Friday, August 17, 2012

An Interview With Author John Steiner, Take 2.5

Please welcome fellow Melange author John Steiner back to Unwritten. I first had him here for an interview in November, 2011. He was back later that month in a collaborative interview with the authors of Spellbound 2011. Hence, the designation of 2.5 in today's post. Those were so fun, I thought I'd have him back again.

Bio: John Steiner earned his Associate of Biology at Salt Lake Community College, where he is currently working as a tutor in math and chemistry. He exercises an avid interest in history, science, philosophy, mythology, martial arts as well as military tactics and technology.

Mr. Steiner, please pull up a seat and tell us how life's been since last November. What have you been doing besides writing?

Literally fighting City Hall, and I have the letter to the editor and original long draft thereof, if that's of interest to your readers. Also, we're gearing up for the release of the third Squad V book, Barer of the Ghost Nation.

Buy it HERE!
The first time you were here, you'd just published the first book in your Squad V series. Since then, you've published the second, and the third is just around the corner. What's been the reader reaction so far to your series?

By far, the response has been how much they like the character Vance, the 19th century lawyer, turned vigilante outlaw, turned vampire. Also, it's been reviewed in a college paper, the SLCC Globe. It was described as the seamless fusion of Anne Rice and Tom Clancy, which the reviewer told me he hadn't thought that was possible before I came along.

When can we expect Book Three, and can you tell us a little about it? From the cover, it looks like Native American lore might be involved. Am I right?

Some of the themes from the first two novels spill into Barer of the Ghost Nation, but this time the vampire metaphor was my way of describing a cultural conundrum for American Indian nations. The main Character is Wannuikaga- that pronunciation takes a little work, who is the sole survivor of a Mound Builder civilization in the Mississippi Valley. At first it's disease that swept through the region and decimating the people, but then three vampires come through and feed off the survivors. Wanniukaga was accidentally infected and has the misfortune of living through the death of his people and the centuries that follow. Because of this he has multiple personality disorder and interprets that as having to carry the ghosts of his people. It was a way to describe how American Indian peoples struggle to preserve their traditions and still adopt to today's world that their ancestors would see as post-apocalyptic.

Are you planning more books for the series, and are there any other books of other genres in the works?

Buy Book 2 HERE!
There is a fourth book that I have a loose outline for, which will take the series in a new direction. I've wrapped up The Locust Effect, a horror/suspense novel about sociopathic swarm logic in people. Prior to that was Fire Alive!, which is about firefighters in 2026, and is slated for release a little after Barer of the Ghost Nation. I'm currently working on Bridging the Lotus, which is a spaceflight novel based on a dream I had. Also, I'll take an entirely new take on vampires in a book called Dead Run. I want to make readers fear vampires like never before!

Because I've been having a spaceflight jones so bad, I started a series of spaceflight short stories called Flipspace, which centers on a NATO airforce crew of a military spaceship in 2175. I've completely two of these, and I'm awaiting feedback from a test audience. If any of your readers are interested in joining in I welcome the chance to reveal the creative process with those two installments.

Now that you've been in the writing business for a while, has anything surprised you (good or bad) about the process from draft to marketing?

The interpretation of your lines has been the biggest. Something that reads well to me might completely throw an editor for a loop, and on rare occasion the suggested replacement strikes me as not making sense or completely erases my intent. I'm learning that something I devise to add artistic value to the language might not always been called for, and I'm often reminded to work toward the tenth grade reading level. That I'm a huge science geek creates issues with readers who might not want to run to a dictionary or for every scientific idea posed in my stories. Another thing is- and this might shock budding authors, your work doesn't magically blast off a launch pad into the higher orbits of book sales numbers. I used to think the hard was getting published. That's a lot of phone calls and emails to distributors, to reviewers and anyone else needed to grow awareness of your work.

Buy it Here!
There's been an ongoing debate over traditional vs. indie publishing. We're both with a small press, which I consider comparable to being an indie author. Do you agree? And are you optimistic about the future of publishing (by whatever means)?

I think this won't settle out for a while yet. Small press companies have dived into a huge ocean with lots of sharks, and really loud fog horns. I leaned toward traditional simply because they have the bigger market share, but that's a small crack for so many authors to leap for prior to the door slamming shut. Small press has difficulty getting heard over the background noise, and shifting market moment is a herculean effort, which can easily be reversed and erased by the next rather shallow best seller, that some of us can't believe got past an editor. What small press will do is beef up their advertising efforts and work more with major distributors to make their authors' works available to a larger reader base.

It takes a world thundering meteor to take out dinosaurs.

Buy it HERE!
You know what's coming. It's random question time! What were some of your favorite childhood toys?

