A.F. Stewart is an author from Nova Scotia, Canada (my home province) who has a history of writing poetry and fantasy stories. She has been writing for several years but like many of us writers her life often interrupts her fantasies. You can find her on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter and, of course, Facebook.
Like many authors are doing these days, I connected with A.F. Stewart through Facebook and enjoy her connections, advise and expertise and know you will to. Enjoy:
Do you still remember that Ah-ha moment when you knew you’d be happy writing all your life? If so, please share it with us.
I don’t think I ever had an “A-ha” moment. I’ve constantly been a scribbler, writing bits and pieces since I was a kid. Writing just evolved for me over time.
Why fantasy? Has that always peaked your interest or have you dabbled in other genres of writing?
I’ve always been a fantasy and sci-fi geek, watching the TV shows and movies, reading the books and comics. It wasn’t the first genre I tried writing in though; I dabbled in mysteries and even romance first, but found I did not excel at either. That’s when I attempted writing in the genre I loved and knew well, and it clicked.
You’ve worked with Lulu with several books so you must like them. Have you looked at other publication companies?
I’ve stepped gingerly into the world of publishing ebooks with a book on Smashwords, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie…, as well an ebook edition of Chronicles of the Undead on Lulu. And someday I hope to get my fantasy series published with a more traditional publisher.
A.F., you mention on your site at Brave Host that you collect sword replicas. What got your collection started and how many do you have now?
I’ve always been interested in collecting swords; I guess it comes with being a fan of history and fantasy. I started my collection several years ago with a samurai sword replica from a store here in Nova Scotia. Then I discovered eBay and many wonderful auctions of swords, daggers and assorted knives. The rest is history. I haven’t counted my blades, but I must have a dozen or more.
In another interview I read, you answered the question of what type of writer you are and briefly answered that you don’t write about your own experiences. Do you find this difficult or liberating? And please share with us how you start and complete a story. Do you know the ending before you start, do you zone out and write or do you meet your characters and let them take you where they need to be, or explain your own unique method.
I suppose I could say not writing from my experiences is liberating, but I look at it more as a service to my readers. If I wrote about my experiences I might bore them to death. As for my writing process, it is chaotic. Stories come to me first as a thought, a concept or sometimes a beginning sentence. From that I form a general plot and work out how the story ends. Characters usually come next and their voices write the story for me, filling in everything from the beginning until the end. It can get complicated, though, because I rarely write in a linear order. I could pen a bit from the start of the story one day and something near the end the next, but somehow it manages to make sense when it’s finished.
You mentioned in another interview that reading to an audience gives you stage fright. Do you find this hinders your flexibility and networking as an author/ book seller or have you been able to cope without it?
Most of my marketing and promotion has been online, so that’s not a problem. With anything that involves speaking, like a radio interview, I just have to battle the nerves and try not to sound like a dork. I find nervous pacing and a small bit of mindless panic beforehand helps.
Please tell us a little bit about what it’s like to be an emerging author in Nova Scotia and Canada.
Sometimes, writing in the speculative genres, I do feel a bit lost in the sea of literary publishers here in Canada, but mostly I find the Canadian writing front supportive and friendly. Among the talented Canadian writers I’ve made acquaintance with (besides you, of course) are Steve Vernon, Erma Odrach and Renee Miller.
Are you part of a writer’s group or do you like to write alone?
I belong to some online writer’s groups; writing prompts, marketing ideas, promotion, an occasional critique, that sort of thing. Dialoguing with other writers helps, and the prompt challenges keep the imagination stimulated. But for the most part, I do write and edit by myself.
If Martians appeared and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on earth, what would you want?
Would it be too ostentatious to ask to be a rich, famous author, with Hugh Jackman feeding me chocolates? But seriously, I’m already doing what I love to do and about the only thing I really need is more time to get all my work done and still watch my DVD’s. Of course, if those Martians could arrange for me to win the lottery…
To conclude, is there anything else you want to share with us? Any upcoming books you want your readers to know about? Feel free to share anything with us.
I am working on a couple of things at the moment. I’m writing a short fantasy novel, Ruined City, that narrates the tragic tale of a cursed city through interconnected short stories. My other project is an ebook collection of five horror stories called Killers and Demons. And of course, there is always something new on my two blogs, in the form of book reviews, spotlights on indie novels and my nattering on about writing, movies and TV.
Thanks so much, A.F. Stewart for answering my questions today.
And, of course, thank YOU for reading,
PS: Stay tuned for next months interview with Jason Emerson. Watch the video for a sneak peek: