Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Steve Soderquist.
I have had the pleasure of working with Steve before and after the release of his latest novel. I have also purchased a copy of his book and began reading it. So, prepare to be a little creeped out. This is not something you want to read alone at an old farmhouse.
1. What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale?
I live in a huge community called FishHawk Ranch in Lithia, Florida. Our local newspapers are very supportive of any community member who does something such as this; whether it be write a book, make music, paint…of course I am speaking of the arts right now, but anything that stands out they like to share with the over 16,000 residents here, who’s income is in the six-figure range for close to seventy percent of households.
That being said, as many of my fellow authors can attest, you tell fifty people about your novel, perhaps a handful will make the actual purchase, even though most tell you they will…lol
So those odds are in my favor, none-the-less. I wanted to create a buzz here that could be like a pebble thrown in a pond.
2. What do you like about your publisher or why did you decide to Self Publish?
I self-published my first book which was a novella called, ‘One for the Road.’ Once the mini-book was complete and they had fulfilled their requirement of the ‘package’ I paid for, they were non-existent except of course, to contact me and try to make me buy more of my own book. No thanks.
Damnation Books with Eternal Press have given me nothing but complete support, feedback and two-way communication since ‘Farm House’ came out. That is the difference to me in a nutshell…a self-publishing company will give you all the attention you need DURING the writing/editing process…my publisher, editor and affiliates, i.e. Eternal Press; have cranked up the support AFTER my book was completed. The time I put into marketing my book, they equal. I could not see a reason to go to another publishing house.
3. What do you have under your bed?
The same thing as I have had since I was about seven years old…something wet, huge and breathes with a rasp; scratching at the wood underneath…only now it makes me smile.
4. Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
A bit of both. It always starts with an idea, that turns in another idea, then a vague outline starts to appear, then something more solid if I think it is worth pursuing in my noggin’. After that, it’s a game of, ‘What if?’
What if this character finds this ‘thing’ then connects it to that ‘thing’ then this happens…What if the world had to deal with this ‘thing’ then a group of people tried to stop this other ‘thing’…well, you get the point.
By the time I am in about 20,000 words I am pretty committed. But, I never cheat the reader. I may write horror/thriller fiction, but it has to have that quality of believability. In other words, it doesn’t have to be real, but it should always feel realistic.
5. Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process?
For fact-finding, I always go to outside sources such as google, or a person if they are an expert in that field I need to know about. I have nothing but complete admiration for writers who had to do this type of research before the invention of such as google. The leg-work they had to do is amazing.
In so far as actually writing, I stick to myself. I usually have a pretty good idea where I am going with it and outside advice I just find distracting. I never even share my manuscript until I have polished it to the best of my ability, and then to only a very select few. Then it goes off to my editor to be chewed…haha
6. When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?
I have no real formula; sometimes I see something either common or un-usual and a connection is made, a spark if you will. Sometimes a random thought just crosses my mind it can build from there. I let my brain-boys toss it around for awhile and a ninety-nine percent of the time the idea is tossed, or at least filed. The one percent turns into a novel. Sometimes one of the tossed out idea’s gets a second chance at revival during this process. When two first opposing idea’s come together, it’s magical. Some of my most creative work has been inspired by this.
I came up with ‘Farm House’ by…well, living in a farmhouse. There are many undertones of truth in that novel. Yes, there really WAS a Mama K. Yes, she did have a bunch of 19 to 20 something kids living there and is a true, giving spirit. One day it hit…what if one of these kids just went nuts? Who would know? God knows no one but those in the house could hear screaming…I was intrigued. Hence, ‘Farm House’ was born.
7. What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use, pen, notebooks, white board, index cards, finger on fogged bathroom mirrors?
I am big fan of pen and paper for idea’s, outlines and of course the concordance. I need that to keep names, dates, who has kids and their names, occupations, locations, who is connecting or connected to who. Also I write down idea’s for the story when they pop up. There is something about writing long-hand that seems to take me back to my roots and keeps the story humble and fresh.
For actually writing the manuscripts, I usually use Microsoft Word, Excel and a few others. When the manuscript is done and edited by me, I will pdf the sucker to re-read it after a few weeks and take notes. This gives me a more ‘book’ feel and makes my second edits run smoother.
Steve Soderquist was quite a successful musician twenty-odd years ago and spent many years on the road, playing and singing. He was with numerous bands before finally settling down to marriage and a more, ‘normal life’. But the writing bug kept biting at him. Steve had started a book called, ‘Minds Eye’ when he was seventeen and it never left him. Even though the writing muscle had certainly atrophied, Steve was getting that tickle like you get in the back of your throat when a cold is coming on.
‘One for the Road’ motivated him to propel. When ‘Farm House’ was complete and those blessed two words were put down, ‘THE END’ he knew he found his calling.
