Today, I’m interviewing author Steven R. Drennon. Everybody *wave*
So I noticed from your website that you’re a lot like me–you don’t limit yourself to a specific genre. What do you like about writing across genres? Poetry, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, and Suspense…what else would you like to try?
You mean I missed something? I have kicked around the idea of writing a western or maybe even a series of westerns, but I’m not sure the market is really there. I am going to be doing a new contemporary fantasy series with three different novellas that take place in current times. They won’t be of the vampires and werewolves type that seem to be so prevalent these days. Instead, each will feature an element of unexplained phenomenon that might be somewhat unique and different.
Are you a many, many WIPs at once kinda guy, or do you have to completely focus on one at a time?
I am definitely a person who likes to have many different things going at the same time. I have full outlines for a three book suspense series, I have complete outlines for the contemporary fantasy series I mentioned above, and I also have complete outlines for a three book historical fiction series. Each series is considerably different from the other, so if I find myself getting bogged down on one type of writing, then I can switch it up and do something different for a while.
Historical Fiction and combat search and rescue…I’m completely intrigued. My family is heavy into public service–we’ve got millitary, police, firefighters, EMTs, and I’m a police dispatcher. Can you give us an idea what this series will be about?
I recently read a book titled “No Man Left Behind”, which is a complete history of combat search and rescue in the US Armed Forces. It is a very detail oriented book which unfortunately was pretty dry reading. The authors present every documented case (and there are hundreds) in a very straightforward, factual manner, but there is no emotion or dialogue. For example, they will say that on such and such a date, the pilots of a specific type of aircraft were involved in the rescue of a downed fighter pilot at this location. They give very specific details and names, but you never get any dialog, and you never get to know what was going on in the minds of those involved. They also don’t do a very good job of describing the setting. I decided I would select certain stories from their book and change the names so that I can give the characters some personality and bring the stories to life. I’m changing the names because all the dialogue will be made up by me, and I didn’t want anyone attributing any comments made in my books to the actual persons involved.
Do you use beta readers or a critique group? Do you feel like this type of feedback is crucial to writing?
I do use beta readers, and I believe they have been very beneficial in helping me to develop as a writer. I don’t know that they are “crucial”, but I would definitely say that they have helped me to improve.
You have some beautiful covers. Do you do your own? If so, what is your process? If not, promote your cover artist
Well, the poetry book covers were all done by me using photographs that I took myself. I think they could have been done a little better, but I was realistic enough to know that I probably wouldn’t sell enough to recover the cost of having them done professionally. My two fantasy novels, however, were done by Glendon Haddix of streetlightgraphics.com, and he was absolutely wonderful to work with!
On my Facebook author page (http://www.facebook.com/StevenR.Drennon) I have some new covers for my upcoming novella series. There are three for a series of suspense novels about three different female serial killers, and those covers were done by me. I purchased some stock photos from dreamstime.com, used cooltext.com to generate the titles and author names, and then used the Gimp software product to merge them all together. They are not finalized yet, but I’m getting close to where I want them.
There is also a folder with a couple of covers for the suspense novellas I am currently working on. One of those was done by me, and the other I obtained from Razzle Dazzle Stock (http://www.razzdazzstock.com/). I was looking through their pre-made covers and found one that was absolutely perfect for the story I am currently working on, so I just had to buy it!
Tell us about ROW80. What is it, and how easy/hard have you found it to follow the challenge? Have you ever done Nanowrimo? How does it compare?
ROW80 stands for “Round of Words in 80 Days”, and it is a writer’s challenge where each participant sets specific goals that they would like to obtain during those 80 days. I believe they have started a new round just recently, but I chose not to participate because I have too many outside distraction over the next couple of months with vacations and such. I think the round that I participated in was very beneficial for me, because it helped me stay on task with the things I was working on at the time. During those 80 days, I got my last three volumes of poetry formatted and published, which was one goal, and I also completed the last 25,000 words in my most recent fantasy novel and got it published, which was another goal. I believe that holding myself accountable and having to report my progress made me feel more compelled to keep on track and get my work done. I believe the Nanowrimo challenge has a very specific goal to complete a novel with at least 50,000 words in one month. The ROW80 challenge is different in that you have more time, and you set your own goals based on what you need to get accomplished, whether it is writing, editing, or formatting.
There are serious length differences in writing poetry and fantasy. How have you found it to write fantasy novels after writing poetry since you were a teen? How long are your books, usually?
When I write a poem, it is almost always something that is spontaneous and gets completed very quickly. I’ll usually get a rhyming pattern or a collection of words stuck in my head, and then I’ll sit down and write them out and expand on it until I’m done. This is something I can almost always complete in less than an hour. With a book, you have a much larger commitment, and you are allowed many more words to tell your story. Furthermore, your story is grander in scale, so it is naturally going to involve more words. My first fantasy novel was an epic fantasy with over 110,000 words. My second one was a more simple story and only had about 65,000 words.
I freaking love your WIP meters on your website!! How in the world did you get something like that and how can we?
Oh no, you’re going to make me give away my secret! Actually, I got those from critiquecircle.com, and anyone can get them for their own site. They have them listed in the Tools section on their site, and I “freaking love” them too!
What work(s) are you promoting today? What are they about? Where can we find them?
The only book that I have really made any effort to promote recently is my newest fantasy novel “Three for Avadar”. It is a story about three very different travelers who are brought together by chance as each is headed for the same destination. The story presents different situations from each of the three perspectives while combining some romance with your traditional sword and sorcery. The book is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N.
How to Find Steven: