Archive for July, 2012
Stephen Wallenfels lives in the sunny desert of Eastern Washington. He enjoys spending time with his wife, and when the stars align, his Seattle-based son. His activities include any sport that uses a racquet, backpacking, reading, movies and cooking. POD is his first novel. He is currently on book two of the POD trilogy.
Learn more about Steve at www.stephenwallenfels.com
SFFWRTCHT: When did you decide to start writing? How did you begin?
Stephen Wallenfels: I decided that I wanted to write for a living when I was in high school.
SFFWRTCHT: Did you study writing in school? How did you learn your craft?
Stephen Wallenfels: I took creative writing in college. I learned my craft at conventions, workshops, and reading books on writing. And collecting rejections like battle scars.
SFFWRTCHT: How long did you write until your first sale? What was that?
Stephen Wallenfels: Six years (not counting high school). My first published piece was a short story in National Racquetball about a magic racquet. I used the $50 check to buy an electric typewriter. Yup, it was that long ago.
SFFWRTCHT: What aspect of POD came first? Characters? Plot? Setting?
Stephen Wallenfels: The first aspect was the idea. Then the voice—Josh. Once my characters start talking, then the rest falls into place.
SFFWRTCHT: What sort of pre-writing did you do for POD? Did you outline?
Stephen Wallenfels: POD was originally a short story from Josh’s POV. I decided to turn it into a novel, and added Megs. I did some outlining (more like a time-line of events) but not willingly.
SFFWRTCHT: What’s your writing time look like? Planned time? Grab it when you can?
Stephen Wallenfels: It’s a bit of both. I write from 4:30am-6:00am on weekdays, then whenever I can on weeknights and on weekends.
Stephen Wallenfels: No special software other then MS Word. I do have a song, “Thrasher” by Neil Young, that I often use as a theme for POD 2.SFFWRTCHT: How do you deal with writer’s block?
Stephen Wallenfels: Not well, but getting better. The best tip I’ve found is to take a completely different approach to solving whatever issue is causing the problem. Lots of strong tea helps, too.SFFWRTCHT: What role do beta readers play, if any, in your process as a professional author?
Stephen Wallenfels: Beta readers play a huge role. A beta reader convinced me to turn POD from an 8000 word short story into a 60000 word novel. I have a great critique group that is helping me through the sequel process right now.SFFWRTCHT: What advice would you give an up and coming writer?
Stephen Wallenfels: Read everything you can. Go to conferences. Take the craft seriously. Write, write, write. Submit, submit, submit.SFFWRTCHT: Are you involved with cons and fandom? Cosplay?
Stephen Wallenfels: Not formally. I was a panelist at a huge Comicon. It was among the most unique experiences of my writing career.
SFFWRTCHT: Where did your love of specfic and science fiction in particular begin?
Stephen Wallenfels: My love for science fiction began with Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, and H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. After that I was hooked like a fish.
Stephen Wallenfels: J. R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy, John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids, and more recently, Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I was saddened at the passing of Ray Bradbury. He was one of my inspirations, too.SFFWRTCHT: How do you define science fiction? “Hard” science fiction versus “soft” science fiction?
Stephen Wallenfels: In hard science fiction, the science behind the technology is so important and well defined it is almost like another character, and likewise must be believable. In soft scifi, the science is taken for granted and not necessarily grounded in accepted technologies.
Stephen Wallenfels: I am working on the sequel to POD. It is a challenge for sure, but a lot of fun—in a post apocalyptic sort of way.
To read our review of POD, click here.
Michelle Ristuccia writes short fiction of all speculative fiction genres in between chasing her toddler from tree to tree. The shorter the work, the better, because 200 words looks very long on her cellphone and that keypad is very, very small. You can find out more about her rabid love of Star Trek, podcasting, and raising future geeklings at her blog, wakingdreamsblog.blogspot.com