About A. F. Stewart:
A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author, she’s published novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.
What inspires you to write?
If I knew that, I’d bottle it and sell it. My mind is weird and anything can set off the muse. The creative part of me goes off on these tangents and I just write with the flow. I’ve been inspired by pictures, by the sound of an airplane, by King Arthur legends, Renaissance Italy, Starship Troopers, and mythology. Generally it is something visual or auditory, or stems from a previous interest, but it can be anything. My latest blog stories about Zombie Cows came from a conversation I had a few years ago about how the apocalypse would happen.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
My favourite authors are Neil Gaiman and Guy Gavriel Kay (who’s a fellow Canadian author). I’ve been a fan of Neil Gaiman since his Sandman days, and Guy Gavriel Kay won me over with his book Tigana (that novel ripped my heart out, but left me in awe of his writing). They both have a wonderful, poetic style that is a joy to read.
Tell us about your writing process.
For my books I’m a planner and have recently fallen in love with scene outlining; it really helps me organize the plot structure and position where all the nuances should go. I also make a lot of worldbuilding and character notes, and if I need them, maps (I love maps). I’m also visual in my planning, so I use Pinterest boards and stock images to help me envision characters and places. And I do tons of research before and during my writing, which leads to more notes and special bookmark folders in my browser.
I totally pants my short stories though. With them, I have a beginning and ending and write until they're connected (hopefully meeting the word count I'm aiming for).
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters, mostly because they will not shut up. Their voices just wander around in my head until I write their stories. I have nice carefully planned arcs and then they come along and refuse to follow the plan. I’ve had one character refuse to stay in Oxford, a villain change his motivation halfway through my trilogy, and in my new series a character revealed something that altered the plot arc of the entire series. I’m just typing along, they start whispering, and it’s, “wait, what?” Next thing you know, the story has taken a turn.
What advice would you give other writers?
The best advice I can give other authors, especially new authors, is to do your research and ask questions. You need to research the best marketing for your books and also what types of stories work best in what genres. You don’t have to write to market, but you need to know what market your book best fits. Also, engage with your readers; talk characters and setting, tropes and romance, the best ways to kill your murder victim, whatever, just don’t shout “buy my book”.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m an indie author, but I will admit it is not for everyone. I started on the indie path way back in 2007, at the beginning, back before there was Kindle. I stumbled upon the POD publishing and had thought it a good way to test the waters and see if readers liked what I wrote. I met so many wonderful authors, learned the industry from the ground up, and kept going down the indie road. For new authors, though, they might be better served by submitting to small presses. Self-publishing is more difficult these days, and small presses can often offer the benefit of a publishing house without taking as much of the creative freedoms away from the author. Many small presses allow author input into things like cover design and will help with marketing plans.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think indie publishing is here to stay and will encroach more and more into the share of the book market. I also think we may see more author-run small presses or marketing services. And of course, the audiobook market will continue to grow.
What genres do you write?: Fantasy, Horror, Poetry
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.