Interview: Steven Spellman

Murder Beneath Midnight is his newest book.

What scene did you have the most fun writing in Murder Beneath Midnight?

The scene I had the most fun writing in “Murder…” was the torture scene between Tammy and Michael Parkers. It was a contest of will and wits that I really enjoyed exploring.

How do you get into writing mode on those days that you just aren’t excited about sitting down to write?

On good days writing is my calling but on those days when I’m not excited about sitting down to write it’s a job. On those days I treat it like a job and my only objective is to get a specific word count. I figure if I keep reaching for the word count alone I will eventually stumble back into ‘calling’ mode. It’s worked for me so far.

Do you write in minutes or run marathons?  Do you feel you do your best work in big chunks of time or do you scribble on envelopes while waiting at the mechanics shop or dentist and piece pages together like a quilt?

I would say I write in running marathons, four to six hours at a time…with many breaks in between. I feel my best work in done in chunks, when I have enough time to exercise myself from myself so I can move out of the way of writing. I think piecing together stories like a quilt is a wonderful analogy but literally too colorful in practice. I think I used to write like that but perhaps I wasn’t doing it right. Now my writing is more like ideas that have come fully formed, like people, and the narrative is how I cloth them.

Your new book has components of science fiction and the mystery genre.  Who are your favorite authors in those genres? What do you like most about them?

I think my favorite science fiction author is Isaac Asimov, maybe Jules Verne. For mystery, I’m going with Edgar Allen Poe, every time.

If you could go back five years in time and give yourself some advice (besides the winning lottery numbers) what would tell yourself?

If I could go back five years in time I would tell my younger self how time travel works and then patent it. Or at least tell myself to write some serious science fiction with it. Seriously, though, I would encourage my younger self to not rely so much on what I thought people wanted to read. Anything in life can be very difficult when you’re doing for everyone but yourself.

How do you feel you split your time on a particular book (for example, 10% research, 50% writing, 25% editing, 15% marketing).

I would say I spend twenty percent of my time writing a book in research, seventy percent in actual writing, and ten percent in editing. Thankfully, my wife usually handles our marketing.

What can you share with us about your next book?

I think my next book is going to be my most exciting work yet. It’s called “Precious Retribution” and it’s a sweeping tale of a woman scorned. It the story of a fairytale romance going horribly awry. It’s full of surprises and, I think, a very interesting ending. It’ll definitely be a fun ride.

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