Oh, gotta be Transfromers! My very first one was Megatron, who turns into a gun and a few other neat shapes. Sure the leader of the good guys turned into a truck, but Megatron and his Decepticon underlings turned into military grade hardware and more imaginative stuff beyond simply cars, trucks and vans. While I have fond memories of those, I enjoy more where the concept went in the movies. Granted Hasbro will be hard pressed to capture all of that into bits of plastic and metal.

Would you now be so kind as to share an excerpt of your work?

I mentioned that Bridging the Lotus was inspired by a dream. I incorporated it into two scenes close together in the third chapter with some space between. Here's the first part derived from the dream, and I'll indicate where that starts using a asterisk:
Bridging the Lotus, excerpt of Chapter Three: Out of Area.

“Okay, so now onto your medical history,” Beverly said, as the project’s assistant medical officer. “We’ve got a colloquial implant listed here. This was installed shortly after you were born?”
“Ah, yes,” Kyle answered, wondering if there would be any problems with it. “But I’ve kept it up to date every time proven advancements are made.”
“The version you have now shouldn’t cause issues with the pressure suit systems, so that’s okay,” Lieutenant Odessa assured. “I see you were diagnosed with Schwachman-Diamond Syndrome at seven years of age, but the gene therapy and your bone marrow stem cell re-culturing worked.”
“Eh, sort’ve,” Kyle said holding his hand over his head to indicate his short height. “I still have to refresh the nano-monitors into my bloodstream every eleven months.”
“Be lucky. Were you born twenty years earlier this condition would’ve planted you in intensive care,” Beverly pointed out. “Instead, you swung the other way, with the whole soccer thing.”
“Me and Teddy Roosevelt,” Kyle stated with pride at the historical commonality he shared. “You can knock us little guys down, but we get right back up and ask for more.”
“I don’t recall he had this condition.”
“No, but he grew up with a lot of health problems of his own,” Kyle agreed in part.
“Anyway, your current bill of health is outstanding,” Beverly observed, *and waited to type the last into her computer pad before continuing on. “You’re going to a place I like to call ‘No Emails.’”
“No Emails?” Kyle repeated confused by the vague name.
“Radiological very quiet. The universe is still young there.”
Yes, the dialogue in the dream sequence is exactly as I experienced it. In the second part I depict the main character, Kyle Patterson as suited up and advancing toward the Lotus Device with small shuttle style booster rockets and fuel tank on his pressuit suit. On the other side he lifts off the comet toward a small station circling it.

Namaste and I wish you the best of luck! I hope you'll return soon.

Thank you again for this opportunity. 


You can find John on the web at these locations: 

"For some sleep is a journey to places far afield. Where the unconcsious becomes our narrator and tour guide... as we walk other worlds." -John Steiner

***ATTENTION!! ***

If you'd like to be part of the Flipspace test audience, please let John know, and he'll send the latest drafts of the first two stories, FS1: Flight of the Mockingbird and FS2: Branching Out.

Blurb for Flipspace: Late in the twenty-second century humanity has finally breached the light barrier with a quantum loophole around Einstein's speedlimit. Better than that is the fact ships need not even move. Instead it's the starting points and destinations that trade places in a fourth dimensional rotation of space. The ISS Mockingbird, and her sister ship, the Magpie are the first two NATO military craft equipped with the Flipspace Device. They are called upon in an emergency rescue that begins their survice tour. Sometimes zanny, sometimes serious and even grave situations follow Mockingbird's commander, Colonel Sumitra Ramachandra, her executive officer, Major Lamarr Fitch, the flight surgeon, Captain Malcom O'Connell and others of the crew as they reach beyond the solar system, advance the human drive for discovery and keep the peace between nations.


  1. Interesting Interview!

    DDS @ b00k r3vi3ws
    ~~ Old Follower

    PS:: I still love transformers :)

  2. The Transformers story line is really good in the movies, and there's certain scenes that are really intense. Plus, the musical score is excellent. Especially the scene where Prime, by himself takes on Megatron and two others in the forest.

    Now there's an Optimus Prime messiah meme going around the net.

  3. Maybe you should do a book on the Termite invaders John... Not excluding the best part where someone had them go into his Britches and start biting him ....and him streaking through the house stripping as he ran for the shower...

  4. You know [evil leering grin] I might...!

    A perfect companion true-life adventure to my being mobbed by a blackbird.

    1. LOL! IT was classic! He was butt naked before he hit the stairs!

  5. Great interview. I love how you answer the keep it interesting.
    Love T.D. Jones

  6. Great interview, John! I just loved the line:

    It takes a world thundering meteor to take out dinosaurs.

    Congrats on your series! :)

  7. Hi Mysti and John,

    Great interview. I loved the excerpt from your book. I wish you many sales!

    All my best,


  8. Hi, Mysti & John!

    Wonderful post. Loved the excerpt! You have so many fascinating books coming out and already published. I'll be sure to add them to my TBR list.

  9. Also, if you're interested the test read of Flipspace 1 and 2 are still open.


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