Thursday, September 29, 2022

Interview With Author Stephen Rogers

 Hello again. Today we have an interview with author Stephen Rogers, who has published over 800 stories! 

You read that right. I've only got about ten percent of his output, and people think I'm prolific! 

He's the author of SHOT TO DEATH and many more shorter works.  His website includes a list of new and upcoming titles, as well as other timely information.

Stephen also serves as the local Chapter President of the Mystery Writers of America, and has a day job-- so much for the no excuses "I don't have time to write".

Let's find out more.

Q. So how did this book come to be? Was it envisioned from the start as a bigger canvas, or did it expand organically out of an idea? Please tell us a bit about the origin.

 A. Editor Michael Bracken pitched Groovy Gumshoes: Private Eyes in the Psychedelic Sixties as an anthology of stories that featured private eyes working in the sixties (surprise!), and asked that the stories tie into historical events. Well, The movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was released in the sixties.  That was Clint Eastwood, very serious, very not-sixties.  In Kelly's Heroes, released in 1970 and thus made in the 60s, Eastwood's character was appalled by the hippie Oddball. Wasn't that also the dynamic in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot?  Hmm. So how about a non-groovy private eye who is disgusted by the psychedelic sixties?  Hence, "The Ugly."

Q. What do you feel are the main themes?

 A. There's a funny thing about The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  I'm always asking, "Which one was 'The Bad'?"  All three characters are in some measure good, bad, and even ugly if you take their actions into account. That theme runs through "The Ugly," that and the associated theme that you can't rely on stereotypes.  Instead of the stern father hiring the private eye to find the missing hippie chick, in "The Ugly" the hippie kids hire the private eye to find their straightlaced father.

Q. Why do you feel this is important, and what would you want a reader to take away from reading this book?

A. There are "comfort food" stories where we know exactly who the characters are and what they're going to do.  We like to think that's true of the people in our own lives.  We like to think we're in control.  (Falls over laughing.)


Q. What makes a good book or engaging story?

A. I'm most engaged when I don't know what's going to happen next, not because the author is pulling strings to create twists, but because the characters are being true to their unknowable selves.  If I can guess the next scene and be correct, what's the point of continuing?

Q.  Is storytelling mostly entertainment, or does it serve other functions? Do you have particular goals other than telling a good story?

A. Lately I'm finding inspiration in improv.  I've always written dialogue with that sensibility, and sometimes plotted that way, but the idea of performing without a safety net has re-energized me.  Perhaps not enough, because I just want to nap.


Q.  Any other goals you've set for yourself, professionally or personally?

 A. I'm putting together a stand-up routine, which is terrifying in a different way than improv.


Q. Some writers write fast and claim not to rewrite much. Do you do this, or painstakingly revise?

 A. My average writing speed is about 300 words an hour.  That's five words a minute.  That's one word every twelve seconds.


Q.  If a writer came to you for advice, how would you help?

 A. There are so many different things a writer might ask about, but my general answer is to just keep writing and enjoy the work for itself.


Q. Stories can be told by using a different medium. Can you see your works as film, audio, etc.? How would that alter the telling?

A. I've always wanted to see something turned into a film so I could learn from how the story was reimagined by a collaborative process.


Q. What's the next step in your writing world?

A. I'm teaching a class on writing dialogue.

Q. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

A. In the story of my life, major plot points include attending Robert McKee's STORY seminar and joining Toastmasters.  Fun?  Who has time for fun?


Q. Any other information you'd like to impart?

A. Whoever you are, whatever you consider yourself, it's important to tell your own stories.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Auburn, NH Day and Duck Race Booksigning Event

We had a great day yesterday at the Auburn, NH Day and Duck Race event, where we had an Author's Alley of writers selling their work while the town had a major celebration.

Sponsored by Dan Szczesny, director of the Auburn Library, we set up our booths in their parking lot. 

To see an interview with Dan, click here.

Here's my booth

Saw some writer friends from previous shows.

Here's Steve Hobbs

Tony Tremblay

Kate Anslinger, who was in disguise, and so not pictured, dropped by.

Met her down at Killer Nashville.

Writeup of that here

And some new folks, like Killarney Traynor

Brian Campbell

Not pictured is Matt Landry, who's also a speaker and coach and mountaineer

There were more than authors around us, like M. Allyson Szabo, a historical re-enactor who set up a field kitchen, cooked a pie and stew over a fire, and gave samples to dozens of people. The food was so good, many bought her cookbook! 

And Rachael Bohac, a local realtor

Lots of folks were out in the sunshine. Hot, but not as bad as last week.

Thanks to all who made it a great day. Nice people around that town! 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

An author chat, another publication, and news!

Well, it's certainly been a busy time.

First up is our author chat from Killer Nashville, hosted by Nola Nash and Laura Kemp of the show BYOB at Authors on the Air. I was on with Kiersten Modglin and Avram Lavinsky.

(Killer Nashville writeup here)

Another article in Janet Rudolph's Mystery Reader's International- my third. 

This one is about art in my mystery writing. 

And an upcoming booksigning! I'll be at the Auburn, NH Day and Duck Race event-
Saturday, Sept 10, 2022, 10am - 3pm

Later this month, Monday the 19th,
the Tyngsboro Writer's Night Out will be having a chat with mystery writer Janet Raye Stevens

More info here