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?
I am the 54-year-old version of Richard H. Stephens.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in the small city of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Cambridge is less than an hour southwest of Toronto.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I had two careers. One as a shipper for 22 years at a local bakery. During that time, I went back to school to obtain my high school diploma at the age of 38. From there, I joined the local police service and worked there for 12 years before retiring to become a fulltime writer.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
December 15th will mark the release of the 3rd book in my 2nd trilogy. Reecah’s Legacy is the culmination of the epic fantasy, Legends of the Lurker. The series is chronologically set 550 years before my first series, the Soul Forge Saga.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As a child I enjoyed reading Hardy Boy mysteries. At the age of 9, bored on summer vacation and looking for something to do, I thought to myself, “I could write one of those.” And so, I did.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In my heart, I’ve always fancied myself a writer, but it wasn’t until I held my 1st published book in my hands that I felt it okay to let the world know too.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title for my 1st fantasy book was called, The River Styx. I loved that title. It spoke to me. For 35 years, that was the name of my WIP. And then, one fateful day while on Facebook a few years ago as I proudly announced its imminent release, someone I had never met said, “Oh, I love Greek Mythology.” I was devastated. I had never thought the title would elicit that response—and rightfully so. From that point on, the book went through several names: The Evil Men Do (or something like that), Where Have All Our Heroes Gone, The Adventures of Silurian Mintaka and a few others until the day the title, Soul Forge struck me.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
As far as style, I’m not really sure. I like to think I write like Terry Brooks or Robert Jordan, though I would never put myself up on their level. Someday, perhaps.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Though I write epic fantasy, many of my characters’ mannerisms can be traced back to myself or my immediate family. I often input my moral character into the underlying themes of the story without trying to sound preachy.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I haven’t had to yet, but I have applied for an Arts Grant to travel to England and Scotland to research witchcraft in the 15th and 16th century. I hope to visit the birthplace of King Arthur and tour Merlin’s cave, as well as visit several standing stone sites including, of course, Stonehenge.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I employ many different cover artists. For custom artwork, I use Marco Pennacchietti. For my latest series, Legends of the Lurker, I have employed the talents of KJ Magical Designs. I have 6 more covers for stories that still need to be written and they are from 3 different pre-made cover designers who I will announce as I reveal the covers. (I think I might have acquired an addiction to buying covers.)
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are always underlying moral issues permeating my stories. Prejudice, racism, bullying to name a few, but I don’t harp on them. Just as these issues are present in everyday life, they are also present in my stories.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I read a wide variety of Indie authors, but as for my favourite, it will always be a tie between Terry Brooks and Stephen R. Donaldson.
R.A. Salvatore, Anne McCaffrey, Michael Moorcock, Tad Williams, Katherine Kurtz and Jack Whyte give them a run for their money, but Terry and Stephen will always hold a special place in my heart.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
A home room teacher I had for grade 6, 7, and 8 greatly influenced my love of writing. Mr. Woodley read through my science fiction novel and never once criticized it for the awful paperweight it was. Instead, he just kept encouraging me to keep writing and that gave me the confidence to soldier on.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is my career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Other than the odd typo that will make it through to the print run? No.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. That I can actually make a deadline. Just…
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I think it would be cool to have the model who posed for the cover to play Reecah.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Carve time for yourself. You are important too. Before you publish, pay for a GOOD editor, and a good cover. You only get one chance to engage a reader. Don’t lose them.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you. As a writer, I experience many days where I doubt myself. It’s during these dark times that a random reader will out of the blue say something nice about my stories and everything is right in the world again. Without my devoted fans, I’m not sure I could keep publishing my stories.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Transformation Protocol, by Canadian science fiction author, David M. Kelly. I am usually a fantasy fan, but once in a while I like to switch it up. Kelly’s Joe Ballen series is awesome.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but the first Hardy Boy story I read was The Mystery of Cabin Island.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The usual things in life.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My Grandparents and my parents. They left the world before I finally became a published author. I would love to see their faces as I give them one of my books. Now that would make me cry.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Hiking, cycling, kayaking.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Whatever Netflix series my wife and I happen to be watching at the time.
Fiona: Favourite foods, colours, music?
Quebec French meat pie.
I listen to a wide variety of music as I write. Depending on the tone of the story, my taste varies from hard rock to epic music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I cannot imagine that future. As long as I have a future, I will write.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family, enjoying their company.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Until We Meet Again
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website: www.richardhstephens.com
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/richardhstephens
Youtube channel with all of the book trailers: https://bit.ly/2NKpOhn
Of Trolls and Evil Things: http://getbook.at/OfTrollsandEvilThings
Royal Tournament: http://getbook.at/TheRoyalTournament
Soul Forge: http://getbook.at/SoulForgeSaga
Wizard of the North: getbook.at/Wizard
Into the Madness: http://getbook.at/IntoTheMadness
Soul Forge Box Set: http://getbook.at/SoulForgeSagaBoxSet
Reecah’s Flight: http://getbook.at/ReecahsFlight
Reecah’s Gift: http://getbook.at/Reecahs_Gift
Reecah’ Legacy: http://mybook.to/Reecahs_Legacy