Getting to know Steve Swem, the primary writter in the Swem writing team.
Q : Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Steve: I grew up in upstate N.Y. near Albany. The house I remember most is the one on Lishakill Rd. It sat way back from the road, had a small pond on the property and a neat hill behind the house that led off to the woods and the swamp. I was an extremely shy kid and would literally, run away and hide if people stopped by. I was a loner. So I had my imaginary friends, and we would go on all these adventures, out in the woods.
Q : When did you first start writing?
Steve: I got into D&D gaming. I didn’t really write, but developed extensive background information on my characters. Then I became a dungeon master and had to have a story line for the players to quest on. After I got out of the military, it was suggested that I put my imagination to use and write some of my tall tales down. I did some checking around and eventually took a children’s writing course through snail mail. I got discouraged when I got to the submission to agents and publisher stage, from all the reject letters, so I shelved the writing thing.
Q : What’s the story behind your latest book?
Steve: 25 colony ships depart for their new homes, but their navigational instructions had an error in the settings, and they are never heard from again. Hundreds of years later, an unknown ship is detected and finally captured. The lone occupant appears to be in suspension, and the ships computer has all the information, of a planet where one of the lost colony ships landed, and has now been invaded by strange beings. The ERS Cassiopeia is sent to investigate, and to return the occupant to the planet. For it seems the planet has secrets, and the female found in the invaders strange ship, is the key to those secrets.
Q : What motivated you to become an indie author?
Steve: Amanda Hocking. An article on my local news channel caught my eye. The writer who made millions by self-publishing. After reading the article, I did some research, lots of research. I like to double check news articles to see if they are true or not. So I dug around amazon and its direct publishing. I found on old lesson from my writing class. Tweaked it and ran it through the amazon process. And there it was, on amazon for sale. WOW! It was crap, but it was there.
Q : What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Steve: The greatest joy is when I am listening to the final read through before publishing, and ‘I’ get caught up in the story. Getting feed back like, “I don’t normally read this kind of story, but could not put yours down.”, “I’m not a fan of fiction, but found your book interesting.”
Q : What do your fans mean to you?
Steve: The fans are everything. An author can write his best work, the author can promote it big time. Yet, if the fans don’t care for it, or the author does not have fans, then the story gathers dust. Stories have to be read and enjoyed, that is what fans do, read and enjoy.
Q : What are you working on next?
Steve: That first story I put up on amazon, I am re-working it since I have learned a lot about writing and the overall story concept is good. So I am re-doing that first story. When it gets published again, this will have me in two genres.
Q : Who are your favorite authors?
Steve: Any author who writes a story I don’t want to put down. Sleep or read? I take read.
Authors that really got me going were: Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, Robert Heinlien, Michael R. Hicks, Margaret Weis, and a whole lot more.
Q : What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Steve: Do I really have to get out of bed? Besides mother nature and/or the alarm clock. Spending the day with my wife/mate, and seeing what kind of trouble I can create for my characters.
Q : When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Steve: I wander around the Internet a lot. Catch up on some TV shows I might have missed. Enjoy the company of my wife/mate. And oh ya, I have this hobby for right now, called work.
Q : How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Steve: The cover. Then the description. As I browse the many sources for ebooks, the cover first catches my eye, then I see what is underneath. If there are several by the same author then that adds to possibility of more stories to read.
Q : Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Steve: Outside of comic books? Yes. The Tom Swift stories written by the pseudonym, Victor Appleton.
Tom Swift and his Diving Seacopter, and then his Flying Lab, Jetmarine and on and on. Between Tony Stark and Tom Swift, it was possible for a normal person to do great things and have wild adventures. There was hope for me yet.
Q : What are your five favorite books, and why?
Steve: I cannot really pick out five. Every story is a favorite. But there are two that are must haves.
Have Space Suit Will Travel, by Robert A. Heinlien. A kid gets a surplussed space suit and makes it functional, and ends up on a great adventure.
The Ship Who Sang, by Anne McCaffrey. This was the first book by Anne that I read, and the first book that made me emotional. The way she made me feel what the character was feeling, Helva’s joy and pain.
Q : What do you read for pleasure?
Steve: I like Science Fiction and Fantasy. I have done a few westerns, techno thrillers and some horror. Actually, I will read anything that catches my attention at the time. Poseidon Adventure one and two. Fantastic Voyage. Clockwork Orange. The Shining. The Towering Inferno, Hunt for Red October.
Q : What is your e-reading device of choice?
Steve: I have an iPad and iPhone, and the apps to read anything. I lean more towards the Kindle app though.
Q : Describe your desk?
Steve: What? The black hole sitting there? My desk is the collector for everything. I really only clean it off when I can no longer set my coffee cup down.
Q : Would you like to see your books on the New York Times best sellers list? Turned into a Movie?
Steve: A movie would be interesting. As for the New York Times, movie, or even Amazon’s to 100, if it happens, it happens. Any story written has the potential, just look at Potter, Hunger, Thrones, and Twilight. What I am looking for, is the freedom to learn and write more. Not to be distracted by this thing called work.
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