Author Interview: Stephen Christiansen

Stephen Christiansen

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

My spy/thriller novel. It’s about a shadow government and a global extinction level threat.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I have just completed a 17 book dark elf series. The series follows a set of dark elves, free from their corrupt society, in a set of their own adventures. They must learn to trust each other while facing the prejudices of their surrounding societies. Along the way they uncover a plot by the Spider Queen that threatens everyone’s very existence. They need to put aside their differences, build allies, and utilize everything in their power to stop the Spider Queen or all will be lost. Their journeys will take them from the lowest levels of the Abyss to the highest levels of Heaven and across even time itself. Wars will be fought. Friends will be lost. Bonds will be broken. Scarifies will be made.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Marketing. It’s easier for me to write the book than it is to tell everyone that I have written it.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

Believe it or not, it’s when I’ve realized that I’ve written my character into a corner. Sometimes I let the story write itself and come to a spot where a character is in a situation that they can’t get out of. That’s when I have to really think about the story as a whole and find a way to get them out without just deleting the event. It gets my creative juices flowing and usually creates a depth in the character while tying in to previous events.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Stephen King’s ability to create suspense and then terrify, in other words, to capture a reader’s attention and make a lasting impression. I’ve read several of his books where he has implanted an image in my mind that has stayed with me for a long time. I want to be able to impact people like this, to hold their attention like this, and for them to remember what they have read.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

It would be Istobarra. She is a dark elf necromancer that might be facing certain death in the latest book. “Isto, look, I know that you are scared and concerned about all that has happened and what might happen. I know that you’ve seen the upcoming war and the possible consequences. But know this: you have impacted those around you and have brought out their best. They will work together and do what needs to be done. Now you must trust, or as Isilme would say ‘have faith’. I know it’s not easy with all of the things that has happened in the past, but if you can find that strength within you, then, and only then, will everything turn out for the best. The decisions that you make today will not only impact the result of the war, but will be far-reaching to those who thought different of you. Only you can pull everyone together. Only you can impact those who are prejudice against dark elves. Only you can make that difference. But you can only do this by letting me go and having faith that everything will alright.”

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The players would me Istobarra (a necromantic dark elf), Quithxell (a succubus), and myself. The betting would be for cash at first until I realize that I really don’t know how to play poker (especially around these two) and I would fold. Istobarra would raise the stakes: “Let’s make it interesting. The player who wins gets to kill the losing player.” Quithxell would smile knowing that she had cheated to get a better hand. “It’s a deal. I’ll enjoy killing you.” It would be Istobarra’s turn to smile. “Good, because I’ve just had a potion of Lichdom. This means that the moment I die, I will become a powerful undead that will feast on your soul.” Quithxell will then realize that this isn’t something she would want to face. She would fold and teleport away. Of course, Istobarra hadn’t taken the potion, she would have lied. But then, she is a dark elf after all.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

One of the greatest traps that I fall in is deviating too much from the plot and letting the book and characters write themselves. While some of this makes for an interesting depth of character, sometimes it goes way too far off of the plot. It is best to have some sort of structure and stick to it as much as possible. Allow some free reign, but letting a story go wild can destroy the plot. Another major trap is being distracted. Make sure you can spend undistracted time to write.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m about a quarter way into the spy novel and will finish early next year. At that point I’ll probably write the third book of my Star Wars fan fiction series. From there? Who knows. Perhaps I will plot to take over the world. Ok, maybe not. I was thinking either another thriller “Monsters” about a man being haunted, or perhaps part two of my time traveling thriller. The second book will take place in Whitechapel (I’ll let you imagine from there). Perhaps I’ll write a follow up third book to the sci-fi series I have going. I don’t know, there’s so much to choose.