eBook Review Gal is thrilled to sponsor Stuart Land’s Author Blitz!
Stuart’s story ideas come from his vivid imagination, but his inspiration draws from both extensive world travel and his varied and fascinating careers. He left the US military as an x-ray technician and did an about face in civilian life to become a hairstylist. His desire to experience the harder edge of life brought him into the Washington D.C. Police Department.
To capture the gritty sights Stuart saw, he took up photography and left the force to pursue that dream in NYC. Later, he met a metal sculptor and became so intrigued, he converted a chicken coop in the woods into a live-in studio and taught himself the technique. From that humble beginning, the rudimentary craft expanded into the fine arts with sculptures in bronze and fiberglass and shows across the US, England and Thailand.
His passion for all arts soon segued into other areas: costume designer (top 100 designers in the book, Fashion: 2001); a modeling agency art director; fashion show designer; and on to become a top sculptor for special effects, sets and props in the entertainment industry with work in over thirty major films, hotels and theme parks worldwide. Stuart’s passion for art crossed boundaries into water feature design and computer illustration.
During Stuart’s film career, he learned screenwriting skills firsthand, writing well over a dozen screenplays. To reach deeper into character and environment, Stuart took up narrative fiction where he’s published eight novels.
Stuart’s books have earned dozens of five star reviews from readers. We recently chatted with him to see just what it takes to write and publish so many great novels. Here is the eBook Review Gal interview:
Do you have a favorite character?
Stuart: I don’t have a favorite character. Can someone have a favorite child? That’s how I feel about my characters. Some annoy me more than others, though.
eBook Review Gal: That’s diplomatic of you 😀
Where do your story ideas come from?
Stuart: They come from the ether. From dreams. From overheard conversations. From questions that pop into my head for no apparent reason. Some come from a desire to do something, like write a romantic comedy. I can turn almost anything into a story. Populating them with unique characters is something else. Most of my stories have the plot and the characters present at the same time, but one story, Epiphany, took ten years to find the characters.
eBook Review Gal: Proof that a good story can come from just about anywhere! And…way to stick with it on Epiphany.
How do you work through writer’s block?
Stuart: I don’t really get writer’s block, and I know that annoys a lot of folks. What I do get, which may be just as bad, is that I have so many great (in my opinion at least) story ideas, I can find it hard to choose just one to work on for the next three to six months. This was a near disaster when I was writing book two of my vampire series, ORGINAL BLOOD: Szejna’s Revenge. An idea for a science fiction story just popped into my head (have no idea why since I was in the middle of writing something that took place in Roman times), so I stopped to jot down a note to myself so I wouldn’t forget it. Four months later (actually only three months of writing, but had to stop halfway through to go to China to work on a movie), I finished and went back to the vampire story. That was a bit of a mind-f***, I must say.
eBook Review Gal: Jotting things down whenever possible is a fantastic way to make sure you always have a steady stream of ideas to access – particularly with complex plots and characters (and a busy work life), like yours.
What do you think makes a good story?
Stuart: Great, compelling characters caught in situations that seem hopeless.
eBook Review Gal: You managed to sum up the perfect recipe for a great book in just one sentence – impressive!
Do you think most authors understand the importance of marketing their own work?
Stuart: I think they understand the importance, but like myself, are rather poor at implementing it. Certain things work in an author’s favor when marketing, like writing a series with reoccurring characters. I write in many genres, and have only just started two series, one vampire, and one science fiction. I generally get glowing reviews, but still find it hard to gain an active audience.
eBook Review Gal: We wholeheartedly agree! Book series sell. Writing in different genres sells books too.
What are some of your methods for self-promotion?
Stuart: I’m all over the Internet. I have a terrific website/blog, and I’m on all the social media sites. I’m doing interviews like this one with many book bloggers, solicit reviews when I can, but I’m new to promos and things of that nature. I’m also working with this wonderful video guy to make my first book trailer. I thought about carrying my books with me and pushing them on unsuspecting people throughout the day, but I knew a guy who did that. He did sell a fair amount of books, but nobody liked him.
eBook Review Gal: No one wants to be that guy. And…please be sure to send us your video trailer when it’s finished! We’d love to share it.
What’s your writing schedule like?
Stuart: When I start on a project, whether a screenplay or novel, I tend to write 8 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week until the first draft is done. This isn’t a chore for me because I love what I do. I write rather fast (I burn up the keyboard at a whopping 30 words a minute with only a half dozen mistakes), so it’s generally a surprise to me what’s going to happen next as it would be for the reader. The reason why my books still take 3 to 6 months to write is because I do a huge amount of research. I do interviews with experts in the fields of whatever my characters are involved in. This is hampered by my slow Internet. If it wasn’t for that, I could probably finish a book in a week.
eBook Review Gal: 3 to 6 months is still pretty darn good!
