5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Sidney Stone

Indie Author Interview with Sidney Stone - Author of the New Adult Fantasy Novel Jennifer Ainsley - The Final Demon War.

Sidney Stone is a hiker, deer whisperer and non-pretentious wine connoisseur. An addicted reviewer on Yelp, he is also creator of affordable housing (although technically he is homeless part-time), thinks The Replacements are the best band of the Eighties and loves to boost his LinkedIn count with people he doesn't know. While Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War is a Fantasy novel, Sidney also still tears up at the end of both Field of Dreams and An Officer and a Gentleman.

Interview with Sidney Stone

Author Sidney Stone
Author Sidney Stone
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Sidney Stone: I have always loved to write. As a child I was on the school newspaper and even had my own column in 7th grade (which ended when I included the quote “Love does not make the world go around, it makes it go up and down. I guess the school administrators did not share my sense of humor). In my 20’s I wrote 4 screenplays since in S. California they issue Final Draft software to any writer at birth. I pursued actual money making endeavors though and got away from writing although I still wrote down story ideas. In 2012 one of those story ideas just wouldn’t go away and given that quitting your job suddenly adds more time to your life, I pursued that idea and fleshed it out to a novel.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a Cheech and Chong inspired rewrite of The Island of the Dolphin in 5th Grade. I read it out loud and the class loved the scatological humor. The teacher was appalled, gave me an F and called my mom I think ;)

"I am not a slave to the outline."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

At the beginning of this story, and the four screenplays I previously wrote, I outline the tale from beginning to end. However I am not a slave to the outline. I let inspiration guide me. So while I may know where the road begins and ends, I’m not always sure how many detours I will take to get to my final destination.
I am a definite night owl so my writing normally takes place at night. If you write a spooky story that's a great time to get serendipitous inspiration!

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
At work my desk is messy Ha! Ha! At home, my writing either takes place in a chair near a window with a nice view of the distant hills or when really serious, on a wooden table where no one can disturb me.

"Easiest part of writing is the writing."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
Easiest part of writing is the writing. Having that outline means it is just a question of putting it down on paper. And that's the hardest part, finding the time to write in between "life". That and selling the book; breaking out from the thousands of other writers and hundreds of thousands of other books.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It is the telling of the story, the creativity. That's the primary joy. The secondary joy is when someone invests their precious entertainment time with your book and they tell you how much they enjoy it.

Sidney, please tell us a little about your Fantasy Novel Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War.
Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War is the first book in a planned trilogy. It is a tale of love and loss that uses supernatural elements to illuminate truths about the “real” world. Here is some background on each of the characters:

Jennifer Ainsley: She lost her beloved mother and sister in a mysterious car crash when she was a child, the same night billionaire Jonathon Tait had a vision she was the one to wield the Sword of Jesus (Matthew 10:34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword) against the demons. Adopted by Jonathon and raised wiith his twins to love them like she did her sister, Jennifer knows nothing of her destiny until the night of her college graduation party. Also manipulated by Jonathon to fall for the Head of Tait Security Andrew Walker, the coming storm will engulf her and she may yet lose even more than she already has.

Jonathon Tait: 170 year old billionaire who in league with the demons, has become the richest, most powerful man in the world. The murder of his second love, plus the love of his children, begin to place Jonathon on the path of not redemption; but at least a way to save the two people he loves the most.

Jennifer Ainsley - The Final Demon War (Sidney Stone)
Click to Read an Excerpt

Mordock: The leader of the Demons. A fallen Angel who also had forsaken the Underworld to wage a final battle against humanity. Disdainful of Lucifer and yet craving the acceptance of the God who cast Mordock out of Heaven, Mordock thinks that if he destroys humanity (like God himself almost did with The Flood) maybe God will recognize him and maybe Mordock can become holy again.

Andrew Walker: Like Jennifer, Andrew lost his family in a tragic accident and that shared past has given them a fierce, passionate love. Their initial lovemaking scene illustrates how much they are in love with each other and how much they would protect one another. But Andrew, one of the few living men to have killed a demon, is not an experienced demon fighter and may be over his head in the coming war.

Mike Davis: The government operative most skilled in killing demons, he is known throughout the world has having the greatest luck in remaining alive when so many other soldiers like him, including a former lover, have perished. Spying on Jennifer while also attempting to protect her, he falls in love with her but realizes this will always be unrequited. Jennifer will always be in love with Andrew which causes Mike to take terrible risks yet also give him an unwavering strength as he wants to do right by Jennifer.

Andrew and Sophia Tait: Jonathon’s twins who were an unexpected surprise birth. Jonathon loves them so much he betrays his alliance with the demons. As the conflict grows though, Jonathon and others begin to realize the twins may have an even greater destiny than Jennifer. And if Mordock finds that out, all could be lost.

What inspired you to write the book?
I grew up very poor and ended up dropping out of High School. To escape I read a lot of early Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Tolkien. Eventually I got myself together, worked myself through college twice and eventually ended up with a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning. The humble upbringings, the strength to persevere and those early writers all influence my writing to some degree. I hope I was able to combine the darkness with the light, while adding in deep characters, that will enable readers to become fully invested in my stories.

"Readers who love Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker would enjoy my novels [...]"

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
My target audience is New Adult and up. Readers who love Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker would enjoy my novels mix of emotion, humor and the macabre. Readers can currently buy it at Amazon either in paperback or ebook form.

"I invested as much as I could in great editing, formatting and cover illustration to craft a book as professional as any [...]"

What makes your book special?
What makes more book special is the deep characterization, strong emotion and humanity that I infuse into this fantastical supernatural tale. Readers will care about these characters, it is a page turner and they will want to know more about what happens in the subsequent books. It is rated almost 5 stars on Amazon and again it is just a matter of breaking through to people who will love this book.
Unlike most self published books, I invested as much as I could in great editing, formatting and cover illustration to craft a book as professional as any from a major publishing house. It may be self-published but it doesn't read like a self-published novel.

How would you describe the success of your book so far?
The average novel sells a few hundred copies so I guess you could say I have had average success :) Once I complete the additional books though I know that will help improve sales.

How long did it take it to write the book?
The first draft of Jennifer Ainsley took me 8 months to write. It was absolutely terrible and no one will ever read that. The second draft took another two months and with that version I had graduated to merely sucky. Draft #2 I allowed three friends, who I call my Gorgeous and Intelligent Readers, to review and give me honest critical feedback. Another draft later, I gave it to a friend who is a professional writing for editing. Once the manuscript had reached the level of mediocre, I used the professional editing services of Createspace Publishing who gave me wonderful feedback and two more drafts later, I actually had a professionally edited book that I think, and initial reviews reflect, an outstanding and entertaining tale.
So from beginning to end, 22 months. This is not a book that took 30 days to write and it was been edited and vetted by numerous people before I decided to share it with the world (Or at least the few hundred people who have bought it so far).

"Just write. Ignore the inner voice giving excuses for why you can't write."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Just write. Ignore the inner voice giving excuses for why you can't write. Ignore that voice. Go all in with what you want to do and just do it! But don't be an amateur. Write a professional story and craft a professional book. Too many sloppy writers creating garbage that ruins the reputation of the self-published industry. So don't just do it, do it right!

And quit discounting and giving your content away for free or pennies on the dollar! It hurts publishing in the long run even if it helps you "sell" some books in the short run.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
My next novel is the sequel to Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War. It will be titled: Jennifer Ainsley: This Time We Really Mean It, The Final war (Just kidding). The next book is Jennifer Ainsley: The End and the Beginning. Even more epic and encompassing, if I can pull this off it will essentially be my The Stand. Only with more humor and emotion. And maybe more severed heads…

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
Books in some ways are becoming hipster decorating accessories. The question is with so many entertainment options will people discover the simple joys of reading again?
Sales of E-books appear to have plateaued in the past year. Book stores are holding on and maybe consolidation and decline has been arrested. I can see a day where books will be retro "hip" and like rediscovering Pabst beer maybe those who set the trends can bring back mass popularity of books. One can hope...

"I read books on paper :)"

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I'm still an old dog who goes old school...I read books on paper :) But, I have sold more ebooks then paper so anyway someone enjoys my book I do not mind. I just want the story to be read ;)

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
You mean besides writing? ;) My day job is managing and financing affordable housing projects and programs in Silicon Valley. It pays the bills very well so no complaints except I wish I had more time to write.

I love to hike, that’s number one. I’m fortunate enough to live in both Northern California and Southern California; so much natural beauty. I also dine out quite frequently and write reviews on Yelp:
I enjoy my vino so winery visits and hosting wine parties are another hobby of mine. My son knew how to open a wine bottle at age 5 :) And yeah, I’m lucky enough to be the father of a great kid so hanging out with him is a total joy :) He has me hooked on this town building app called Clash of Clans so we do that together, play basketball and he is great at chess.

How can readers connect with you?
Best two places are Twitter and Facebook (besides the above listed Yelp link).

Thank you very much for the Interview, Sidney.

About the Book Jennifer Ainsley - The Final Demon War

Jennifer Ainsley - The Final Demon War (Sidney Stone)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Jonathon Tait, whose demon-enhanced 170-year-old life has helped make him the richest man in the world, secretly renounces his alliance with demons in order to save his twins and redeem himself in the eyes of the two women he loved and lost. Jonathon has visions that his beautiful college-aged adopted daughter, Jennifer Ainsley, may be the key to humanity's survival and works with an underground movement to fight back against both the demons and the human leadership that is guiding our civilization towards total annihilation.

Can Jennifer wield the Sword of Jesus to fulfill her destiny even as the planet hurtles towards its destruction? Is she mankind's only hope and can Jennifer save everyone that she loves; including her destined soul mate Andrew Walker, or are we all doomed?

- "You're in for a great ride with this book. I love, love, love the character development. You'll feel a connection to each one and root for the good guys and hope for a tormented demise for the bad guys.
The book spans eons, from the time the world was created, to the Civil War up to the present time.
It has a good love story, a lot of tragedies and the images of demons destroying and decapitating humans will be burned in my brain for a long time.
But what sets this book apart are the characters. Each with their own story that melds into one epic adventure.
You'll feel the highs and the lows as Jennifer battles for humanity and beyond." - Reader Review

Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Jennifer Ainsley - The Final Demon War with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook Jennifer Ainsley - The Final Demon War with Excerpt on Amazon