Stephen North

While it’s been a while since I posted a new collection of screams…er…interview, I can’t say it was anyone’s fault but my own.  Stephen North has been kind enough to answer my questions (over and over again until his eyes bled) for my entertainment.  But now, I pass his less ear piercing answers on to you.

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

I remember being in sixth grade, and my dad used to bring me a book or two home every week.

Why?  I suppose that my love of reading is at the root of it.  I’m writing what I’d like to read.

As to what drew me to it, my first story was a short story set in the 1700s.  An English ship captain was trying to capture the Manila Galleon, a Spanish treasure ship.  I was reading C.S. Forrester’s Horatio Hornblower books at the time, and there is no doubt about where I got the inspiration for that one!  I loved books full of adventure, high drama, and heroes who never quit.  My Spanish teacher asked our class to write a story with a Spanish theme, if I remember correctly.  Once you do, you finish writing a book, the next time is easier.

I continue because I have to.  I want to see how these stories end.  I’m also having fun.

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.)

Wow, tough call, but here goes:  The Best of Roald DahlA Trace of Memory by Keith Laumer;  The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer;  The Winds Twelve Quarters by Ursula Le Guin;  and The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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

In life, I’d say being a parent.  Most important thing I ever did, for sure.  In writing, I’d say writing with someone else.  Relationships take work and commitment.

What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts?  Why?

“At.”  For example, “Where is the beer at?”

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

Hmmm.  Some of my characters are more fun or provocative than others.  I’ll offer one from the book ‘Dead Tide.’  Trish is a scrappy stripper who is too tired to know the difference between one type of stiff and another.  Actually, she is more than that.  She is a person who never gives up.  A lot of heart in a small package, you might say.

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

The Linville Caverns in North Carolina.  Some claustrophobic places in there.  The top of a rappelling tower wasn’t fun when I knew the only way down was to rappel.  Finally, I was once held upside down over a shark tank.

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

I wrote a short story called “The Outcast” or something like that, shortly after reading The Silmarillion for the first time, and sent it to a fantasy magazine.  I was told “Your prose is too high-flown for our readership.”

How did you get that scar?

Snort!  There is a pretty good one on my right forearm from a jagged piece of metal.

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

 Thunderball by Tom Jones?

Promote yourself and/or your writing

I’m not the brooding, depressed guy I used to be, but my books are full of darkness.  Some of the hopelessness I felt crept into my writing.  All five of my books are apocalyptic in nature.  That may change in future books.  All is not lost.  I’ve spent most of my adult life serving and observing humanity at its best, and at its worst.  Those observations and personal experiences spill over into to my writing.

Currently, I’m working on the third book in the Dead Tide series.

Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?

Thank you to all the friends and fans who have supported me.

Thank you, Mr. North, for those enlightening answers.  As it’s finally time for you to leave the isolation tank, you have to choose between 3 doors.  One leads to Linville Caverns (the dark part), one leads to a pit full of jagged pieces of metal.  The third?  That’s where the exit’s AT.  (insert grumbling)

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