Interview with Guy Stewart
I write science fiction mostly, for both adults and kids. I’ve written science fiction – SF, not “scifi”! – since I was thirteen. The “why” is complicated but the root there is my relationship with my dad. See, I come from a family where sports were overwhelmingly important. Reading was there; the importance of education was there; but there weren’t that many other things we did together. When I was very young, my dad started watching Star Trek. I watched it with him. We didn’t share a lot, but the fact that he still reads SF – and I both read it and write it! – is still the thing we share.
Tell us about your latest book.
The book started years ago when I’d grown tired of reading stories with negative futures for young adults -- or a reliance on "magic" to get through life. I wanted strong young adults in a positive future relying on their abilities to solve difficult problems. HEIRS OF THE SHATTERED SPHERES melds my love of space, science fiction, and my quest in a package I loved writing and I hope others will love reading.
But I didn’t want to try to create “Robert A. Heinlein for the 21st Century”, either. The kids I work with as a teacher and counselor in middle school and high school face a whole world of problems even the brilliant Heinlein couldn’t have imagined. Autism, adolescent profound sports injuries – in boys and girls, cellphones, sexting, ipods, real data about the planets of the solar system and beyond, the “death” of higher education, the lack of trust in government of any kind, and the other challenges facing young people today will all make it into the series. The first book looks at autism, sports injuries in girls, and the “death” of higher education.
Oh – and there’s a mystery, too! (That’s a guilty pleasure I entertain occasionally. The BONES books of Kathy Reichs are ones I read whenever I want to relax and exercise my mind at the same time.)
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
First of all: Facebook, emails, Amazon.com, Goodreads, and the SFWA website. I’ll appear on a few more, as well as in my own blog and I’m working on a blog interview right now.
Secondly and perhaps most importantly, I’m “word-of-mouthing”. I’m a guidance counselor in a high school and I’ve been a science teacher for over thirty years. I know lots of young people – and most of them read. Word is already out through my connections – and as I’ve been a teacher for so many years and I’ve taught writing classes and summer school as well, I’m hoping that word will get around…
What formats is the book available in?
Only one format right now. It’s an ebook.
Who are your favourite authors?
Madeleine L’Engle, Julie Czerneda, Bruce Bethke, David Brin, Gordon Korman, Anne Leckie, Jack McDevitt, Michael Flynn, and a host of others too numerous to name.
What advice do you have for other writers?
“Never give up, never surrender!” Jason Nesmit, Captain of the NSEA PROTECTOR, from the movie “Galaxy Quest”.
A bit more serious way to express this comes from Ernest Hemingway: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Hemingway’s is important to me, as is the quote from CS Lewis on my blogsite.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
Talking and writing about a place that's imaginary -- and then having other people UNDERSTAND what's in your heart!
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My blog is the second-best place to find it all – the best place is to talk to me face-to-face. My blog is at: http://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
I love Emerald Marcillion – she’s brave, snarky, and willing to move forward rather than bury her head in the past.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
It shows young people engaging in a future that isn’t confined to Earth, not only going along “for the ride” but being a part of what’s happening. Young people can do that here, too, and I know some who have done just that. It’s just that they don’t get a whole lot of press for making a positive difference on this planet.
Roughly ten years! I have, however written and re-written so many times that the stack of drafts (and this is ONLY the paper drafts!) is 8 inches high. Also, my kids have been listening to the story since they were old enough to understand what was going on...
Who designed the cover?
Charlotte Volnek at MuseItUp.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
That Emerald was autistic – because that diagnosis explained her behaviors; and that a character who appears to be bad also has a good streak.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
What are you doing to market the book?
See the question above…
Who inspires you?
My wife, my kids, my “extended family”, the students at the schools I have worked and work at now, the staff of those same schools, and the many professional writers who took time to coach me along.
How do you research your books?
Oh, man! Initially, I have to look at what’s been done and how people did it. Then I start to play with the idea – for HEIRS, there are all kinds of stories that feature generation STARSHIPS. Right now, all we have is a small space station, a few landings on our moon, and the spectacularly completed flyby of all of the major planets and several minor ones. My question is how do we get from here to those interstellar “ark ships”. I think the answer is obvious – we do a dry run, say a decade or more, using an ark-sized ship to really explore all of the planets in the solar system and bring to bear the full weight of Human intellect on the anomalies we’re certain to find on those planets. So – there’s tons of research out there exploring the feasibility of long-term space exploration and I love research…so there you go. Websites, blogs, obscure novels and texts, oh – did I say I’ve taught science from Astronomy to Zoology over the past 31 years?
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I’m writing a bunch of short stories that sort of…backed up...in my head while I was writing and editing this one (and one other called VICTORY OF FISTS). One story involves the last Mayan aristocrat; another is about a humorous meeting between Humans and a high-gravity alien; a third will look at the daily use of antigravity in rebuilding Liberian schools (one of those exceptional young people I mentioned above started an organization to do this.) I’ve also started the next book in the HEIRS series, Zacharias of Venus.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
COOL! One word of caution, gleaned from reading several self-published novels: EDIT!!!!!
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
John Christopher, whose TRIPODS trilogy I read when I was just thirteen were done and forced me to write my own stories to satisfy my questions. Ms. Barnes, my eighth grade English teacher who took my fiction writing so seriously that instead of just correcting the spelling and grammar errors in a story I gave to her, she made suggestions to tighten up the PLOT! I wish I could tell both of them how important they are to me!
Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
OH, YEAH! They put up with me and my wife teases me about being a Writing Widow, and the kids listene to my stories from the first draft through the last.
What are you currently reading?
Julie Czerneda’s TO REAP THE WILD WIND
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
See the answer above!
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?