Now settled as down as a full-time published author, Steve has planned three more books in the saga of the people involved with ‘One for the Road’ and ‘Farm House’. But he promises the next book will be more on the likes of ‘Armageddon’.
“I don’t write genre’s,” Steve will say, “I write books.”
Screams do not carry twenty miles to the next farm house… Ten years ago, a little girl was supposedly murdered. Ten
years ago, that little girl got away.
Now, after eight years of living on her own, feeding from garbage cans and doing what she must to survive and still remain anonymous, the lies told to her have led her—her sense of vengeance and retribution—back to the door-step of whom she considers to blame.
Those who stand in her way receive nothing of mercy as her relentless pursuit to extract revenge on those who robbed her of her life comes to a chilling close as nothing will stop her…and no one is to be spared.
‘Farm House’ by Steve Soderquist
‘One for the Road’ by Steve Soderquist
The excerpt that follows is a long and violent one. If you are squeamish, then reading this may not be your best choice of the day.
He came in the door and saw his wife sitting on the couch, smiling at him. He stopped short and looked at her, his guard up for reasons he didn’t understand.
“What’s this? What’s up with you? Why are you smiling?”
Christie never smiled at him anymore.
“Hi, honey! I made you dinner. You’re favorite—ham and beans.”
“Uh huh,” he said, watching her warily. He didn’t like feeling this way. Not one bit. He decided he might have to do something about that right now. Right this very fucking second.
He walked over to where she sat serenely on the couch and prepared to pick her up by what he called her whore’s mane and leaned down to grab a fistful of her long, dark hair.
That’s when Christie pulled out the Pein hammer…the one he was fond of shoving up her soft privates, and swung it right handed with all her strength, landing the business end to his left temple.
It made a ‘thock’ sound that was not unlike the cracking of a piece of dry wall, and John Stewart went, “Ummph!”
His eyes clouded over crossing, as he stumbled over the couch, half-crouched.
“You bitch,” he slurred. His left hand moved to the side of his head and his other hand shook as he tried to hold himself up. “You little fucking whore bit…”
That’s when Christine Stewart stood up screaming and swung the hammer into the back of his head. She screamed harder than she had ever screamed in her life. She screamed out the past year of her life; of her fear, her pain…the never-ending torture, and struck him again.
She continued to scream as she brought the hammer down again and again. The back of his head now resembled a busted, blood-soaked cantaloupe with hair on it. Christie kept swinging and screaming.
John Stewart was killed by the fourth blow, but Christie did not stop. She slammed the hammer into her husband’s head twenty-eight times.
She stopped, but only because she was tired now…so tired. She wanted to sleep so badly, just curl up on her side of the couch and go to sleep. Just for a few minutes. She looked down in horror at the hammer in her hand. It had bits of skull, brain, and hair on it.
So much blood, she thought. She dropped the hammer and fell to her knees. A sob tore through her and her hands went to her face, shaking uncontrollably. Slowly…ever so slowly, the realization of what she had just done was now dawning on her like the slow movement of the sun as it came up from the east.
She murdered her husband. She killed him. She took the hammer out of his neat and tidy work shed, came into the trailer, and tucked it under her side of the cushion on the couch and placed it by her hand. She tried to remember doing that more clearly, but it wouldn’t come. It was almost as if she was asleep and dreamed of doing it. When he came home, she panicked and searching for it under the cushion with her hand, thinking maybe it was a dream.
Maybe she didn’t do that at all.
However, it was there. The wooden handle was comforting. It was heavy. She knew it would do the job.
I killed him. He’s dead. I killed a man. Oh, my God. I killed him, she thought, both completely dazed and muddled. Her thoughts continued to spin around and around these simple words. She stayed on her knees, trying to wrap her head around this fact.
I killed him. He’s dead. I killed him. Oh, my God. He’s dead.
Christie sat down with her hands in her lap for almost fifteen minutes, looking at nothing while these words spun through her head over and over again, like one of those toy planes you got with the string on it. Daddy had gotten both her and Megan one each on Christmas when she was eleven and Megan was four. Not in the house! Their mother told them. They ran outside and played airline pilots and Daddy and Mommy were laughing, watching them with his strong arm around her lovingly.
Christie sat and tried to puzzle it out. Slow dawning of realization came to her. The sun was rising. The planes kept spinning Look at me, Daddy! Look! Watch what I can do! Look
Looked at her hands and saw they had blood all over them. It was his blood. Not hers this time.
Not this time.
Christie threw her head back and screamed in a mixture of horrified realization and triumph.
End of Post… you may buy Farm House at Damnation Books.
Thank you Steve for letting me do this to you.
Please come back and visit next week and don’t touch anything sharp.