Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I had several purposes in writing The Adima Chronicles: for it to be interesting and exciting and to show that young adults are the ones with the power to change the world. I wanted to show that you are stronger when you work in a group collaboratively. Working together, we can change ourselves and change the world, but the action to do so is on a very personal level. It’s up to you. It’s up to me. I think younger readers know this personal power instinctively. I also don’t like the trend in monsters and dystopian futures for teens. What does that give us to look forward to? This world is a fantastic adventure if we choose to make it that way. Each one of us has the power to change and choose.
The Adima Chronicles are wild rides, but there is a purpose behind the stories.
What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre that they need to know?
We tend to think that this physical environment around us is the only world. I don’t believe that is so. The Adima Chronicles have a whole universe made of energy and light that exists in this world. When I write, I often get stuck and ask…not someONE…but I ask the book itself what needs to happen. Then I write down the answer. It’s a wonderful process of trust. I learn as much from the books as others.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I try to write every day. One of the early books I read said that writing was hard. It was hard to start a book and it was hard to start every day, so I’ve made a bargain with myself. I only have to write 10 minutes a day. I can always scrape together 10 minutes. Then, it usually is easy to keep going, but if it’s not. I stop.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I chart out some parts, but the book usually starts with an idea…just a flicker of an idea and grows out in little pieces. Then I start to string those together. The best time is when the characters start speaking for themselves and showing how they would react.
What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I drive my marketing by the phrase, “If you need it…You will read it.” When people are ready for the message and the adventure, it falls in their lap. Every quarter, sales grow. I love to do readings and interviews. I’m on Facebook and Twitter and I talk to blogs and magazines. I have a website as does the publisher. But I don’t try too hard sell it. I talk about Adima Rising and it’s messages. What I find is that the two biggest age groups that respond to the books are young adults and women over 60 – people who don’t believe the world HAS to be a certain way and that each of us can make a change. I like that.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I don’t really like self-publishing, just because there is so much knowledge a publisher brings to the table, so why not benefit from that knowledge and guidance? However, I really love small publishing houses. Think about it. If you are with one of the biggies, sure you have the distribution, but you are one in a stable of writers and the publishers are more interested in producing a bunch of books that will sell millions while you are “hot”. A small publisher can take the time to let an audience for a new kind of novel and writer grow. When I first talked to the head of Absolute Love Publishing, she said, “This will sell. It will take some time, but it will sell.” I love that. She and I are willing to take the time because the Adima Rising is a new kind of book, and it is important. It will just take a little time for the word to get around. The whole series provides a new way of looking at the world. It changes people’s lives. That doesn’t happen overnight.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Edit, edit, edit. Then send it to friends and edit again. Then send it to knowledgeable people and LISTEN to them. Change your book. Say thank you instead of defending it. One of the hardest and most common lessons is that there will be wonderful sections of your book, but they don’t move the book forward and do not make the final version. Finally, write what you want, what you love. If you just write to sell, then you might as well sell something that makes more money. By the time, there are a bunch of, say, vampire books out… authors of better standing than you have already been writing vamp books for two years. Write what interests you.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
The first book, Adima Rising, is an exciting blend of adventure, fantasy, myths of the Americas, and self-empowerment. Four very diverse, loner teens in a small town in New Mexico work together to save the world as both the world of energy and their everyday lives spin ever closer to destruction. Adima Rising is not a dystopian world of heroes who swoop in to save the world, it is real teens that work together, each adding their own strengths to support each other as they aim toward a seemingly impossible goal. The teens learn to keep creating and keep trying- even when facing four enormous challenges. Each challenge is embedded with a lesson. While learning each lesson, every character also faces difficult real life situations that teenagers often face. They and only they, acting together, can stand between a better world and dark forces determined to take over.
This is not a book for people to burn through once, then toss. Yes, Adima Rising is an exciting ride with many stories woven together, all building to an explosive climax, but readers can return to the book again and again. I want readers to have and get new insights each time they read it.
In the newest book (out soon), Adima Returning, the friends have to work not only with each other but with the Kachinas – the spirit powers of the Hopi. The teens return to the source of all Adima, the Spheres, to share what they have learned and start a new adventure at the Cliff in the village of aware beings. However, because they cleansed this world in the first book, not many Adima stick around to keep the Cliff’s energy together. It is falling apart and the friends, working with a growing group of Adima from different dimensions and powers have to travel to alternate levels of nature to get help. Plus, there’s a special surprise with James and his sister, Lilly.
In both books, we learn that what makes this planet so wonderful is the diversity of experience, emotion, and life. In addition, that the answers come from each of us when we work with others…and then groups learn to work together.
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
I think it’s an important part of my books that there are a group of characters. We are no longer in the age of the single hero’s journey. We must work together. I also like that the characters are so diverse and each holds a piece of the puzzle. There is a Latino boy who has two fathers, an African American girl being raised by a single mother, a Caucasian math wiz boy from a poor, rough family, and a Japanese-American inventor and his little sister, plus lots of “people” from different ages and dimensions .
What role does research play in your writing?
It depends. For Adima Rising, most of the information I already knew. For the new book, Adima Returning, there are a lot of references to Kachinas and I have great respect for the Hopi. I spent a lot of time reading and learning about the Hopi in particular and the Pueblo people in general.
Tell us something unique about you.
Here are a few things…With my sister and friend, I used to be a clown and write a show for television. On one show, in my clown suit, I got to ride a fire engine with the siren blasting. I can play Yankee doodle on my nose. I was also an Eagle Scout and a University professor.
How can you learn more about Steve and his work?