J: Joining me today is Stefan Angelina McElvain, a Sci Fi and Erotica author from [the mean streets of] Los Angeles, California. I understand you’ve been married an astounding 45 years! You’re also a father of two sons and have two grandsons. I also hear that you’ve been published by eXtasy books. Tell us about that.
S: And on my first attempt at writing, no less! The book was Alex, published five years ago. I now have twenty-plus titles available…mostly through eXtasy, though I have self-published two stories with Amazon, Bridgette and Discovering Inner Submission in eBook and paperback. Considering I’d never written anything prior to that, I’m still amazed. No conscious plan, the story took over…and now, I’m hooked.
J: Outstanding! (and titillating, seeing as you write erotica). Now, what about your more recent work. Tell us a little about that.
S: I have three ongoing series. The Alex series, the Cosmetologist Extraordinhair—note the special spelling for extraordinaire, and the Chronicles series. I alternate between all three. My current trilogy is Beyond and tales place in the Alex universe. Book one, Reality’s Veil the final frontier, is currently in beta read phase, and I hope it will be available by 4Q. The inspiration behind Beyond are questions…if spacetime is curved, what lies beyond? Could there be multiple time axes? How would beings that exist in more than three dimensions interact with us?
J: Interesting questions… likely to keep me awake at night pondering the nature of existence. I understand your wife is also a big influence. Tell me a little about her, and your life for that matter.
S: We both grew up in the same small town in the middle of England then moved to Hertfordshire. I had the opportunity to relocate to Los Angeles, and we had our first real-life adventure. That was a traumatic move especially for my wife and sons as they started afresh at a new school and culture. I had it easy as my job was constant. Wonder what our second adventure will be?
As for my life, I’m retired. Originally an engineer working in research and development, moved into project management, then relocated to USA. I enjoy keeping fit…running, cycling, swimming. Dancing…Lindy-hop mainly. Music…singing, playing the piano. Painting…want to own your own original Manhattan Beach pier? Almost forgot…gardening and collecting gnomes. Our main priority…spoil the grandkids.
J: That is quite an adventure, though I’ll hold off on the Manhattan Beach pier. Now, on to the actual writing. What’s your favorite genre, and how’d you decide on that in particular?
S: Has to be Science Fiction…with a close second paranormal fantasy. Don’t know how, but an erotica element always seems to slip in. I blame the characters.
J: Mmmmhmmm… “blame the characters.” Go on…
S: How and why? I have no idea. As a kid, I loved the library and often picked books to read because the title took my fancy. Loved Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Edith Nesbit, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G Wells…the list goes on and on. Comics…the Eagle with Dan Dare, the newspaper strip cartoons, and when I was a teenager, I discovered DC and Marvel comics.
J: A comic book fan… we’re already on the same page. So, tell me, who’s your favorite author/ favorite book(s)?
S: This is an impossible question to answer…because it changes with my mood. Most of these authors are from my younger…formative years.
CS Lewis…the Narnia series and his Space Trilogy
Ian Fleming…the James Bond series
Isaac Asimov…Foundation and Robot series. Loved his later writings when he blended the two series.
Robert Howard…master of short stories and creator of so many greater than life heroes
J: So, when did you start writing?
S: I’m a newbie and started writing after retirement and then only because of my eldest son and my wife. Unintended consequences. My son complained about the lack of a good creative tool…and as luck would have it, I’d been talking with my nephew about moving Scrivener over to Windows. Long story short, I got him a free license. He didn’t use it. I was miffed. My wife asked…why don’t you write a story? That was six to seven years ago. I wrote Alex in a couple of months…took three months submitting it with no response…then a rejection letter…like the concept, too much show and not enough tell, slow beginning. Wow, what does that mean? Three months later, one rewrite, and I had a contract from eXtasy.
I’m still learning.
J: And now that you’re an author, what do you enjoy most?
S: An open-ended question…there are too many aspects. Love it when the story takes over. I have no idea where the story’s going, the characters tell me what to write. The downside, can’t sleep. The characters argue inside my mind and the only way to get some peace, is write. I missed a flight a couple of years ago. Got to the gate two hours early, started writing, and the plane took off without me!
J: Yikes… hope it wasn’t anywhere important. Any words of wisdom for the aspiring authors out there – Writing, editing, marketing, staying sane?
S: Writing…don’t worry about the plot. I’m convinced writers’ block is the conflict created by having a fixed outline, and what the characters really want to do. I spoke to an author a while back, and she spent the majority of her time on the outline and then wrote individual chapters. What amazed me…she didn’t start at the beginning. The moral, find what works for you. I start at the beginning and write. I then put the manuscript…warts and all…to one side and do something different. For example, I have three stories on the go at the moment.
Three months later, I pick the manuscript up, read it, and usually do major rewrites. I’ll repeat this process two or three times…then check for word overuse and run through my growing list of common mistakes. The story’s now ready for someone else to read it.
Marketing is still a mystery to me. I take the position keep writing and hopefully build my followers one at a time.
J: Good advice! What about your most recent work? Can you give us a little sneak peek at the synopsis and characters?
S: Bridgette is my latest release, although it has had a number of incarnations and took over two years to finish. Bridgette was introduced in my first published eBook, Alex. Her nickname was the Gorilla. She was hired to beat up Alex…and did a good job. I wanted to explore the character and started with the concept…what would happen if the attack haunted Bridgette? This version of Bridgette was initially conceived as two short novellas and retains that format with two parts. The story follows Alex’s life as she evolves through Origins, skips Invasion, and rejoins the timeline after the Vampire God.
Bridgette’s nicknamed the Gorilla for a reason. She’s big, fast, and extremely nasty.
Hired to beat up a defenseless young woman, she relished the opportunity, but the incident haunted her in an unusual way, and life took an unexpected turn.
What’s an ex-bad girl going to do?
Maybe, she can discover true love.
J: What does the future hold. Any plans for Pulitzer prize or world domination?
S: Staying alive, mostly. Reducing stress. Spending the children’s inheritance. Plan to continue writing and take multiple vacations each month. Next big trip, return to England to visit family.
J: Sounds like a life well spent! That’s all the time we have, and please connect with Stefan and check out his books at the links below:
Follow Stefan Angelina McElvain at Goodreads.com
eXtasy Books http://www.extasybooks.com/stefan-angelina-mcelvain/
eBooks also available from B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, and most outlets