Ginger Nuts of Horror
Steve Soderquist started writing at seventeen before realizing he needed to learn a lot more about the how-to's before anything could be published. Taking the time off while learning the craft, Steve became a seasoned musician who played with many successful bands and artists and toured extensively for years. Settling down for the more 'quiet life', the writing bug kept biting and he soon found his way back to the word-processor to pick up where he had left off so many years earlier.
After the publication of the novella, 'One for the Road', Steve buckled down and wrote the novel, 'Farm House' which has earned him many great reviews and solidly set his course. Now settled down as a full-time writer, Steve Soderquist has four more novels in various stages of completion with the next book, a psychological thriller called 'Rogue' which is co-written by fellow author Laura Ranger and set to hit the market by hopefully mid 2014.
Steve can be found over various avenues including Amazon, Goodreads, Damnation Books along with many other retailers. Just remember what he said once, and I quote: "Hop on in. You can fasten your seatbelt if it makes you feel any better...but it won't make a difference."
An interview with Steve Soderquist
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I have always believed that once you find something you love to do, you should put as much reasonable energy possible into making that 'something' your career. When it comes to art (which writing is a definite a fit for that category) it's like anything else. If you want to excel at it, you have to break beyond the barrier of average and learn all you can to stand out.
I always had a love for reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. I was never stuck on one genre. I was just as fascinated with the ability writers had to weave their tales as much as the genre itself. I have read great novels, and very bad novels. It is certainly not genre-specific!
I began a manuscript when I was seventeen and actually all things considered, it really wasn't that bad. But I knew even then that if I were to succeed on any level, I had a hell of a lot to learn. There is a definite mechanical side to writing that allows the author to create a story with an almost seamless quality that I lacked. This does not come naturally, despite some popular belief. Yes, I could write, but I knew that if I was unable to properly string even a paragraph together grammatically, prose or composition-wise, I would be writing a hot mess, irregardless of 'natural talent'.
So I took many classes, workshops and studied the craft. Life took over, as it often does and while I wrote here and there, nothing pushed me to follow the dream. However, when I finished the short novella, 'One for the Road', I knew I needed to return. It was like a tickle you get at the back of your throat when a cold is coming on. Unavoidable but in this instance, wonderful.
That little novella propelled me and secured me enough financially to push ahead with the novel, 'Farm House' which has been well-received. I currently have four other titles in progress with the next to come out within (hopefully) a few months.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I believe they all have their place. Trying to pigeon-hole a genre can be confusing and/or misleading, at best. I have been termed as a horror writer myself, although my first novella would be more in the category of weird fiction or even paranormal fiction. Farm House was pretty much a straight up, in-your-face horror novel, but my next novel to come out would be more in the line of thriller fiction. I do believe that a writer should not be all over the place lest he or she confuse their base readership, but I believe branching out is fine if it is done without losing the continuity of the authors style. In other words, don't expect a romance novel coming from me anytime soon!
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Being a huge fan of books, there are so many who can be mentioned. Stephen King, James Clavell, Anthony Burgess, V.C. Andrews, Anne Rice, Herman Melville, Tom Clancy, Mario Puzo, John Grisham, J.D. Salinger, J.R.R. Tolkien and many, many more.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
I recently just finished a novel called 'The Harlot Goddess' by a new author on the scene named N. Onym. His imagery was absolutely stunning. I highly recommend it.
For disappointment, I would have to say 'Breaking Dawn' by Stephanie Meyers. I enjoy very much her writing style, but where she took the last novel in her vampire series I believe danced into la-la land so much so it became ridiculous.
How would you describe your writing style?
