Thursday, January 3, 2013

Author Interviews: R.P. Steeves

Today, we’re opening up our 2013 edition of author interviews with my buddy, Rich “R.P.” Steeves, an author you really need to read this year. Rich hails from Connecticut, the Insurance Capital of the World, where he yearns for the return of the Hartford Whalers. Rich, great to have you here today.

SS: Tell my readership a little about Misty Johnson: Just how did you dig up that old fossil?

RPS: I’ll say what I can without violating my non-disclosure agreement. The last thing I want to do is make her angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. She can be tough to like even when she’s not! As for Misty, I was getting sick of seeing characters who were hundreds of years old and seemed surprisingly well adjusted to life and society (I am looking at you, Eric from True Blood). I have grown increasingly grouchy over the years, and I am not nearly as old as Misty! Anyway, her sidekick, Dru Chance, has quite the presence on social media, Tweeting up a storm and managing the Misty Johnson, Supernatural Dick Facebook page. He’s just a schlub from Connecticut, like me, so we instantly connected. He asked me to be the official chronicler of Misty’s adventures, and I jumped at the opportunity. She has seen an awful lot in the last 900 years, and, once you get past her prickly exterior, she is fascinating.

SS: Washington D.C. is Misty’s longtime hang-out. Where do you think she’ll she up next?

RPS: Well, right now she has a lot of supernatural mischief to clean up there: Corrupt magic-wielding Senators, a gang war for control of the Underworld Underworld, a powerful artifact that could tip the balance of power, and her oldest nemesis. But after that, she will definitely turn her attention to supernatural mysteries in other parts of the US: Baltimore, New York City, Chicago, San Diego and Las Vegas are all on her travel agenda. Plus, in her 900 years, she has been all over the world, and I’ll be recounting some of her adventures in the Caribbean, San Francisco and London.

SS: Let’s talk about your writing mindset: Every author has a different one. How is your writing day unique?

RPS: I decided a long time ago that I would make it a point to write every single day (though I try not to be too hard on myself if I miss a day). During the workweek, I try to squeeze in a half-hour or so of writing at my desk during lunch. Often this is some light editing or sometimes a dialogue scene. Then at night I usually sit down on my couch and write for another hour or so in front of the TV. I don’t listen to music, so the noise of the television keeps me company. Usually I try to have a game on so I don’t have to pay full attention. On days off from work, I try to write in bigger gulps, but I break it up with other activities: reading, cleaning, laundry or Facebooking.

SS: Where did you get your start as a writer?

RPS: When I was in college, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote plays and short stories and a weekly radio drama for the campus station. But once I started teaching, the writing kind of fell by the wayside. A few years ago, after a divorce and a career change, I was a little bit lost. Someone asked me what I wanted to do more than anything, and I said I wanted to be a writer. He asked what I was writing, and I just made excuses about not having time, etc. He said, “I don’t know a lot about writing, but I figure a writer should, you know, write.” It was a simple statement, but it hit me in the right spot. I started writing short stories that were published in several literary magazines, and then, after I’d developed some writing muscles, I started to write the Misty screenplay. I realized I didn’t know how to sell a screenplay, so it turned into a book. I found a publisher for it, and I have been writing ever since!

SS: Let’s get funny: I give you a thousand bucks. The only caveat is that it doesn’t go to meaningful stuff, like food or keeping the power on. What do you do with it?

RPS: A good one! In my youth, I probably would have bought some rare comic books – some early Avengers or FF issues. But now, I think I’d use the money to travel. I have a lot of friends spread across the country, so I’d book some plane flights to see them. I’d head to WI, OH and CO, and then swing through North and South Carolina, probably ending up relaxing on Myrtle Beach or something.

SS: Which authors do you consider to be your mentors?

RPS: Besides Sean Sweeney? I find “mentor” an interesting term. I have many influences, certainly, from Ray Bradbury to George R. R. Martin to Jim Butcher and more. But since I have found a writing community online, I have connected with authors of various levels of experience. I count some of the authors from the Wild Cards Consortium: John Jos. Miller, Victor Milan, Melinda M. Snodgrass and more as mentors. I loved their books as a kid and I interact with them online a lot. I have also connected with a lot of great small press and independent authors as well, including Kent Holloway, Candace Bowen, Rick Nicholls, Sean Ellis, David Wood, Sean Sweeney and more. I also enjoy collaborating with up and coming writers, and I am working on an anthology with some exciting new writers like Jim Bellmore, Frank Hart and Laura Critchley. I hope they can mentor me as much as I can help them!

SS: And finally, what’s on tap for you in 2013?

RPS: I have lots of short stories in upcoming anthologies. My feminist sci-fi story “Sky” will be coming out in Daughters of Icarus from Pink Narcissus Press. I also have three stories in the Pulp Obscura line from Pro Se press, starring classic pulp characters Major Lacy and Amusement, Inc.; The Griffon; and Lynn Lash, Scientific Detective. I’m also working on stories for Pro Se anthologies called The Adventures of Moose and Skwirl, Troubletakers; The Ninth Circle; and High Adventure History. I also have two stories slated for publication in a Pro Se anthology highlighting the work of Charles Boeckman. Finally from Pro Se, if all goes well, I have a story in the charity superhero anthology Strong City, which may be out soon. In the horror genre, I have a story in the upcoming Rat War anthology from STFU Publishing, and a fairytale zombie story in an anthology coming out from Undead Press. I have also contributed two Misty Johnson short stories for a noir anthology from Ravenwood Press. The third Misty Johnson novel, The Reflecting Pool of Fire is due out in September, and I am currently shopping around a dystopian sci-fi novel, working on a Young Adult novel. I am collaborating with R. O. Boras to release a novella and collection of sci-fi/horror short stories, and I am editing an anthology for up and coming writers. That’s all I have on tap right now!

Thanks for stopping by, Rich! And folks, make sure you hit Rich’s website, You’ll be glad you did.