Meet the other Stephen King!
A Mississippi native, Stephen H. King was moved in high school entirely against his will from the small town of Corinth to a large city he ended up loving in southern California. After, a series of mostly unexplainable decisions led him through a strange sequence of events beginning at the United States Military Academy, where he double-majored in physics and electrical engineering, through a fairly short career as an Infantry officer and then an electronics technician, a product engineer, a carpenter’s helper, and an elementary school janitor, to ultimately finding himself on the faculty of a small college in Anchorage, Alaska.
Stephen now lives in Midlothian, Virginia, with his wife, daughter, and two white Chihuahuas that enjoy morphing from Therapuppies into miniature dragons at the sound of food being opened. Stephen is currently working on the next book in the Goddess series when he’s not serving the students of a small college in Richmond, Virginia, as their Dean.
Let’s say hi!
Hello! What’s your name?
Stephen H. King. No, really. That’s my name. I wasn’t named after that other guy who’s a very famous author; I was actually named after my dad. Who, by the way, also wasn’t a famous author.
What do you write and why?
I mostly write novels in the fantasy genre, because that’s what I grew up reading. I did write a science fiction novella as a prequel to my main story, in part because that portion of the story needed to be told and in part to see if I could do it. I’m moving into writing more short fiction, though, because they require less of a time commitment for the reader and also because I enjoy the challenge they provide in requiring compact plotting and succinct character development. I’ve written a couple of general fiction short stories also; neither of them has won the Greatest Story in the Universe contest yet, dangit, but I keep submitting them.
Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
Almost entirely. I don’t see how anyone could expect to write something in a genre they don’t read, frankly. I read other genres; I enjoy history books, both fiction and non, and every so often I’ll peek into a paranormal story.
What is the title you are promoting right now?
What is it about?
My book is about what happens when a woman wakes up to find everything she’s based her world, her identity, on has changed. Her husband, the college dean, suddenly becomes the God of War. Everything she used to do for the family suddenly moves to the duties of her husband’s servant, who just happens to be amazingly beautiful. Oh, and by the way, the Goddess of Love is her husband’s ex-wife, and she now wants him back. There’s plenty of good tension and conflict, and even some god-on-god fighting action.
What makes this book different from others in your genre?
I’ve built a fantasy world on top of our reality, explaining while I did so how the various pantheons of former civilizations came to be. It’s similar to the Percy Jackson series in the interface of mythology and reality, but I did it with a wider-angle lens.
What’s the story behind the story?
At one point in my life, I hated my job; I think everybody probably goes through at least one phase like that. I’ve since, of course, moved on to greener pastures, but I developed a few colorful fantasies while I was there that involved things like me sailing away as a god, or as a powerful ninja, or as a billionaire. This story grew out of the “Oh, by the way, I’m a god” scenario after I shifted the perspective from the god to his wife and started asking lots of “I wonder what would happen if…” questions.
What is your goal as an author?
Financial independence, of course, though that’s rightfully classified more as a dream than a goal due to the overwhelmingly small percentage of authors who achieve that. The goal would be to someday be able to walk into a Sci Fi/Fantasy convention and have somebody say, “Oh, you’re the other Stephen King!”
Are you working on anything new? Give us a preview of what’s to come!
Always! I just submitted the second novel in the Return of the Gods series, named Ascension, to the publisher. It still has to go through editing and cover art, of course, but my publisher moves very quickly in those two areas so I hope to see it out sometime in December. In this story, my noble readers can follow Crystal through a series of tests as she proves herself worthy of ascension to join her husband in the pantheon. I really had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope that people will have as much fun reading it. I also submitted a couple of shorter prequel stories, one that belongs in the science fiction genre and one fantasy; these tell the tale of why Aphrodite is who she is. I have other stories in various stages of writing as well, of course, plus I’ve got an elf-based series bouncing around in my head. 2012 will be a busy year.
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
Isaac Asimov is my favorite author, and I have to give credit for favorite book to the Foundation Trilogy (which qualifies technically because it was, in fact, printed as a single volume). I love the masterful plotting and subplotting he’s done.
Where can readers find you and your work?
I live in Richmond, Virginia, though finding me there would be pretty boring.
What’s your view on the self-publishing/traditional publishing thing? Ideally, which one would you prefer and why?
I consider traditional publishing to be done through one of the Big 6 or their imprints, and I purposely distinguish that from small press publishing despite the fact that small presses have been around for a long, long time. Each of the three options has its advantages and disadvantages. At the current stage of my career, I’d say I’m lucky to be right where I am, with a small publisher named Trestle Press. The owner has been described as both visionary and energetic, and both are accurate. Trestle, being a smaller press, has the advantage of being able to move very rapidly; a book can go from the author to the Amazon “shelf” in weeks, rather than the months that traditional publishers take. That, and for a relatively small cut of the revenues, he takes care of formatting and artwork and helps me build the brand. To me, self-publishing is just too much more effort than I want to go through, with all the design and formatting and editing requirements placed squarely on the author. That said, I know some self-published authors who are doing very well, so I certainly respect it as a path. Traditional publishing is also a respectable path, by the way, though it’s VERY hard these days to break into it as a newbie.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I have a few; actually, those who follow me on Twitter (@skingcharter) get quotes tossed at them on a regular basis. I’m proud to actually have one out there that’s attributed to me now: “It’s not failure if you do it later. Delay isn’t failure. Delay just means you didn’t account for something in your plan.” My work signature block contains my favorite business-y quote: “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
If you enjoy my work (or anybody else’s, for that matter), the best thanks you can give an author is a detailed review.
Awesome, thanks for allowing me to interview you!
Please take a moment to visit Stephen at the links below!