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Monday, August 15, 2011

Interview + Giveaway: Stephen Zimmer, author of The Seventh Throne

I'm super excited to be joined today by Stephen Zimmer, the phenomenal author of many amazing epic fantasy books, including The Rising Dawn Saga and The Fires in Eden Series. Stephen's third Rising Dawn Saga book comes out tomorrow! How exciting is that?! :) And today I will be hosting a giveaway of this brand new fantastic book, so read on and don't forget to enter! 

Guys, please give a warm welcome to Stephen!

E: Evie
SZ: Stephen Zimmer



E: Welcome to Bookish Stephen! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
SZ: I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy.  Not the fanciest, fastest, smoothest, or slickest, but I can say I’ve always put my heart into everything I do.  I’m a fiercely loyal friend and I get up off the canvas when knocked down, and intend to be standing when the final bell rings.  That probably sums me up pretty good. 
     I’ve always been drawn to stories, storytelling, and the like.  My main areas of expression are as an author and filmmaker.  Very different modes of storytelling, and each have their own unique challenges and rewards. 
     As an author, I’m primarily a speculative fiction writer, mainly in the area of fantasy.  I have two active series, The Rising Dawn Saga and the Fires in Eden series, both with Seventh Star Press, and both featuring artwork from the great Matthew Perry.  We’ve seen quite an extensive body of artwork develop alongside the books, thanks to Matthew, and I love this aspect of the book releases.
     The Rising Dawn Saga is true epic-scale urban fantasy, now with three books out, The Exodus Gate, The Storm Guardians, and the brand new one, The Seventh Throne.  This saga has a real dystopian aspect, alongside heavy doses of the mythical and paranormal.   It is a lot of fun due to the blending of so many elements, with dashes of thrillers, science fiction, and even horror woven around a modern fantasy core. 
     The Fires in Eden series is epic fantasy, with two titles out, Crown of Vengeance and Dream of Legends.   It has some modern day characters taken into an extensively developed world called Ave, and is going to be quite a romp in epic fantasy by the time we reach the last book!  Lots of things fantasy readers will find familiar, and lots of new things as well.  I see it as a nicely balanced series bringing in the traditional and the new, and allowing them to co-exist.
     I also write short fiction, and have especially come to love my Harvey and Solomon stories.  Harvey is a cat, who happens to be based on my cat Harry.  He goes on adventures with Solomon Maccabee, a member of the Order of the Numinous, who attend to things of the paranormal within a steampunk setting.  The first two Harvey and Solomon tales are in Dreams of Steam, and Dreams of Steam II: Bolts and Brass, a couple of fine anthologies from Kerlak Publishing.
      As a filmmaker, I enjoy being a screenwriter and director primarily.  Being a producer has its moments, but I most often end up in that role out of necessity in the independent film world.  I have a feature, a supernatural thriller called Shadows Light, a horror short film called The Sirens, and a fairly new fantasy short film called Swordbearer, which is based upon a part of H. David Blalocks’ novel Ascendant.  You can find the first two on places like NetFlix, and we hope to have an online version of Swordbearer once we finish the convention screening season.
E: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
SZ: Honestly, it goes back to the days when my father used to tell these improvised, episodic stories to me every night when I was very young.  I still remember them, even when I can’t remember much else from that early time.  They were “Land of the Lost” kind of stories where people lived side by side with dinosaurs.  I was heavily into dinosaurs as a kid, so these stories obviously appealed to me, especially as both of my parents and myself were the ‘stars’ in these little adventures.  
     At the same time my mother was reading to me daily, and she really escalated the types of books she read to me.  At seven she was reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to me, and I was exposed to the Chronicles of Narnia right after that, which I read myself.  Couldn’t ask for a better foundation in terms of authors, and the two series really put a fire under me regarding a love for fantasy. 
      I always credit my mother for specifically getting me into fantasy and epic fantasy, but it was both my mother and father that kindled my love of stories and imagination, which are the roots of any writer.
E: Of all the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite one and why?
SZ: They are all very intimate to me, and all are indispensible as components of the series they are a part of, but I have a special affinity for Crown of Vengeance, as it plays out a personal fantasy of mine, in terms of stepping through a mist and into a fantastical world.  I’ve imagined this possibility as long as I can remember, and haven’t given up on it happening yet!   I promise I’ll let you know if I find a way and can get a message back to you! LOL
     Crown of Vengeance is also a special book for me because it helped me during the time I lost my dad back in 2006, which spurred one of the last major changes I made to the book.  It drew me even closer to the Janus Roland character.  People who have read the book will be able to zero in on what I am referring to.
Interestingly enough, Crown of Vengeance became my first book to win an award, with the 2010 Pluto for Best Novel in Small Press.
E: Which of your characters do you feel is most like you?
SZ: Probably Janus Roland, from the Fires in Eden series.  He doesn’t look like me, but the things that he wrestles with, and the restlessness within him, are very close.  He’s a guy with an eye on the big picture in life, and the mysteries within it, which are things that I can relate to very well.  The answers he is seeking are pretty much the same as the ones I’m after.  Like J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all who wander are lost”, and it is okay to wander, question, and explore.
E: What authors inspire you? Do you have any literary role models?
