Our interview with The Deep Hollow novella author Vincent Sterling.
Vincent Sterling is a writer living in the Southwest of the United States, with his wonderful wife and three children. He has recently released his latest novella entitled The Deep Hollow. Without further ado, here is this week featured author interview.
Embrace your fear. Own it. Don’t waste time listening to all the flowery positive encouragement out there …Use what valid criticism there is to get better.Vincent Sterling
What have we learned from our interview with this week’s featured author Vincent Sterling?
LR: I think most readers want to know where authors put pen to paper as it were, and write wonderful novels. Can you describe for us your writing space?
VS: As a father of three, my writing space is wherever I can make room and time. How do I make time? I am a visual thinker. Large portions of my story I see as movie scenes, which I then need to breakdown into a verbal story. So, when inspired I might take an extra long shower, stay up in bed, or nestle into a quiet couch with a pair of headphones while I work out the sequence. How do I make room? I always have two things near me. A little $200 laptop dedicated to all things writing and a spiral notebook with a pen in the binding. The spiral notebook isn’t nearly as helpful; let’s just say I never got A’s for penmanship.
LR: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
VS: I most definitely want each work to stand on their own for two reasons. One being reader expectation. I want readers to expect, when seeing my work, a self-contained experience where the reader feels they received something worthy of their investment. Even if the only investment was the time to read it. I think a genre-specific writer may be able to bridge the gap, but I am not a genre-specific writer. Which brings me to my second reason, reader experience. I know writers are encouraged to choose a genre and stick to it, but I have chosen not to.
I assume no writer wants to alienate or disappoint their fans, because I know I don’t want to. So, if I am not going to always write in a specific genre, I won’t connect different genres together. I don’t want to force readers to read things they wouldn’t enjoy for the whole experience. For example, I’m currently writing a horror story collection called The Tomes of Terror and faced a similar decision. I recently released the short 427 which has some dark themes and could be added to pad the length of the collection because, often, longer page count lengths are perceived of as value. The problem is the story is straight historical fiction. To make it part of that collection wouldn’t truly enhance the reader experience.
LR: Success is extremely subjective, and there is a wide range of answers to this next question, even amongst writers. What does your idea of literary success look like?
VS: I’m a writer who has dabbled as an amateur for years but is starting professionally a little later in life. So, success for me will be reaching a point where I struggle to think of a new idea for a story. To get every story seed, I’ve built up in my head, out to the world will take years of dedicated work. I can’t control commercial or critical success so, though I would greatly appreciate both, I can’t use it as a barometer for success. Otherwise, I’m leaving what parameter I will consider my career successful in the hands of chance.
LR: How do you come up with the titles to your books?
VS: Funny enough, titles are very hard for me. Sometimes I write something, and the title just pops in my head, boom epiphany. For example, the title for my next novel End to Genesis, I was walking to my car and it just jumped up into my brainbox. But more often, I will complete something, and it remains untitled long after completion. Nothing I can think of seems good enough because, as much as we hate to admit it, we judge stories by titles. That makes their choosing very difficult, right? I haven’t released several things because I am still searching for the right title. It is a skill I am still developing as a writer and would be open to any suggestions/anecdotes on how to improve it.
LR: Are you on social media and where can readers interact with you?
VS: Yes, I am finally on social media, even as just a private individual. I have recently started a Goodreads author account under my name Vincent Sterling. I’m diving into that community before I branch out to another service. I answer any questions and will discuss whatever. Even with active non-fans, I’m not above constructive criticism. So, I’m welcome to any group suggestions, invites on there, or just join a reading challenge. Also, I have my website vincentsterlingauthor.com, there you can contact me or sign up for my newsletter.
LR: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
VS: Embrace your fear. Own it. Don’t waste time listening to all the flowery positive encouragement out there. Often there are valid reasons why you are still aspiring. Are you afraid you have too many commitments in your life to write and make nothing? You probably do. Write one page every other night. Eventually, it will get done. You can’t think of any ideas? Take a story you love and rework it.
Praise the original author for the inspiration. You can’t because you aren’t good enough? You probably aren’t. But who picks up a paintbrush and paints perfectly immediately or a guitar and plays a ballad? Work at it and you will get probably better than you ever thought you could. Criticism and doubt never go away. No amount of praise will make up for them, and, if you have truly deep-set doubts, you won’t trust compliments anyway. But, if you accept your weaknesses, you can set goals to overcome them, and when someone throws them in your face, and they will, it won’t discourage you. Instead, you can recognize what’s valid and what’s malicious.
Use what valid criticism there is to get better. What’s the worst that can happen? That you aren’t unique, you have nothing to say, you aren’t original, so you wrote a few mediocre works a small group of people enjoyed. You, still, will have the pride of doing the best you could do and satisfied a small group of fans. Angus Young sold millions of albums with AC/DC, yet still has this perfect quote about criticism. “I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same, in fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.”
Our final thoughts on our author interview for this week.
Vincent Sterling writes dark horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction short stories and novellas. Don’t forget to buy his latest novella, available on Amazon titled The Deep Hollow. Readers wanting to be in the know on his upcoming titles, releases and review his catalog of fiction ( including his Tomes of Terror series) can sign up for his newsletter at his website: www.vincentsterlingauthor.com. You can follow Vincent on Goodreads, Amazon, and his author website.
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