Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Florida Talk

Check out my recent discussion with fellow Florida writer Alex Segura (Dangerous Ends) over at LitHub. We're chatting all things Florida: crime, fiction and what makes this state so crazy. Cheers!

http://lithub.com/florida-man-talks-to-florida-woman-about-florida-crime/





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sunlit!

Lots happening with the St. Pete Sunlit Festival this month! If you're a local and want to stop by to say hi, I'll be at the MFA on Thursday, participating in the Literary Carousel and at the St. Petersburg Main Library this Saturday as part of the "Writers, Winners and the Publishing World" event. Hope to see you there!

http://www.tampabay.com/features/books/events-sunlit-festival-continues-with-florida-antiquarian-book-fair-more/2320060




13 Ways to Support an Author

Today, I'm over at LitReactor giving advice on how to support your favorite authors on the cheap. Some of these only take 10 seconds, and all are free, but they honestly mean so much to an author. Take a look!

https://litreactor.com/columns/13-ways-to-support-an-author-without-spending-a-dime
 
Thirteen Ways to Support an Author Without Spending a Dime

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Into the Infinite: A Conversation with Nicholas Mainieri

 

Today I'm sitting down with Nicholas Mainieri, author of the literary thriller The InfiniteAs it will soon become obvious to you, Mainieri is a master craftsman when it comes to story and language and I'm grateful of the opportunity to pick his brain on topics such as setting, revision and style. And, as an added bonus, Mainieri was kind enough to share the books he is most looking forward to this year. Read on!
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28374088-the-infinite


Steph Post: The settings of New Orleans and Mexico are conspicuous and vivid in The Infinite. In the way that they contributed to the novel, I felt that they were almost characters themselves. How important were these two settings to your story and, in general, what is the significance of place- especially real places- in a work of fiction?

Nicholas Mainieri: Setting is one the most important aspects of good fiction, regardless of whether that particular setting is a real place or not. A purposefully described setting establishes mood, echoes character’s emotions, and makes things like extraordinary acts of violence or goodness seem plausible. Actions are woven out of the fabric of setting. When that setting is a real place then things like the moment in time, the specifics of a local culture matter as well. It can be a fine dance between making a certain place “accessible” and being too esoteric. I think New Orleans and Mexico are kind of natural bedfellows. Complicated, beautiful places. I frequently return to the author Jorge Hern├índez’s phrase regarding Mexico as a place of “enduring contrasts,” and I believe that applies to New Orleans as well. Divides between rich and poor, life and death, play and work, good and bad seem both more pronounced and somehow more blurred. The great themes of literature live and breath. Specifically, these settings were logical bookends to a story that is in part about the cyclical journeys of things like drugs and cash but also people.

SP: I’m also curious about what drew you to the setting of New Orleans, and specifically post-Katrina New Orleans. Did The Infinite need to be set in a city still reeling and rebuilding from the effects of a catastrophe?

NM: I think of The Infinite as a sort of post-post-Katrina story. It’s set in the spring of 2010, a time that seemed to me then as a transitionary period, a complicated slide out of reconstruction and into new development or redefinition. When the rebuilding work was drying up, when the school system was undergoing the final moments of an extensive overhaul, and so on. I was interested in thinking about those who are going to bear the illest effects of massive social change—the young, the poor, the immigrant. And certainly I was thinking about my home, this city I love, that had been rebuilt by immigrants even as our public discourse increasingly vilified them.
SP: The Infinite is a lyrical novel that clearly utilizes your deftness with language. Oftentimes, language and story can be at odds with one another, as one element is sacrificed for another. This seems to occur in both literary and genre fiction, but I didn’t see that struggle in The Infinite. How can you make “poetic” language best serve, and not interfere with, the story?

NM: Well, thanks, Steph. Language is often where I have the most fun with a story, and I believe that one element does not always need to be sacrificed for the other. They can serve each other—the writing can be artful and the story can move. Doesn’t mean that it always works out. Some folks, mainly a few former teachers, would still tell me I’m too precious with language, and there’s some truth to that. Bringing these things into harmony has to come in revision, the continued rewriting, polishing, trimming, culling. I let it flex as best I can on that first draft, then don’t let anybody see it. One thing I ask myself, when considering a particular word choice or syntactical shape or whatever, is whether this particular arrangement of language is doing more than one thing—is it just pretty? If so, then it’s got to go or be rewritten. But if I can justify that it’s doing something in addition to being pretty (like complicating character, echoing emotional truth, advancing plot, resonating with theme) then I work to hone it best I can.

