Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Cheers and salutations.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My official name is Stephen Coghlan, although I do have a few nicknames, including Scuba Steve, EgoJack( Short for Egotistical Jackass), and a few I won’t mention for public decency’s sake. As for age, *Counts fingers* Three and a half decades.
Fiona: Where are you from?
The Great White North, AKA The land o’ the Maple. (Canada, for those still wondering) I presently inhabit a small piece of land just outside of the national capital (Ottawa, not Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal, but nice guess)
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m not a writer by study. In college I took Mechanical Engineering Technologies, and HRAC technician, so during the day I wear a hardhat and work boots. When the job is physical, or when I’m driving, my mind can wander and my imagination is set free. It helps me to organize my thoughts.
When not working, I’m either creating worlds and characters, or helping my long-suffering wife attempt to raise our kids. I’m so immature though, that she often claims me as another child.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Where to begin? I know, Bullet List!
- Since GENMOS: Gathering Storms has been released, I’ve been chasing critics for reviews.
- I’m, as always, writing short stories in an attempt to get my name out. (Currently four on the go)
- I’ve just finished the primary editing on a science-fiction novel, NOBILIS: Seedling.
- I’m rewriting the sequel to GENMOS: Gathering Storms
- I’ve decided to try editing an erotic horror novel I wrote years ago, called Children of Twilight
- And I’m coauthoring a story with, Miles Pateman, about a trans man who journeys from Canada to Britain to find his birth mother when his two dads admit that neither one is his biological father.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been a story-teller. That transformed into a useful skill when I became a baby-sitter, because it raised the demand for me when all the kids I looked after wanted to hear more. I didn’t really begin writing until high school when a girl I was dating continued to talk about an online writing group. So, in an attempt to increase my chances of getting laid, I joined up and began trying to impress her. Since English was my worst subject, I didn’t do too well, but I learned a lot, and it set the seeds for future endeavors.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
January 8th, 2017.
I’d always been writing since I joined the club back in high school. The urge to create eventually outlasted the relationship and became my crutch, my form of expression, and my catharsis. I could go in depth about how it helped me, how it gave me an outlet as an angry young man, how it calmed me during rough days, but that’s a story in itself.
All along though, I said I would never consider myself a writer until I was published.
On the day indicated above, my short story, A Voice not Spoken debuted in Thurston Howl Publications’Seven Deadly Sins anthology. Later that afternoon, I received my first check for my short Tooth, Claw and Fang, which is featured in FurPlanet Productions’Dogs of War anthology.
That was the day I became both published, and professional.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m going to make a shout out to two web comics.
NamirDeiter and TheCyantian Chronicles.
I’d attempted to make headway on a few stories before that, but it had proven difficult. One day, in college, I was perusing the two comics during a break between classes when the urge to create finally bit me hard enough to sink in. I wanted to tell a story about a tight nit group, a family, and I realized the anthro genre would help with that because I could project humanity on something that wasn’t quite normal, making all of their choices and emotions more poignant.
It took almost a year, but GENMOS: Gathering Storms was born.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
GENMOS is short for Genetically Modified Species, so that was easy. Gathering Storms though, didn’t come to me until I started penning the second novel. I needed a title for the first, and what better than a weather phenomenon to help describe a rising tempest?
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m still in the process of finding one voice. Over the years I’ve experimented with many different styles, and one of the things I do is find a story close to the genre I’m writing, and try and emulate the author’smethods, while leaving my own spin to it.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Considering how I started it out, no, it’s not too realistic. Each Genmos has unique abilities that are superhuman, although I did strive to keep it as realistic as I can, all things considered.
As far as experiences and events in my own life, I have a vast resume, so some of my abilities and education, as well as some small anecdotes, made their own way in. I’ve been to almost all the locales mentioned in the story at least once in my life, so that’s accurate, but I’ve never leapt from a speeding vehicle and flung myself into the St Lawrence river, nor can I dodge bullets.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Each of my works is unique and alternately inspired. I travel almost every day, with the shortest drive for me being about 30 minutes, but, before our second child, I used to cover an 800km (500 mile) radius, so travel was common.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The art was done by DrkChaos (Joseph Chou), but it was all assembled by the team at Thurston Howl Publications. The back blurb was actually directly taken from my query letter, which Howl, of THP, said impressed him.
To be honest, the two blurbs on the back, one from Phil Geusz, the other from Bill Kieffer, gave me such a moral boost I was giddy for a week.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There’s a strong message about family and friendship, but there’s another message that is never directly stated: You, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, faith, are wonderful.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I’m presently working with Miles Pateman, whom I mentioned earlier. He’s a good writer, and I’ve beta-read a few of his worksand I’m super stoked over his potential. Maybe by the time this interview is published, so will he be too.
As far as favorite writers: I was raised during my youthin a rural subdivision, without cable and in a time before the internet was popular. If you weren’t wandering the woods, than there was pretty much just books or an Apple II plus to occupy your time.
