Stephen Landry is a writer and graphic designer living near Nashville, Tennessee. Much of his work is character-driven science fiction (space opera with aspects of fantasy, horror, and time travel). When not writing, Stephen can be found hanging out with his rescue dogs or cat and doing graphic design for many different clients including other authors, publishing companies, independent film studios, and more recently a few video game companies.
Which book is the one you keep going back to again and again?
I am a huge fan of weird fiction and no one writes it quite like China Mieville. His book Perdido Street Station is a book I have read again and again. From the cryptic opening, creature design, the world building of Bas-Lag (the novel takes place in an almost steam punk fantasy world with dozens of alien like creatures including living cacti). Every part of it was an experience. Actually, when my fiancée and I started dating I would read her a chapter every night just to re-experience it all again through her eyes. The Scar might actually be my favorite of his but Perdido Street Station is where I’ve found myself visiting time and time again.
How often do you go on book tours?
Last year I managed to do one to two events a month for almost the entire year. It was all over the east coast, from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Fanboy Expo probably being my favorite since I sold out of almost 200 books and was able to meet a ton of celebrities I normally would not have. Another amazing thing was having Josh Petersdorf who is the voice actor for Roadhog from Overwatch read a snippet of one of my books to a group of his fans. He was a great guy. I have a small tour planned for the end of the year that includes possibly going back up to Pennsylvania and hopefully doing some events in my hometown. At the moment though I’m purely attending and enjoying the cons in my area and networking at social events.
How long have you been writing?
This feels like a trick. I’ve been writing sincerely since I was in middle school when I wrote my first novel no one is ever going to read called Avalon. I’m pretty sure my parents still have it somewhere in a box. It was bad. It was science fiction gore. During high school I focused on writing lyrics, poetry, and fronted a metal band before going to college for graphic design. During college I started to take writing more seriously and wrote several screenplays and started working on my first novel titled Pull. It took me three years to finish, going through a ton of editors and revisions. It’s a little rough around the edges because of that but it was a great learning experience.
Do you prefer writing over reviewing the works of others?
Absolutely prefer writing, I am terrible at writing reviews. When I read or watch something I’m not looking at grammar or prose I’m immersing myself in that world, in the authors imagination. If a book fails to transport me to that other world I will probably just stop reading but if it succeeds the only thing I’m looking for is adventure, romance, drama, scares, etc. The reviews I do write are because I want to share those stories with others because they have somehow had a lasting effect on my subconscious. Every book is a portal filled with differing degrees of experience from new authors to veterans and each have their ups and downs. Truth is if I read it I probably loved it and will rate it 4 or 5 stars on Goodreads before moving onto the next world if I didn’t I might let the author know via a private message why it didn’t work for me but I won’t leave them a bad review.
Do you often project your own habits onto your characters?
Habits, good, bad, I write characters from personal experience and based on interviews with others. While researching for my Deep Darkness series I was lucky enough to interview several World War 2 veterans and including small aspects of their lives into my writing. As unreal as a book set in a future filled with alien monsters, living dungeons, time travel, and parallel worlds might be I keep my characters as human as possible and as we are who we are because of our own experiences they are too.
Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audio book?
Two novels have been successfully turned into audiobooks (Sleepers and Pull) and dozens of my short stories. The short stories were easy. Done in a matter of just under a month while Sleepers which is a 6 hour audiobook took over six months and was delayed several times. Unfortunately, I had been planning advertising around a release date that never happened. Sometimes things go wrong and it is no ones fault. When the audiobook was finally released I had almost lost faith. Pull took a lot longer than I expected as well. A six month recording schedule turned into almost a year but as was the case with Sleepers the wait was worth it. Both audiobooks have fantastic narrators and it was an amazing feeling to hear the stories aloud.
What is in the backseat or trunk of your car right now?
Shark teeth, several plastic swords, an umbrella, some clothes, empty water bottles, and of course a towel.
If you were an animal in a zoo which animal would you be?
A bear. While I know a wolf is my spirit animal I had a very personal experience with a bear at a zoo in Kentucky that came up to me and after placing its hand on the glass started licking it until I walked away. I’m not sure what it means or why it happened. Maybe that is common bear behavior, I am NOT a bear expert, but it was a very cool thing to happen. Most zoos I’ve been to keep good care of their animals which are usually handicap in some way that would make it hard for them to survive in the wild. Bears in particular seem to be have plenty of hiding spaces, food, and ways to exercise. Three necessities important to happiness. Despite the strange connection I’m also 99% sure the bear would have mauled me had their not been two inches of glass between us.
What is your dream goal you want to achieve before you die?
I am working on that now. Besides making a continuous living as an author whose work is well-received and respected I want to produce and write films both animated and live action. I am an associate producer on several films now and moving into a producing role in the future. I’m also working on pitching several projects including Star Divers, my newest Sci-Fi LitRPG series. Writing is my legacy.
What advice would I give indie authors?
Perseverance. Keep moving forward. Write 10k words a week and follow your own path. Tell the story you want to read. This isn’t a competition, people can buy more than one book and enjoy more than one thing. Remember to respect other authors and welcome to the family.
A snippet from his latest work Star Divers:
Quick Lore: An unexpected encounter with a Wraith, a howl in the void, a planet in ruins. What once must have been a beautiful, thriving world is now nothing but dust and dying forests. There is a rustling of leaves and suddenly you’re face to face with a young figure that looks like that of a man made of heat and embers. Two black eyes stare at you with a hollow dread and again a howl rages from its abysmal mouth in a show of force. This is not a man. Not a beast either. Nor like any creature on any other world. Two lights on dangling stalks adorn its withered head, which itself is covered in glowing tattoos. It looks more like a reptile now as your eyes adjust to the dark light. From gnarled nostrils set within a shriveled nose escapes the smell of death. Chains are stuck within its flesh; the creature seems to take pride in this. The creature bolts toward you and you can see four legs carry its glowing body smoothly with a chaotic energy. Two draconic wings extend themselves fully. Blackened bones and ripped membranes stretch upward before gently lowering again. The creature comes closer and closer, its eyes never leaving yours. The last thing you see are the teeth which glow white in the night as it opens its jaws and you can’t help that you aren’t running. You know you are going to die… you just wish you could catch one more glimpse of it, one more glimpse of the face of death.
Learn more at Stephen-Landry.com