Monday, May 27, 2013

Interview with Stifyn Emrys

Stifyn Emrys is a journalist and educator who has written on subjects as diverse as history, religion, politics and language. He has served as an editor for fiction and non-fiction projects, and his first book, “The Gospel of the Phoenix,” was published in the summer of 2012. He has published four other books, including three non-fiction works and the children's fairy tale “Feathercap.” “Identity Break” is his first novel. He lives on California’s Central Coast with his wife (also an author), stepson, cat and dog. 

Q. What inspired the plot for "Identity Break"?

This is difficult to answer without giving too much away, especially since the twists are integral to the plot. I’ve always been a fan of “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek,” which doubtless served as inspiration on some level. Orwell’s “1984” also played a big part in a couple of ways. A lot of things aren’t what they seem at first, but I’ll leave it at that. My own social experiences in high school also played into it.

Q. Is writing something you've always wanted to pursue? 

Yes, ever since I took a creative writing class during my junior year in high school. My original plan was to become a journalist for a regular paycheck and write in my spare time. I did some writing but didn’t start pursuing publishing in earnest until last summer. I love working with words, and I’ve published four nonfiction books in addition to a children’s fairy tale (“Feathercap”), as well as “Identity Break” and a companion novella in the same series titled “Artifice.”

Q. In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an author? What is the worst thing about being an author? 

The best thing is being able to create my own intricate world inhabited by characters I’d never get a chance to meet in real life. The worst is trying to get your material noticed amid a vast array of literary options.

Q. What book(s) are you currently reading? 

I just completed Kiersten White’s “Paranormalcy” series, which I highly recommend for young adult readers. I haven’t started reading anything new in the past few days, because I’ve been busy with writing.

Q. What writing goals are you hoping to achieve this year? 

I’m hoping to complete a non-fiction book I’m working on titled “The Way of the Phoenix” by summer. Then I’ll probably finish the sequel to “Identity Break.”

Q. Do you have a writing ritual? 

Not really. Sometimes, I’ll set goals to reach a certain number of words in a day. Lately, I’ve been writing longhand in bed before I go to sleep and transcribing the material onto my computer document in the morning. The most important thing, I think, is to write a little something every day.

Q. What can your fans expect next? 

The next installment in the “Identity Quest” saga will have a lot more surprises and suspense. I’m introducing a new character, and there will be some revelations regarding the main characters - and villains. If you read “Artifice,” you’ll get some of the backstory, too.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? 

Here are my personal "ten commandments" of writing:
  • Use active sentences.
  • Write punchy.
  • Don't bore the reader with elaborate description; make every word count.
  • Keep the action coming.
  • Make your characters (heroes and villains alike) charming.
  • Create characters your readers will relate to.
  • Shun multisyllabic pomposity.
  • Have fun.
  • Surprise the reader. Repeatedly. Make your readers say, "I should have seen that coming."
  • Don't write a dissertation, business proposal, resume, abstract or legal brief. Write something you'd want to read!


Samantha March said...

Thanks for sharing, I loved this book!

Catherine Lee said...

Thanks for the recommendation for Paranormalcy, Stifyn. I haven't read it yet but we have ordered it for my community college library's YA collection.