Friday 22nd November - Steven Lester Carr
Sixteen Questions for Sixteen Authors
Contributor spotlight : Steven Lester Carr, author of “The Magician's Traveling Circus”
Under the interviewer's spotlight today is is Steven Lester Carr, who wrote the short story “The Magician's Travelling Circus” for the “Dragon Bone Soup” anthology (published in December 2019). Steven writes in many genres and (as you will read below) is widely published. His whimsical tale has a theme of the magic of circus as realised by an actual magical circus. If you enjoy "soft" magic systems, you won't find any softer than that used by Shammel the wizard and his surprisingly sensible donkey.
What is your real name and what name do you write under (if they are different)?
Where do you hail from?
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The city rarely forgets to have my garbage cans picked up.
When and why did you start writing?
A high school English teacher told me I had talent as a writer and encouraged me to consider it as a career. I enlisted in the Army right out of high school because I didn’t have the money to go to college and was trained as a military journalist, which is where and why I got my earliest experience as a professional writer. Skipping over many years after college where I didn’t take up writing seriously again, writing only an occasional play, I started writing plays in earnest 2002 and had a modicum of success with that, and then in 2016 I began writing short stories.
Do you see writing as a career?
I’ve had the opportunity to take up several different types of careers that involve writing, but didn’t really stick with or pursue any of them. I’m retired now and write mainly short stories, which I see as my niche and I write strictly for enjoyment, so having a career in writing has passed me by.
What genre(s) do you write in? What genre(s) do you find challenging?
I write short stories in almost every genre, although I stopped writing erotica because there is very little you can do with it and it adds very little to literary discourse. The most challenging genre for me is romance. It all seems so fake, contrived, and cliché, that when writing romance stories I have to have a really good and original idea in mind and be in the right mindset. It’s the only writing genre I struggle with.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing in your story’s genre? What was the most rewarding?
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to write in and I have had a lot of success with it. I love the freedom that the fantasy genre provides to create worlds out of pure imagination.
Do you ever experience Writer’s Block? How do you handle it?
I never experience Writer’s Block. I have times when I don’t feel like writing, and sometimes I struggle with the structure of a story and have to take a short break from it to think about what I’m writing, but I never see that as a block. I’m not sure how anyone can actually be blocked. It feels like an excuse for simply not doing the job of sitting at the computer and typing words, any words, until an idea begins to flow.
How do you begin a piece of writing? When do you know it’s done?
Even before I write the first sentence of a story I know how the story will end, sometimes with the last line in my head way before I get to it. I generally know the word count I’m working toward and since I know what the story is about beginning with that first sentence, I know it’s done when I have brought the idea to realization and at the planned word count.
What is your process for writing a novel?
My first novel, Redbird, is due out in late November of 2019. I actually wrote it years ago and put it away until 2018 because I hated the whole process of writing it. At my core I’m a short story writer so with the novel it never seemed to come to an end. When writing it I didn’t use an outline or had any plan on how on where it was going to go. To my amazement when I took it out of mothballs it held together very nicely and only needed some minor adjustments and professional line editing.
Which do you prefer – traditional or self-publishing, and why?
For almost a year I tried to find an agent or traditional publisher for my novel, and while I received a few offers, none of them fit what I was looking for and the end result was that they would make more money from my work than I would. I fought against the idea of self publishing my first novel because I thought it would be limiting. In fact, the reverse has happened and I feel much more in control of my work.
If you were banned from writing, what would you do in your free time?
I love movies, music and reading art history, so I’d spend my free time enjoying any of those. If I were younger I would be an active advocate for animals in a way I can’t be now, and I’d be more involved in politics.
What do you want written on your headstone / tombstone / memorial-stone?
Do Not Disturb
What are you working on right now?
A short story for an anthology.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m considering retiring from writing and spending more time with other things I enjoy doing.
How can readers find you online and on social media?
These are listed in Sixteen Questions for Sixteen Authors.
About “Dragon Bone Soup”
“Dragon Bone Soup” is an anthology of Fantasy and light Science Fiction short stories, showcasing the very best in Indie writing talent from across the world. Published in December 2019, it is edited by P.C. Darkcliff and DW Brownlaw.
About the editors
For more information about the editorial team, click on the following links...