Tuesday 24 June 2014


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi there. I’m Stuart Land and I come from Washington, D.C., lived a long time in California, but now live in beautiful Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve done many things in my life so far, but have been a writer for the last 28 years. I was a sculptor most of my life (many years in the movie biz), but have been a hairdresser, photographer, police officer, and served in the military. And a whole lot more.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
When I could read my own work and not want to throw up. Really, I was pretty bad when I started and it took a while before I read my writing without cringing. When I finally read something I wrote and it sounded like someone else wrote it (someone good), I began to believe I was a writer.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Well, I wrote screenplays for five years before I attempted a novel. Then it took me about four years to get it published.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest novel is book two of the ORIGINAL BLOOD series, called SZEJNA’S REVENGE. However, it’s impossible to summarize it in 20 words. Here are 32.

A vampire must share her blood with her protégé to journey back in time for answers to save the world from dreadful vampires, resurrected from beyond death, bent on retribution and world domination.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Now I self-publish.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I do a lot of research, so an average would be 3 to 6 months for a solid first draft. However, Epiphany took ten years.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Epiphany was the hardest book I’ve written because it took ten years from the original idea until I felt confident enough to write it. Also it was initially a plot without characters, and that makes for a boring story. Once I started, the characters materialized and the story suddenly became character driven, rather than the other way around.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m a multi-genre author. Not only in novels, but in screenplays. My last two books were vampire (Szejna’s Revenge) , and science fiction (Endless Sky), but I also write thrillers, crime fiction, action adventure, and other genres. I just won two major international screenwriting contests for the categories of action adventure and family, for the same script called TODD MCCOY’S ADVENTURE WEST. Right now I’m writing a horror script that I plan on directing myself within the next year.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Actually, I’ve already started on book three of the ORIGINAL BLOOD series, called TARYN’S SORROW.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I don’t have a favorite book. I love them all for different reasons.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I love all my character the best when I’m writing them. They have their own lives and are as individual to me as anyone I’ve met in real life, only I know them better.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing almost 30 years. It all started when I was a sculptor in the Hollywood movie industry working on some of the biggest films of the century. I read the scripts, chatted with the actors, directors, and producer, and thought, I can do as good as this. When I went to do it, I found out how hard it actually is to write a good script. Then I started picking the brains of these actors, directors, and producer, and taking every screenwriting course available, reading all the books, going to seminars, and getting mentors. It was a long, arduous road before I thought I was any good.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
My ideas and inspiration come from my varied lifestyle and the many places I’ve been and lived, and all the people I’ve met. Ideas come to me on the ether, from something seen out of the corner of my eye, an overheard conversation, or a dream. They come from everywhere.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I can write anywhere, but now I have a super-comfortable recliner. I put my little notebook on my lap and type away. Sometime, I go to the waterfall near my house and write there, but after a while the rocks hurt my butt.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I belong to a writers group which gets to suffer, er, enjoy my writing before the world at large. I also have a terrific editor who really does make editing fun.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews? I do gift ebooks to readers.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I do. Sometimes I even plot revenge.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
The toughest reviews usually come from people I feel don’t understand the book, or have issues that have nothing to do with my book. These reviews are more mean-spirited, and reveal a lot about the reviewer, in my opinion. Reviews that are negative because the book isn’t their cup of tea are perfectly fine. For example, some people don’t like car chases in books. Fine. Some people don’t like non-mainstream characters. Fine. You can’t please everyone.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Never. However, I did ask a reviewer who trashed one book to not include erroneous spoilers. I pointed out that what she claimed happened, didn’t actually happen in the book I wrote, and that people reading her review might believe it did, and that would be an erroneous spoiler. The person came back flaming, so I dropped it. Personally, I don’t think it’s right that anyone can say anything they like about an author’s book and there’s no recourse for the author.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I designed and made all but one cover of my books, and that one was based on my previous desgn. However, I also licensed two original oil paintings from well-known painters for my ORIGINAL BLOOD series. Coming up with the ideas works pretty much the same way as how I write. I sit down and begin. The ideas just flow out once I start working. I have  attempted to hire book designers to do the covers for me, but both times it ended in disaster with me paying and either receiving partial work, or nothing at all.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Mostly I write the book or screenplay first, but sometimes, I do get the title first.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Most of the time, place names are real places. If not, I name them using the naming convention of the area or time. Character name just come to me, or I look at names from a certain era and place for ideas. Names are super important and they have to fit the personality of the character.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Character names come along at the same time as they come into being. If the name doesn’t appear to me right away, I usually stop and find it before continuing.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
When I first started writing screenplays, I made detail character bios. I also plotted the stories out to the nth degree. I no longer do any of this because it’s now intuitive. All the character traits come out as they story progresses. I wouldn’t advise this for the beginner writer because you’ll just get confused and lose their characters in a mash-up of traits.

