Centre Stage: Shadow Bound Souls.
Hi there, and welcome back to the blog.
First of all, I’d like to thank you for coming by to read this week’s article. This is the second in the ‘Centre Stage’ series, where I interview independent authors on their upcoming releases. I hope you have been enjoying this series so far as I feel it is important to try to give independent writers a lift whenever possible, and a monthly interview on my blog was the best way to do it, in my opinion. If you like the following interview, I will provide links to the author’s website below so you can check it out for yourselves.
This month I have been lucky enough to get an interview with Steven Rudy, who is currently promoting his upcoming release Shadow Bound Souls, which comes out on February 1st 2022.
Q1. Tell us about yourself and your upcoming book?
My name is Steven Rudy, I am the author of The Luminance Saga; a sci-fi and epic high fantasy series. I live in Colorado, and when I’m not writing I work as an architectural designer on a variety of project types including: residential, commercial and historic preservation. I published my debut novel, The Binding Tempest, this past summer and I’m currently preparing to release the sequel, Shadow Bound Souls.
Shadow Bound Souls is the second book in the Luminance Saga and will be available on February 1st, 2022. It picks up immediately after the events of the first book, with the aging veterans trying to escape the aftermath of their battle with the Sagean’s automatons and the band of young heroes stranded in the mountains. The book follows these characters as they struggle to escape the mainland that’s descending into chaos as the world war looms closer.
Q2. How long on average did it take you to write this book?
I wrote Shadow Bound Souls over the past summer, almost immediately after I published my debut novel. I outlined it in the spring, but I found I couldn’t really work on it while I was trying to complete and publish the first book. I started writing in earnest on June 1st and completed the first draft August 31st. Then I sent it to my beta readers the next day, (beta? alpha? I never get that right). During September and October, I did my own revisions, designed the maps and some interior art, and finally incorporated any beta feedback, before sending the completed version to my editor on November 1st.
Q3. What surprised you the most about writing your book?
One of the things that surprised me most about writing my second book was how much harder it was to write than the first book. Which is a funny thing to say since book one took me six months to write and book two took three. But I thought it was going to be easier, and in some ways, it was, but I didn’t have the same experience, the same feeling I did while writing the first one. That threw me off. With the first book I never stopped to wonder if what I was writing was any good. I just wrote it. With the second book I found myself questioning what I was doing. There was a special energy with the first that carried me through the writing process. The second book took me a little bit longer to tap into that energy, but once I figure it out and found my way. I was able to get carried away with the story I was writing, and it took off.
Q4. Was the main character inspired by a real person?
My series has six main characters, and certainly all of them are some sort of synthesis of people I know, combined with other fictional characters. As these things go, nothing is created in a vacuum, influences and experience inevitably permeates into what’s being created. For example, Ellaria Moonstone, who I consider the main character of the entire series, she was inspired by all of the strong women in my life. Especially my wife, she’s smart, fierce, determined, bold and just a bad ass in every way.
Q5. Which character in your upcoming book do you relate to the most?
That’s a tough question, “Relate to” is a funny phrase. I definitely feel like I understand every character I write; I think you have to. If we’re talking in terms of sensibilities and temperament and what kind of person, they are? I might say my character Elias comes closest to aligning with me than any of the other characters, but there really aren’t any that I truly relate to.
Q6. How do you select the names of your characters?
Naming characters or cities or objects, is one of my favourite things to do and one of my least favourite things about writing. Sometimes I live with characters names for a whole book and then replace them. I might outline a name three different ways but then finally select a fourth when I’m writing it because the sound of it begins to fit the character best. The way I manage it is I have a huge list of names that I keep in an excel file, with maybe 20 or 30 names aligned with every region of the world. I also run every name by my kids. My seven-year-old daughter is especially invested in the naming of things.
Q7. How would you describe your ideal reader for this book?
Ideal readers are a mystery to me. I would say anyone who likes Brandon Sanderson or Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Timebooks would enjoy my series. And I say that because both have been huge influences on me, but also because both writers can often deviate into some extensively detailed descriptions and world building, and I share that same proclivity to delve into the details of my world. Readers with a thirst for science fiction and fantasy, possibly someone who likes RPG video games like Dragon Age, adventure films like Indiana Jones or shows like Supernatural, Twelve Monkeys, Agents of Shield. My series has a large age gap of older heroes in their fifties and new heroes in their early twenties, so it’s not YA, but I feel like it still shares a similar tone to books like His Dark Materials. I’m not sure that answers the question, but maybe there’s an ideal reader profile in there.
Q8. What can readers expect from your book when they purchase it?
Shadow Bound Souls is an epic adventure full of magic, mysteries, and desperate characters either searching or scheming for something; for power, for escape, or for who they are. I think readers can expect a more intense book than the first one. There’s an urgency to this book that was inherited, but as all great second books in a series do, it continues to expand the world. Along with a heavy dose of steampunk, there are more Sci-fi elements here and some classic fantasy tropes too. While the book answers some mysteries, it upends the story and hurtles the series toward a world war on the horizon.
Q9. What inspired you to write this book?
My three children inspired me to write. Some of this comes from making up stories with them and playing with them, but ultimately, it’s their sense of wonder for the magic of life that inspired me to write the first book. This second book was than inspired by a drive to not let them down.
Q10. What did you learn when writing the book?
After writing the first book I was afraid I couldn’t do it again and I learned I could do it again. I can write another book and I can do it better the second time. Additionally, a large portion of Shadow Bound Souls deals with characters grappling with who they are, their place in the world, their pasts, and memories and who they are supposed to be. These are all universal aspects of the human condition, and writing about them allowed me the opportunity to come to terms with my own feelings about such nebulous ideas
Q11. Who are your writing friends that inspire you and how do you keep each other motivated?
I don’t really have any to speak of sadly. I’m very introverted. But I guess I could consider the writing community on Twitter, the writing community on Instagram as writing friends. I am a part of a writing focused discord too. But I’m not very active. I check in on all three of these platforms regularly and try to be as supportive as I can, when I can. I feel like everybody else is doing the same. Some are more active than others, unbelievably active from my prospective, but those communities are all supportive of one another and that support fuels everyone.
Q12. What is your writing Kryptonite?
I hate to say it, but I think my kryptonite may be writing romance. I can craft friendships and love and connection between characters, but that swooning after someone, and building romantic tension is not in my bag of tricks just yet.
Q13. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
The most common trap for any aspiring writer is giving up. That and chasing a trend or audience. I think you have to write a book you want to read. If you like it then the chances are someone else will. No matter what, you must finish. I found that outlining can help navigate both traps. It doesn’t have to be the epic outlining that Brandon Sanderson is famous for but outlining an idea that you can see to fruition is important.
Finally, what is your favourite word and why?
I don’t really have one. I have an affinity for a lot of words. Sometimes based solely on their sound or relation to something I love. Some of my favourite words tend to be short and provocative, (tempest, mystic, midnight, echo, escape, abyss, maze, shadow, etc…)
Shadow might be my favourite because it’s suggestive, promising, and haunting.
Shadow Bound Souls will be released on February 1st 2022. I will include a link to check out Steven’s website below if you are interested in buying the book upon release.
That’s it for this week. I just want to leave by saying thank you for taking the time to read this article and a huge thanks to Steven for a wonderful interview. I hope you all liked it, and I would recommend picking up a copy of Steven’s book if you are interested. I hope you enjoyed the second post in this series, and I will be continuing this series as usual on the first Friday of every month. I will leave the links below for you to check out Steven’s website for updates on the release of Shadow Bound Souls, and if you would like to follow Steven on social media, you can do so on Twitter @MysticPeddler.
Until next time,