Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meet Author "CL Stegall"

This past July I attended Lexicon Writer's Conference in Denton Texas and met some great people. One person I didn't meet in person at the time, though I saw him across the room, was CL Stegall.

After connecting with him on Facebook, I downloaded his book and read it. And, I read it in one sitting. Well, I had to do dinner for hubby but I did the read-stir-read-some-more thing so technically it counts as one sitting since I read it straight through.

Here's a short blurb for The Weight of Night.

When her mother is taken from her in a terrible accident, 18-year-old Alexis finds herself facing some previously unknown truths. Her best friend, Keats, is her only confidante when she is faced with an apparent stalker who claims that Alexis’ entire life is built around a lie. Keats keeps the leap-before-you-look Alexis grounded as they are suddenly thrown into a whirlwind world of danger and secret agendas and the viciously deceitful lives of demigods and ancient Greek deities.

When a conniving, self-righteous god decides that Alexis is his best hope for retrieving a powerful artifact, she finds herself on the self-discovery journey of a lifetime – tracking a killer and a kidnapper – and facing twisted and dangerous foes along the way.

With lives in the balance, Alexis will have to come to grips with who she truly is and just what she might be capable of. Growing more and more dangerous herself, she will have to try and survive long enough to save the one person in the world for whom she cares most.

Now, I've always loved mythology so when I was given the chance to interview CL for the blog, I jumped at the chance. Here's that interview.

What inspired you to write this story?  And why the gods?

You know, I've been asked that question so many times and I honestly cannot pinpoint any specific inspiration, other than the fact that I grew up loving all of the Greek mythology that I read about or saw in media (Jason & the Argonauts, the original Clash Of the Titans, etc.). The story of how this book evolved was just that: an evolution. Back in 2003, I was part of an online writing community (then called Arcane Artistry, now called Legend Fire). Once in a while I would enter one of their contests. Once I entered a predetermined title contest, meaning we were given a title and had to write a story to fit it. The story that came from that was Darkness In Avenhale. Amazingly, I took top prize! The greatest (and most) feedback I received was that folks wanted more of the tale. So, I set out to write a novel. Let me tell you, that is NOT an easy task. What began as a 3k-word short became an 80k word novel over the course of six-plus years. The more I delved into the world of the ancient Greeks and their tales of mythological being tied to both physical and human nature, the more material I had to expand the story of Alexis and her friends and enemies. Indeed, there is SO much more to come!

CL's Writing Space is much neater than mine :-)
Could you share a bit of your writing process with us? What’s a typical writing day like for you? How do you balance day job and your writing?

Hmmnh, so let's take these one at a time. My writing process involves a lot of trial and error.  Meaning, I will bang an idea up against the walls of my brain for some time before ever putting pen to paper (or, fingers to keys, as the case may be). Once I have the basic premise, I will begin to outline, really just a jotting down of simple ideas for what I would like to happen. I will begin to flesh that out with a very specific overall outline, and then a more specific chapter breakdown outline. Now, some folks will think that, at this point, I am a straight outliner...but, once I begin writing the story and the characters begin to come alive, they will definitely start to drive the story and my outlines might all go right out the darned window! Trust me, it's happened.

 As for the typical writing day, I sometimes try and get some writing in before I go off to my bread and butter job, but I'm still trying to get the hang of that. If at all possible, I will spend my lunch break writing, which is a wonderful experience. If you only have one hour to write, you write like a fiend! No surfing! :o) And, then, I tend to write more on the weekends than anything else. It's tough, but that's the life of a writer these days. We can't all be Stephen King, with an office in the barn with a nice coffee maker and leather chair waiting for us. :o( Maybe one day!

How important was the encouragement you received as a young writer and what advice would you give to a young or novice writer?

The biggest encouragement that I received was folks actually liking what I had written. Only a few people have ever truly encouraged me to continue writing and step up my game. My best advice to novice writers is very simple: don't quit. If this is what you love to do, keep doing it the best you can. Don't take ANYONE'S advice too much to heart. This is your thing. Writing is a solitary occupation, so to speak. Understand that you are your own worst critic. Use that, better yourself and keep writing!

When you get the chance, what do you like to read?

I read just about anything, really. If it is well-written, has a decent premise (and promise), I'll jump right in. I've read romance novels, and literary fiction, but I suppose my favorite genre will always be fantasy. Reading about something out of the ordinary (paranormal, as they say) and how the protagonist will deal with such things is of great curiosity to me. My favorite in the genre is Faerie Tale, by Raymond E. Feist. I can read that one over and over again. Such a great story and terribly well-written!

Lastly, you mentioned in a previous interview that your grandfather was an influence on you becoming a writer. Do you remember a favorite story of his? 

Most of his stories are not repeatable in polite company. ;o) Actually, I'd just rather not answer this one for various reasons.

My family has some stories like that so I totally understand. Maybe one day, we'll get together and share private. :-)

I want to thank CL for taking the time from his writing  to answer my questions and I want to encourage each of you to check out his book, The Weight of Night.  I know you will love it. Here's a few more links to check out.


CL is also President and CEO of Dark Red Press.


Renee Groskreutz said...

I am deep into The Weight of Night and I will say that it is darn good.

Jean, thank you for this great interview. I love getting a glimpse into the author's method and this was a blast to read.

What is your process?


Jean said...

Glad you enjoyed the interview, it was fun to do. And yeah, it's a good book.