SZ: In terms of the craft of writing, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, who really showed the possibilities of fantasy literature, as pioneers in many ways.  Good literature, imaginative, thought-provoking, and full of meaning.  Others that have inspired me include David Gemmell, for always working that subtle ray of light into his books, Glen Cook, for gritty realism, Robert E. Howard, for taking me back into a fascinating ancient world in the Conan stories, George R.R. Martin, for showing that complexity can work in epic fantasy, and Clive Barker, for crafting such cinematic imagery in his work.
E: What advice would you give to writers who are interested in writing?
SZ: Don’t get hung up on word counts or anything like that.  Chip away at it a little at a time if you have to.  Just keep working at it, and don’t think about the totality of it.  Whether a hundred words or a thousand per session, you will eventually get there with your short story or novel.  One day, you will look up and be finished, and you’ll be ready to run with it!
      Also, don’t worry about being perfect on the first draft.  That’s what second and third passes are for, in terms of refinement.  And even when you are done with all of that, you will have an editor to help you identify anything you can’t see yourself.  You aren’t going to catch every mistake every time.  Don’t bog down worrying about that.  Do the very best you can and understand the role that an editor plays in the process.
E: Where is your favorite place for writing? Do you have any special writing rituals?
SZ: I do have a favorite place.  It features a cluttered desk with an older computer, piles of CDs and research books surrounding me, and a designated space for a can of Monster Energy. 
     That’s the fancy setup, haha!   Seriously, it is comfortable and the music helps me create a bubble of sorts where I can block out the world surrounding me.  It really is like going into a light trance in some ways, as when I write I truly zone out and forget about the world just outside  the house.  It is like viewing a movie in my mind, and transcribing what I am seeing and hearing. 
     I try to have at least one writing session per day, with a primary one in the morning these days, and a second one, if I am not too tired, at night.  I disconnect completely when writing.  No internet, phone, nothing.  100% focus on the work at hand.
      I do have to say that using a designated area that is solely for writing, and having music, really helps me get into my zone.  So I guess that would qualify as my “ritual”,  LOL!
E: What genres do you like to read in your free time?
SZFantasy, of course, horror, and historical fiction.  I tend to tilt towards the medieval world, but do enjoy a wide range of periods and settings.
E: Which three of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
SZ: I would say the Lord of the Rings trilogy, haha, but that would be too easy and convenient of an answer! 
      So, I’ll pick one book from there, The Fellowship of the Ring, and then add The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. Those are the two that lit the fires in me in so many ways, so I have to have them on my suggested trio.  Add to that David Gemmell’s Legend, which is a unique heroic fantasy book in that it contains rays of light beckoning to life’s bigger picture.  You don’t find that too often in Sword and Sorcery/Heroic fantasy type of books, and increasingly less so in epic fantasy as well.  Gemmell was simply brilliant at weaving in that level that beckons to a greater reality, and Legend is a fantastic example.
E: What’s next in line for you, are you working on a new book now?
SZ: Time to return to Ave and see what’s been happening there.  Quite a lot, I imagine, as so much was hanging in the balance at the end of Dream of Legends.  We need to find out more about the Elder, the resolution of the huge battle on the Plains of Athelney, the exodus of the Five Nations, and a whole lot more.  Time to visit Midragard extensively too!  Might get to see Avalos more thoroughly too!  It will be great fun to find out what all those characters have been up to lately, to see how things expand, and to see what new lands are explored in book three.   Lots of new critters and characters, I have a strong hunch!
I am also looking to do a little more short fiction as well, with perhaps one for the horror genre, one for fantasy, and maybe another Harvey and Solomon steampunk adventure too.  I have come to love the Harvey and Solomon stories, and have gotten a great response on them.  Of course, Harvey has an uncanny resemblance to the family cat Harry, haha.
E:  Do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?
SZ: Riding dragons, out of body exploration, the usual …  haha, just kidding!
Time has been in such short supply lately, but I have been out and about traveling, due to my heavier appearance schedule, and I do manage to work in a nice adventure every once in a while.  Last year it was Alaska, the year prior was the Caribbean, and the year prior to that was England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.  I really thrive on those kinds of trips, as I’m a bit of a history buff, and I love getting a taste of local flavors.  Maybe it’s time to do a big sojourn across Canada?  What do you think?  LOL
     I do want to get to a point where I am doing more things like scuba diving, boating, and other water-based activity.  I also enjoy the mountains quite a bit, and would like to be able to spend more time outdoors in mountain settings.
I have a real love of hard rock and metal music as well, a music genre that is the fountain of youth.  I probably know more trivia and history in this area than is healthy, and I thank your wonderful country for giving the rock world such fine gifts like Rush, Triumph, Helix, Nickelback, and those loveable underdog guys in Anvil, among many more!
E:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?
SZ: I’m a plotter, but not to the point that I box myself in or tie myself down too rigidly.  I believe to do a series properly you need to have an idea of where it is going, destination wise, and the general path to get there.  That being said, I think you need to leave room for possible new characters, subplots, and other elements that may crop up as you go along.  So let’s just split the difference and say I’m a mild plotter, LOL!
Random Questions:

