(Daren Dean): WHAT INSPIRES AND INFLUENCES YOUR WRITING THE MOST?
(Steph Post): You know the old saying, “write what you know?” Well, I’ve always believed in writing what you Want to know. I think there are certain elements in my novels that have been influenced by my Florida surroundings, by my complicated relationship with family and the idea of family, by my own personal experiences, but if that’s all I wrote about it, I would get bored pretty quickly. And being bored is a very dangerous thing for me. So I write about things that I want to learn about, things I’m interested in, and emotions and scenarios that I want to explore. That could be criminal families, such as in my new novel Lightwood (January 2017), or it could be carnivals, mythology, occult religions and polar exploration (a few of the things I’ve been researching and writing about over the past year).
(Daren Dean): DO YOU HAVE AN AGENT? IF SO, HOW DID YOU FIND HIM/HER?
(Steph Post): I do have an agent- the wonderful Jeff Ourvan of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. And honestly, I found him the old fashioned way by sending out query letters. He expressed an interest in Lightwood, we spoke and clicked immediately. I believe that in his first, brief email to me he simply told me that the novel kicked ass and he wanted to represent me. It was my kind of language….
(Daren Dean): WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT THE PUBLISHING PROCESS?
(Steph Post): It’s grueling. I decided to get serious about writing four years ago and I think that at the time I had no real idea of what to expect. I tend to learn things the hard way, though, and so I just started fighting and blindly clawing my way up. Fortunately, right around the time that my first novel, A Tree Born Crooked, was set to debut, I became friends with some amazing authors who selflessly helped me along the way. Folks such as Anthony Breznican, Will Chancellor and Taylor Brown (and many others) offered invaluable advice and kept me grounded. I can be a bit of a loner at times and I was wonderfully surprised by how welcoming the literary community can be.
(Daren Dean): DO YOU MARKET YOURSELF? WHAT (SPECIFICALLY) DO YOU DO TO BUILD/MAINTAIN YOUR READERSHIP?
(Steph Post): I think that at this point in the business, every author has to market themselves in some way or another. I don’t know that I’m the best at it (okay, I don’t know what I’m doing half the time when it comes to marketing), but there are two things I try to always keep in mind.
First of all, your readers are everything. I know that sounds obvious, but transitioning from writer to author, from the closed door environment to the open door one, to borrow a metaphor from Stephen King, is tricky. But if you aren’t interested in your readers, if you don’t care about them and respect them, then why bother to be published at all? So, I think authors need to respect their readers in every way: respond to their emails, engage them, reach out at readings and for God’s sake, thank them.
Second, you need to engage with other authors. Work for them, promote them, champion their work as much or more as you do your own. None of us are alone on this hamster wheel we call the publishing industry and I do Not believe that there is only so much success go to around. If authors support one another, they do better. It’s as simple as that.
(Daren Dean): BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE INDUSTRY, WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER WRITERS?
(Steph Post): Writing is work. It’s a beast and you should never forget that you are often alone in a room with a wild animal. And still, writing is often the easy part. When it comes to navigating the industry, I’d have to say that perseverance is right up there with hard work. The only way that you can ever succeed is to put yourself out there. Of course, you’re going to get hurt. You’re going to get rejections. You’re going to feel like a miserable failure. You’re going to cry. The trick is to be aware that you’re going to face all of that, and probably much more, and then still keep going. It will be worth it.