Author interview 160 – Stephen Christiansen


Stephen Christiansen

USA

Age 53

Born in Henderson, Nevada, Stephen was born to a long line of military personnel.  His travels from base to base helped inspire a young and imaginative mind.  As he grew he continued his world travels and have visited ancient cultural ruins, rain forests, volcanos, and exotic locations.  With these in mind, he is able to weave epic stories of wonderous places and extraordinary people. Stephen now lives in Roseburg, Oregon with his wife and daughter.  Today, he inspires to share with the rest of the world some of the fantastic real-life inspired places and events that has shaped his life.

Book 1 of the Orbbelgguren Series: Istobarra Commencement


Medri Jabbress Olis’inth, a female dark elf necromancer, finds herself ensnared in a web of intrigue and conspiracies. In her journey through the underworld, she uncovers more and more of a grand plot while discovering more about herself and where she fits in with her new life. Yasrae Do’tlar retains the blasphemous secret of his house. His only hope in keeping his house and his life alive is in the trust of a battle captive. Valas Velkyn, leader of the House of acquisitions from the city of Malzebowan, has found that one of his most trusted contacts has been assassinated. His investigation leads to a discovery of grand proportions, the likes of which can only lead to war. Enter a world of plots, lies, deception, and murder. This book launches the epic adventures of the Orbbelgguren series.

Romelia:   WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?

Stephen Christiansen:   I would say that the most difficult part would be getting myself into the right frame of mind. Once I get past all of the distractions and let my mind just do its thing, then the words flow. But getting to that point is so difficult sometimes. It’s like trying to force myself to relax and trying to force myself to be creative. It can’t be forced or rushed and sometimes it’s just difficult to get to.  

Romelia:   DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?

Stephen Christiansen:   OH, YES, VERY MUCH. They have read my books and have posted them on their Facebook pages. They give me time to write or have even helped with inspiration as I bounce ideas off of them. I have many family members that will help announce when a new book is out or even just give words of encouragement.

Romelia:   IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Stephen Christiansen:   Not give up. When I was young I stopped writing for a long time. I wish I had continued when I was younger and then I would be further along and might have even taken a few classes geared towards writing. I probably would have read more. There was so much going on in my youth, but if I took the time to read just a little bit more then I think I would have a greater appreciation and understanding on what it’s like to be an author.

Romelia:   HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?

Stephen Christiansen:   That depends on the book. I try to get about a thousand words written a day and with a book being around 100,000 words, it takes at least 3 months to get in the initial draft. Then I still have to edit, format, and edit again. I think the quickest that I’ve written a book is about 4 months. But then life happens and writing gets put on hold so it could take up to 6 months.

Romelia:   DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?

Stephen Christiansen:   Yes, very much. This is when I try too hard to write and not just let it happen. Usually I can move on to a different chapter or even a different book. When that still won’t work, I try to go take a walk and think about something else for a while. It seems to me that the best ideas and greatest inspiration come, not when sitting down writing, but at the most inconvenient of times like in the middle of the night. This is why I carry a notebook. Then, when I have writer’s block and go take a walk I’ll be ready when the block is broken.

Romelia:   AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?

Stephen Christiansen:   When writing is only a job or a task then it isn’t fun and the person isn’t really writing but rather just doing a job. But, when a person writes with passion and heartfelt emotion, when it is fun, when it just flows from the soul and is a joy, and the person wants to return to it time and again, then the person can call themselves a writer.

Writing is like assigning yourself homework every day. It’s hard to return to it over and over, again and again. But, if you can and you can find happiness in it, then you are a writer.

Romelia:   WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?

Stephen Christiansen:   A writer can write about anything, perhaps a blog or news story. Many people can write but do not know what it’s like to be an author.

An author, on the other hand, has interesting and in-depth characters or fascinating plots. An author draws an audience in and brings a story to life.

I guess it would be like saying there’s a difference between a cook and a chef, or jogger and a runner. The author simply takes things to a whole new level A writer will write what is necessary while an author will take you on a journey.

Romelia:   HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?