- white or dark chocolate? Dark
- coffee or tea? Tea, and my fellow SSP author Jackie Gamber will be very pleased with me on this particular answer.  Her BookTastings are so cool!
- favorite fictional character? Reepicheep from the Chronicles of Narnia.  I always loved that mouse, and he will always have a soft spot in my heart.  I have to say I felt a little emotional in the film version of Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Aslan invited him to go into the real Narnia.
- day or night? Night
- Spring or Autumn? Spring, by a very slight edge
- ebook or printed copy?  Print Copy!  Don’t mind eBooks at all, but I want something to collect, and something to show, for my money! LOL

WOW! I don't know about you guys, but I had a BLAST! 
Stephen, thank you so much for joining us today and being so conversational!  
I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing all your books!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Stephen Zimmer and his books, please visit his website: Stephen Zimmer or/and his blog. You can also connect with Stephen on Twitter @sgzimmer and Facebook.


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Giveaway Time! 
Seventh Star Press generously provided us with a copy of Stephen's newest release +fantastic swag (bookmarks, glossy print card sets, and a collectible magnet)

Rules:
Open to US/Canada (sorry Internationals!)
Ends: Wednesday, August 31st


*Mandatory entry: be a GFC follower of my blog and leave a comment with your email address.

*Extra entries: 
+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie
+1 Follow Stephen on Twitter @sgzimmer
+5 Follow Seventh Star Press on Twitter @7thStarPress
+5 Like Seventh Star Press on Facebook HERE
+5 Follow Seventh Star Press @ Blogspot
+ 5 Follow Stephen's blog

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing

39 comments:

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

How awesome. I had Stephen on for an interview recently myself looking forward to his guest post soon.

