An Interview with Author A.F. Stewart

Lee: To start things off, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your work as a writer.

A.F. Stewart: I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I write horror and dark fantasy under the name A. F. Stewart. I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi geek, and I love reading and movies. I’m a minor history buff and adore mythology and folklore; that’s why you’ll see so many of my stories with historic settings or characters from legends. I love writing short fiction more than novels, but they both have their own level of reward. I also write poetry and have published several collections of poems.

 

Lee: I’m familiar with your story Infernal Patrol, which is part of the anthology, Hell’s Empire: Tales of the Incursion. Can you tell us a little about the book and your inspiration for that story?

A.F. Stewart: The book is a themed anthology and tells the dark and tragic tale of the invasion of Victorian Britain by the Infernal Forces of Hell. Each story in the book recounts part of the struggle against Hell’s Minions from the beginning whispers of incursion to the end. My story, Infernal Patrol, falls somewhere in the middle of the saga and follows two men serving in the Whitechapel Corps, part of the volunteers protecting London. It was inspired in part by the WWII British Home Guard and the actual Victorian militia regiments of the era. Then I threw in some demonic possession and, voila, a story.

 

Lee: Do you have a specific artistic method you follow when writing? What are some things you need on-hand when writing?

A.F. Stewart: I generally like reasonable calm when I’m writing; I don’t listen to music and try to avoid distractions. A good cup of coffee and a handy supply of chocolate (or other snacks) is also helpful. And I need my outlines and notes handy and my research ready to be consulted if necessary.

 

Lee: Do you find writing energizing or exhausting? Or a little of both?

A.F. Stewart: I find it engrossing. If I’m in the zone, I can lose track of time until I finish scenes, chapters or stories. It can also be annoying when the muse hits at inconvenient times such as when I’m doing the dishes or nodding off to sleep. That little voice in my head is persistent and must be obeyed.

 

Lee: What has been a challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

A.F. Stewart: I do have trouble being disciplined about writing every day, and if I have any prolonged break, it’s hard to get back in the rhythm of a routine and get any substantial writing done. There are far too many distractions out in the world these days to pull me away from writing.

 

Lee: Do you plan stories? Or do you just write and let it come together naturally?

A.F. Stewart: With novels or novellas I do plan, with plot and chapter outlines at least. I also have story notes, sometimes I create maps, and of course research notes. And with this new book I’m working on I’m trying out scene outlining. With short stories, it is more of a basic idea and wing it, although I often do jot down notes and a plot direction. For flash fiction, it’s wherever the muse takes me.

 

Lee: Do you prefer reading paperbacks or ebooks?

A.F. Stewart: I prefer reading paperbacks; it’s a comfortable habit. I do read ebooks, though, and I have a virtual stack of novels on my tablet waiting for me. Now I just need more time to read.

 

Lee: What do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?

A.F. Stewart: I like fantasy and sci-fi books mostly, or a good mystery, although I read quite a few different genres. Some of my favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, Guy Gavriel Kay, Ray Bradbury, Andy Peloquin, and Agatha Christie. They are all brilliant in their own way.

 

Lee: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

A.F. Stewart: I like doing graphic art on Photoshop, watching TV, playing dumb games on my tablet, or going out to see the occasional movie. Or maybe puttering in my herb garden. My day-to-day life is not exciting.

 

Lee: What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a career as a writer?

A.F. Stewart: Don’t try for perfection, especially on the first draft. If you agonize over each sentence as you create the beginnings of the book you make it more difficult. The agony comes with editing. Get your framework established and get the story down. Polishing the prose comes after the basics.

Check out Hell’s Empire: Tales of the Incursion on Amazon

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About A.F. Stewart

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A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being dark fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author, she’s published novels, novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.

Find links to her website and social media pages HERE

The Sirens Call eZine is open for submissions! — Issue 45 ‘Distant Screams’

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For the forty-fifth issue of The Sirens Call eZine, we’re looking for works of horror and dark fiction. As an added bonus, if your piece revolves around a scream, all the better; but not required.

What qualifies as a scream? The echo of a screech in the night; the sound of your own mind isolated amongst a crowd; the wheels of a train or car coming to a sudden uncontrolled stop; the howl of a creature in the night; a wail of loss; the chortle of a twisted soul in pure joy. Interesting ideas to contemplate, don’t you think? There are myriad interpretations that qualify as a scream if crafted properly – dealers choice to include one or not!

We’ll be accepting short stories, flash fiction, drabbles, and poetry provided they fit within the horror/dark fiction genre. We welcome reprints as long as you hold the copyright to the piece.

Your piece can be scary, sullen, emotive, freaky, elegant, bizarre, have a dark-humor edge to it, or be flat out creepy as hell!

Check out the submissions page for more details.

The Wicked Library – You Can Be Always

Super excited about my latest piece of flash fiction! You Can Be Always is a Halloween themed piece, part of The Wicked Library’s Tricks and Treats Halloween collection. I’m proud to share this episode with many talented authors, both those I’m familiar with and those I’m not.

Tricks and Treats is an audio drama with 17 pieces of flash fiction told by a collection of phenomenal narrators, accompanied by awesome background music for ambiance!

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Damned Words 34

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What dark imaginings can a flower bring? Find out what the authors over at Pen of the Damned​ have seen in this image… 8 pieces of dark flash fiction for you enjoyment!

Includes pieces by Jon Olson​, Lydia Prime​, Mercedes Yardley​, Scarlett R. Algee​, A.F. Stewart​, Mark Steinwachs​, Nina D’Arcangela​, and me!

www.penofthedamned.com

Open Call for Submissions! The Sirens Call eZine

Hey everyone! NEW CALL for our upcoming eZine – Issue #40 – ‘As Summer Leaves and Autumn Falls’ – Stories of disaster influenced by horrific intent.

Whether it be Mother Nature’s wrath or a devilish ghoul, a sprite most wicked or a stumbling fool, tell us a tale of disaster that happens as summer ends and autumn begins.

We are looking for stories, flash fiction and poetry of horrific happenings that take place in the summer months that lead into fall. As long as the piece is primarily horror/dark fiction, we’d love to see it!

Deadline: Aug 10, 2018; readership approx: 35,000
Reprints welcome! See the blog or web site for further details!

http://sirenscallpublications.com

Damned Words 32 – Pen of the Damned

Check out the latest collection of dark flash fiction by the authors over at Pen of the Damned​! Some delightfully morbid words, all inspired by the same photo!

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Includes pieces written by Mercedes​ M. Yardley, Lydia Prime​, Jon Olson​, Mark Steinwachs​, A.F. Stewart​, Scarlett R. Algee​, and Nina D’Arcangela​, and my own story, Hope for the Chosen.