Name : C.L. Stegall (pronounced like “DeGaulle”)
Age : Older than I feel, thank the stars!
Where are you from: I call San Diego, CA home.
A little about your self, i.e., your education, Family life etc
I was born in North Carolina; however, I left for the Army 2 days after I graduated high school. I’ve lived in dozens of different states and three different countries. I’ve visited a few more than that in both my military exploits as a Spanish Linguist for Military Intelligence and in my personal life since leaving the military.
I am married to a wonderfully understanding Wife who is my greatest cheerleader. We have two furbabies who sometimes run our lives.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The first book in my Valence of Infinity series will have it’s second edition release in December of this year, with January seeing the second edition release of the first novel in my Progeny series. The second novel in the Progeny series will be out in March!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
- I was given an assignment in Spanish class, in high school, to write a story incorporating the language. It was the first A+ I had ever received. That changed my life forever.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In 2003, when I placed first in a short story contest. It was then that I felt sort of validated in my ability. Hey, it only took me twenty years!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As I said, in 2003 my short story about a girl who was the modern age daughter of a Greek goddess took first place in a writing contest. By far the number one piece of feedback that I received was “where’s the rest?!” That set me on a VERY long path to publish my first novel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
It’s interesting. I’ve been told several times that I write like no one else. I’ve been told I have strange word choices and sentence structure, yet I still receive wonderful reviews. Whatever style I have, I suppose it is all my own. I wouldn’t want to change that.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For the Progeny series, the first book’s title, Weight of Night, comes from how Alexis sees her gift. It also resonates as how she feels about her life, that inner voice telling her that she’s different. Once I completed the novel, there was a lot more meaning to the title than I had originally planned.
For the Valence of Infinity series, it was two-fold. I had the series title in mind from a very early stage (it is fully explained in the first novel); however, the first novel I published, Blood of Others, was not the first book I had planned on releasing. When it came right down to it, I just felt like the import of Paris’ origin story better laid the groundwork – or, foundation – for all of the future books and stories in the series. As Paris realizes what her future holds…well, therein originates the title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It’s kind of funny, really. Each of my stories, large or small, always has a message. Yet, it can be ever so subtle! Still, for:
Weight of Night: It is all about how every action or decision you make has consequences – not just for yourself or even those closest to you, but even far-reaching consequences. Sometimes you just can’t see the effects immediately. But you will.
Blood of Others: For this book, for this story, I had a unique plan for the protagonist. She is someone who has an extremely hard life. Even when things seem to be going her way, there is always something around the corner. Something dark and terrible. I wanted to show how one person, with a simple, inherent trait, can overcome any obstacle. Paris doesn’t know how to quit. She doesn’t know how to give up. Her innate knack for survival is meant to be the message: never give up.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I had to think about this one for a minute or two.
In Weight of Night, a great deal of it is realistic: the characters, their interpersonal relationships, their wants and needs, their foibles and strengths. It all mirrors everyday life. Then, there is the fact that those characters could not exist in “real life.” They have inhuman abilities and powers. Still.
In Blood of Others, an Urban Fantasy/Horror story, believe it or not, I feel that more of it is realistic than in Weight of Night. If only because I went through a great deal of research to validate my idea of what might actually serve as the bases for all of the vampire myths and legends of old. I spent quite a bit of time reviewing the details of the biology of the Lloranan (the name my vamps’ have given themselves) in order to make them as realistic as possible. Physically – anatomically and biochemically – they could very well exist today in this modern world of ours. Scary, if you think about it!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It is impossible for a writer to not infuse his or her own work with bits and pieces of their own existence. Write what you know. Right? I will leave it at that. ;o)
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
There have been quite a few as I am a voracious reader whenever I set the time aside. I would say that I have influences in different aspects of my writing. From an overall perspective, I think Piers Anthony’s work guided my plotting and character building. For the harder edge of my writing, that was certainly influenced by one of my favorite books, Fairie Tale, by Raymond E. Feist. When it comes to the research and science behind my work, as well as the action sequencing, I definitely call to mind the Sten series by my friend Allan Cole and his late writing partner Chris Bunch.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and had someone “mentor” me as such. I’ve enjoyed wonderful chats on the subject of writing with innumerable writers, though. Conversations great and small, writing classes and Facebook chats with the likes of Allan Cole, Saranna DeWylde, Anna Destafano, Piper Bayard, Kristen Lamb to name but a few. As well as long, long conversations with my close author friends, Brian Fatah Steele, Jack X. McCallum and Jonathan Black. Every little nugget of wisdom is stored away with hopes for use at some point, if not every day.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently engrossed in Inhuman (Book 5) (Post-Human Series) by David Simpson. It’s a fantastic Sci-Fi series on par with Asimov and Heinlein. Not to mention David is a great guy, as well.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
As I mentioned, David Simpson is currently a favorite of mine. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to devote as much time to reading in the last few months as I would like. Oh, I do enjoy JA Redmerski, though. Her novel, Dirty Eden, is really outstanding.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I just submitted my story, The Black Stair – which was accepted by Bearded Scribe Press for the anthology Twice Upon a Time. It is a collection of old fairy tales twisted and turned on their heads for modern audiences!
