Monday, January 7, 2013

Introducing Steve Poling - Author of Human Wave, Time Travel & Steampunk Fiction

The Great Malvern train station is in Worchester,England. It dates back to the Victorian era and it is decorated in the style of that era because the year is 1881.

It is a midsummer evening and temperature is in the ‘70s with a chilly breeze. Across the station a family of tourists are waiting an eastward connection on the opposite platform.

A lad and his grandfather are walking past with the child pestering him for sweets. Down the platform a disreputable looking railway worker is eyeing the wallet that has fallen from the older man’s cloak. He is besooted from head to toe, smoking a cigarette and holding an electric torch in his hand. A railway guard eyes the worker suspiciously. At the dark end of the platform a padlocked nondescript door is set into the wall.

We are sitting on a railroad bench at the opposite end of the platform, watching as a large man picks up the wallet, talks to the railway worker and guard, then leaves with the railway worker.

Come join us as we chat with Steve! There's a giveaway - details below!

Reader’s Haven: Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.

Steve: That’s a hard question, because there’s a lot of obscure stuff your readers might not know. Like the fact that I won the chili cookoff at church this year when I tried to make a chili so hot it would only punish the judges, but instead they liked it enough to vote for it.

Perhaps a more pertinent answer might be that I minored in Philosophy as an undergraduate.

Reader’s Haven: What made you want to become a writer?

Steve: I read a lot. And sometimes when I’ve read someone I like, I think, “I wish I did that.” And other times I read something I don’t quite like and think, “I could have done better than that.”

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release Finding Time without giving away any spoilers.

Steve: Years back I wrote a time travel story about two researchers who go back and rescue a WW2 pilot who’s lost on a glacier in Greenland. It worked out so well that I wrote another where the same two researchers went to the Great Library of Alexandria. (Did I mention I love books?)

That worked so well I wrote a number of other stories where they go back and save stuff, and rescue people. Along the way a friend challenged me to write a Jack The Ripper story. Last year I realized that I could compile all these stories together into an arc wherein each of the stories fits together into a coherent whole. That became Finding Time.

On Amazon

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

Steve: Nope. I’m just Steve. What you see is what you get.

Reader’s Haven: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Steve: I like a hero who solves problems with her mind and mad skills. Though I see the occasional need for Sherlock Holmes to use baritsu to subdue a villain, I am more comfortable with the hero as puzzle-solver than with the hero as brawler.

Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Steve: A perfect writing day for me starts after everyone has gone to bed and I have a few hours alone to write down what I’ve planned, and be surprised by how that differs from what I planned, then plan the next day’s writing. And a perfect writing day requires that I have been writing regularly every day for the last few days beforehand.

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Steve: I write about Sherlock Holmes’ brother Mycroft. The Aristotelian was a straight murder mystery, but my work in progress, "Steamship To Kashmir" is steampunk. But I find myself easily distracted by writing projects like "Finding Time". Keep me away from distracting shiny objects.

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Steve: I write on longer projects in fits and starts. This is bad. I shouldn’t say this.  I should say that I dash off 2000 words per day and churn out an 8k story in four days. That would be a lie. A few weeks ago I was really motivated by a story idea and I churned out a 4,700 word story in one 14 hour marathon session then spent about that many hours in the next week cleaning it up.

Reader’s Haven: Do you have to be alone to write?

Steve: Not really.

Reader’s Haven: How do you go about naming characters?

Steve: It depends upon the culture of the character. I had some fun in Aristotelian coming up with goofball British names like Cruikshank, and Grosvenor. I like to find a roster of names from the culture and time period of a story, e.g. signatories of the London Baptist Confession of Faith, or the Declaration of Independence, then shuffle first and last names to get a pool of candidates, then I pick the most fitting candidate. The more obscure the roster, the better.

Reader’s Haven: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Steve: I have these interesting conversations with my illustrator about who my characters look like. I hear that Louis L’Amour would write while imagining John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart playing the part of the protagonist. In Steamship to Kashmir, I have a character who looks just like the Bollywood actor, Salman Khan.

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Steve: For Finding Time I just imagined some big mystery of history where people or things were lost, and I would then tell a story around retrieving it. One exception is a story that came about from a remark by my illustrator, that she’d like to depict King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. So, I contrived something to get lost in a time-machine accident for them to retrieve.

Reader’s Haven: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Steve: I’ve mentioned Steamship To Kashmir. That’s a steampunk story about Mycroft Holmes that explains why he doesn’t want to go out and chase criminals with his little brother Sherlock. (He’s too tired from chasing around on secret missions for the Diogenes Club.) The steamship is an airship powered by Baron Nemo’s nuclear reactor. My daughter the nuclear engineer just rolls her eyes and shakes her head at it. Since Kashmir is in the British Raj, the middle of the novel will have a Bollywood feel to it. I have a genie in the bottle story and a chicken-fried C’thulhu story that I should try to sell. And an asteroid mining story that I want to finish.

Reader’s Haven: Where can readers find out more about you and your books? 

Steve: You’re best bet is going to my Amazon Author page, but you can also find a nice collection of links to me compiled at the Independent Author Network. My fevered ravings can be read on my blog:
The Archives of The Diogenes Club.

I try to write what’s called Human Wave fiction. I don’t like dystopian stories, and I think writing should inspire the reader to get up and make the world better. Make it better for himself or herself by creating wealth, and make it better for others.

Though you’ll see a pretty girl on the cover of Finding Time, there’s no cussin’, no spittin’, an’ no gettin’ nekkid in the stories. So, you won’t have to hide it from your tweenaged kids. I don’t think it’s YA because I only have two teenaged characters.
I’ll be pleased to give away a Ecopy of Finding Time to two Readers. Enter through the Rafflecopter below. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Finding Time

In 2280 EarthGov is desperate when aliens destroy their first colony. They’ll even comb through the wreckage of the aliens’ UFO that crashed in 1947—where one man claims he’s found a time machine. Now the race is on to scour history for the treasures and talents EarthGov needs. 

Sid Feynman just wants a government grant. His hopes for a quiet academic life are dashed when EarthGov thrusts the beautiful historian Nell Playfair upon him and expects Sid to actually use the time machine.

Soon Sid and Nell are rocketing across light-years of interstellar space and millennia of history—seeking that which is lost and finding time.

Enjoy the Book Trailer

About the Author:
Steve Poling was born, raised and lives in West Michigan with his wife and kids. He uses his training in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science as a C++/C# poet by day while writing Subversive Fiction by night. Steve has an abiding interest in philosophy and potato cannons. He writes SF, crime fiction, an occasional fractured fairy tale, and steampunk. His current writing project is a steampunk novel, Steamship to Kashmir--provided he isn't distracted by something new & shiny.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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