Eclectic would be a fair definition. Human beings are complicated creatures. Getting into the heads of my characters is to me paramount in connecting my readers to their roles in the story. Every character has a history; a life before they came into the novel-picture. Meeting a new character is not unlike meeting a new person in real life, but in a much more intimate and detailed way. I believe that there may indeed be those few individuals who are just inherently good or evil, but most people are a mixture of both to some lesser or greater degree. So to be fair, I am a people-writer first; I write about real folks who have honest reactions to situations which are often, not normal...especially when it comes to the aforementioned horror platform.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
I appreciate every single review I receive, positive or negative. It tells me that someone read my work, then took the time to share what they thought. The reviews I enjoy the most are the ones where I can sit back after reading it and say, "That person got it, they connected." It makes me feel I did my job as a writer. I have (as far as I know!) only received one negative review but that is the nature of the business. You take the good with the bad in the same swallow.
What’s your favourite food?
Anything seafood. How's that for a brief answer?
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Ludwig Von Beethoven playing anything by Weird Al Yankovic on a hollow-body Stratocaster. It at least makes for an interesting mental picture.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Successfully writing is not unlike being a good magician. Your goal is much the same as theirs. The trick is completed when no one sees the numbers through the paint, so to speak. The puzzle is put together skilfully enough that the pieces cannot be differentiated from the completed picture. You want the reader to say, "That was a great read! I was on the edge of my seat; I couldn't put it down!"
They don't need to know the mechanics of how it is done, anymore than the fan of a good magician needs to know how the card turned from a Jack of clubs to the Queen of diamonds, or how the lady vanished in thin air; or for that matter, how many hours it took practicing the trick to make it look easy and effortless...you just want them to walk away going, "How did he or she do that?"
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Resisting the urge to fill extended moments of boring interludes with mindless character chatter. Most writers have all been in that boat of having a bunch of people in the story basically standing around looking at each almost blankly while the creator (writer) is thinking were the next stop on this metaphorical road is going to go. This is usually when I take a break or pick it up again the next day, before one of them has the chance to say, "So...some weather we've been having." Or, "How about them Cleveland Browns this year!" Or something equally, painfully inane and pointless.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think creativity goes hand-in-hand with experience and learning. The better I get at writing, the more ability I have to express myself creatively and apply it to the story. Creativity can be likened to a mindless, roaming beast with no direction at first; simply crashing into walls and breaking everything that gets in it's way. But once trained to 'zone in' on key elements correctly and then properly funnelled, it turns from being a wild bullet to a bulls-eye.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Read. Read a lot. I believe I read this from Stephen King first. I could not agree more. After that was write...again, a lot. Writing is a muscle and if left alone too long, will sadly atrophy and shrivel.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
I loved writing the Crystal/Kelly character. She was the embodiment of what I called, 'her own necessary evil'. Despite what some have thought, I never considered her character insane. Her thoughts and actions were too calculated, thought out and purposeful. She had motivation, man. She had determination...and God help anyone who stood in her way.
How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
I would have to say Chris, the second youngest in the cast of characters. While I drew him realistically, I thought I also without meaning to, stereotyped him as 'typical male teen with over-active sex-drive'. While elements of what motives him certainly are true, I like to have a broader mixture of similar characters to balance the scale.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
I would much prefer to be respected. Fame is a double-edged sword and fortunes are fleeting. Respect is ultimately earned by who you are, not what you have done. It's one of the reasons I love sharing with fellow writers, especially those who have yet to be published and reaching out for what I have been graciously (and sometimes not so graciously, but hey...a lesson is a lesson) shared with me. I love talking and teaching in seminars and groups, as well. It's a personal satisfaction knowing I can perhaps be of help to someone on their journey to getting published.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I will put it this way.
Writing to me is like putting readers on a roller coaster. I love being The Man who takes your ticket, guides you to your seat, (and everyone sits in the front cart, by the way), then leaving the seatbelt just a little bit too loose; the cotter-pin not quite in all the way on the roll bar, then sending them up that clackety first rise. You know the one...the one that shows only your slow and slightly jostling ascent; the one that seems to take much longer than you like as you wonder what would happen if the chain snapped, sending you backwards into the coaster right behind you...then that slight pause at the top---that moment that is seemingly frozen---right before you're hurtled down at break-neck speed leaving you to scream with delight and grasp your honey next you...
