Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Q&A with A.P. Stephens

I'd like to welcome A.P. Stephens to mis(h)takes today! I was very lucky to be contacted by him to read and review his debut fantasy THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR. He also agreed to an interview that provides some great insight into the novel.


A little background info before we go on:

A.P. Stephens grew up in the suburb of Mesquite, TX. He attended Dallas County community colleges and progressed to the University of North Texas where he studied Creative Writing and English.

The foundations of his writing began in 1991 when a fellow classmate lent him a copy of The Lord of the Rings. With the combination of Tolkien, video games, music, and movies, the beginnings of his fantasy world, Londor, and its inhabitants took shape. His earlier years were devoted to martial arts, theater, and art.

THE WHITE SHADOW SAGA: THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR is a combination taken from his background in martial arts and theater, giving it an extra dose of action and character development.

When he is not writing, A.P. Stephens enjoys drawing, movies, reading, television, and video games.

He resides in Dallas, TX with his lovely wife.

THE WHITE SHADOW SAGA: THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR is now available in paperback and ebook forms. It was also named one of the Top Books of 2009 by Fantasy Book Critic.

You can visit his website here: http://www.apstephens.com/


Me: I appreciate you stopping by to answer some questions :D

A.P.: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to answer them on your site.

Me: Can you tell readers a little bit about THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR?

A.P.: The Stolen Moon of Londor is an epic fantasy tale about a world in peril when one of the twin moons disappears from the heavens. This causes the world to fall into sickness, chaos, and all out war. The story revolves around one of the elf god’s servants, Randor, as he leads an expedition party to investigate what happened to the moon before it is too late. Along the path, many obstacles lay ahead and there is plenty of action and adventure.

Me: Which of your characters would you say you are most like and why?

A.P.: Many of my characters have traits or pieces of me in them. I guess it depends on what type of mood I am in, really. When I am feeling creative, I tend to lean towards Lorn, if I get upset about something, then Malander comes out very quick. But when everything is calm, there isn’t just one I am like.

Me: What inspired you to create Londor and all of its inhabitants?

A.P.: Music is a big contributor to my world. I have a strange collection of music and various lyrics in the song would jump out and give me ideas. I also sometimes mishear lyrics and even though it might not be the right words, I will use what I thought I heard. My stories will have inspirations anywhere from Megadeth, Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright, Two Tons of Steel, and many others. Video games are also a big factor to my stories. Playing some great RPGs on the Super Nintendo gave me many ideas in creating my own fictional world. And there are games nowadays that spark tiny ideas to me.

Me: When did you first realize that you wanted to write?

A.P.: Up until 6th grade, I wanted to make a video game. I used to sit in class and draw characters (fighting game types, etc) and draw maps of levels for the games, laying out streets, buildings, etc. Then in 6th grade a kid came into my class and would watch me draw my characters. One day he asked me if I’ve ever read Lord of the Rings and I never have heard of it. He let me borrow his copy and I was hooked after that. I turned my drawings and such to fantasy after that point.

Me: What were some of the hardships you faced/are still facing by self-publishing?

A.P.: Self publishing comes with many negative connotations: unprofessional, not good enough to be published by the traditional means, no distribution, unedited, garbage, etc. Telling bookstores, libraries, review sites, etc that you are self published puts up a defensive wall with the person you are speaking to. The biggest thing I have seen from bookstores and libraries is that they think your book is not something they can order like a traditional book—but in my case they can. I made sure that I have distribution in place with the same places they can order any big publisher’s books from. That usually opens the way a bit more for me. Another thing about self publishing is that you are your own marketing person, public relations, inventory controller, etc, etc. You have to work hard and diligently to push yourself out there and some authors do not want to do this. There are some who do and I enjoy trying to push the book out there so readers all over the place can read it or learn about it. Doing all the various tasks of self publishing makes you learn about the business and I enjoy learning about it. I learn new things each day and everything I have learned will help me in the future, no matter who might publish my books.

Me: What book/s are you reading right now?

A.P.: Unfortunately, I do not have much time to read much these days. There are two reasons I would say: working a full-time job and then coming home to work another full-time job (self publishing duties and working on the next book) and I try not to read books while I am working on my book. I might subconsciously borrow ideas or the author’s writing style or I will begin reflecting on my own stories instead of writing them. Once I get the first draft of Book Two done, I will read a book or three to take a break. I do listen to some writing podcasts and an occasional audiobook while I am at work and listen to fellow authors who are on Podiobooks like I am.

Me: Can you share anything about Book Two that you’re currently working on?

A.P.: The next book is the second act in the trilogy and like many second acts of trilogies, they are dark. The world around Randor and company is slipping away faster than they imagined and their road ahead is filled with even greater difficulties and darkness. The action will be more intense, the set pieces will be bigger, and true evil will come across their path.

Me: If you could write a book about absolutely anything with any other author (dead or alive) what would it be about and who would you choose?

A.P.: Anyone who knows me would say I would choose J.R.R. Tolkien and as great as that would be, I think many other fantasy writers would say the same thing. I will go with another creator, though I do not know if he is classified as an author; he is a storyteller, however. I would like to do something with the creator of Metal Gear, Hideo Kojima. He has a great sense of telling an intricate tale and he has stellar action sequences. I would like to come in on a story with him and spice things up with my own flair.

Me: What does the A.P. stand for?

A.P.: Aaron Paul

Me: What’s your ideal writing environment like?

A.P.: I wrote the first book wherever I could find a quiet space and some coffee: like a bookstore, coffee shop, Denny’s, etc. I write now at my home at a desk with my coffee or tea and my headphones on listening to whatever music strikes me at the time.

Me: Anything you’d like to add?

A.P.: Book Two is scheduled for an October 2010 release and will be available in paperback and ebook, wherever these lovely items are sold. For Book One, you can find it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Powell’s, etc. The ebook is available for your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, iTouch, or any phone capable of doing PDFs or ebooks. You can also find it at Mobipocket and on Smashwords. Book One is on iTunes and at Podiobooks.com as a free audio book.

For my website, please go to http://www.apstephens.com/ to view a sample chapter, find links to the audiobook, view artwork, read articles and short poems, and much more. And people can find me on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/apstephens and on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/whiteshadowsaga. I do follow and friend people back.

Me: Again, thank you so much for taking the time out to visit. I’m looking forward to the new adventures that will be featured in book two.

A.P.: Thank you for having me on your site. The questions were fun to answer. :)


Click here to read my review for The Stolen Moon of Londor!


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