Sunday, 13 November 2011

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - STEPHEN GOLDIN






  1. What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
    My name is Stephen Goldin. I was born in Philadelphia, and I currently live in San Ramon, a suburb east of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
  2. Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
    I started out wanting to be an astronomer, and my degree us in Astronomy from UCLA, but I also enjoyed telling stories, and it's easier (though financially less rewarding) to find work as a self-employed writer.
  3. When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
    When I sold my first short story at age 18.
  4. Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
    Many years. For a long time I despaired I'd never write anything longer than 10,000 words. Then it was though a switch was flipped, and now I have trouble writing anything less than novel-length.
  5. Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
    I did from time to time, but I devote myself completely to writing now that I'm semi-retired.
  6. What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
    Shrine of the Desert Mage (1st book of the 4-volume Parsina Saga, an Arabian Nights-style fantasy epic). Jafar al-Sharif, an impoverished storyteller, must impersonate a mighty wizard to save the world and his teenage daughter's life.
  7. Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
    I've had numerous publishers in the past, such as Berkley, Bantam, Doubleday, Fawcett, but as the rights to my books have reverted to me I'm now self-publishing everything through my own Parsina Press.
  8. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
    In my younger days I could do a book in under 6months, but I've slowed down now, and it takes about a year--sometimes even a lot longer.
  9. What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
    I'm pretty much committed to the science fiction and fantasy realm--but that gives me a pretty wide field to play in.
  10. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
    I'm currently halfway through the rough draft of Jade Darcy: Run Out Of West, a prequel to my wife's and my previous Jade Darcy adventures.
  11. What genre would you place your books into?
    Science fiction and fantasy.
  12. Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
    Which of my children do I love best? Well, there's Scavenger Hunt, because the hero looks a lot like me and travels around the galaxy in a hedonistic space yacht with an all female crew. Then there's the 2 (so far) Jade Darcy books, because Jade is such a fascinating character. And there's Polly!, because Polly compelled me to write it.
  13. Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
    Polly, from Polly! She's beautiful, intelligent, dynamic, and she made me love her by force of will. It's impossible to say no to her. Once you've met her, you'll understand why.
  14. How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
    Jeez, over 50 years now, Time sure flies when you're having fun. I've just always enjoyed telling stories about interesting people and places.
  15. Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
    My wife (and sometime collaborator) Mary Mason; she's the toughest critic I have.
  16. Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
    Indeed I do. I give review copies to established critics and bloggers. Readers who publish a review of one of my books in at least 3 places can get a Smashwords coupon for another ebook free. Check out the details of my ROGO Program at Parsina Press.
  17. Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
    All the reviews I can find. Sometimes people don't let me know.
  18. What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
    I've gotten a number of really great reviews for Polly! This one is marginally the best.
  19. What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
    There are a number of factors. A clever, compelling story; sympathetic and interesting characters; word-of-mouth; and often a good bit of luck, because a lot of books containing all the other elements have sunk into the swamp and disappeared without a trace.
  20. Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
    Yes, and it's horrible. Unfortunately, I'm facing one now, and I'm not sure what I can do other than try to push ahead anyway and hope it'll eventually dissolve.
  21. What do you do to unwind and relax?
    I'm really a sedentary kind of guy. I love to read and watch TV and let someone else do my thinking for me for a while.
  22. Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
    I don't know how "hidden" it is. Most of my books have upbeat endings because my characters face their problems with determination and creativity. I've said so explicitly several times: "Pessimists are merely people who lack the imagination to see the answer to their problem" and "Nothing's ever hopeless until you lose all hope."
  23. Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
    Many--Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Robert Sheckley, among many others too numerous to count.
  24. Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
    I love books in all formats, but a couple of years ago I started developing macular degeneration, so using my eyes to read is increasingly uncomfortable. These days I'm using audiobooks as my personal choice almost exclusively.
  25. What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
    It's almost impossible to single any one of them out, but I do come back to Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth a lot.
  26. What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
    I'm currently in the middle of (and thoroughly enjoying) Robert J. Sawyer's WWW trilogy in audiobook form, and I'm a little frustrated because it may be another month or so before the 3rd book is available in audiobook. Grrr.
  27. Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
    Not totally replace them, but certainly stand side-by-side as equals.
  28. Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
    I don't believe they're encouraged to think for themselves.
  29. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
    Know your rights, guard them zealously, and don't sell out. You'll regret it later if you do.
Where can readers follow you?

Your blog details? The Ingesterie, http://stephengoldin.blogspot.com/
Your web site ? Home page: http://stephengoldin.com/
    
Parsina Press (my online bookstore): http://parsina.com/
Your facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-Goldin/129854193794?v=wall&viewas=1599040813
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/43762.Stephen_Goldin
Your Twitter details? @stevegoldin




And any other information you wish to supply?



Smashwords: Shrine of the Desert Mage: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/78508 (multiple ebook formats)



BLURB taken from Goodreads
The threat of evil has become dangerously real in Parsina. The magic urn containing the demon Aeshma has been stolen. The urn must be recovered because he who frees Aeshma will have many demons to do his bidding. Only Jafar, the storyteller, Selima, his daughter, and Prince Ahmad, an exile, can save Parsina. They will set out on a mesmerizing quest where they will see enchanted beasts and types of magic never before seen. In this awe-inspiring adventure, they must battle the demons and restore order in Parsina.

Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk £10.95 paperback £4.29 on kindle.


BLURB taken from Goodreads
"Blasphemous ... highly offensive" ... and VERY funny! 

Herodotus Shapiro has had an unbelievably bad week. His wife left him. The IRS is after him for thousands of dollars. His home/bookstore burned down. On his way to take refuge at his brother's place, he got a speeding ticket. And now his car has broken down in the middle of the desert in front of a large mansion. What more can go wrong? 

But now his world takes a turn for the weird. The mansion has a snowman on the front lawn--in the desert, in July. The house, which is bigger on the inside than on the outside, is owned by Polly, the most preternaturally beautiful young woman he's ever met. Polly is an acrobat, a gourmet chef, a psychologist, an international financial consultant, a physicist and a woman of who-knows how many other incredible talents. She has an unbelievable library, an art collection of all the world's great masterpieces, and a print of a previously unknown Marx Brothers film. Her toilet paper is actually silk. 

And she seems to have some mysterious plans for him ....

Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk £3.58 on kindle.

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