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The Authors' Words: A Talk with Author A.F. Stewart About Her Science Fiction/Fantasy Stories, AND More.

The Authors' Words: 
Author A.F. Stewart is fond of good books, action movies, sword collecting, geeky things, comic books, and oil painting as a hobby. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.
She has always had an overly creative mind, and an active imagination. She is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, and oil painting as a hobby.
Ms. Stewart has been writing for several years, her main focus being in the fantasy and horror genres. She also has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories. She has authored and published several books, including Fairy Tale Fusion, Gothic Cavalcade, Ruined City, the Killers and Demons series, and Chronicles of the Undead. In addition, she writes and publishes poetry, her latest volume being Colours of Poetry.
Her short stories have been published in the charity anthologies, Coffin Hop: Death by Drive-In, Christmas Lites III, IV and V. Also, tales from her pen have appeared in three anthologies by Xchyler Publishing, Mechanized Masterpieces, Legends and Lore, and Beyond the Wail.

Hi A.F., so glad to get this opportunity to speak with you on my blog.
I have some questions your fans, 
and I, would love to know!

Other than writing a story when I was about twelve, it was someone else asking me to help them write a book which really got me writing. What circumstances inspired you to pursue your writing?
What circumstances... Hmmm, maybe because I didn’t have enough talent to be a professional artist or a ballet dancer. But seriously, I’ve always been writing something or other since I was a kid, so I think I simply moved into writing as a career naturally.

Was it earlier than when you started writing that you realized you were a storyteller but wasn’t sure what to do with it?
It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t sure what to do with it, (I knew I wanted to be published), as where to go and how to get there. I submitted things here and there, but the traditional sea of publishing was vast and deep. It was the start of indie publishing that really launched things for me.

Who are the authors and books that inspired you most?
My best inspiration is Ray Bradbury. The man was brilliant when writing short stories and captured emotional essence beautifully. All Summer in a Day is one of my favourites. I’ve been a Neil Gaiman fan since his days writing Sandman and his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane was stellar. And the books of Guy Gavriel Kay are just amazing, especially the two book Sarantine Mosaic, consisting of Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors.

Was it these authors that drew you to write fantasy and horror genres?
I think so. All their work is extraordinary, filled with beautiful, fantastic imagery, but also very much laced with tragedy and darkness. For me, it’s very appealing to write. But I have to  say all those murder mysteries I read as a teenager may have also helped with the horror writing.

A.F., I know you have a great sense of humor, does it sometimes interfere with something you are writing?
I would say, no. Generally my stuff is either mainly serious or mainly humorous, although I do try to keep the puns to a minimum in whatever I write. Of course, you do have to mix a bit of lightness and humour into your characters, but I try to stay in the mood of the story I’m writing. And most of my humorous stuff tends to be short fiction, the novels and novellas are normally where the darkness lives.

What was your original goal to achieve as an author, and have you reached it?
My original goal was just to see if I could publish a book and have people interested in reading it, so in that sense I’ve accomplished my first goal. You always need new goals though, so upward and onward.

How often do you produce a story?
That depends on what’s happening in my life; if my non-writing life is busy, then story production slows down and I might get very little writing done. But in a good month I could be
working on one or two (or three) stories for submission to magazines or anthologies, plus whatever book (or books) I’m writing.

When I write my mind moves quickly and I have to jump around writing notes here and there about one scene and then another so that I could be working on two, or even more scenes for a book at a time. What is your method of writing and how does your imagination fit into you it?
I do jump around quite a bit, writing this scene or that, working on notes and outlines as I go. Although quite often with writing a short story I tend to take a more linear approach; not a lot of jumping room with shorter fiction, especially with pieces 1000 words or less. My imagination is very visual, so whatever scene I happen to be “seeing” at the time is what ends up on the page.

How do you approach starting a new project?
It begins with a an idea, usually a first line, and the impression of the main character. Then I head straight to the ending and work out a rough outline of how the story concludes. Of course, when connecting the dots between the middle and the end, plot points change or those characters of mine go off on unexpected tangents. I think with any approach flexibility is key, never get too attached to the plot, or characters (you never know when they’ll need to get killed off).

Have you worked with other authors on a story, and was it a good experience?
I’ve never collaborated with other authors (unless you count editors that also write) on a story. I’ve worked with fellow authors as part of an anthology (which I’ve always enjoyed), but never on a story. It could be interesting, and would certainly be something I would be open to doing.

Tell us about your latest project? 
I have two books that came out in the last couple of months, my latest poetry book, Horror Haiku and Other Poems, and I have a story in the charity anthology, Christmas Lites VI. 
Horror Haiku and Other Poems is my indulgence of macabre poetry, inspired by the Twitter hashtag #HorrorHaikuesday. Here’s a little blurb snippet: Words linger... In the darkness of shadows, in the distant screams. They whisper past the drip, drip of blood. The strange beauty of words hide, waiting for you. Embrace the horror. 
Christmas Lites VI is the latest book in this charity anthology series and all proceeds go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. My story, Fate and Faerie, is a tale of one faerie with a tragic history, a human with a secret legacy, and the legendary Snow Queen. They all collide in a fateful Christmas Eve encounter.

Do you have an upcoming project/s and can you tell us a little about it?
I do have an upcoming book that I hope to have ready next year, called Ghosts of the Sea Moon. It’s a seafaring fantasy novel set in the world of the Seven Kingdoms and the Outer Islands, a place of sailors and scalawags, of seaports and fishermen. And under the full moon, a land of darker things… The book follows the adventures of Captain Rafe Morrow, his ship manned by the living and the dead, and the dangers posed by his mad sister, the Goddess of the Moon. It’s all about Ghosts, Gods, and Sea Monsters.

Where can readers find your books and follow you?
The best place to check out what I’m up to as an author is at my website, Welcome to Avalon. My books are listed there, plus interviews, my social media, updates and posts, and a few freebies. You can follow the site either through the WordPress reader or through email, and I also have a mailing list you can sign up for to receive event and book release announcements.

Thank you so much, A.F., for doing this interview, my friend. ~JD

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