1) Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in southern New Jersey – South Jersey to its inhabitants. Summers were spent at Long Beach Island, usually with one book or another in my possession. I had shelves full of novels to read by the time I got to high school. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in journalism in 2000, I spent seven years at Maine newspapers as a reporter and assistant editor. In 2007 my family and I moved to Buffalo, Wyoming, where I was editor of the local paper for a year. Now I spend my time working at the Johnson County Library, where I link new books in to our collection, help with summer reading programs, order interlibrary loan books, bug people via phone about overdue items, prepare the newsletter, troubleshoot computer problems…whew.
I’ve written three published novels, three short stories, one self-published novel and another that shall forever remain unseen by humankind. In my copious amounts of spare time (besides work and writing) I play video games, go bike riding and exploring the state of Wyoming, draw and, of course… read.
2) How long have you been writing?
Well, I’ve been creating stories since elementary school. Somewhere amongst my personal papers is a two-pager based on the adventures of two LEGO astronauts I built. During high school, between I finished a 200-page novel of civil war and alien invasion in deep space. About a year after I graduated college I self-published a science fiction novel – back before it was cool to self-publish – called This Stirring Strife. Over the next five years I worked on one long space opera with the title Commissioned, which Marcher Lord Press picked up as a two-part Face of the Deep set in 2009. From then on it’s been pedal to the metal.
3) What was your first book?
My first published novel was The Word Reclaimed, Book 1 in the Face of the Deep set. It chronicles the adventures of Baden Haczyk, a young man stuck on a space-going cargo ship with his father—who’s also the captain—and a loyal crew. They’re haulers and salvagers, but when he recovers a lost book from the wreck of a starship everything gets crazy. See, printed materials—especially of the religious variety—are banned in the 27th Century. Baden finds himself on the run from the secret police and soon crosses paths with an elite troop of armor-suited soldiers trapped on a distant world. In short, you get space combat action, political intrigue, and questions of faith.
It took me several years to complete the manuscript which was split in two and became The Word Reclaimed and its sequel, The Word Unleashed (2010, MLP). Since then I’ve written a standalone book, Broken Sight (2011, MLP) that takes place two years after the events of the other two books.
4) Why did you choose the science-fiction genre?
I don’t recall ever consciously choosing sci-fi. It may have chosen me. Perhaps there’s something about being born in The Year of Star Wars (that is, 1977) that helps. But my fondest memories of movies from early childhood are the Star Wars trilogy, followed by some reruns of old Star Trek episodes – courtesy of my friend Ross in Maryland. When Star Trek: The Next Generation came out I was hooked, and stayed a fan of Star Trek to this day. (If you ask me, ST: Enterprise was a way underrated series.) So there was never any question I would write sci-fi, specifically space opera. I think the dream of having a spaceship that can fling you from one side of the galaxy to the other, where you meet strange creatures on foreign worlds, is fueled by the tales of exploration in our history books.
5) What authors and/or books have been your greatest source of inspiration?
That’s a very long list, but let’s narrow it down—Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series (Star Wars), Isaac Asimov’s Nemesis and I, Robot, C.J. Cherryh’s Merchanter’s Luck, Kathy Tyers’ Firebird Saga, Chris Walley’s Lamb Among the Stars series, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, and most recently Holmes on the Range and its sequels by Steve Hockensmith.
6) Future plans? Sequels?
I’ve finished up a novel that could best be termed steampunk or perhaps fantasy, though it relies heavily on 19th-early 20th century technology. Its sequel is about ¾ done. I’m also sporadically writing an alternate history/aliens among us type of story, and putting down notes for a new space opera that mirrors aspects of the American Revolution.
7) What advice can you give to new writers?
You must be willing to heed criticism from established writers and editors—they have experience, and you do not. I learned that the hard way. Keep on writing and editing (I know it sounds trite, but it’s true.) Your craft will improve with time and practice, but that’s the only way.
But make time for hobbies, too. They keep you sane when the writing gets overwhelming.
Steve's Amazon Page
Steve's Facebook Page