27 September 2013
Interview with author Steven Parton
This month I'm excited to bring you an interview with Steven Parton, a Portland-based author whom I met through Kiersi Burkhart.
Not too long after I decided to start doing these interviews, I overheard Steven talking to Kiersi about one aspect of his writing process that I found intriguing (details in the interview below). I quickly cornered him and threatened his first-born child if he refused to interview with me. Since he doesn't have a first-born child yet, it took a few months to convince him, but as you see, I eventually prevailed. *Cue maniacal laughter*
Okay, so the threatening thing never actually happened, but I've been called "nice" by two different people in the last two days, and I'm trying to salvage my reputation. Sigh.
Ladies and gents, I present: An interview with Steven Parton.
What do you write?
My bread and butter tends to be literary fiction of the speculative flavor. I really enjoy looking at trends I notice in society and extrapolating them into stories that allow the reader to question and explore their beliefs on that subject matter. Naturally, this has meant a lot of writing that examines how technology will affect the future of humanity.
Where can we read your stuff?
From this point forward all of my work will be released via Curious Apes Publishing, a new indie press dedicated to challenging mainstream thought in the hopes of creating a movement of freethinkers.
My first official release will be Part 1 of my new transhuman novel coming out early this winter. Keep your eyes on http://curiousapespublishing.com/steven-parton/ to be kept in the loop on the official release date and for news about my other projects.
What's your favorite thing you've written so far?
Cliché or not, this question makes me feel like I'm choosing between my children. But...if I have to choose, I'd go with my first novel, tentatively titled “Subliminal Phoenix.” It's riddled with esoteric touches and combines my obsession with Buddhism and the Occult with my passion for technology. Having said that, I think I might be finding my voice with the transhumanism theme, and you will be seeing a lot of work coming out very soon in that vein.
Tell us a bit about your current work(s) in progress.
My current project is 3-part transhuman novel. Each part can be read as a stand-alone story or be combined to give insights into this fictional, yet all-too-possible, future of humanity.
Transhumanism, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is basically the human enhancement (as well as the prevention and avoidance of things like death, disease, etc.) by integrating with cutting edge technologies like nanotech and biotech.
What's your goal as a writer? Do you plan to be rich & famous someday?
I truly want nothing more than to get to a point where I'm financially free enough to write full-time. The more I write, the better I can offer my thoughts and perspective to the world, which I hope will then inspire people to better themselves and open their minds to new ideas by questioning their beliefs.
Can I come visit you when you're rich & famous and swim in your rooftop pool?
I like how it was assumed I planned to be rich and famous. But yes, you're welcome—so long as you can handle the fact that my dream comes in the form of a large, enclosed oasis that is teeming with wild cats; i.e. cheetahs, lions, tigers, etc.
Do you have a day job? If yes, how do you also make time for writing? About how many hours per week do you write?
My “day job” is that of a web-developer. I started in a cubicle but shortly thereafter quit my comfy salary for the questionable paycheck provided as a freelancer so I could have more time to write. On average, that now equates to a bare minimum of two hours of writing and research a day.
The main reason I wanted to interview you for my blog was because I overheard you telling Kiersi about your writing process, which involves Scrivener & photos. Would you describe that for us and tells us a bit about how that works for you?
So, it's an approach that operates on a simple idea: a picture is worth a thousand words, and I find visuals of any kind to be incredibly inspiring. With that concept in mind, I like to search the 'internets' for people and places that I feel most closely resemble whatever story I'm actively working on. Once I've done that, I surround myself with those images, either on a separate monitor (thanks to being a developer, I have too many of those) or as part of the split-screen feature in Scrivener. I find it much easier to lose myself in my own imagination by having these images acting as inspirational catalysts.
What do you do when you get stuck in your writing? (Assuming that even happens to you.)
It happens all the time. I think any writer who says it doesn't is either lying or one of the rare prodigal types. My solution, however, is never the same. Sometimes I push through it, tell myself to quit being lazy, and force myself to focus; sometimes I go for a bike ride or meditate at a park to clear my mind. I've also accepted the fact that sometimes I will have to sit and waste forty-five minutes of banging my head against my laptop before the muse decides to show sympathy to me. If she doesn't show after an hour, then I write stream of consciousness or make up stories about people sitting around me at pubs and cafes.
What else would you like to tell us about your writing process or your experience of writing in general?
The main thing I feel I can offer anyone reading this is my admittance of difficulty with this passion of mine. It's rarely easy, but I always try to keep it fun. I know I have a lot of growing to do, and I always try to keep that in mind so that I am constantly making forward strides. The best thing I think any aspiring writer can do, and what I find most important, is to write creatively for at least 45 minutes every single day—no matter what! And perhaps equally as important: write down anything you think of or see that puts a smile on your face or that you find particularly intriguing. If you can't write it down, take another page from my electronic book and use the recorder on your cellphone. I have hundreds of sorted sound files that I've recorded and emailed to myself during the course of daily mundane activities, and many of them have spawned some of my favorite stories. There are so many beautiful conversations and reflections we have every day, and I challenge you, and myself, to always appreciate and make note of those things, for they are often the little things that make life so beautiful—even if those things are painful and sad.