Today I’m glad to present Stephen Bolt whose book Seeds I will be adding at the end of this interview.
But the interview first, hello Stephen and welcome to my blog.
What is your main reason for writing?
It is my “happy place” and it allows me to express myself on levels that I cannot achieve through my day job, family and friends relations, speaking, cooking, gardening, reading, and so on. Writing gives me a high like no other, and lets me occupy, at least temporarily, a unique space.
What inspired this book?
That’s kind of a long answer, chronologically speaking. This book began as a short story that I wrote 30 years ago, which a few years later became a longer short story, then about 20 years ago evolved into a novella that eventually became this book. The original story was a basic revenge piece, but as it changed so did the nature of the narrative, turning more toward the theme of the underprivileged working cooperatively to overcome their oppressors. And with so much oppression and under privilege in the world, it was not hard to find plenty of inspiration.
What did you enjoy most about writing this?
Verbal, and non-verbal, exchanges between characters. I love writing dialogue, along with body language and other non-verbal communications and that was the most fun in composing this narrative was bringing the characters’ relationships with each other to life via their dialogue.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Storm. He is a supporting character, and is only in part of the novel – the longest of the three Acts of the book – but plays a very crucial role in the development of the three main characters. It is Storm who gets them to break out of their personal chains and sets them on the path toward liberation. He is also a real Loki type character, full of wisdom yet taunting the main characters to question themselves and all they have learned that has brought them to their current positions.
Did this require any research, and if so, what kind?
Yes, mainly on things I don’t know a lot about but wanted to incorporate. A good example would be firearms. I did research on revolvers and the appropriate terminology for the different parts of the gun, like the barrel, the cylinders, etc.
What was the hardest part of writing this story?
Putting the brakes on editing. A friend told me, about four months before I was finished editing, that I needed to either set a number of revisions or a date, and after that to call it quits on editing, otherwise I’d never stop editing. And he was absolutely right. If I didn’t do that, I would still be editing it now!
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
A lot of authors like to consider themselves either “plotters” who plan it all out ahead of time, or “pantser” who write spontaneously. I’m a mix, leaning more heavily to the plotter side. I plot out the entire story, including all the subplots, and how aspects from the first book will tie in to parts of the subsequent novels of the series. But, when something organically evolves on the page I just let it happen. When that author voice, when your Muse, starts speaking loudly beyond the bounds of your plans, I think it is wise to listen and let those thoughts flow through you and into the narrative.
What would you compare this book to?
A good, and tough question, as there isn’t really an easy answer. I would say if you took one part A Clockwork Orange, mixed in one part Star Wars and one part Lord of the Rings and one part Frankenstein you would end up with Seeds.
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
I would prefer mainly unknown actors so the audience sees them as the character more than the actor. But, there is one actress whom I would love to see playing Erra, who is the chief villain in Seeds and that would be the fantastic Lucy Lawless.
Do you have, and if so, what message do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
That there is hope. No matter how dark the night gets, the dawn will be there soon.
Is there any content that some readers might find questionable in your the book?
Yes, there is some very adult, erotic content, including abuse and incest. There is also a lot of alcohol and cannabis consumption and some very graphic violence.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best aspect is making socio-political comments, especially doing so in a crafty way that really challenges the reader to figure out what I’m getting at. Also is making references to other works that have influenced me, which I like to leave as little “Easter eggs” for reader who may, hopefully, get the reference. Beyond that, it’s dialogue, which I absolutely love writing as it can be not only exceptionally expressive, but gives the reader tremendous insight into the characters. The worst part of writing is marketing, promoting, having to concentrate on the aspects of selling oneself as a self-published author rather than actually writing.
Do you plan for further books in the future?
Yes, Seeds is the first book in my series, The Heterogen Chronicles. The second book, Flowers, is well underway. I’m about 50,000 words into Flowers and Seeds was 146,000. Flowers will be longer that Seeds.