As such, Anne Maccaffrey became one of my go to authors. Her Pern series helped me voyage to a strange world, and her Doona series with Jody Lynne Nye took a place of honor on my shelf.
Frank Herbert, not just Dune, but several of his other works, took up room there too.
I found a collection of Fighting Fantasy books, and lost myself in those. The Destroyer Series from Gold Eagle were devoured, and all the Robotech books in my collection are dog eared from constant thumbing through.
Lastly, I have a collection of SPAWN paperbacks, the entire Preacher series, and I just grabbed the last Blade of the Immortal Trade from my local comic store.
Each of those authors and their series influenced me greatly, if not the most. All that being said, one of the jobs I held for a few years was working at a thrift store. Before I met my wife, my library was well into the 2,000 book range. It was reduced though, down to just a few hundred.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Scott Kosten. He was my classmate, and eventually became my best friend. He was the first to read GENMOS, NOBILIS, CHILDREN OF TWILIGHT, and THE FINAL GENTLEMAN. Although he now lives hours away, we communicate via email often, although I don’t burden him beta-reading my works recently, he had faith in me from the very beginning.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I don’t see it replacing my primary field until I earn my second million, (The first, if I am ever so blessed, would be absorbed by debts and taxes.)
I see me as crafting words and worlds as long as I can, but I know making it big in the industry is a rare thing, so I don’t dream that, I just tell stories, share them, push them, and hope that one day I can retire before I leave my body to turn to ash.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The editing teams have made sure the answer to that is: No. To date, all of my novels have been released through THP, and the editing teams have worked closely with me to make the works go from rough words, to well-polished gems.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Gathering Storms? Much. Thanks to THP, I learned to cut out characters who weren’t important. I learned more about writing a proper climax, about when to use 1st vs 3rd person, but most importantly, I learned to listen to advice. I learned to debate, and when to accept or when to put my foot down, (Which was only once, and done very cordially)
Nobilis: I learned where to add description to enhance a character, without making it too bulky, and with the primary editor’s help, we eliminated a F on M attempted rape scene, which, when I wrote the book over 12 years ago, I thought was funny, but now that I’m a parent and husband, I found the scene uncomfortable, and so did the editors.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If I had been asked that years ago, I’d have had an answer. Nowadays though, I would offer the role to an upcoming, or unknown, actor. I would scour stage and small theater works, looking for someone who could give the performance exactly what it requires.
I also think GENMOS would work as a cartoon, so they would need to emote vocally.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Learn from others. Find a style you like and practice it.
If someone offers you constructive criticism, listen. You don’t have to adopt what they’re saying, but don’t take it as a challenge either. They are offering an opinion and help. Say “Thank you.” Smile, and sleep on it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please, whenever you read something, whether you like it or not, drop a review somewhere. If you liked the piece, let people know, and if you didn’t like it, explain why. Artists, of any format, need feedback to improve and grow.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m actually reading manuscripts by some of my peers. I’m just giving them the ol’ once over, and when I’m done, I hope that they will find themselves published.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I remember the first book I purchased, which was a pop-up Dinosaur book.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laughing is one of my defense mechanisms, so just about anything really, although I am finally learning not to laugh so much at a funeral.
As far as crying goes, when I have not had enough sleep, silly, sappy commercials can do me in.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I have so many answers to that.
I can’t choose just a set of individuals?Maybe my grandparents, when they all still had their minds, to tell them I love them one more time.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Music. I have sung in many choirs, and as a rough baritone I’m often cast as a villain. I play the guitar to relieve stress. When it comes to sports I used to mountain bike, until I crushed my spine. I love to fish and canoe, although that has led to some troubles when I took a nap, and woke up to ride some rapids. When my kids are old enough, I’d like to get back into martial arts and weapons training. There’s something about harmonizing the body and mind that feels so, cleansing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
For TV, Documentaries, for the most part. Some competitions, like Forged in Fire have become recent must-watch. Oh, and M*A*S*H*, especially the later seasons with Cl Potter.
Films, that would be action, sci-fi, and psychological thrillers to dark psych horror. I like to be creeped out without gore, I want to be scared, not disgusted.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Anything my wife cooks J I have a serious love for Oxtail and Goat.
Winter colors. Dark blues, blacks, greys, deep greens.
Anything except twangy country. While Heaven Wept, The Tea Party, and John Murphy are always on my playlists for just about any activity, but there’s a real smorgasbord of other artists and styles.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I don’t think I could face the world anymore. Writing has become such a stabilizer for me. It helps to keep my brain quiet. Out of all the other artistic venues I’ve tried, writing has been the most powerful and emotional way for me to vent, safely. I would have to find another way to express.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Loving Father, Husband, Son.
Nothing complex. Maybe if my works ever take off, then I would want something mentioned like “He touched the mind and hearts of those who loved his worlds, May he find peace with those he created.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I’ll point to my website and blog, http://scoghlan.com, but I can be found on Twitter and Facebook by searching for WordsBySC. There’s a few freebies up on my website, including two shorts. I hope to add more to it as I too, continue to grow as an author.