimportant so long as it calls on you to try and be better, more loving and respectful to all. If it does that then it is a source of strength that can help you though life’s challenges.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In War of the Worlds 2030, no not really. Having read a bit more about chimps since I wrote it I think the brutality I show with my battle-apes (genetically modified chimpanzees used as foot shoulders) is just about right.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Books helped save the life of a very lonely and depressed teenage boy. I found the written word had a power to reach into a person and transport them to lands of wonder. To heal a broken heart and mend a shattered spirit. I wanted that power. I wanted to influence the thoughts of others in a way they were not defending against. If power is open to you, the power to mold the world towards your ideal your utopia for all that you grasp it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
WAR OF THE WORLDS 2030
Stephen B. Pearl: www.stephenpearl.com
Damnation Books: www.damnationbooks.com
The two black zodiacs sped noiselessly towards the shore. Their four occupants were silent, attention focused forward. Richard and Zane sat in the bows knowing they were already dead. All that remained was to see if they’d died in vain. The glow of city lights lit the horizon. Zane sniffed the air, detecting a faint hint of sulfur from the steel works.
“Beach ahead,” warned Richard. He was dressed in black, body-armor and wore a backpack, as did his companions.
“Give me the range,” whispered the man at the tiller.
“Ten meters. Kill the engine. Five meters, four, three, two, one.” The bow scraped onto the beach.
Richard leapt ashore, placing the anchor. He scanned the area with his night-vision goggles then pressed a clicker on his chest twice.
Zane leapt ashore, placed his anchor, looked around then hit his clicker twice, confirming the all clear. The men still in the zodiacs began tossing duffel bags to the two on shore, who sorted them into piles.
“Where are they?” Richard whispered when the last duffle was unloaded.
“Janis will be here. She hasn’t let us down yet.” Zane’s voice was like gravel.
“I hope you’re right. Too much is riding on this.”
“Snap Snap. Whoo Whoo,” sounded in the stillness of the night.
Richard hit his clicker twice, counted to five then hit it again. Shadowy figures stepped into view.
“Hurry.” Zane pointed to the larger of the two piles of duffels with his biological arm. The dark figures moved closer resolving into people wearing ragged clothing.
“Come on, move!” Richard waved at a group that separated from the others and raced to the zodiacs.
“Darling,” whispered a voice in the darkness. Richard and Zane turned to see Janis move out of the shadow. She was dressed in worn camouflage pants and jacket. Her dark-brown hair was cut close to her scalp and there was a rifle slung over her shoulder. She was lean and limped slightly on her right leg, while her face was smeared with blackout.
“My love.” Zane strode forward, took her in his arms and held her close.
“If you two are quite finished?” Richard passed the anchor from the first of the zodiacs to the people who had boarded it and pushed the boat out to sea.
“Right.” Zane moved to the second boat and with a single push of his cybernetic, left arm sent it on its way. The two small craft disappeared into the distance.
“Standard pick up?” asked Janis.
“Sub is two miles off shore. Let’s go.”
The shadowy figures that had taken the first pile of duffels had disappeared into the night. Richard picked up one of the three remaining bags, Janis and Zane took the others. Janis led the way to a storm-sewer access. The tunnels were pitch black. All three humans activated night-vision goggles that showed the world in shades of green.
Janis paused and hit a clicker twice.
Two clicks answered from down the passage.
Janis clicked once.
Ten seconds passed then three clicks answered. She sighed and moved on. A second later they passed a side tunnel where three people crouched with their guns trained on the newcomers. No words were exchanged as Janis led them into the maze of passages. After a long walk in the dark the thing they’d been dreading occurred. There was the sound of scales being drawn over concrete.
In seconds Zane had his night-vision goggles off and the scope of his rifle to his remaining eye. The tunnel was cast in shades of green. He scanned over Janis, who also had her gun ready, and Richard who had drawn an electro sword, in case the beast they faced was impervious to bullets.
The wall burst in, blasting concrete and crushed rock into the corridor. Zane threw himself on Janis, knocking her to the ground and lying on top of her, allowing his body-armor to absorb the brunt of the attack. A creature loomed out of the hole in the wall. Its face was vaguely human, but its body was that of a centipede and it was the size of a large crocodile. Twin rows of spikes ran the length of its back, with a small vent behind each spike. The beast sucked air in through the vents and expelled a stinking cloud.
“Masks!” Richard ripped down the veil that covered his face and slapped a compact breather, which had been clipped to his belt, over his nose and mouth. Zane rolled off Janis and mimicked Richard’s actions. Janis scrambled to her feet and fell back along the tunnel, firing at the beast.
“High low,” ordered Richard.
“On it,” replied Zane. The beast lunged into the corridor and turned to Janis. It started after her but a burst of automatic fire from Zane’s rifle caught its attention. The bullets bounced off its armored sides, no more than mosquito bites to the beast.
“Come on ugly. Your father was a lady bug.” Zane remained on the ground firing. “Shit! I’m jammed.”
“Bloody hell!” Richard pulled a small, round grenade from his belt and rushed their foe’s side.
The beast turned towards him, snapping at its attacker with a set of pincers that attached to its lower jaw.
“Hey, it’s me you want, ugly!” Zane pulled his side-arm and fired into the Centipedal. It turned to face him and he kept firing.
Richard leapt, landing on the creature. The stinking cloud expelled through the vents then it began to inhale. Richard dropped the grenade into an air hole and leapt away.
“One one-thousand,” he shouted.
“Richard, could use some help here,” called Zane. Before Richard could react a shot rang out from down the corridor. Janis had taken up position and was now shooting at the beast.
“Two one-thousand.” Richard pulled his side-arm.
The beast turned towards Janis, leaving Zane behind.
The Centipedal rushed Janis, who kept firing.
Richard fired at the creature, the bullet causing it to pause about halfway to Janis.
The two men picked up the packs and rushed to rejoin Janis.
“Nice work,” she commented. Richard and Zane removed their breathing masks.
“Fortunately Centipedals tend to be solitary, a carryover from their original genetic, but we shouldn’t stay here,” said Richard, his voice sounding very much the British professor.
“Still Richard, isn’t he?” said Janis.
“Would you want him any other way?” Zane took a moment to scratch at the seam where the simulated scar tissue that covered the cybernetics on his left side met his real skin, before returning the defensive suit’s veil.
“No, I guess not.”
“Did I say something amusing?” asked Richard.
“Richard, I’m resistance. The Darmuks have been using that type as sewer guards for three years now. I probably know things about them you couldn’t even guess at.”
“Oh. I did not mean to be…”
“Relax. It’s comforting that some things haven’t changed. I’ll send a team to harvest it in the morning.”
“Yes. The legs taste just like lobster if you boil them.”
“Zane, please tell me she’s joking?”
“Personally, I think they taste more like crab,” replied the younger man.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Being dyslectic the straight mechanics of language can be difficult. I end up editing and reediting a lot and my proof readers still catch things. It’s the price you pay. Everybody’s got something it’s just a question of do you let it stop you of fight through. I will say this, sometimes the smart thing is to stop and put your effort in another area only the individual can make that decision.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. Wonderful writing and an incredible story ark.
For living writers, Jim Butcher. Any of the Harry Dresden Wizard for Higher books. They are a pleasure to read, fast paced, internally consistent and a whoot. Jim also happens to be a nice guy
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Locally a fair bit to Cons, festivals and the like. I have about a two hour driving limit at this stage in my career which is a completely commercial decision. I hope that as my sails ramp up going farther afield will become a viable option.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Tinker’s Plague (Draumn Edition) Alayna Lemmer: www.alayna.net
Nukekubi: Evan Dales: www.wavstudios.ca
Worlds Apart: Evan Dales: www.wavstudios.ca
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Over all I’d say the rejection. It is easy to start doubting oneself.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Umm, I research for my writing. I’ve studied myths and legends, solar and wind energy, biology. It’s all fascinating.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you aren’t yet addicted save yourself and get out while you can. I’m not kidding. It’s a hard slog and it’s getting harder to make a name for yourself all the time.
If you’re trapped do the best work you can. Don’t worry about the “in thing”. By the time you’ve written something to match the “in thing,” it won’t be the “in thing” anymore. Before you pour your heart and soul into shorts have a novel ready to go. The real commercial value of shorts to an author is that they are great advertising. As a literary form shorts are fine in and of themselves, but I’m speaking of the commercial value.
Don’t bother anybody until you are over the “It’s my baby and you can’t touch it” stage. The only way to get good is to have others tear your work apart so you can put it back together stronger than before. If you aren’t ready to do this and bite your tongue on all the things you want to say to defend your work then don’t waste other people’s time or ruin their day.
Remember that if you have to explain the work for people to get it than you have failed as a writer because you won’t be there to explain it to the majority of your audience. Of course some people wouldn’t get an elephant if it was standing on their chests, so take this advice with a little moderation.
If you are ready for constructive criticism join Critters http://critters.org/ it is an online writers group and a valuable resource.
Be braced for rejection. Realize that editors have a pile of stories cross their desk every day. They are looking for reasons to reject you, ninety percent of all manuscripts are rejected unread for formatting errors because these can be seen at a glance. So if you watch your formatting you “improve” your odds to ludicrously slim from imposable.
Be prepared to bleed and hurt and have people look at you like you were a retarded Dalmatian. Being a writer is like being on a never ending job hunt, its nerve racking and it seems like your successes are dismissed while your failures are magnified. This is writing, do it if you dare
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your time and I hope that my books appeal to you. Keep smiling it makes them wonder what you’re up to.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Contact information for Stephen B. Pearl
YouTube reading: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlMDmlb-Los@