Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Steve Bellinger and I am 67 years old
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois in the United States
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago by a single mother who worked for a printing company. She would bring home books and magazines to encourage us to read. One day she brought home a science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov, and I was hooked. I attended the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago where I majored in Psychology and computers. I became a Star Trek fan when the series premiered in 1966 and a Dr. Who fan in the 80’s when it came on public television. I’ve attended conventions where I have met actors from both universes. I am married to Donna, another Trekkie/Whovianand we live in the Lincoln Park community in Chicago.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am re-launching my first novel The Chronocar. Later this spring I anticipate the release of my second novel Edge of Perception. The publisher has the manuscript for my third novel and I am currently working on the fourth in the series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was in high school. I created comic books and wrote my own James Bond inspired spy stories and sci fi stories. I was always of a creative mind, so I wanted to write the kind of stuff I was reading,
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time someone actually read my stuff and didn’t laugh in the wrong places.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to write an urban adventure with diverse characters. It had to be science fiction, and time travel is a favorite trope. I played around with the story idea for years. Then my wife read the manuscript and threatened to divorce me if I didn’t submit it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That was easy. The time machine was invented by a son-of-a-slave genius in the late 1800’s. “Chronocar” was an old world sounding name that I thought he might come up with. The story is named for the device. Also, I like short titles that make readers ask, “what is that?”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I try to be straight forward and keep it simple. I wanted non-science fiction fans to enjoy the story as well. That can be a real challenge when explaining the science and technology of the Chronocar. I can believe the reviews, I was able to pull it off.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Being a time travel story, I had to do considerable research. I used real locations and actual historical events to anchor the story. I sort of cheated with the characters. The main character, Tony Carpenter is me when I was 19 or 20 years of age (we even attended the same college). Dr. Simmie Johnson, the inventor of the Chronocar is a combination of my stepfather and grandfather.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
The only travel I had to do was to the Bronzeville community here in Chicago, where a lot of the action takes place.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publisher contracted an award-winning cover artist, Michael Leadingham, who did an amazing job.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Just because it is possible to do something does not mean it is wise to do it.
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 currently reading Semiosis by Sue Burke, and I enjoy stories by Seth Chambers. Both are well known authors who happen also to be friends. Beyond that, I still love the old masters, Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury and company. I also enjoyed the Ender series by Orson Scott Card. Hard to say exactly what it is that I like. I just enjoyed them. I do have to be careful, I cannot read anything that I really like while I am writing, or some of it might find its way into my work!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
When I submitted The Chronocar the first time, I got a long, helpful rejection note from the publisher, who saw the potential and recommended I join a writer’s group. It was this group of other writers who helped me polish the story and encouraged me to get it done and submitted. I’m part of a different group now that have seen me through two novels and are helping me with a third.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Not at this stage in my life. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I finish the fourth and final book in this series.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There are scenes that I think I might have fleshed out more, after hearing from readers who have said they would like to have read more about this or that. But, I am addressing all of this in the sequel.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That it was a lot more work than I expected!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
A young Denzel Washington. Not sure who of the current crop of young black stars would do as well. I often dreamed of James Earl Jones as Dr. Simmie Johnson.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes. Never give up. I got my first short story published (paid) when I was 57, and my first novel at 65. Please don’t wait that long, but don’t ever give up.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you enjoy my work, please tell others and, if you don’t mind, please write a review somewhere. In fact, do this for any indie writer you enjoy reading. It’s one of the few ways we can get the word out!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Semiosis by Sue Burke.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably a Tom Swift story. I do remember reading I, Robot by Asimov.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A good movie, comedy/tragedy
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I have actually met Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura of Star Trek) at a convention, but it would be wonderful to be able to sit and talk with her.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing, table tennis, bowling, bicycle riding, classical music and opera.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Re-runs of Star Trek, Star Trek Next Generation and Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Also, the Thunderbirds, both the old “puppets” series and the new animated series on Amazon Prime. Also like a lot of “Britcoms”
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods: Beef! Color: Blue Music: classical
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Stand up comedy.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“I’m not here, why are you?”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Buying link USA
Buying Link US
Steve, as a Doctor Who fan I have to ask: Do you ever call your wife Doctor Donna? 🙂
Armen Pogharian said:
I too benefited from helpful advice in a rejection letter. To be fair I received many such letters. Perhaps the one I remember was merely being polite (a rarity in the publishing world), but that politeness encouraged me to continue. Best of luck to you.