Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with Stefan Ellery, author of science-fiction/fantasy/horror and children's books. He's even tapping into a little romance within his stories. I've learned a lot from my interview with Stefan, including who's his biggest fan - his son!
These are some of the questions I asked him. Read on, and find out what makes Stefan Ellery tick.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
In Highschool I wanted to be a writer. I would often write poems though they were of teenage angst. I also attempted to write fantasies but I was not ready to write anything long. Unfortunately I was unable to stick through it.
What inspires your writing?
Movies, nature, books. I often walk in a crowded city or through a patch of wildereness and my mind goes wild with thoughts and ideas. Walking through a grove of oaks will make me think about faces in the knots of the tree. Many of my ideas also come when I am walking my dog.
What other jobs have you done or are still doing besides writing?
·Mostly I have been an audiovisual technician, I’ve worked in Hotels, Hospitals and colleges. I am currently an AV/multimedia Technician in an Environmental college. It is an interesting job and I see interesting things while I am there. I’ve also worked at a digital signage company and demoed video editing equipment. Though I will never forget working at the western Harbor Castle where I had to do an AV set up for Kenny Rogers. I had got to shake his hand.
What genres do you enjoy writing, and why?
I have not limited myself as of yet. I am still learning what I can write. At the moment I have written children stories, short horrors, supernatural and science fiction. I have not written a full romance but I have included elements of it in some of my stories. Though I thing I have enjoyed writing short ghost stories the best. I tend to write them to so I can face the unknown.
What’s been the hardest thing on your journey as a writer?
Getting there has been the hardest part. At each moment I was close to accomplishing a written work, something would push me away from it. People who insult me for what I write. Even when I managed to complete my stories it was because I had become sick from stress and I had been away from work for over a year.
What’s the most enjoyable thing on the journey?
I learnt that writing heals me and now I could never give it up. I also enjoy reading my stories to my son.
How much support do you receive from your family?
My son gives me a lot of support; he wants to read everything I write. My wife finds my work boring because she wants a murder in the beginning of my stories. She is a Dan Browning and Clive Cusler fan and I do not write like them. I do get a lot of support from my mother and she does not want me to give up on writing.
How do you manage your schedule to balance writing with other responsibilities?
I don’t, I am awful at it. I tend to write late at night and I have to push myself away from distractions. I probably would do better if I had a publisher giving me a cutoff date for a manuscript.
What aspects of your life (such as hobbies or places you’ve traveled) have you included in your writing?
I practice Karate and have often used what I have learned in my novels to help make a fight scene more interesting. Many of my short stories include the town of Lindsay since I live there and I want to make it more magical and mysterious than it really is. I also use Toronto as that was my previous residence and I very much love the city.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Listen to your heart and ignore those that think you should give up. You can only become a better writer by writing. Your early works may not be the greatest, but your future works will be so much better.
Plotter? Or Pantster?
I’m a panster. I tried plotting but for some reason I lose track of the story when I plot.I also find my writing clicks together in my head much better than something I had planned on paper.
Describe your ideal “writing room” -- and your real one.
My ideal writing room would be in the middle of the city at the top of a sky scrapper overlooking the buildings and seeing the lights of the traffic. I would have a large oak desk and a dimly lit room. My real room has my bed and a desk with a computer on it. I have iron angels, comics and books in shelves. Though I have a nice desk I tend to write in bed.
The value of networking
Networking is the best thing one can do as a writer. You will learn about publishers, agents from other writers plus many writers will give you morale support when you need it. Always network it will lead you to some great places.
Writer’s block and how you overcome it
There is no such thing. If I can`t come up with something for my story I will write something else than come back to my first story.
Tricks you use to stimulate your thinking
I make-believe. If I see a rock I imagine what lies under it. Trees I pretend there is a dryad inside of them. Clouds especially ominous ones give me all sorts of ideas. Oh and old buildings to have so much to say in the brick and mortar that one cannot help find a story in its foundations.
Then I decided to ask Stefan some fun questions he could answer. This is what he had to say:
What is your favorite genre to read?
Modern Urban Fantasy
Do you have a favorite author?
Charles De Lint
Do you prefer reading or watching television?
Reading, though I have had trouble reading since my stress problems
Do you watch television? What are your favorites?
Yes though mostly on Netflix. A game of thrones, Grimm and Alphas
Do you have a favorite car?
For some reason I like the Juke apart from that I don`t care so much about cars.
(Just in case you didn't know, a Juke is a funky little Nissan Crossover/SUV)
A favorite pet?
I have had many pets but Shakira my dog calms me down and is there at my bedside to wake me up when I stop breathing in my sleep. I have sleep apnea
Besides writing, what excites you?
I love playing video games. Guildwars 2 and Diablo 3 are my latest distractions. I also enjoy fishing and learning about new technologies.
Favorite vacation spot - real.
P.E.I along the coast
(Prince Edward Island, in case, like me, you didn't know that. lol)
Favorite vacation spot – ideal
I want to visit India and see where my dad was born.
(That's pretty neat, I thought)
Tell us about your books, Stefan.
Currently I have one short story The Miller`s Daughter, published in The Dark Light anthology by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. I have a self-published novella called Unfililterd and have finished 2 books of a series of four. The name keeps changing so I`m not going to mention the titles. The current novel I am writing is live onTextnovel and you can see the work in progress. It is called Hidden in the Light and it is a dystopian novel about a boy who believes the Angels have saved his planet but he soons find out what they are and how he has been lied too.
What was the inspiration behind the story?
I`ve read too much news lately and have been getting sick of the lies we have been told to justify each new war and the extra security to keep one safe. In fact I am starting to find the world is starting to represent a more Orwellian look. I wanted to express my feelings in a dystopian novel.
Who is your favorite character from the book, and why?
At the moment it is Kulko. He is bird like humanoid and has an odd sense of humor that is mixed in with his stubbornness.
How did you choose your title?
I needed something temporary it is not the name I will go with.
What research was involved?
A lot of the information I put in was collected from watching lots of documentaries through my life. Heck, I even used noodling for catfish as a way of catching a land creature.
How does the setting play a role in the story?
The setting is very important - it guides the behavior of my characters and determines how they live. You have one village that is resource rich but the villagers are ignorant to what had happened in the past and what the angels are while on another planet you have a village that is in a dry desolate land and they know who and what they fight.
What do you hope readers will get from your novel.
I want them to feel that there is more than meets the eye in the current world we live in. I also want them to feel like they are part of Darren`s journey. He is the protagonist in the novel.
Wow, this story sounds fascinating. Will there be a sequel?
No Just a one shot
Okay, give me the blurb for the book in 140 characters or less:
Darren on his sixteenth birthday must go into the service of the angels as do all children born that reach the age of sixteen during the day of tribute. He is excited to serve them but soon learns a truth that will change his life forever.
What’s next for you?
I`m thinking of writing an anthology of ghost stories.
Where can we find you, Stefan?
Stefan, best of luck to you...I can't wait to see more of your books and anthologies out there.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer my questions.
Readers - Please go take a look at Hidden in the Light at Textnovel.com and PLEASE, why not give Stefan your vote.