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
I am my own editor, and have employed a few beta readers who have been very helpful with keeping up the quality of the prose. When I edit I put on my “editor” hat, versus my “author” hat worn when composing, and think about how I would react to the prose if I were the reader and not the author.
What books or authors have influenced you the most? Is there a writer that you consider a mentor? Do you have a favorite?
Influential books: A Tale of Two Cities, 1984, Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, The Handmaid’s Tale, Planet of the Apes, Dune, Frankenstein, Paradise Lost, The Canterbury Tales, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Hearts of Darkness, and the list goes on. I don’t really consider any writer my mentor, but would go with George Orwell as my favorite author.
What do you do when you don’t write?
Wish I was writing…okay, sorry but I just can’t resist a good joke. Aside from working my day job as an IT project manager to pay the bills, I spend a lot of time with my family, going to parks, movies, dining, shopping, etc. I am the family chef and cook all our meals, which I love to do. I also keep a small organic garden, read and read and read, and enjoy watching quality television series and films.
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
Best is probably reliability, when I say I’ll do something people know they can depend on me to come through. Oddest would be my cultural references, which I do all the time, and the majority of people do not get those references, except for my wife, who gets almost all of them, and that was part of my initial attraction to her.
Stephen Bolt came screaming into the world at the dawn of the Summer of Love, and has been kicking ever since. He hails from the dystopian paradise known as Detroit, which, along with the rich diversity of its surroundings, provide a constant creative inspiration.
A lifetime of composition began at a very tender age, once he was old enough to put pen to paper and produce some semblance of a narrative. Then came exposure to literature, history, legends, mythology, and dreams. These brought on the realization that the way of the world was not always so kind, and to this he could not sit idle. As the voice is his weapon of choice, Stephen’s fiction had found its theme.
He holes up with a small band of rebels, one with whom he exchanged vows many years ago, and two who came into the world some time later. The most recent addition to their clan has four legs, a black coat, gold eyes, and a whole lot of curiosity. When not writing, Stephen spends his time in his organic garden, cooking, hanging with his peeps, reading, observing, thinking, and plotting his next moves.
My review of Seeds by Steven Bolt follows his blurb on Amazon.
“Their world is ruled by ruthless Petroleum Barons. Strict social order is kept in the streets by brutal Enforcers. Unbridled Scientists have been commissioned to take genetic modification to Frankensteinian levels. And the frequent attacks of pillaging Outlaws keep citizens beholden to an exploitive system. Three characters have come to a unique situation. Shade is a heterogen – a humanoid hybrid with canine features, and instincts – born into a life of servitude. Savina is a concubine and bodyguard, a role she was unwillingly forced into at a vulnerable age. Anax is their Master, but only because he, thanks to Shade and Savina, survived an attack meant to kill them all. Suddenly finding themselves swept up in a revolution they never knew existed; each must make an important choice that will map the course of their future. But they soon learn that joining the cause is not simply a matter of taking up arms and marching to the front. To prove their worth they must visit the enigmatic Engineer and undergo a mysterious test. Join Shade, Savina, and Anax as they navigate the perils of their unfortunate circumstances. Experience a wondrous journey of self discovery, eerie dreams, unleashed magic, and cross-species breeding. Then brace for the ultimate challenge when these three must confront their most terrifying demons with only two possible outcomes: death, or victory.”
Seeds is a remarkable book in that Bolt has woven multiple genres into a single book. I don’t write in any of the genres covered in Seeds, but I do have a literary appreciation for quality works and this is one of those works! Seeds grabs the attention of the reader from the start, the plot thickens, and the characters are well described. This story does contain erotica, and that genre isn’t among my reading genres, and so I read through those parts fairly fast. Even so, that aspect is just as well written.
Bolt’s narration is excellent, and it had to be excellent in order for a book of this quality incorporating multiple genres to be written. That said I do believe he will fine tune his artful narration in future books. Seeds qualifies easily for five stars!
Links to Social Media: (please note that on some of these I am “Stephen Yelick” which is my legal name, versus “Stephen Bolt” my pen name)