GFC follower - Jessica ( frellathon )

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

I follow you on twitter I'm @frellathon

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

I follow Stephen on twitter I'm @frellathon

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

I follow Seventh Star Press on twitter I'm @frellathon

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

+ 5 I like Seventh Star Press on FB

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

+ 5 I follow Seventh Star Press

GFC - Jessica ( frellathon )

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

+ 5 added Stehpen's blog to my rss feed

frellathon(at)gmail(dot)com

Ricki said...

I am a GFC follower, Twitter follower of you, and FB fan of Seventh Star.
= 7 entries
rickimc[at]aol[dot]com

Robin Blankenship said...

GFc Follower

Robin Blankenship

robinblankenship at gmail dot com

I am looking forward to this one

Robin Blankenship said...

+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie


Follow as @robinblankenshi

robinblankenship at gmail dot com

Robin Blankenship said...

+1 Follow Stephen on Twitter @sgzimmer


Follow as robinblankenship@gmail.com

Robin Blankenship said...

+5 Follow Seventh Star Press on Twitter @7thStarPress


@robinblankenshi

robinblankenship at gmail dot com

Robin Blankenship said...

+5 Like Seventh Star Press on Facebook HERE


Follow as Robin Michelle Hamilton Blankenship

robinblankenship@gmail.com

Robin Blankenship said...

+5 Follow Seventh Star Press @ Blogspot


Follow as Robin Blankenship
robinblankenship at gmail dot com

Robin Blankenship said...

+ 5 Follow Stephen's blog

Follow as Robin Blankenship

robinblankenship at gmail dot com

Audrey said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!
GFC- audreyclair
twigerina[at]hotmail[dot]com

Sniffly Kitty said...

Thanks for the interview!

GFC - Sniffly Kitty

+5 follow Seventh Star Press's blog
+5 follow Stephen's blog

snifflykitty@gmail.com

Shae Carcar said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

shae_carcar@yahoo.com

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Stephen sounds fabulous and I can't believe that I've never read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Every time it comes up I feel bad.

therainhouse said...

Seriously Evie all the authors you interview have such awesome senses of humour!

I love Stephen Zimmer's answers to your questions. Haha. Riding dragons!

Sarah said...

I am always amazed at parents who can make up stories for their kids. Everyone loves to hear them, especially if they're personalized, but they can't be easy to come up with unless you have storyteller tendencies. No surprise lots of authors have this experience in their past.
helpsarah2009@gmail.com

wilsonwriter said...

Love it, Steve. And I'm so glad you mentioned Jackie Gamber and Reepicheep in the same interview. You rock!

I can't wait to read "The Seventh Throne."

Darlene said...

Please enter me in the draw!

I'm following on GFC (Darlene), and my email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+1 following you on Twitter (@DarleneBookNook)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+1 following Stephen on Twitter (@DarleneBookNook)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darlene said...

+5 following 7th star press on Twitter (@DarleneBookNook)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+5 like Seventh Star Press on Facebook (Darlene's Book Nook)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+5 Follow Seventh Star Press @ Blogspot (GFC - Darlene)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+ 5 Follow Stephen's blog
(GFC - Darlene)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Leigh Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Ann said...

Love the interview! His answers to those bottom questions are very similar to mine. Scary thought!

GFC follower
insanityisnormal@gmail.com

Leigh Ann said...

Followed on twitter @ashenowl
insnaityisnromal@gmail.com

Leigh Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh Ann said...

Followed Seventh Star Press on twitter @ashenowl
insanityisnormal@gmail.com

Leigh Ann said...

Followed Stephen on twitter @ashenowl
insanityisnormal@gmail.com

Leigh Ann said...

Liked Seventh Star Press on FB
insanityisnormal@gmail.com

Leigh Ann said...

Followed Seventh Star Press @blogspot
insanityisnormal@gmail.com

Leigh Ann said...

Followed Stephen's blog
insanityisnormal@gmail.com

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