Stephen Christiansen:   I remember Jack sparrow’s line “But you have heard of me.”

I also remind myself that I can’t please everyone. I’m writing a book that I want to read and share with those who get me. Not everyone is going to get me or my writing style.

Next, most negative reviews aren’t about how my writing can improve. If a review is negative but doesn’t say how to improve to become positive, then it isn’t constructive criticism. These are just simple ramblings that are to be ignored.

While negative reviews still sting, I just remember that people have given the Mona Lisa negative reviews, or even complain that the ocean is too salty for their liking or too big. There are just some people that will never be happy with life.

This isn’t to say that I won’t take to heart a negative review that offers advice, it’s just that, for the most part; I can just read them and move on.

Romelia:   WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?

Stephen Christiansen:   Once I get started and my mind gets going and I have the plot all figured out my most difficult part is to make sure that the characters are reigned in. That is to say sometimes I just get so caught up that my characters and story have strayed from the plot. I have to constantly re-evaluate the plot, the character or the scene. Sometimes it works out better, sometimes I have to make changes.

It’s just that sometimes the book writes itself. I just have to keep bringing it back to the plot that makes sense and not strays too far off course.

Romelia:   HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?

Stephen Christiansen:   I remember writing my first short story in the sixth grade. I got an “A” on the story with a glowing review of “great imagination”. From there I began to write. It was nothing great and was never published, just a few stories that brought a bunch of characters together and did some world-building.

After I read “War of the Spider Queen”, I got inspired to write again. This time I used that dark elf series to inspire my own.

My first novel was published in 2014. I’ve been writing ever since

Romelia:   WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?

Stephen Christiansen:   I always give three pieces of advice for first-time authors. 1) Read: Read good books, read bad books. Understand what makes a good book and a bad book. Figure out what you like. 2) Live: Put down the phone and go live. Fall in love, have a break-up, go skiing, go hiking, just go do something. The more you do the more you have to write about. You will get to know people and enjoy places. This will help your characters grow and interact and travel. There’s a whole world to explore and a whole world full of stories to tell. 3) Write: Write every day, write well, write poorly, but write. You will get better every day. I’ve met so many people who say “I’m writing a book” and when I ask how far they have gotten they say “Well, I haven’t actually written anything”. Write daily, you can go back and fix things later. 

Romelia:   WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?

Stephen Christiansen:   Character development and plot, I find that these two have been lacking lately in many movies and stories. I can’t stress enough that if a story doesn’t have a good character arc or a good plot then I will toss the book across the room, and I have tossed several.

Romelia:   WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?

Stephen Christiansen:   Sometimes I’ll have a character concept in my mind, but nothing definitive yet. I always develop new characters, just to see different combinations, but again, there’s no real substance, not yet.

Eventually, a plot will come to mind. Then I’ll start to pick the characters needed for the plot and I’ll remember the ones I’ve started. As the plot moves along, the characters begin to grow.

Romelia:   HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?

Stephen Christiansen:   The plot starts with a small concept. If I like it, I toss it around in my mind for a while and let it build and grow. When I finally want to start writing, I create simple sentences, each with a portion of the plot. Then I expand on each but also let the book run on its own for a while. I find that I only need to plot out about half a book and the book will fill in the blanks as it begins to write itself.

The characters begin with an idea, but nothing is complete yet. I don’t like making a full complete character as I want them to grow with the plot, not just to what I think might be cool. I want the plot to push the character arc, not the other way around.

Romelia:   WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?

Stephen Christiansen:   It was probably the time when I published my first novel back in 2014. Before then, I only dabbled in writing and wasn’t very serious about it. Once the book became published I had committed myself to the whole series. I also knew how much I enjoyed it, all of it, the plotting, and the character development. It was the thrill of writing and sharing it with my audience that gave me the title of a writer.

Romelia:   HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?

Stephen Christiansen:   Well, to be honest, I don’t use a whole lot of social media. I do post a little on Facebook and have a Facebook page for each book, but I don’t use it that often. Perhaps I should hire someone to run my Twitter and Facebook pages and make all the posts for me.  

