Steven M. Nedeau
Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we would like you to a Sci-Fi and Fantasy writer as well as a playwright! A very active author, he enjoys working on more than one project at a time and is busy with everything from drafts to audiobooks! He breaks stereotypes by writing heroes who have no idea they are heroes at all! This creates the flawed, real hero we are all looking for in our stories.
Introducing Steven M. Nedeau!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
SMN: I didn’t really start writing until I became fed up with someone else’s story telling. Critical of several films and television series, I felt the entertainment industry was dropping the ball. We deserved better than the drivel presented to us. I think I was about thirty six, still deep in my engineering studies, when I started to think seriously about the stories I wanted to tell. I even remember the moment when I decided to start writing seriously. I was reimagining how Star Wars Episode 1 should have been told, how the past of Darth Vader should have been written and, in a rant, I built up his back story into a plausible and intriguing tale. When I looked up from my rant, my son’s face was hanging slack as he looked at me in awe. He asked, “Did you just come up with that all by yourself?”
I decided I wouldn’t retell an existing story. If I wanted a story strong enough to meet my expectations, I was going to have to write it myself.
RL: What's your current work in progress?
SMN: I have several works in progress. I’m currently publishing my science fiction novel, Memory Reborn. In parallel to the print publication, we are also producing the audiobook for Memory Reborn, with George Kuch (http://www.georgekuch.com) narrating.
As far as writing, I’m working actively on the second book of The Soulweb Trilogy while storyboarding the third book.
In addition to the books I also have several short stories in the works. As I complete them, I like to make them available for free on my website. These stories are usually written to go along with some writer’s game or as part of an online collection of stories that all follow the same theme.
I don’t understand how anyone works on only one thing. As I get ideas about new stories I jot them on some paper and let them fester in the back of my head for a couple of years while I push on with the most pressing project.
RL: You write Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Which is your favorite genre to write?
SMN: It took me seven years to write The Soulweb and only one year to write Memory Reborn. So far, I like writing science fiction a little bit more. It’s almost as if there are fewer rules to follow in science fiction than fantasy and I like being able to take the story through the modern landscapes.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in your genre?
SMN: In both fantasy and science fiction we often have the alpha hero, the one man everyone relies upon. You see Flash Gordon, Aragorn, Dritzzt, Elric of Melnebonia, and Conan. These heroes are flawless in their execution and driven in their purpose. I shy away from such figures. They are so unlike anyone I’ve ever met. I like to think the hero of the story should have no idea that they are the hero at all. Let’s see that guy sweat. I want to see fear, feel worry and wonder if he’s going to die. I want to see him (or her) mess up and lose once in a while.
RL: Your book "The Soulweb" is available in audio. Tell us about your experience getting your book into audio format?
SMN: I was really shooting for the sky when I was getting The Soulweb audiobook out there. I created a profile at ACX and requested auditions from several people. It came down to an actor out of California named David Swanson, a very nice and talented young man. We worked together for more than six months sending audio files back and forth, chapter by chapter, until we got the sound we wanted. David was very patient with me and that’s important. In the end it is the product that matters, and I think we got it right.
RL: You also wrote a play called "The Unlikely Hero". Tell us more about your playwriting.
SMN: This is an interesting item. As I noted before, a number of bad films pushed me to write. So, writing plays and screenplays was always a goal. I have a small background in theater performance and a love for the dry comedy of Monty Python, so those inspirations are prevalent in the play. Why I wrote it is a fairly interesting story. I sell my book, The Soulweb, at renaissance fairs. The problem with selling at renaissance fairs is that my book is competing with armor, swords, jewelry, and fancy clothes. People love adventure, but a book is nowhere near as shiny and filled with instant gratification as those other items, so I wrote the play to draw attention to my booth and my books. It has had two performances; one went badly and the other swimmingly.
The audience enjoyed each performance and I had fun putting it on both times but what I would really like is to have this play performed by fairs around the country, even if I’m not there selling books.
The experience of writing a play is definitely something I want to have again.
RL: How do you beat writer's block?
SMN: I sleep. My dreams are the backbones of my stories and I often resolve the dilemmas in those tales with my eyes closed.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
SMN: For my first book I chose self-publishing and I have done well with it. I’ve calculated that I’ve sold around 500 copies of The Soulweb between online and in-person sales. Self-publishing means that I own everything and don’t have to ask permission from anyone to make products based on my books. I’ve made t-shirts, stickers, bookmarks, and flags to push my book promotion. The downside is that all promotional efforts have to come from me and I feel that this has slowed down my efforts to finish the remaining books in the series.
For Memory Reborn I self-published as well. But, I’ve expanded my efforts, purchasing my own ISBN numbers and publishing at both Kindle Direct Publishing and IngramSpark. With the latter I can offer bookstores the standard discount and accept returns, a risk I was unable to take with my first book. Without those concessions to bookstores it is extremely unlikely you’d ever find your book on a bookstore shelf. It will be nice to see my books on display.
RL: What advice would you give to an author who is interested in writing Fantasy novels for publication?
SMN: Write. If you don’t write you will never get better.
Read. Reading does more than tell you a story. It teaches you how to tell a story.
Let me add; question yourself. Reach out and find beta readers. Take their notes to heart. More eyes on your project will improve your project.
Be prepared to work. No one else will do it for you.
RL: What are your hobbies?
SMN: We are what we do. Here is a list: motorcycles, camping, kayaking, designing marketing techniques, screen printing. I have a lot more.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going in the future?
SMN: We all have goals. I want to write the remaining books of The Soulweb Trilogy. After that I plan to write three more science fiction books. This would be a lot easier if I was writing full time. It looks like a long road ahead of me but if I was scared of hard work I wouldn’t be a writer.
RL: What are you reading now?
SMN: I’m reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
RL: What can readers expect from you in the future?
SMN: As mentioned before, I have a science fiction novel, Memory Reborn available now. Following that, I want to finish The Soulweb Trilogy. Apart from those solid projects I have notes and ideas for a slew of science fiction and fantasy projects. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to write those in the years to come.