Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing L.B. Stimson
Hi L.B. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
- When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve always had an inclination towards writing since I was a child. I have an old notebook full of poems which I’ve never shared, maybe someday. I have a college degree in cultural anthropology, but I’ve spent most of my professional career in the communications field in business/education writing. After a life/career change I finally realized writing, in a close tie with photography, is what truly gives me fulfillment, so I decided to take the plunge with the launch of Redwood.
2. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To be honest, I hope it creates a source of steady, additional income. My goal is to entertain, even though my writing tends to naturally fall into the dark side of human behavior. I’d like to be remembered as a writer who created memorable characters, each with his or her own frailties and strengths.
3. Which writers inspire you?
I am blessed to have met a lot of authors since starting this journey who are daily inspirations with their drive, creativity, and willingness to encourage and share ideas. I am generally inspired by writers of long ago–Flaubert, Ingalls-Wilder, Le Fanu due to the challenges they faced technologically to get books into print. I admire their commitment to seeing their art to fruition. More recently, I admire those well-known authors, who can keep churning out works, such as Stephen King and the story behind J.K. Rowling’s success–which teaches us to never give up on ourselves. Am I inspired by one-hit wonder authors? Not too sure, I’d like to envision that sort of success only with more books following to give this career longevity.
4. So, what have you written?
My first attempt at a full-length novel was my personal story about my conversion to the Catholic faith. Storms of My Faith-How Battling Satan Brought Me to Christ started out as a blog/diary. I have posted excerpts on my web site. It is a deeply personal story and I am still toying with the idea of releasing it in full as an e-book.
5. What are you working on at the minute?
I am currently working on an extension to Redwood. I had not initially planned for the book to continue into two or even three books, but I love the characters and I wanted to continue their journey. However, I haven’t yet coined it as a “trilogy” because if a reader picks up the second book, there are enough references to Redwood to offer insight into the second book’s plot. I have submitted a children’s early reader series to my publisher (the one cheery thing I’ve written). I am also working on a couple of other books: one is a YA story that chronicles the journey of a young girl in early 1800s who ends up with amazing, supernatural abilities. The other book involves a family caught up in lies, revenge, murder, and includes a paranormal twist.
6. Why do you write?
One of the main reasons I write is because it clears away the imaginary stories I’ve always had clogging my mind.
7. Where do your ideas come from?
That’s a difficult question. The story idea for Redwood was born in the wine aisle at Target. I was looking over various labels and happened to mention a recent ghost visitation to my fiancé and well, there you have it. On a more personal level though, my story ideas come from a wild imagination, my abilities to interact with the departed, and my interest in history.
8. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I am obsessive about creating timelines and family trees for my characters. Redwood takes place over the better part of 100 years and so to remain historically accurate when mentioning Prohibition, World War II, and even architecture and wine production, it was important to me to remain as historically accurate as possible. I get caught up in research and if I think I’ve missed a date, all writing comes to a stop until I’ve resolved the questionable date. I sketch out various plot ideas if I am not sure where the story is going. And, I do mean sketch, the only way I can process these thoughts is with a pen and paper.
9. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve definitely evolved when it comes to creating imagery. I work to make sure I “show” and do not “tell.” I think this is particularly important when creating scenes that involve ghosts. I want to make sure I respect my reader’s imagination and hopefully cause their imagination to run wild.
10. What is the hardest and easiest things about writing?
The hardest thing for me is remaining confident in my abilities to create an original, engaging, enjoyable story. The easiest thing for me is creating characters caught up in family lies.
11. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I must admit, since I embarked on serious writing, I have spent more time reading the past couple of years than in year’s past. One of my favorite classic books is Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert. Another book that influenced my Redwood characters is A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. Lately, I’ve been immersed in reading Sheridan Le Fanu, I absolutely love the poetic style of his ghostly writing.
12. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I feel blessed in that after two rejections from publishers for Redwood, I was offered a publishing contract with an Indie Publisher (KCL Publishing). This has been a wonderful advantage for me because while any author still has to pound the concrete and social media sites to market their work, I haven’t had to involve myself in the details of setting up the Amazon particulars for selling. That being said, I can also imagine the other side and the flexibility a self-published author retains. I enjoy having a partnership with my publisher as that extra responsibility I feel towards them for believing in my book/talents keeps me on point with writing and marketing.
13. Do you have any advice for other budding authors?
Trust your instincts, stay true to your style, and write. Read other authors in your chosen genre, but don’t compare yourself to them. I’ve been studying the use of phrasing and descriptions by Le Fanu because I tend to write with a poetic style myself. Do not let a rejection letter send you into self-doubt, writing is an art and art is subjective.
14. How do you relax?
Photography is my go-to creative outlet. I also spend a lot of time walking at the river bird watching, (at the ocean when possible), and you can always find me in a cemetery.
15. What is your favourite book and why?
One of my all-time favorite books is Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson. It is the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker who was captured by Comanches as a child and went on to be the mother of Quanah Parker, a noted Comanche leader. Growing up in Idaho, I was surrounded by Native American history and this story took hold of my imagination and heart. I recently picked up the book again and noticed that the novel begins with Psalm 91, I happen to reference this exact Psalm in Redwood (coincidence)?
16. Which character from any book you’ve read, would you like to be and why?
I admire the fortitude and self-reliance of Mary Ingles from James Alexander Thom’s novel Follow the River. Mary was a young mother who was kidnapped by Shawnee Indians from her settlement in Virginia (near where I now reside). I see I am getting back to another Native American theme, but I’ve always been fascinated by the history of America’s native population and the small bloodline I have to them according to my family history. Much of my family’s history takes place across the expanse of America’s Wild West and this is most-likely influencing the setting of the YA novel I mentioned–the now abandoned silver mines of Arizona.
Thanks L.B for an in depth look into your world. It has been a pleasure talking to you.
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