Author Interview: L.L. Stephens

a book with flowers; a man sleeping on a stack of books; a flipped open book; a man reading a book; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Sordaneon on Amazon!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I’m a visual person, so prefer reading books to listening to them. I want to see the words, delve into them, follow them and revel in their shapes. I also like to go back to previously read passages to see how they fit with something I just read, so for that reason alone I prefer paper books to digital. I buy more paperbacks because they’re generally less expensive!

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy is my first love!

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. There was the most beautiful horse on the cover. The story was about horses. Just … horses.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley. Am I revealing a theme? Horses. But The Black Stallion had more than that. Adventure. Danger and rescue and heroics. A quest to enter and win a race. Rivalry and bonding between mismatched characters … and a horse. It was a character story all the way.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I wrote original work as early as the third grade, but as far as taking writing seriously and working on a story beyond just telling it … when I became a teen. I’ve written steadily since I was thirteen.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

The pure joy of creation. I loved inventing characters, and a world for them to live in, and giving them interesting or exciting things to do. I did a lot of oral storytelling as a teen (my sister and I shared a bedroom and I would tell her stories at night), and my earliest writing was putting those stories down on the page. I still love writing for the joy of creation — it’s just that I create more elaborate and dangerous and wonderful worlds and characters.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

My current release, Sordaneon. It was a challenging book to write: intense, populated by characters about whom I had already written four other books. Their end stories were told! Going back and writing an origin story demanded my best writing: vivid characters, crisp exposition, and high (HIGH) stakes. It’s a great story!

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first book, written over many years and long ago, is now the third book in the Triempery series, so it hasn’t been published yet. Lots of people have seen it, though! My publisher, to be sure, and beta readers.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I’ve published 10 books. One was a science fiction novel published in my baby writer years, before life became complicated. When I resumed writing for publication, I published several erotic romance novels under a different pen name. Sordaneon is my first novel published under this pen name. I’m not a debut author.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I’ve written science fiction, fantasy, and erotic romance. Fantasy is still my first love, though! Forever.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Well, it all starts in my head. But then I research the hell out of things. I aim for a high level of realism in my writing. Fantastical, but something with teeth.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I know what a book is about when I start it (though it often becomes about something more), but I don’t really plan it. It’s more of a general idea of how things will go. Then I unleash the characters and they start to talk and plan and do things and they’re ever so alive … so off we go. I do sketch out scenes I know will be needed. Some scenes are foundational and needed for the plot.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Sordaneon is indie, published by Forest Path Books. Forest Path will publish the next book in the series, The Kheld King, in November 2022. If the books sell well enough to continue publishing, I will stay with them. My first novel, science fiction, was published traditionally and I am enjoying indie publishing more. I guess I’m an author who thrives on working with people who believe in me and love my work!

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Too many other worlds are fantastical or dangerous (often both) places for which I would be ill-suited. If I had to pick one, it would be Middle Earth, but only if I could live in the Shire. It sounds like my kind of place.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

My WIP is an already written book I am editing and revising. My Triempery series is fully written. As the books are being released, I keep moving on to editing and polishing up the next one. At this point that involves writing some new scenes, so it’s super exciting! (I LOVE EDITING.)

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

This is a tough one. I want to say Dorilian… but I am going to go with Marc Frederick. He is the heart of not just Sordaneon, but the entire Triempery series. He’s the character I feel for most profoundly.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

Well, it would have to be Sordaneon. It’s the only book published so far in what will be the six book Triempery series. When the whole series is published, I will call the Triempery Revelations my magnum opus. (I consider it so already.)

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

My favorite romance comes later in the series, so … for right now, I would say Dorilian and Marc Frederick as the favorite character relationship. Their interactions evolve and clash and create emotion.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I write in silence. I have playlists that run parallel to what I’m writing, or for certain characters. Mood sets. But when I write … I don’t have anything playing. If I would listen to anything, it would be the Final Fantasy 6 soundtrack.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

No. Only the book cover. I would love, love, love fan art and I do intend to commission some character art.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Don’t quit your day job. Some authors eventually manage this, though, so my other advice is to never quit writing. Keep doing it. Keep getting better. Find your readers and continue to write.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I’m such a conflict avoider I have never entered a writer contest.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Some of mine are probably more old-school than most: Tanith Lee, Thomas Burnett Swann, C.J. Cherryh, Katherine Kurtz, Jane Smiley, Matthew Ward, Joe Abercrombie. I could name several more, but I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I’m shy and a bit of a recluse, but I hang out on Twitter: @triempery.

Here is the Amazon link to my book.

3 thoughts on “Author Interview: L.L. Stephens

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