#OWSCyCon2019 Author Spotlight
As part of the build-up to OWSCyCon2019, I want to introduce you to some of the amazing volunteers and authors taking part in the event. If it wasn’t for the volunteers, there could be no CyCon, and I’m grateful to every single one of them for giving up their time to make this happen. But by the same token, without the authors taking part in the event, we wouldn’t be able to bring you the amazing events that we have planned. So without further delay…
Meet Stephen B. Pearl
Stephen B. Pearl is a multiply published author whose works range through Post-Apocalyptic science fiction – Tinker’s Plague and Tinker’s Sea, Cyberpunk – Cats, science fiction, detective, erotica – Slaves of Love, Military Science Fiction, Romance – War of the Worlds 2030 to Modern Fantasy – Nukekubi, Paranormal Romance – Worlds Apart, The Hollow Curse, to Norse Historical Fantasy – Horn of the Kraken. His writings incorporate real places and focus on the logical consequences of the worlds he crafts as well as plausible science and technology. For more visit his web site at: www.stephenpearl.com
What Genres Do You Write In?
Why don't you start by telling us a little about yourself
Hmm. It is always difficult for me to do this because, of course, we all see ourselves as not particularly interesting because everything is just part of our everyday life. Trying to look at it from an outsider’s perspective, I’m Pagan, Egyptian path actually, have worked as a professional psychic. Trained for the ambulance, but it wasn’t for me. I was a lifeguard / swim instructor for many years, but sadly my knees gave out. I’ve taught the Mad Science after school program. I’ve travelled over most of Canada and the USA as well as a good bit of England. I really want to get up into Scotland and the Orkney Islands someday.
I’ve been married for about 34 years. I remember my anniversary but over time years tend to blend together. I swear I was 23 just yesterday, but the calendar insists that I’m closer to sixty. I am one of those who remembers the first lunar landing.
I’m a science buff, a history buff. Oh, it is easier to list the things that I have no interest in. Sports, Propaganda, Artificial drama, soap operas, most ‘reality’ TV, rap music, evangelism no matter what the person is peddling.
I love museums, animals and walking in nature. I’ve had cats most of my life and intend to continue the practice.
This is beginning to sound like I’m looking for a date, so I’ll end it now.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
My latest is Cats, a cyberpunk romantic comedy involving felines. It actually does have an urban fantasy tie in because a group of gamers get trapped in a full VR5 video game. The game they are playing happens to be an urban fantasy type scenario and they are turned into Cats in the game. It is a lot of fun.
My major urban fantasy work is Nukekubi. Nukekubi are a form of Japanese goblin that look like ordinary people during the day but separate their heads from their bodies at night and scare people to death to feed on the energies released. Ray, a modern-day wizard, encounters a Nukekubi that has been feasting on the people of Toronto and decides he hag got to put a stop to it. Only it soon becomes a question of just who’s hunting who. The myth of the Nukekubi is recounted in the book as part of Rays research into the creature, and Ray’s magic system is based on the western esoteric system. It’s a good read with some nice twists and turns if I do say so myself.
Who is your intended readership?
People who like a little fact with their fiction. By this, I mean that my Vikings don’t have horns on their helmets in Horn of the Kraken. In my Tinker’s World series the world is a logical extrapolation of where we’ll be in two hundred years time if we don’t do something to fix the mess we are making now.
I research the elements of my work and try to stick close to true.
For magic, I may jack the power level, but I adhere to principals most occultists would recognize.
Also, people who like heroes and villains that are shades of grey. Real people you could meet on the street doing what they do. Even bloodthirsty Japanese goblins can get the blues sometimes.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Good question. I was carrying a charred stick, and I went into the cave and thought, “char make mark on wall. I make picture, gods see and send more antelope. Antilope good eating.”
Actually, it was shortly after meeting my wife. I wanted to impress her, so I wrote a novel with her as the female lead. The book is awful and will never see print, but thirty-four years on it obviously had its desired effect. So you hear that Joy, It’s all your fault.
Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?
J. R. R. Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Terry Pratchett, as to living authors Jim Butcher and Tanya Huff for urban fantasy, excepting myself of course, and for comedy Ira Nayman.
What advice would you give beginning writers?
Get out while you can. It is harder than you think, there isn’t much money in it and you’ll spend more time marketing than writing for a long time as you try to gain a following.
If you want to write, write in a journal, do stories for newsletters keep a diary. If you have to write, if the stories claw at you and keep you up at night, if your characters pop up while you are driving alone and harass you, then you just might push through the thousand and one hurdles that the industry will throw at you.
That said, if you are dead set on being a masochist. Write the best story you can, set it aside for a month or two then start at the beginning and read it as if it were someone else’s work. Edit it, then edit again then run it through a writers’ group. Writers groups are the greatest learning experience you can have. They will tear your work apart throw it in your lap and say fix it. Of course, that’s if you get a good one. I like online groups because no one sees you as a person; thus the work overshadows all. Face to face groups are good for mutual support. Having both is advisable.
Once you have edited and polished your work to the point that you can nearly recite it from memory send it to a publisher. Try the big six and when you have rejection letters from them look at the small and medium-sized presses. At least with small press you may get some feedback. And you know what you do with that feedback. You go back to the computer and edit again.
During the periods of time you are waiting for your story to come back if you are a writer you will be working on another book or story.
For more on my views on breaking into print visit: https://youtu.be/rd1_e9ezAdI
Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?
I was manning a table for Dark Dragon Publishing, publishers of my novels Worlds Apart and Nukekubi, at the world fantasy convention when a gentleman walks up to the table. I smile and great him then ask if he is interested in urban fantasy and he smiles back and says “A little.”
At that point, I thought to read his name tag. Charles De Lint, basically the king of Canadian Urban fantasy.
I said, “Oh you’re you.” And turned seven shades of red. I then gave him a copy of Nukekubi.
I have to say, I’ve met several name authors over the years, and universally they have been nice, gracious chaps. Mister De Lint was no exception to this rule. A pleasant, charming gentleman.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?
I use to SCUBA dive and would like to get back into it when I have the time and money. I do house renovations and work on my car, I’m fairly handy and perpetually broke, so if I don’t do it it doesn’t get done. I love swimming and walking in the woods. Animals in general and cats in particular bring me great pleasure. I didn’t mention that a portion of the proceeds from my novel Cats will be donated to pet charities in the Hamilton area.
What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?
I am currently editing the Spear of Destiny book two of the Bastard prince saga which began in Horn of the Kraken. I want to get back into writing Revenant, book two of my urban fantasy series that started with Nukekubi. Then I’ve finally got the concept for book three of my Tinker’s World series worked out. It’s tentatively titled Tinkler’s Well. I’m also trying to market a couple of space based science fictions.
Nukekubi are Japanese goblins that live as men by day, but at night they slip their heads free of their flesh and devour human prey. The beast’s victims are literally scared to death.
Ray, a modern‐day wizard, confronts a nukekubi that is feasting on the people of Toronto. He is aided by Cathy, a sorceress of numerous charms, and Toshiro and Kunio, two, Japanese, martial artists who have made hunting nukekubi their lives’ work.
The battle becomes a question of who is hunting who and what is the millennia‐old connection that binds Ray to the nukekubi?