Name: Steve Soderquist
Where are you from: Lithia, Florida
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I grew up for the most part of my early life in Brandon, Florida. My education was mostly music back then, with only light influences on my other classes in school. It was only later in life that I really applied myself to creative writing courses, along with some of the more hairier courses in English as a major study.
Now I am settled down as a full-time writer and editor, being employed with Damnation Books LLC-Eternal Press, which is based out of Santa Rosa, California, along with being a freelance editor and author.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am excited to say that I have a re-worked a novella previously in print and coming out with the same name, ‘One for the Road’, which deals with what may happen on a dark, lonely road when two men drunk behind the wheel collide. It’s creepy, to be sure…but there is also some tongue-in-cheek humor involved that gives it a different flavor beyond just horror/gore.
I am currently working (almost done!) with a novel called, ‘SEEDS’, which combines elements of the science fiction world with real life suspense and will be branded as a, ‘Suspenseful thriller novel that has to be read to understand its depth!’
Honestly, it’s so different from everything else out there that’s been printed, I’m having a hard time even trying to describe it! Not on the complication level, mind you. It’s just…so odd!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
The first thing I ever tried to put on paper was the beginning of a novel called, ‘Mind’s Eye’, which was about a teenage boy who got hit by a car, sustaining a massive head injury that caused a freak side effect…giving him a hundred percent of his brains power. Ironically enough, I just saw a trailer for a new movie coming out called, ‘Lucy’, that deals with the same premise, so I will put that one to bed…haha.
Three years ago when I wrote the first manuscript for, ‘One for the Road’, I knew I was hooked. There’s been no turning back since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose I always have. But to be honest, I always considered myself a reader first. I learned from the masters. I know that I can go to a thousand classes and seminars, but there is no better teacher than those who have walked the path before me. I learn with every new book I pick up, and learn again just by re-reading old favorites. I believe a person can consider themselves a writer when they first pick up the pen; touch the keyboard…whatever it may be and be thrilled at the blank pages ahead, not intimidated by them!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I saw a kid hit by a car on his bike when I was around twelve. Unfortunately, he died from his injuries—but he haunted me for weeks after in my nightmares. It was how the beginning of my defunct novel, ‘Mind’s Eye’ got it’s birth.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Eclectic would be the best definition. To me, nothing is off limits. I dive into any genre. My personal thought is that a good book holds many genre’s. Being pigeon-holed as a horror writer (which I’ve been before) just makes folks fidget uncomfortably unless they like the genre. I don’t mind if I write in POV or second or third person perspective as long as the story is told well. I may even switch it up in the same book. (wink)
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
If it’s relative, that’s what I use. It’s not unusual for me to change titles three or four times during the writing phase, depending on the direction of the manuscript.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
As a ‘Lesson For Life’? Nope. I just want my readers to be able to curl up on the couch or in bed or on their way to work– at work if their job blows–and get lost in a good story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I write fiction, but I’ve always said that while the story doesn’t have to be real, it should ALWAYS be realistic. I am a fact-finder. If my character has to climb into a Cessna plane and fly it, you can be damn sure I researched how to fly the plane first. If the planet looses gravity, be assured there’s a good explanation that’s been checked to make sure it’s at least reasonably possible. If a writer goes into la-la land with un-credible fiction , it’s too easy to lose the reader.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Absolutely. Everything I write about is a reference, however small or large to someone or some situation that I can draw from. With a few exceptions, however. Example: the manuscript in progress, ‘SEEDS’ stands out.
As people, we are all connected however sloppily together and interact in either subtle or extreme ways. Creating the fiction that drives my characters is based on those two balances,
Fiona: What books have influenced your life the most?
Fair question. ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King for it’s amazing intricacy. ‘Flowers In The Attic’ by V.C. Andrews who gave me the love for romance novels. ‘King Rat’ by James Clavell, who proved that one can write about the horror of prison camps in WWII and still create characters so richly written. ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess, who showed me the beautiful way language can be used so potently. Probably more, to be sure…but those four books stand out the most at the moment.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider to be a mentor?
So many. Every book I have read I have learned something, even the ones I really didn’t care for. I suppose in some ways, the ‘bad’ books taught me just as much as the great ones did. The better novelists taught me how to do the job right; the others gave me instruction on what to avoid. Likened to life, everything is a lesson if you look.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, nothing. Which is rare as I usually am in the middle of something. The last book I read was Stephen King’s, ‘Doctor Sleep’, the follow-up to ‘The Shining’. I thought it was ok, but the ending was a bit blah in my opinion.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
A good friend of mine named N. Onym wrote a novel called, ‘The Harlot Goddess’ which was probably one of the more prolific books I have read in regards to complexity. Another new author named Stacy Rogers has a series of romance novels out set in the mid-century that are also quite good. Of course, I am also a fan of Laura Ranger, who has a story in a novel named, ‘Eight ‘Til Christmas’ which is a collection of short stories, (Also my co-author for a novel coming out called, ‘Rogue’) among many others.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Right now, I am concentrating on finishing my novel, ‘SEEDS’, then I will work on the next manuscript called, ‘Daniels Shed’.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
God. He always has!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing IS my career, along with editing manuscripts. From the time I get up to the time I go to bed, my head is always in one or the other.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As far as the style and content goes, no. That would be the novel, ‘Farm House’. Editing-wise, of course! Show me a writer who is completely happy about every nuance or word in their completed and published novel, I will ask them if they took the ‘blue’ pill before going down that fantasy road.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
With reading, I suppose. That coupled with being a constant liar as a kid helped, as well!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Nope! Sorry…this one I am keeping completely under the wraps. It’s like Willie Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper’s machine under those brightly colored, protective sheets. No one, and I mean NO one…knows what ‘SEEDS’ is really about! But I guarantee this…there isn’t any book out there like it.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping the characters interesting is a challenge at times. Perhaps because I’m not personally all that interesting…haha. But nonetheless, I eventually succeed. What I always do is care for them…even the bad ones. The moment a writer stops caring about their characters, the reader does as well.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have one, favorite author. I have many, mainly because every writer is different and being someone who enjoys many styles of writing, I can’t peg it down like that.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not as much as I’d like to! I usually stay within the hundred-mile radius.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
It’s a collaboration between myself and the artist I’m working with. I have a concept, but seeing as I can only draw stick figures, (badly) they fill in the blanks. But I always approve the final.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Which one? They all had their own challenges. For ‘Farm House’, it was creatively killing my characters off. For ‘One for the Road’, it was keeping the novella interesting considering everything in the book took time-wise about thirty minutes. For ‘SEEDS’…nope! (zips up!)
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn something new with each manuscript. I get better at it, that much I know. The best advice to a writer who wants to get better at the craft is write, write, write! You eventually DO find your rhythm.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be humble. Always learn. Remember that being a successful author is not necessarily about your story, but how it’s written. A good book is seventy percent mechanical, thirty percent creative content. It’s not enough to just type words. You have to know HOW to type the words and put them in the right place.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Nothing but ‘thank you’ for reading. I hope at some point you stayed up late to finish that last chapter; that you got scared when you turned out the lights, or that you laughed, cried and cheered in all the right places!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
‘I Am The Cheese’, by Robert Cormier.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Music and movies! I see almost everything new that comes out.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m not much of a current watcher of television, but I do enjoy ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
I eat anything. Anything seafood that used to have a shell is great! The color blue I love…it makes me feel calm. Music? Anything…I don’t discriminate, but I admit to being an old eighties hair-band-fan.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would love to have been a teacher. Even now, I love to teach!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Of course! http://geomancor.wix.com/stevesoderquist
Link to Farm House: http://damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615729838