What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Stuart: I like to have quiet evenings at home in front of a crackling fire, and take long walks on the beach…wait. I live in the tropics and don’t have a fireplace because it’s now 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day. And I live 500 miles from the nearest beach. However, I do ride my motorcycle in the mountains that I live next to, and hang out at the many waterfalls around me, and go for hikes in the jungle 50 meters from my front door where ancient ruins poke up through the trees and vines like an Indiana Jones scenario. And then there’s the food, lots and lots of Asian food.
eBook Review Gal: Sounds like paradise!
Who would you say has been a major influence in your life?
Stuart: In writing, Ayn Rand (though I don’t prescribe to her radical views so much as her keen insights), Herman Hesse, and Kurt Vonnegut, oh, and Gabriel García Márquez.
Or otherwise, there was this old, drunk man I was forced to arrest when I was a rookie cop, and as he was getting into the paddy wagon, he turned to me and said…Actually, I don’t remember what he said, but truly it changed my life. I remember how the world stopped for an infinitesimal amount of time, and everything around him faded away as if he were a spiritual deity. And maybe he was, because I remember it as clearly today as if it had just happened, yet I have no idea what he said. Obviously, the words weren’t important, but his insight about life and my place in it had an effect on me ever since.
eBook Review Gal: Darn! We thought you were about to share the true meaning of life right here on our site!
Do you ever use friends, family members, or acquaintances as character models?
Stuart: I never replicate people I know or have met. I use parts of people, aspects of their personalities and physical appearance, but never enough that anyone could say, “Ah, that’s me!”
In truth, I can’t say never, because my very first book, which I never finished (85%, if you’re asking), was modeled on myself and a couple of friends. This is so typical for a beginning writer to do this. Once a writer gets comfortable with writing and storytelling, they never need to do that again. For me, my characters come alive while I’m writing them and they form their own personalities. I had a lot of practice at this while working on movies and writing so many screenplays. Now I no longer need to write character biographies and plot outlines. However, I would suggest for beginning and intermediate writers to still do this exercise.
eBook Review Gal: Another great reason to never let your writing grow stagnant or stay stuck with only one thing.
How do you deal with criticism?
Stuart: I hire hit men. While I’m waiting for them to do their job, I write long, detailed torture scenes with my detractors as the main subjects, then I write lambasting emails mocking their private parts and send them to all their friends. Mostly, I just cry.
eBook Review Gal: Love the juxtaposition of emotions! A sign of a true creative mind 😉
What would readers be surprised to know about you?
Stuart: That I’m an alien. No, really. It’s true.
eBook Review Gal: Don’t worry, we believe you.
If you could spend the day with a famous author (past or present) who would it be?
Stuart: I’d like to spend it with Tulapip Kommeromeromnon. He won’t be born until 2136, but he sure is smart. Well, clever really, more than smart. He can write on air. You just inhale his stories. Not only are they invigorating, they taste good. He’s a cool guy; at least I think he’s a guy. He’s only three inches tall, so it’s hard to tell, because by the time he’s born, my eyesight isn’t going to be all that good.
eBook Review Gal: Please be sure to introduce us to Tulapip when 2136 rolls around!
How would you spend the day together?
Stuart: We’d sit on the rings of Jupiter, swinging our feet over the edge and point at all you silly people on Earth, and laugh, because you look so small and insignificant. Maybe we’d share a beer.
eBook Review Gal: Better go easy on the beer. Ol’ Tulapip is only three inches tall and probably can’t hold his liquor.
How can readers connect with you?
Are you working on anything new now?
Stuart: Yes! I’ve started the second book in the sci-fi series, ENDLESS SKY. It’s called THE THOUSAND GATES OF HEAVEN. It’s about…wait, you have to read the first book, first.
I’m also doing a slight rewrite to the screenplay, TODD MACCOY’S ADVENTURE WEST that I just won the action/adventure category of the Table Read My Screenplay contest with. Then I hope to enter ten more contests, win them all, then make the movie and retire on the beach in Malibu. Or Bali. Or stay where I am.
eBook Review Gal: Don’t forget us when you’re rich and famous.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Stuart: Never give up…unless you truly suck. No, really, if you suck, give up. And if you listen to that advice, you really do suck. Why, because just think of how many sucky books and movies get made each year. So the moral to this story is you have more of a chance of success if you suck, than if you don’t.
eBook Review Gal: Haha…we love your candor!
Thanks for chatting with eBook Review Gal! We appreciate it 😉
Yeah, me too. And thanks for the veggie roll from Subway, ya big spender. Hey, Does Gal stand for gallon? Just askin’.
eBook Review Gal: Hey, in our defense we offered to take you out for a steak, but you said aliens are vegetarians. And, Gal is short for Galactica, but shhhh…don’t tell anyone.
Below are links to Stuart’s books: