Name Seth (S.E.) Lindberg
Where are you from? Midwest U.S.A.; mostly Cincinnati OH
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
SEL: Even after I published two books independently, hiring freelance editors and commissioned master painter Ken Kelly for cover art, I still didn’t feel like a writer. It was not until last year when I had a short story published in Perseid Press’s Heroika: Dragon Eaters did I feel like an author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
SEL: As a practicing chemist and hobbyist illustrator, I’m driven to explore the weird experience of artists & scientists attempting to capture the divine. I identify with early scientists before chemistry splintered from alchemy, when Art & Science disciplines had common purpose. Take, for example, early anatomy (Medieval and Renaissance period): surgeons searched for the elements of the soul as they dissected bodies; data was largely visual, and had to be recorded by an illustrator. The technology behind paint and dyeing was developing alongside advances in medicine. Back then, the same instrumentation in apothecaries produced medicines as well as paints/inks, so the distinction between artist & scientist was obscure. Despite all the advances over centuries, much of the alchemical focus remains at large—the soul (and many other intangible spiritual things) remains immeasurable yet undeniably present. The closest I can get to transmuting ether is to mold my nightmares into art.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
SEL: Dark Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery in the vein of Robert Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. Hipsters of today would call it Grimdark.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
SEL: I rely on Sword & Sorcery as a medium to contemplate life-death-art with my Dyscrasia Fiction series. Dyscrasia literally means “a bad mixture of liquids” (it is not a fictional land). Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black and yellow bile). Artisans, anatomists, and chemists of the Renaissance expressed shared interest in the humors; accordingly, the scope of humorism evolved to include aspects of the four alchemical elements (water, air, earth and fire) and psychological temperaments (phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric). In short, the humors are mystical media of color, energy, and emotion; Dyscrasia Fiction presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease. The books explore the choices humans and their gods make as this disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
SEL: I plan to continue Dyscrasia Fiction in parallel with submitting stories to Perseid Press, forever shaping the muses of alchemy into heroic fiction. Two Dyscrasia Fiction works are in progress: (1) a novella (working title The Doll Eater); releases 2016; (2) A novel following “Spawn” (working title Seer Helen); releases ~2017.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
SEL: Not a message, but a feeling. I’d like to convey a sense of terror and awe.
Fiona: How much of your books are realistic?
SEL: Not at all.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
SEL: Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues and Weirdbook 31 as part of a group read on Goodreads.com, the theme being Sword & Sorcery Anthologies. Please join us!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
SEL: Tom Barczak. He is an architect by day, illustrator and poetic writer by night. I relate to his Veil of the Dragon work.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
SEL: Goodreads.com has been a wonderful place. I joined in 2011 and quickly went from databasing my own books, to reviewing books, to connecting and & interviewing authors…to co-moderating the Sword & Sorcery group (all are welcome to join…reader/authors/editors/illustrators aggregate there). This group led me to my freelance editor and helped me get connected to Perseid Press. It also enabled me to brush up on a lot of Sword & Sorcery history. I love making the image banners since it gets me acquainted with cover artists. Lots of opportunities spawn from just trying to help others achieve their goals.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
SEL: Balancing a fun career with the duties of a father, there is scarce dedicated time for writing. I’ve fallen into structured day dreaming, rehearsing scenes via each characters’ perspective. Being kept away from the writing-desk forces multiple iterations, but the frustration is rewarding when scenes are enhanced. This role playing can be done anywhere, anytime; a smartphone or notepad is needed to capture key dialogue and interactions to flesh out later.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
SEL: My favorite published author is Clark Ashton Smith (poetic weird fiction from the pen pal of Robert E. Howard and Howard P. Lovecraft)
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
SEL: I designed and illustrated the cover to Lords of Dyscrasia. I commissioned Ken Kelly (master fantasy painter and nephew to Frank Frazetta) to illustrate the cover to Spawn of Dyscrasia, a process chronicled on my blog.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
SEL: Making sense of fantasy world. Attempting to tackle a novel from the beginning was too overwhelming. I tried several times, but it was too difficult to simultaneously create a story while creating complex magic system and world. In order to tell a coherent story, I had to write a short story first (it ended up being Chapter 2 in Lords of Dyscrasia, “Portrait of a Seer”). Then “baby steps” commenced (Chapter 3, etc). Lords of Dyscrasia ended up being a set of seven tales, each chapter being a short story—it has a single story arc, that being of Lord Lysis. It begins with him denouncing his ancestral faith and ends with his final transformation into an undead warrior. With the world building complete, I was able to tackle a second novel with greater focus on characterization and more traditional format: Spawn of Dyscrasia.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
SEL: I recall the first dark fantasy series, it was The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. I adored the cauldron-born zombies!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
SEL: My dog Shorty. She’s a black pug, and is pure comic relief. She makes me laugh every day.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
SEL: I am hobbyist graph artist / Photoshop hack and create homemade Holiday Cards every year. They show off my lighter side of creativity (balancing the horror within Dyscrasia Fiction).
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
SEL: Currently, I am enjoying Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
SEL: Coffee. Pizza.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?