I'm sure you'll be as anxious as I am to read his book BLOOD SKIES after you get to know him here! Oh... and be sure to read the instructions after the interview to find out how to win a copy of BLOOD SKIES for yourself!
Now, without further ado....
L.C. Welcome to the August Authorpalooza, Steven. Can you give us a brief synopsis of BLOOD SKIES and tell us what genre it falls into?
S.M. BLOOD SKIES is the first book in a military sci-fi/fantasy series about humans surviving on an Earth that’s been transformed by a magical apocalypse. In this future world, humans – who have banded together in a coalition of city-states collectively known as the Southern Claw Alliance -- use remnants of old technology and magic to defend themselves against the hostile creatures that populate this blasted world. The worst and most dangerous of those creatures are the vampires of the Ebon Cities, with whom the Southern Claw has been locked in war against for over two decades.
This first book, specifically, follows a young warlock named Eric Cross and his fellow squad members as they hunt down a traitorous witch known as “Red”. Red – once a person of some import to the Southern Claw – plans to give stolen magical secrets to a renegade vampire called the Old One, and it’s up to Cross and his teammates (among who is his sister, Snow, who is also a witch) to stop her. Much action, mayhem, magic, darkness and scary-stuff abounds.
It’s all rather dark and grim, fast paced, occasionally funny, often jarring. I had a blast writing it.
L.C. Earth that's been transformed by a MAGICAL apocalypse? What an awesome take! Since your story takes place on Earth, let me ask you a travel related question. Where is the most exotic or strange place you've ever traveled to?
S.M. I’ve been to Paris, France, which I LOVED. It’s amazing how much of the city’s history is so evident on its streets; parts of Paris are like stepping into a time machine. And every notable historical tourist attraction – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triumph – all more than lived up to my expectations. I want to go back.
L.C. I can't say that I blame you…Also, I can't say that I'm not jealous! So, how long have you been writing? Have you always known that you wanted to write?
S.M. I’ve been writing since I was about 18, and it wasn’t very good. ;D I pretty much knew that I wanted to be a novelist right away from that point, since I went to college to get a Creative Writing Degree and have always dabbled in writing, even though I’ve been an Accountant as my day job for over a decade now.
L.C. And what, would you say, has been your greatest triumph as an author?
S.M. I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I took BLOOD SKIES from a 50,000 word draft to a finished product without much direction…or even much of a clue, to be honest. I used Amazon’s CreateSpace guidelines and some blogs I read to try and get some indication as to what I was supposed to do, but I really blundered through most of the self-publishing process with the help of my wife (who is no stranger to social media or conducting business online) and a couple of author friends I met on Twitter (Alan Edwards and Jen Kirchner, I’m looking at you).
Now that I’m working on BLACK SCARS (Book 2 of the series) I feel like I have a *somewhat* better idea of what I’m doing. So much in self-publishing is a learning process, however, that I’m sure I’ll run into some challenge I had no way of foreseeing. All a part of the process, I guess. =D
L.C. Amen to that, but I don't think we'd have it any other way! Now, Steven, I have a very serious question for you. If you were stuck on a desert island with one of your characters, who would you want it to be, and why?
S.M. Wow…good question. I think I’ll have to go with the team’s pack camel that they acquire in the city of Dirge. Reliable, confidant, strong…doesn’t say much…yeah, he (or she…it’s difficult to know) would be a fine desert island companion.
L.C. Personally, I don't think I would've ever thought of a camel, but I see your point…especially about the not saying much. Great choice! I'm curious; do you have any strange habits or rituals when you write?
S.M. I AM a strange habit when I write. No, aside from becoming very obsessive, being difficult to deal with and having to edit things in a particular order (print-out first, then on the computer, then on the Kindle, then the proof)…I’m pretty normal when I write. ;D
L.C. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
S.M. I’m rarely NOT writing, but when I am I like to go on hikes and walks with my family, play and watch basketball, watch all manner of Hi-Def movies and Social Network myself to death.
L.C. Hi-Def movies ARE the way to go, which brings me to my next question. What is your favorite movie of all time, and why?
S.M. I’m a movie buff…so I declare this question unfair. LOL. I have a top 10 list, and I love every movie on it for its storytelling, cinematography, acting, good script, and overall dark and dreary tone. I present in no particular order: Aliens, The Usual Suspects, Unforgiven, Saving Private Ryan, Inception, 28 Days Later, Blade Runner, The Sweet Hereafter, Se7en, and The Departed.
L.C. Gotta love the top 10 lists! Speaking of movies, if a big-shot Hollywood producer offered to turn BLOOD SKIES into a motion picture, who would you want to play the lead roles?
S.M. I actually wrote an entire blog about this. =D Eric Cross would be played by James McAvoy, Samuel Graves by Jeremy Renner, Cynthia Cross (“Snow”) by Selma Blair and Abraham Stone by NBA player John Salmons.
L.C. Great choices! I love James McAvoy; he's so versatile and talented. Okay, last, but not least, SELL IT! Tell us why we should BLOOD SKIES. (No pressure…*evil chuckle*.)
S.M. BLOOD SKIES is super awesome. It has magic, adventure, and characters worth caring about. The world is unique, surprising, and comes alive off of the page. It has excitement, horror, and it bears resonant emotional power. It will haunt you and stay with you long after you’ve put it down. And, best of all, you won’t have to wait long for a sequel, since BLACK SCARS is scheduled for release this November. Word.
L.C. Hehe! Thanks Steven. It's been a riot having you with us today!
Here's more about BLOOD SKIES:
Steven Montano is an accountant who thinks he's a writer, based mainly on the fact that he managed to get a few D&D adventures published roughly 2,000 years ago. He's been writing as a hobby for almost 20 years.
Steven is currently hard at work on the "Blood Skies" project, a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy fiction series. It has magic. And guns. And vampires. Really, what more could you want?
Visit Steven's website at http://www.bloodskies.com/.