Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Steve Diamond.
Steve Diamond founded and runs the review site, Elitist Book Reviews (www.elitistbookreviews.com), which was nominated for the Hugo Award in 2013, 2014 & 2015. He writes for Baen, Privateer Press, and numerous small publications. RESIDUE, a YA Horror novel, is his first full-length published work. He is also the editor of the Horror anthology, SHARED NIGHTMARES.
AN INTERVIEW WITH STEVE DIAMOND
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
What would you like to know? Jamiroquai is my favorite band. I run Elitist Book Reviews. I love the New Orleans Saints and the Oakland A's. I'm incapable of not turning any story I write into a Horror story...which I suppose is a good thing, right? I mean, I'm considered a Horror author, after all.
- How did you become interested in writing?
Well, I was reading all these wonderful stories, and I just wanted to be a part of it. It became more serious when I was working at a couple Waldenbooks locations and I was setting up book-signings. I set up a huge signing for Brandon Sanderson for his first novel, Elantris, and the two of us began talking. He encouraged me to write. I took his creative writing class and began attending conventions to get advice. Then I started Elitist Book Reviews with a buddy, and suddenly I was meeting a ton of authors. They all encouraged me to write too. So I did. But instead of fantasy, I began drifting to actiony, Urban Fantasy/Horror stories.
I have a monthly RPG group full of award nominees, award winners and game designers. Best group ever. For practice I'd write fiction based upon our game sessions. I'd write Horror, Action, Romance, Suspense, Tragedy...anything. It was all practice. And that group of professionals was a captive audience. I received so many pointers, such incredible feedback, and many kind words. Those words gave me the confidence to write seriously. And here we are.
- Are there any authors, novels or stories that have been a source of inspiration to you?
So many. Honestly I can't point at an author without saying he/she influenced me. But the most influential? Robert McCammon, first and foremost. Joe Lansdale, Brian Lumley, Richard Matheson, Dan Wells, Larry Correia, Steven Erikson, and Jonathan Maberry. What they all have in common is a devotion to character and story. Also, none of them limit themselves to one genre.
- Your debut novel, Residue, will be published soon by Ragnarok Publications. What kind of a novel is it? What is the target audience of this novel?
Here's my general blurb for Residue: RESIDUE follows 17-year-old Jack Bishop after his father is abducted and a monster is let loose in his small town. As he looks for his father, he begins to notice that he can see the psychic residue left behind by monsters and murder victims. Along with the mind-reading Alexandra (Alex) Courtney, Jack uses his growing ESP abilities to stop the deaths in the town, and find out why his father was taken.
So at it's most basic level, Residue is a Horror novel that is geared towards older teens and adults. That said, my early readers all had different tastes--in fact many of them aren't really Horror fans. When I write Horror, I try to be more Alfred Hitchcock than slasher film. It also bugs me that a lot of Horror deals with characters who are perpetual victims. I like stories where the characters are proactive rather than reactive. So there tends to be a lot less whining in my writing than in a lot of Horror and YA. Also, I love action. So much. Writing actions scenes is absurdly fun for me. So, judging from above, I'd say the target audiences are YA, Horror, Action, Suspense...and fun? The bottom line is I aim to entertain.
- Could you tell us something about the characters in Residue? Are any of them based on real people?
The two main characters are Jack Bishop and Alexandra Courtney. Jack can see the psychic residue left behind by monsters and murder victims. Alex can read minds. They are super loosely based on Sarah Walker and Chuck Bartowski from the TV show Chuck. I wanted a strong female lead to go along with a strong male lead. In the case of my novel, Alex is the pro. She's dealt with her ability all her life. She doesn't whine about anything. And really, did we need another novel with a whiny, pathetic teenage girl? Nope. Jack is the kid that gets powers, and learns to deal with them.
- Is Residue a standalone novel or will there be sequels?
Residue is the first book in my Project Sentinel series. Book two (almost done, I swear!) is Parasite, with book three tentatively called Catalyst. Parasite has been such a different animal to write than Residue, but a ton of fun. I have some pretty cool things planned for this series--stuff I haven't seen done before.
- What will you write next?
Right now my focus is on Parasite and Catalyst, the sequels to Residue. Apart from that, I just finished a short story about giant robots, I'm writing a short story for a charity anthology, shopping around a Horror anthology with Kasey Lansdale, and outlining a Cyberpunk series and another Horror series. But hey, if you need me for an anthology, the answer is always YES!
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
Thank you so much for taking the time to conduct this interview. It's been a blast, and I really appreciate it. If you want to check out the kind of Horror I like (along with a story I wrote), pick up the Horror anthology I edited, Shared Nightmares. You can find it on Amazon.
Also, keep reading. If it's Residue, awesome. I love you. If not, that's OK too. Just keep reading. And don't limit yourself to one author or one genre. Read Everything.