I am also preparing for the re-release of Blood of Others in December, Weight of Night in January and then Depth of Shadow in March. Busy, busy!
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have to say I have a great support group. Author JA Redmerski was a huge cheerleader for Weight of Night, after having read it. The folks at the Lexi-Con Writers’ Conference have been nothing but supportive and my DRP crew (John, Brian, Jack and JoAnna) are huge tent poles to my confidence as a writer. (Although, those latter few do tend to be the hardest on me, I think that’s why I respect them as much as I do!)
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
For the past couple of years, yes. I see my future as an author only growing, going forward. Prior to that, I admit I was none too sure. But, we all grow as me move along our paths. Luckily, my path is the one I truly want to be on.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh, Lord! Don’t get me started! Every writer knows that we have to just cut ourselves off at some point. I could have kept tweaking and adding and such for years if I had allowed myself. That, however, is not the way to becoming a better writer. Write. Move on. Write. Move on. Repeat.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
That short story in Spanish class. It was truly a pivotal point in my life.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I can! Let me just point you to the Valence of Infinity site: www.ValenceOfInfinity.com where you will find excerpts and stories of the Lloranan from Blood of Others, as well as upcoming excerpts from the next novel in that series, The Moon Also Rises.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I tend to be wordy. My editing team nails me on it every time!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t think I can call out one particular person. Allan Cole (and the late Chris Bunch) has been a huge influence. As has Raymond E. Feist and Piers Anthony. Their plotting and characters are levels to which I continue to aspire.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Oh, I wish I could! Lots of research takes the place of travel. But, Greece and Cyprus…one day!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I have done all of my own covers. Crazy, I know. Still, I do take quite a bit of advice from Brian Fatah Steele, one of the DRP crew, who was an art major at Kent State. He does all of his own covers, as well, and he is amazing.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting through the first novel was an exercise in stress and frustration. Eventually, a friend of mine, John J. Smith, suggested I break the story out into smaller chunks, like Stephen King did with The Green Mile. It changed everything! Once I shifted my process, I completed the novel in less than 7 months!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned quite a bit about plotting and pacing. I tend to maintain a fast pace in all of my stories. I have always tried to heed Elmore Leonard’s advice on how to write well: “Just take out all the boring parts.”
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write! You just have to keep writing. The old adage, Practice Makes Perfect – well you might not be perfect but you will always improve!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I really hope you enjoy slipping away into my worlds. I love being there and sharing with you all!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not a clue! However, the first book that stuck with me? Where the Red Fern Grows.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My Wife! (In all the best ways.)
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
For all of the amazing conversations I think we might have… Allan Cole.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
He did well.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love web design and digital artistry, as well as traditional painting; although I do not get to it as much as I’d like. I’ve been doing Crossfit since late summer (2014) and I’ve sort of gotten into it. It results in a “good” pain, if there is any such thing! At my age, I need all the help I can get to stay in shape!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Doctor Who (I’m a geek!) and The Blacklist/Orphan Black because I love great characters!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: anything tasty! / Color: Greens / Music: Love it all!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I can’t imagine. My day job is in Information Technology and Business Intelligence. I get to have my creative outlet and my analytical side gets its due, as well.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I do, of course! It is www.CLStegall.com