Gene Stewart

genestewartI was busy washing my socks and heard the visitor bell ring.  Maybe it’s more of a scream than a bell, but when the snakes slither through the walls, everyone screams.  Gene Stewart was no exception.

Why writing?  What drew you to it? Why do you continue?

My aptitude test in school said Music, Writing, and Art were my strong suits, with everything else a distant second.  I thought about it and figured Music is a hard slog for little reward.  Art is a crap shoot.  Writing, though, let me use what ever I learned, allowed me to learn a craft useful in many ways.

I was drawn to writing by reading.  My first conscious fiction, written on a Summer vacation from school entirely to amuse myself, happened at age 7.  From then on I was focused on making stories work, building them well, figuring out how to present them.  I read about writers, and I read their writing and learned.

Little did I know I was decades behind the curve in knowing how writing had changed.  As a result, I trained myself to be a man of letters in a world no longer supportive of such folks.  All the rules I thought applied were long gone before I learned them.

I continue because I am still wholly fascinated and consumed by writing and it is what I know how to do.  Writing, though, has now changed again, as we go digital, ditch the gatekeepers, and ignore trad publishing’s evil ways.  Free-for-all, anyone?  Everyone expects it for free, these days, and losing control of discrete units to sell is bleeding us all dry.  We need to figure out how to re-bottle the genie to prevent piracy and theft, or figure out how to make those things not matter.

If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last?  (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)

  • The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • My Kindle and/or iPad

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?

Beat a cancer, a heart attack, and diabetes.

Do you have a favorite character you’ve created?  If so, who is it and why?

Colonel Benjamin Hercules Colton from Loyal Revolt, who fights back when he is misused by his commanders, or maybe Mudge Harris from Undefined Terms, an ex military chaplain of failed faith who faces down a serial killer by finding that he suffices, or Charles Elder Stone of Symbolic Behavior, who tries desperately to get his family back from death as two alchemists struggle to use him as the key to controlling reality.

Creepiest place you’ve ever been?  Has it appeared in your fiction?  Why or Why not?

Burg Nanstein’s dungeon, in Ramstein, Germany.  We toured it and had to leave because of what we all saw, heard, and felt.  It appears in Symbolic Behavior.

What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?

An anthology calling for the raunchiest erotica possible bounced my story “Even Trade” for being too raunchy, although one of the first reader’s endorsements was appended to the apologetic rejection.  It is published here.

How did you get that scar?

Dueling.  Or was it Tripling?

What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?

AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” probably.

Promote yourself and/or your writing

My website, where you can read a lot of stuff, see some art, some cartoons, and check out some of my publishing credits, etc.

Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?

Nice of you to ask but I’m too busy running to think much.  Watch out for that sinkhole, we’re fracked around here.

Thank you, Mr. Stewart, for your visit and for entertaining us with your answers.  Exit through whichever door you’d like.  And you said it yourself, watch out for that sinkhole.

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