Welcome to the end of another week, and the start of something new here! FIVE FOR FRIDAY is a new weekly feature I’ll be running, with posts loosely based on the number five. One manifestation of this will be five-question interviews with fellow creatives, and to kick things off I’d like to welcome Steve Stred to the stage! Steve wears many hats – writer, reviewer, interviewer, Type O Negative – and his latest book CHURN THE SOIL is available, well, today. Hit READ MORE to check out Five for Friday: Five Questions for Steve Stred!
Why don’t we start by going around the table and introducing ourselves? Tell us who you are, why you’re here today, and one interesting thing about yourself.
Thanks for having me! My name is Steve Stred and I’m a Splatterpunk-nominated author who currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with my wife, my son, and our staffy, Cocoa! I write dark fiction that is often based in and around the mountains, and I’m an avid reader and reviewer! One interesting thing about me, that some know, but many don’t, is that before I focused solely on my writing, I was a bobsled athlete for Canada, competing as a Brakeman.
MASTODON explored themes of grief and personal loss against an immense and unforgiving landscape. What themes can readers expect to see in CHURN THE SOIL?
Ha! More of the same! Internally, I think of CHURN THE SOIL as the winterized version of MASTODON! MASTODON took place in the remote Rocky Mountains in BC, during the summer. CHURN takes place in a fictional town on the Yukon-Alaskan border in the winter. CHURN definitely features plenty of grief and personal loss as well as a character’s search for answers and where they belong, but also has underlying themes of Indigenous mistreatment which features in the people who live at The Border, but also the creatures that live north of the clearing.
You grew up in a pretty remote location, if I’m not mistaken. To what extent does that influence your writing?
I did! I grew up 30 minutes from Nakusp, BC, in the community of Burton, BC on the Arrow Lakes. When I lived in Burton our population was around 95 or so. Maybe 100? Growing up we had a General Store that was also the gas station, movie rental place, post office, and liquor store. That has all closed now, probably about 15 years or so ago. Basco, the town I made up for CHURN, is based on Nakusp and when I looked into the census numbers over the years, I was surprised at just how few people have always lived in both of those places. It was an absolute culture shock when I moved to the Lower Mainland, and they had stores open 24/7!
As for the influence, it 100% influences everything I’ve written. I think a lot of my writing is my own exploration of coming to terms with how isolated I’ve always felt and how distinctly alone I am and feel. I have family and friends, for sure, but internally I often feel like a man on a remote island where there’s no one around and I don’t understand why I’m there or what I can do to get off of it. Wow, that’s sure uplifting, eh? That’s one reason why I’ve always loved supporting so many and helping those I can, because I get to connect with someone else, somewhere globally, that I never would’ve been able to back when I was a kid.
Out of all of your stories and books, is there one character you’d like to revisit and write about again?
Two-part reply. First, my character Balder is one I have revisited a few times. He was the main character in my first short story ‘For Balder Walks’ and he played a role in my dark-fantasy/horror novel PIECE OF ME. He’ll be returning at some point in the follow up to that novel, called CATHEDRAL. I need to find the time to work through the draft I have now and get it sorted and I suspect he’ll return for the third novel in that series in a few years time as well.
As for one I haven’t revisited at all, I’d say Jane from my JANE: THE 815 CHRONICLES novella, which is a sci- fi/horror novella I wrote and recently re-released in the AN ENDLESS DARKNESS: THE NOVELLAS collection.
That story is actually linked to MASTODON, and while I am working on a sequel to MASTODON, it takes a very different angle than either of those two (JANE and MASTODON) so she wouldn’t appear in that. I’d also like to have Rose come along, the young girl who befriends Jane.
Here’s a chance to plug a fave! In 100 words or less, convince readers to read any book someone else wrote.
Everyone reading this is gonna groan and say, “Here he goes, an Andrew Pyper recommendation!” HA! Fooled you! Instead, I’ll recommend Sonora Taylor’s WITHOUT CONDITION. It is a fascinating look at someone who has dark tendencies falling in love and the consequences of letting someone in that close, when maybe they should be kept at arms length. It is fantastic.
Thanks for this, Steve!
Thank you so much for inviting me along!
CHURN THE SOIL is available February 17th, 2023
Universal Link: mybook.to/churnthesoil
Universal book link: author.to/stevestred
Chris Patrick Carolan is an author, editor, and hovercraft enthusiast, originally from Glasgow but now based in Calgary, Alberta. He writes science fiction, fantasy (urban and epic), and steampunk, though he has also been known to turn to crime to make ends meet. Crime fiction, that is. His first novel, THE NIGHTSHADE CABAL, was published by Parliament House Press in 2020, and was a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence ‘Best First Novel’ award. He can be found on Twitter as @cpcwrites but – consider this fair warning – it’s mostly wisecracks about McNuggets.
49th Parallels Analemma Books Anthology Aurora Awards Book Review Bundoran Press Canadian Writers Cosmic Horror Costume Doctor Who E.M. Wright Emily Skye Enigma Front Fandom Fantasy Five for Friday Halifax Hayden Trenholm Horror Humor Inspector Eddings Interview Isaac Barrow Leather Making Movies and TV NASA Nathaniel Garaven Parliament House Press Penitent's Gold Prairie Gothic Prairie Soul Press Publishing Review Science Fiction Self Seventh Terrace Short Guy Problems Steampunk The Monster Within The Nightshade Cabal The Rankin File Urban Fantasy Writers Community Writing