SP: One of the things I loved about The Infinite is that it’s clearly a literary novel, but one with grit under its nails. Did you ever encounter problems with either writing or selling a novel that balks somewhat at the “literary style?”

NM: I was ready to encounter it, sort of expecting it. The books I like the most are those literary novels with grit under their nails. I know I’m not alone in that, and I was just trying to write a story I’d like to read, myself. I got super lucky as this book found the perfect agent and editor for it—I never had to explain anything along these lines. From the get-go, they both saw it as a serious work of fiction first and foremost.
SP: The Infinite is an adult novel, but the two main characters are teenagers. Was it difficult for you to get inside the heads of Jonah and Luz? As a high school teacher, I’m around teenagers every day and the rollercoaster of emotions is staggering. Did portraying Jonah and Luz come easily to you or was it something you struggled with? 

NM: I think the adolescent rollercoaster of emotions is a thing we’ve all been through. It’s a true thing. I imagine that most writers have the realities of those days tucked away in their little mental folders of material. What was more challenging, perhaps, was portraying young people who aren’t just contending with those things, but also the profound realities of poverty and death and violence and true hopelessness. I thought to myself that Luz and Jonah are two people who would have grown up quickly. I wanted them to be able to meet their challenges thoughtfully and determinedly. They are “teenagers” technically, but I never thought of them in that way. The first time somebody at my publisher referred to them as teenagers it kind of surprised me, believe it or not, but it is of course undeniable. However, they’re dealing with and handling things that a lot of “adults” will never have to.

SP: And finally, just from your writing style alone, I’m guessing that you have pretty good taste in books…. What upcoming novels are you looking forward to this year? Who should I have on my radar?

NM: I recently read advanced copies of a couple really great books coming out this year. The Boat Runner, by Devin Murphy, is an exceptional epic of WWII and refugees—it crushed me, in the best sense. In the Valley of the Sun, by Andy Davidson, is an artfully written and very scary story, like Barry Hannah meets Stephen King. I’m also looking forward to Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan (sci-fi Joan of Arc! From one of the coolest writers working today). The great Percival Everett has a new one coming out, So Much Blue. I don’t know much about it, but he wrote it, so I’ll read it, excitedly. And will this be the year that Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger hits shelves? I will drop everything.

http://nicholasmainieri.com/

Me too! Thanks so much to Nicholas Mainieri for stopping by. The Inifinte is now available and you should definitely pick up a copy. Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Writers Read

Check out my book recommendations over at Writers Read today!

Here's a hint of what I'm recommending....

http://americareads.blogspot.com/2017/04/what-is-steph-post-reading.html

Friday, April 7, 2017

Sunlit Festival

It's April now and that means its time for the St. Pete Sunlit Festival! Literary events of all shapes and sizes will be happening around the city and I'm proud to be participating in two:

April 20- The Literary Carousel at the MFA (short stories inspired by archival photos)

April 21- Writers, Winners and the Publishing World (I'll be reading from and talking about Lightwood)

Hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1878315125786376/

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Girl Talk

Today I'm over at LitReactor discussing one of my biggest literary pet peeves: The "Girl" title trend. Enjoy!

https://litreactor.com/columns/give-the-girl-a-name-already

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Thoughtful Dog Interview

Today I'm hanging out over at The Thoughtful Dog magazine, discussing gritty writing, the importance of place and why more women aren't writing in Lightwood's genre. Read on!

http://www.thoughtfuldog.org/thoughtful-dog-interview-steph-post/

Friday, March 24, 2017

Surviving A Book Tour

My "Book Tour Author Survival Guide" is now live over at LitReactor. This post is close to my heart- my own book tour for Lightwood was a roller coaster whirlwind of events and emotions and I wanted to share what I learned with other authors. I hope that these tips can be of some help or at least let others know that it's okay not to be perfect....

https://litreactor.com/columns/the-dos-and-donts-of-book-tour-an-authors-survival-guide

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Zoologist Turned Crime Poet: Erica Wright


Today I bring you an interview with Erica Wright, author of The Red Chameleon and, more recently, The Granite Moth. Wright's crime novels have been on my radar for a while and I'm glad they finally caught up with me!
Also, if you're heading up to the Virginia Festival of the Book this week, be sure to catch Wright on one of her three panels as she balances discussions on her dual specialties:  crime writing and poetry.
 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1605988936
 
 
Steph Post: I'm going to go ahead and start with the obvious- the title. The Granite Moth is the second of a series of PI novels featuring Kathleen Stone, a master of disguise. The first book was titled The Red Chameleon and so there's a trend here. Both animals reference Kat's ability to don a new wig and assume a new identity at the blink of an eye, but where did the inspiration come from with using colors and animals? And is this a trend that is going to continue throughout the series?