How do you market/promote your books?
I have a website/blog, do all the social networking sites, blog tours, interviews, reviews, street corner placard, crying and pleading…

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I have no idea and neither does anyone else. However, I’d say for self-published books, your best bet is writing romance because the vast majority of writers and readers in the self-publishing world are women. Unfortunately, I don’t write romance. But all my stories have romance in them. Interestingly, The Paranormal Romance Guild has given all eight of my novels super high marks, with half of them winning Reviewer Choice awards. I love those gals!

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Writers hate me for this. I don’t get writer’s block. I have so many idea bouncing around my head I find it hard to sleep. My theory about writer’s block is this, and if writer follow this advice, the blockage time would be drastically reduced. Ready… Let you characters tell the story. Stop trying to force them to follow your story. Sure, it’s initially your idea and your plot, but once you get started, it’s a community effort. Let it flow, baby, let it flow.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Both are a hodge-podge of people and events. Never is anything specific to an individual or event.

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..")
If there are, you’re welcome to them.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
All authors I read have an influence on me. I don’t copy them, but get ideas of how to handle certain situations or how to tell or say a certain thing a better way.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
On the most part, no. Since I write both novels and screenplays and know what makes them different, I can see the problems inherent in transposing from one form to the other. Plus I worked in the movie industry for fifteen years, so see things others miss. Most of the time, I believe, the transposing comes out badly because the screenwriter isn’t a novelist as well. They don’t understand that medium. Novels are way more complex than movies in their character development and plotting. It takes hours to read a novel, but a movie has to be told in usually less than two. Still, you can get a great movie out of a novel, but it may not be the same as the novel.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I just finished Shantaram (ebook). A fantastic book. And I say this as one who generally abhors biographies. Of course, this isn’t a true bio, but based upon this guys life. He’s said many times it’s not a bio, so for me, this exonerates him. The writing is exemplary, if even at times over the top. It’s like getting lost in a buffet of everything you like to eat. Naturally not everyone is going to like what I like.

I started reading a couple self-published books I found online, but couldn’t finish them. The writing was awful. The authors just didn’t take the time to learn how to write well. Yes, they could string words together in English, but it takes a lot more than that to be a writer. And no, I don’t return books for my money back. At one to three dollars a book, it’s just petty and rude.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No. At least, not for a very long time.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
Being dyslexic, I didn’t learn to read until the 4th grade. It took a while before I could read fast enough for it to be enjoyable. I began making up my own stories by the sixth grade, but didn’t get fully into writing until my 30s.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
This is weird, but I made an instant jump from Tom Swift and The Hardy Boys to Kurt Vonnegut, Ayn Rand, and Herman Hesse.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
No. I like good writing and good ideas.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
Funny you should ask. I recently tried to read (for the third or fourth time), both Ulysses and Atlas Shrugged. Since I’m not Irish, a lot of the humor of Ulysses went right by me, and the formatting of the dialogue was unnecessarily confusing. More importantly, I didn’t care about any of the characters. This was majorly true about Atlas Shrugged, and Ayn Rand is one of my favorite authors. In this book she slaps you across the face with her ideology (which she tends to do anyway), but the way she approached it was simply ludicrous. One has to believe in the premise of a book for it to work for you, and her exaggerations were too over the top for me. Nowadays, you would call her characterizations stereotyped.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything as far as story, plot, and characters go. There are always missed typos and phrases that could be better.

What do you think about book trailers?
Being a film person, I love trailers. I even have one (so far):

However, because it’s so simple nowadays to make a trailer, naturally authors have a tendency to do just that. The problem is, they don’t understand the medium and make boring trailers that you have to read your way through, interspersed with a lot of static shots of sexy women and beefy guys. This is a total waste of the medium, in my opinion. Yes, I do have text in my trailer, but it’s short and there is a voice over.

I hired a professional trailer maker who understands video and how to string together action sequences to convey a story idea. I urge authors to spend a little money and have a talented artist make their trailers so they are as fun to watch as the book is to read.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Study the craft. Read all different genres from all different eras.  Learn to write screenplays, for this will teach you how to plot stories, write convincing dialogue, and be concise. Did I say study the craft? Most author (in my unscientific survey of self-published writers), do not do this. It’s usually obvious from the first paragraph.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I do use a pen name for my erotica, but I’m not telling what it is.

Thanks for the fun interview, Jeanz! I really had a good time. But tell me again why I had to wear a blindfold?

[A blindfold? Not sure what you are meaning lol]

















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