Interview with Steven Best
1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I write best at night, usually between 9:00 pm and whenever I fall asleep. I’m home from my day job, supper has been eaten, the baby is asleep, the house is quiet, and I have a whole day’s worth of ideas ready to be used.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Do people still write books on paper? I write everything on my computer using MS Word 2003. Occasionally I might write down some notes on a scrap of paper, but I prefer to type and always carry a flash drive with me in case I’m not at my own PC.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
Books, music, video games, nature, my dog, dreams…hh, everything? I particularly find anything that Jim Henson was involved in to be inspiring and uplifting just from the sheer amount of creativity he encouraged from the people that worked with him. Is it wrong for an adult to like Fragglerock more than most of the garbage that’s on TV these days?
4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
I try to shoot for a certain number of pages per week when writing new material. On a good night I’ll do about 2,000 words of new material and about an hour reading over and editing stuff I already wrote. When getting a book ready to go online I can spend 3-5 hours a night editing.
5: Being a self published author how do you come up with your cover art?
I do all my own covers. I’m not the greatest artist in the world, but I enjoy drawing anyway and am slowly improving upon my methods. I sketch out the image on paper and scan it into a program called Paint.net, which I use for coloring, inking, and combing the art with the rest of my cover. I know I could do better if I found an artist and paid to have a professional cover made, but I consider doing it myself part of the fun of self-publishing.
6: What drives you to chose the career of being a writer?
It was a desire to get my ideas out there for the world to see, as well as a need to have goals after college beyond “Get a job, make money.” I’ve been writing casually since I was in elementary school, and I was making up stories before that even. I have tons of old sketch books filled with notes, drawings, and maps of fantasy worlds, and some of those ideas live on in my books. I’ve kept my ideas mostly to myself my whole life, and even when I wrote things down it was always for my own personal benefit.
7: Do you own an ebook reading devise?
Only if a PC counts, but I prefer dead trees.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
I was raised on Forgotten Realms novels, and I still occasionally pick up R.A. Salvatore to see what’s going on in the setting. When I’m in the mood for short stories I tend to alternate between H.P. Lovecraft and Isaac Asimov, and I’m a huge fan of the late great Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series (and I have high hopes for Brandon Sanderson finishing the series). Lately since I tend to write young adult fantasy I’ve been reading the classics of children’s and young adult fantasy (Wizard of Oz, Chronicles of Narnia, etc) to see how the original masters did it.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I’ve never even watched a book trailer and I don’t see myself making any in the foreseeable future. I buy my books based off samples and the cover description.
10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m laying down the ground work for the third book in my Tales from the Green series, The Tainted Sliver. The first few chapters are complete in very rough draft form. I hope to be done with the manuscript by the end of the year. I aim to have the book online before spring 2011, though I still haven’t decided if this is to be the last book in the series or not. As a side project I’m also writing a fairy tale inspired partially by the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, and I always have a few other half-baked ideas and short stories I’m working on.