Erica Wright: When I was twelve, I wanted to be a zoologist. Then I passed out dissecting a frog and was gently encouraged to consider other careers. I’m still obsessed with animals, though, so the titles were an extension of that interest and a logical fit for a character who prides herself on disguises. I started a newsletter because that seems to be the number one piece of marketing advice for writers, but it’s mostly about critters. Did you know that rats in Mozambique helped clear the country of landmines? Amazing. Yes, this is definitely a trend I can’t escape.

SP: The Granite Moth had been on my radar for a little while and a large part of that was due to the cover. The design here just screams that the story inside will be dazzling. It's sort of disco meets old-school pulp which, honestly, mimics the style of Kathleen Stone and your writing. Did you have a hand in the cover selection?

https://www.amazon.com/Red-Chameleon-Novel-Erica-Wright/dp/1605985686

EW: Charles Brock designed the gorgeous cover. I was given a couple of options for The Red Chameleon, but this style was a great fit for the series.

SP: One of my favorite elements of The Granite Moth is the wacky humor that rides alongside the hardboiled storyline. Part of this is due to the plot- the story opens with Kat watching a larger-than-life drag queen float in the middle of a Halloween parade- but much of it comes from the protagonist herself. Kathleen Stone is serious about her job, but also has a wry wit that made this character refreshing in a sea of gritty, hard-nosed private eyes. Where did Kat's voice come from? I'd imagine she's a helluva lot of fun to write.

EW: I was reading a personal essay by Oliver Sacks who had face blindness, a disorder which makes it difficult to recognize faces, sometimes even of people you know well. I wondered if there could be a related phenomena—someone whose face isn’t very memorable or that seems to change depending on the situation. Not exactly a glamorous superpower, but one that Kat has embraced. Some of her humor comes from this reality. She could feel sorry for herself; after all, she’s a young woman who sees the same fashion magazine covers as everyone else. Or she could take advantage of her unique ability to disappear in a crowd. In some ways, this quirk is a stand-in for how she grapples with questions of identify after being undercover for two years. She’s not quite as forgettable as she likes to believe, and yeah, she’s such fun to write. I look forward to spending time with her.

SP: I haven't yet read the first novel in the series, but I felt that The Granite Moth clearly stood on its own. Is it difficult to write successive books in a series, knowing that the reader may not have read about the origins of the character?

EW: It’s easier in the sense that I know the characters better than I did at first. While they still surprise me at times, they also act in ways I understand. I realize that this might sound crazy to non-writers, but after you spend years with fictional people, they don’t seem so fictional anymore. But I definitely needed help from my editor, the brilliant Maia Larson, to show me where more backstory or explanation was required. I always want to be fair to my readers. 

http://www.blacklawrence.com/instructions-for-killing-the-jackal/

SP: In addition to writing crime novels, you are also an accomplished poet. I was surprised, but thrilled to hear this as I love it when I discover a writer who can play across the board. And Instructions for Killing the Jackal is now high up on my list. Do you find any conflict in your writing life as you straddle these two genres?

EW: I started writing fiction after I finished my first book of poems. That collection took me ten years, and my poetry tank was on empty. Instead of sending the book out and waiting for rejections to roll in (“That way madness lies”!), I started working on a novel. My first attempt was embarrassingly bad, but I still learned a lot from that failure. Now, I rarely write fiction and poetry on the same day, or really, during the same week.

SP: In addition to everything else, you are also a creative writing teacher. What is the best piece of advice or learning moment you ever received from a student?

EW: Oh, I love this question! In the very first session of my very first creative writing class, I was administering an exercise that I hijacked from one of my professors. Basically, I asked a series of unrelated questions, letting students respond to each one. It’s supposed to help with negative capability. Anyway, I was rushing through the questions because I was nervous, and this good-natured group of writers started chuckling and were all like “Take a breath! Slow down!” That was excellent teaching advice, but I apply it to writing as well. It’s not a race, and it’s not a competition. The nice part of this writing business is that there’s plenty of success to go around, which means you can root for others as much as you root for yourself.

http://ericawright.typepad.com/

And that, if not anything else, is why I am a new fan of Erica Wright. Be sure to check out both her Kathleen Stone series and her works of poetry. You can also catch her over at Guernica magazine, where she serves as senior poetry editor. Many thanks, Erica!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

L.A. Noir With Attitude: An Interview with Nolan Knight

Today I'm bringing you an interview with L.A. native and neon-noir author Nolan Knight. His recent novel debut, The Neon Lights Are Veins, is unlike anything I've read before (and that's saying something!). The novel's story is a fast-paced mystery and caper, dragging the reader through the underbelly of the Los Angeles night, but most impressive is Knight's style: in your face and no-holds-barred.

https://www.amazon.com/Neon-Lights-Are-Veins/dp/8293326980/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
 
Steph Post: The first word that comes to mind when I think of The Neon Lights Are Veins' style is "kaleidoscopic." There's a lot of color, a lot of flash, a lot of snap. It's a style I have seen in noir before, but it's still rare. How did you develop this unique style and how important was establishing this style to the development of the story?

Nolan Knight: First off, thanks for having me here, Steph. Referring to the visual aesthetic of the novel, I think that it is less a stylistic choice than just an authentic rendering of nighttime Los Angeles in roughly 2008. When it comes to the actual design of the narrative, that came out of being patient with the process. I started Neon Lights in 2010 and had a shorter draft (similar to what was published) by late-2012. I shelved it, then came back several months later, needing fresh eyes. I think that the time spent fleshing out the vision I had for it is reflected in the end product. Neon Lights became more fluid and dense with each given pass.

SP: In contrast to all the flash, however, The Neon Lights Are Veins also takes place in a world obviously jaded. The first section is aptly titled "Loveless Gutters" and that line in the opening scene- "too bad this world craved dreamers"- sets the tone for a story set among worldly and world-weary characters. Did you ever worry that this story would be too dark for readers?

NK: No. Fortunately, there’s only one reader I worry about when writing anything—and that’s me. The fact that most of my favorite authors’ books developed strong readerships over years/decades, that’s enough for me to believe that other likeminded folks are out there, ones who could possibly be interested in a story like Neon Lights. That’s all that matters.

SP: One of my favorite things about The Neon Lights Are Veins are the characters and their names in particular. Mongo, Elvira, Rocco- the names are fantastic. Where did they come from? Are any of the characters based on real people?

NK: Most of the characters in the novel are based on random people I would come across in my old East Hollywood neighborhood. Drug dealers on skateboards, crust punks busking for beer, etc. As far as names are concerned… I remember when my wife and I were first dating, introducing her to my friends brought something to light: So many of them had odd nicknames that it made it hard for her keep track of everyone. This was something that I had never even considered growing-up in L.A. It got me thinking of how bizarro names had become household in my everyday life. So, when it comes to naming characters, most of the time I find myself taming down versions of what I’d like to call them.   

SP: Another defining element of your book is the cracking, whip-smart dialogue and slang-filled prose. From the first sentence, the reader is dropped right in the middle of this world, with no narrative reprieve. It's an immersive reading experience, you might say. Do you write your first drafts in this voice or is this a carefully cultivated style?

NK: This is just the voice that I feel most comfortable with. Anyone can look back at my short fiction catalog and see the footprints. Immersive is a good way to describe Neon Lights. Sink or swim. If I’ve done my job, the story will hook a reader and remove their safety net at the same time. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than reading a book where I can trust that the writer is in complete control while he/she takes risks with a progressive story.   


SP: The city of L.A., particularly it's underbelly scene, really functions as its own character in The Neon Lights Are Veins. How important was this specific setting to the storyline? Could this story have been told in another city?

NK: Los Angeles is a predator in Neon Lights, another antagonist that lures characters with beauty into a doomed existence. When I look at the story overall, I see the main characters as puppets, their strings popping to the fingers of L.A. The City as The Beast was imperative to the text. I’m not sure that it could be told in another city—only for the fact that I don’t know any other cities as well as I know Los Angeles. Born and raised. Thirty-six years. I’m still learning great things about this city every day and plan on growing old with it.

SP: You are clearly a noir writer. In addition to The Neon Lights Are Veins, you've written stories published in Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Needle and other noir-friendly or centered outlets. What draws you to the noir genre?

NK: When it comes to literary interests, I’m not drawn to any specific genre. If it’s a solid story, I’ll devour it. Most of the shorts I’ve had published definitely have a noir tendency, and Neon Lights is a noir novel; however, the novel I’ve just finished doesn’t read like noir to me, but I bet it will to readers. I think it’s just the setting that I’m drawn to. I like to be out late at night and so do my characters. Not much good happens in Late-Night-Los Angeles, and that’s often the tone reflected in my writing. Call it noir, call it whatever—just have a peek and see for yourself.

http://www.nolanknight.com/

And you'll need to read The Neon Lights Are Veins for yourself. Be sure to pick up a copy and check out the other killer lit coming from indie press 280 Steps. Thanks so much to Nolan Knight for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Writer's Read Recommendation

So many thanks to David Joy for recommending Lightwood in his featured column on Writers Read (and many thanks as well to Marshal Zeringue for hosting him). Here's a snippet:

"She reminds me of a cross between Ace Atkins and Megan Abbott, all that to say: read this novel, read the one that came before, and keep your eyes peeled for what’s coming next."

http://whatarewritersreading.blogspot.com/2017/03/david-joy.html

Also, if you haven't yet, be sure to check out David Joy's debut novel Where All Light Tends To Go and it's follow-up, just released, The Weight Of This World. Cheers!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This Book Will Change Your Life

So many thanks to Ben Tanzer and his fantastic blog "This Blog Will Change Your Life" for a killer, thoughtful review of Lightwood. Here's a peek:

"...Always pushing and churning all at once, everyone filled with conflict, loyalty or rage, or all of it all at once, because that's what crime novels are, the push and pull of doing the right thing, while constantly trying to define what the right thing is..."

http://www.changeyourlifethiswill.com/book/14247912/post-lightwood


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shouting Out Nine Badass Women Writers

As today is International Women's Day, I thought it was the prefect time to highlight some of my favorite female authors. These ladies are as badass as they come and if you're not yet familiar with them and their work, that needs to change...



Beth Gilstrap
https://bethgilstrap.com/about/


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Natalie Harnett
http://natalieharnett.com/

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Berit Ellingsen
https://beritellingsen.com/2017/01/30/great-review-of-vessel-and-solsvart/

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Kathy Fish
author of Rift
http://www.kathy-fish.com/
 
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Hasanthika Sirisena
author of The Other One
http://hasanthikasirisena.com/
 
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Mira Jacob
http://mirajacob.com/

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Carmiel Banasky
http://carmielbanasky.wixsite.com/carmielbanasky
 
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Sheryl Monks
https://www.sherylmonks.com/
 
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Leah Rhyne
author of Heartless
http://www.leahrhyne.com/
 
 
 
Have some badass female authors you think deserve some recognition? Feel free to add them in the comments. The more, the better!
 
 
 


Andrew Hilleman Interview at LitReactor

Just in case you missed it,  I've got an interview up over at LitReactor.... I'm talking with debut author Andrew Hilleman, author of the brilliant World, Chase Me Down about history, memory and telling a true story. Take a look!

https://litreactor.com/interviews/the-tale-must-be-greater-than-the-truth-an-interview-with-andrew-hilleman-author-of-world


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mercury's in Retrograde

"Mercury's in Retrograde or Quit Blaming a Fucking Planet When You Can't Get Your Shit Together" is actually one of my favorite short (and I mean, short) stories. I wrote this piece in a quick shot and I've always loved it. Now, you can not only read it, but listen to me read it as the story is part of Lit-Tapes from Underpass Review. Take a second, have a listen, and be sure to check out the other two stories comprising Vol. 1 of the enterprise. Here's to Mercury....
https://littapes.com/volumes/

Of Nature and Myths: Berit Ellingsen and Vessel and Solsvart

Today I'm thrilled to bring you an interview with one of my favorite authors: Berit Ellingsen. If you know Berit, then you know that her work is gorgeously weird, a crystalline web work gracing the page. She wowed me with the stark grace of last year's Not Dark Yet, but her latest literary offering, the story collection Vessel and Solsvart, spins away from the minimalist style and instead presents four stories which are complex, lush and primordial. You can read my full review of Vessel and Solvart over at the Small Press Book Review, but for now I'm talking to Berit about constellations, myths and Baroque art. Read on...


https://www.bookdepository.com/Vessel-and-Solsvart/9781943813261


Steph Post: As you already know, I loved your collection Vessel and Solsvart. I'm going to jump right in, though, with my most burning question: what's up with cover? It's gorgeous and even if I weren't already a fan of your writing, I would immediately be drawn to this book. Is it a constellation? A mathematical equation? And how does In the Region of Bellatrix relate to the stories within or the collection as a whole?