Romelia:   WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?

Stephen Christiansen:   My favorite time is when I can hit the launch button and release the novel to the world. I’ve poured my heart and imagination into this project and I’m eager to share it. This brings me the elation that it’s finished and joy to be able to give it to others.  

My least favorite is trying to reach the public. It’s not always easy to promote and sell myself and my novels.

Romelia:   WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?

Stephen Christiansen:   Either be very good at it or let a professional handle it. Yes, we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but people always do. If your cover doesn’t catch the attention of the potential reader right off, then the book won’t be read. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. The cover is not only the first impression, it is a reflection of the characters and story within the book.

I tried to do my own covers. While they were “ok”, they were just only “ok”. Once I hired a professional I’ve gotten nothing but praise. This is what you are looking for: “Oh, I love your cover art, can I read your book?”

Romelia:   HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Stephen Christiansen:   I’ve written twenty-six books so far. 17 of those are of the dark elf series and 3 more are offshoots of the dark elf series. There are some sci-fi books that I’ve written as well. Right now I’m in the process of writing a spy/thriller novel.

My favorite of them all is “The Troll Wars”. This book of the dark elf series brought several loose ends together. Antagonists from previous books were able to get their story arcs. Many pieces from the other books were brought in. The whole book just fell into place. I was also able to split up the heroes and give each group their own story arc within the book, rounding the characters out a bit more.

The thing is, I didn’t really plan this book, it just kind of wrote itself and I really enjoyed watching this book come together.

Romelia:   WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?

Stephen Christiansen:   There were several aspects of the war when the trolls were making their initial attacks against various outlying towns that were difficult to write. I wanted to really get into the ugliness of war and, while it was very impacting, it was difficult to write. I had to stop several times before I could return and face the realities that I was trying to portray. It was just very emotional.

Romelia:   WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?

Stephen Christiansen:   The most fun was when I was able to see how this book connected to so many different

Romelia:   WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?

Stephen Christiansen:   There’s a dark elf named Maldev. He’s a bit of a loner and doesn’t trust so easily. He’s quick with sarcasm. He’s had a hard life and is trying to cope with it all. In many ways, this describes me. I actually pull a lot from my life and plant it upon him and use him as a catharsis.  

Romelia:   IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?

Stephen Christiansen:   I have finished the dark elf series, although there are several offshoots that are in the works. That being said, I’m already trying to come up with several new ideas for a new series. I have left the world with enough loose ends to start up several series so I’ll try to choose one and go from there. Nothing concrete yet.

Romelia:   TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Stephen Christiansen:   Ok, so this question reminds me of the scene in “Finding Nemo” where Marlin is asked to tell a joke. “You’re a clownfish. Clownfish are funny. Tell us a joke.” And of course, Marlin feels on the spot and can’t think of anything right off.

This is the only thing I can think of at the moment. It may not be “funny” but it’s at least ironic.

I met up with a fan and sold her some of my books. So I ask “Who is your favorite character?” She told me. I gave pause. I just handed her a book that had that very character killed off.

Romelia:   DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES. TELL US SOMETHING WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND SOMETHING YOU HATE ABOUT THE WORLD.

Stephen Christiansen:   I’m weird, quirky, odd, and a bit strange. I’m a little sarcastic and enjoy a good “bad dad” joke every now and then. I try my best to be a loving husband and good father.

e-mail: Maldev2002@yahoo.com

http://maldev2002.wixsite.com/orbbelgguren

Lasă un răspuns

Completează mai jos detaliile tale sau dă clic pe un icon pentru a te autentifica:

Logo WordPress.com

Comentezi folosind contul tău WordPress.com. Dezautentificare /  Schimbă )

Poză Twitter

Comentezi folosind contul tău Twitter. Dezautentificare /  Schimbă )

Fotografie Facebook

Comentezi folosind contul tău Facebook. Dezautentificare /  Schimbă )

Conectare la %s

Acest site folosește Akismet pentru a reduce spamul. Află cum sunt procesate datele comentariilor tale.