Harris Tobias' Fiction

August 21, 2010

Interview with Author STEVE LINDAHL

Filed under: Author Interviews — harristob @ 7:08 pm


Why should I read your book?

When I wrote Motherless Soul I tried to create a page turner with interesting characters.  I thought people would read it to enjoy the story.  But at the same time I wanted to stimulate thought about possibilities for what happens to us after we die.  In the end I think I’ve achieved both those goals plus one that I consider the most important of all.  My book has been a comfort to people experiencing tragedy.  I don’t know exactly why, but I know it’s true.

What do you like about writing?

I like acting and writing because both art forms give me the chance to lead fictional lives that, at their best, have as much emotion as our real lives.  And that emotion is completely under my control.
Do you listen to music while you write, or do you require total and utter silence?

I listen to new age most of the time, but I switch to hard rock when I’m writing scenes that require tension.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
My book has multiple themes.  The ones that stick out the most are The American Civil War, Mother and Daughter relationships, and reincarnation.
The Civil War is particularly interesting to me because I have a great grandfather who fought on the union side and won the National Medal of Honor.  He wrote an autobiography that has been inspirational to me.
The interest in mother and daughter relationships comes from two people I love – my wife and my daughter.  I spent most of my life watching their relationship.
Reincarnation is a concept I’ve always been interested in.  I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe there is a conflict between the concepts.  It just takes a little longer to get to heaven if you come back a few times.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve always loved reading, but the first time I remember trying to write seriously happened in eighth grade.  A friend of mine and I wrote a play together.  His writing was much more polished than mine was.  I remember wishing I could write better and thinking that this was something I was willing to work at long enough to become good.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Portions of Motherless Soul take place during the American Civil War.  I worked very hard to get my facts straight about that time period and about the two battles in the book – Gettysburg and The Battle of the Wilderness.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved developing the relationship between Stephie and Michael.  It is both awkward and improper at times.  I think that makes it real and exciting.  It also drives home the concept that we are influenced by what has happened to us in previous lives.

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?  If so, explain.

There are people who won’t read a book with any paranormal concepts.  I don’t think they understand how real the characters in those books can be when they are written with care.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

Technically I’m a part-time writer because I have a day job as a computer programmer.  But I’m constantly thinking about my stories as I’m experiencing the rest of my life.  So I guess by that more liberal definition, I’m a full-time writer.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

The content of the books I read are much more important to me than the medium.  My home is filled with book shelves, so it is clear that I like the feel of traditional books.  But that doesn’t keep me from enjoying audio books or reading on my laptop.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

People need fiction and good books provide involvement for readers that TV and film can’t.  So the mediums may change, but story telling will not.

How do you find or make time to write?

I have a need to write.  I would be living a lie if I denied it.  No matter what else is going on in my life I find time for my writing.  I get up in the middle of the night, every night, to work on my stories.

What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

I promote through traditional ways such as readings and signings.  I also promote through the internet with my blog (www.stevelindahl.blogspot.com) and my website (www.stevelindahl.com).  I was fortunate to find a publisher, All Things That Matter Press, with a high level of expertise concerning methods of promotion over the web.  I’ve learned a lot since Motherless Soul has come out.  It has been a wonderful experience.

What is your role in the writing community?

I’ve been an active part of our local writing community for years.  I was a co-founder and associate editor of The Crescent Review years ago.  We published the early works of a number of writers who are now fairly well known, including Madison Smartt Bell, Jill McCorkle, Sharyn McCrumb, and Andre Dubus III, among others.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I am working on a sequel to Motherless Soul.  I’ve kept the character of Glen Wiley (the hypnotist) and given him an entirely new set of people to work with.  It’s been fun and is starting to develop in ways I hadn’t imagined.  I’m loving the process.

Who’s your best/worst critic?

My wife is my best critic.  But I am also in an excellent writers group.  I depend on them a great deal. 

Will the “mechanical” standards of writing hold? Grammar, sentence structure, etc.? Does it matter? Why or why not?

There will always be standards, although they will change over time.  In the end what matters with fiction comes down to two things – A strong story and great characters.
What’s your favorite art form (excluding writing). Why?
I love many art forms.  My wife is a pastel artist.  I enjoy going to her shows and helping her perfect her work, as she does with mine.  I also love acting and singing.  Both of those art forms can give me an emotional jolt similar to what I get when I am writing.


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