But in my book, your 'honey' is now nothing but a rotting corpse, and the ride has only just begun.
Yea...I am proud when I can do that to you.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
The last novel was 'Farm House', which is set in the rural community of Croswell, Michigan.
Years earlier, a small child was supposedly murdered by her father for the insurance money he would receive once her 'disappearance' allowed him to cash in. But the child lived---and was forever changed.
She learned a very valuable lesson that day. In her then eight year old mind, that lesson being that those who professed to love her were all liars...and liars had to pay. What follows is her descent into a viscous madness as she meticulously lays out her plans; calculating each step carefully and with black intent. Those who live at the farm house and is governed by a woman who hides her own past, is now herself locked between buried memories bubbling to the surface and the terrifying events unfolding around her.
The storm is about to descend upon all of them, but the one she blames most must first pay...and pay, and pay and pay.
The novel coming out is called, 'Rogue' and is co-written by fellow-author and girlfriend Laura Ranger, who is by definition a romance author. Her collaboration in this thriller has been invaluable and truly enriched this novel.
Here is a blurb/teaser.
Chris and Lexi Denton led what they considered to be a normal life, filled with the usual trials and errors that go along with the day-to-day living for any young, newlywed couple.
Lexi worked as a dance instructor at a local studio, and Chris was a successful broker at a firm in downtown Miami, Florida. But when Chris gets caught up with a crime boss who utilizes Chris's talent for numbers to cover up deadly secrets, Chris and Lexi soon discover much more than just Carlos Mandini’s dark secrets, they begin to discover their own. Secrets so well hidden and buried; so deeply dormant that even they are not suspect to the horrifying truth. Chris and Lexi Denton are not who they believe they are.
As they run for their lives from Mandini and his 'organization', who they are and what they are capable of begins to surface. Their past begins to haunt them from the tattered memories the government thought they had wiped out. Soon the laboratories known to them only as the 'Lz Project' become clearer in their minds and with each passing day, they begin to understand that what they are capable of goes beyond any military training or branch of service.
Now locked in a struggle for their right to even exist, they find themselves combating others like them---enhanced government projects created since birth to only supplement and aid other projects; to create an army of super-soldiers, capable of incredible feats of physical strength and skill. But those in charge have not factored in the most important lesson Chris and Lexi have learned on their own...
Love supersedes science.
Culminating in an explosive ending that will leave the reader breathless, the two take the road never travelled to seek out what they know ultimately must be done---to assure the Lz Project is not only destroyed, but can never be reactivated...
Even if they must sacrifice themselves to that end.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
"Where do you get your ideas?" Ok, just kidding.
Probably, "What are you like in real life?"
This type of question is often passed over for the more popular, "What scares you?" or, "How many bodies do you have buried in your backyard?" type of question and understandably so, but there is a big difference between what I write and who writes it. I may write horror/thrillers, but am also a huge fan of any Pixar films, my family, and enjoy greatly just sitting around talking nonsense with my lady. I suppose there are some definite Jekyll and Hyde undertones to that, but hey...
...we can't be on the roller coaster all the time.
For more great interviews and reviews follow the links below
Horror Author Interviews
Horror Novel Reviews
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON STEVE AND HIS BOOKS FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW
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Screams do not carry twenty miles to the next farm house…
Ten years ago, a little girl was supposedly murdered. Ten years ago, that little girl got away.
Now, after eight years of living on her own, feeding from garbage cans and doing what she must to survive and still remain anonymous, the lies told to her have led her—her sense of vengeance and retribution—back to the door-step of whom she considers to blame.
Those who stand in her way receive nothing of mercy as her relentless pursuit to extract revenge on those who robbed her of her life comes to a chilling close as nothing will stop her…and no one is to be spared.
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