 
Berit Ellingsen: I'm so glad to hear you like the collection and the cover. And thank you for reading and reviewing it.

The cover is an artwork called In the Region of Bellatrix by Eugene Newmann and is a star map of constellations. The artwork was part of an exhibition called The Raft Project, which featured a raft with human figures. In the Region of Bellatrix was a star map meant for the raft's navigation and was displayed on the wall behind the human figures. The book's designer, Brendan Connell, and Snuggly Books thought the cover fit the collection because several of the stories feature stars and other astronomical phenomena.

 
SP: The opening and title story, "Vessel and Solsvart" clearly has mythological roots. Is this story based on any one tale in particular?

 
BE: With the story "Vessel and Solsvart" I tried to imagine a new mythology, a mythology after our time, after the age of humankind, what the world might look like in that sort of future, and how the world might have reacted to the age of humankind and what took place in it. I also envisioned a world where the kinds of animals and plants we find in dark and moist places, such as moss and centipedes, and processes of decay, had taken over the planet because the sun had dimmed.

The structure with the repetition of four is common in Norwegian folk tales, but I didn't have any particular folk tale in mind when I wrote the story. Actually, the nearest direct inspiration was the music video for "Pyramid Song" by Radiohead. In this animated video a human figure dives into the ocean and finds an entire world down there, a suburban neighborhood, and a home where the figure settles in at the end. I thought of that video when I wrote the scene where Vessel dives down to the City of Reeds and Solsvart imagines what he might find there.

But the other cities in the story have no direct inspiration like that. They are imaginings of the essences of human cities and human life, such as the City of Stone and Tar.

 
SP: One of the first notes I wrote down in reading Vessel and Solvart is "attention to nature- would expect nothing less." The natural world, and in particular the eroding of the natural world, also featured heavily in your novel Not Dark Yet. I know that climate change is something you write passionately about in other arenas as well. Why is this issue so important to you and so central to your work?

https://beritellingsen.com/


BE: The natural world is very important to me because without the natural world the human world and humans can't exist. In our everyday lives we don't notice this much, except for those who work in agriculture, with livestock or with hunting in some way. But we are nevertheless all dependent on plants and animals for food, water for drinking, and an environment that is stable. When the natural environment is ruined or made less habitable, that will make life difficult also for human beings in urban environments.

The reason why the natural world is so central in my writing may also be that I live in a part of the world where almost all activities are heavily dependent on the weather, because the weather can turn from comfortable to deadly at any time of the year. Thus, everyone is aware of the weather and dresses for it. I also have a background as a biologist and work with space science and appreciate the natural world, the non-human living beings, and the Earth's great systems both academically and personally.

As I often like to say: The Earth's true riches are not oil, gas, rare metals or precious gems, but its great biodiversity and multitude of life forms. There are hydrocarbons and metals on other planets but so far, Earth is the only planet where we know there is life. And that makes not caring about or protecting that life and biological wealth so much worse in my eyes.

 
SP: All of the stories in Vessel and Solsvart have a dream-like quality to them, even though they referencing very earthy, physical elements- swamps, bones, snakes, etc. When you write, do you see your stories clearly, or is there a haze or a gauze over everything that you work through? I guess what I'm getting at is that, so much of your storytelling style is about mystery. I'm wondering if the mystery is there for you as well when you write.

 
BE: Often, the places and characters are mysterious to me too and slowly unfold as I write. I love exploring them and discovering new sides to them.

Inspiration is a mystery to me as well. Or rather, a bit of a black box. I call myself the first reader of my stories because I rarely plan them and tend to just write what comes into my mind then and there. That means I often have to do a lot of editing of both plot and language to turn it into a story with a structure that will satisfy other readers.

But I don't know where the ideas come from, other than inspirational sources here and there. Often when I re-read my own stories I wonder "where did that come from?".

Some of my stories are based on dreams, so that might give them the dreamlike quality. "Apotheosis," the last story in the collection, is one such example. It was based on a very strange nightmare I had and I thought it would make an interesting flash story about life, immortality, and eternal youth, which is so desired in our culture.

 
SP: Another theme I noticed flowing through this collection, is that of the attention to contrasts. Life and Death, Darkness and Light, Hope and Despair, Beauty and Horror. How do opposite elements work to tell a story? And were these contrasts something you consciously set out to explore or did they creep into your work on their own?


BE: I didn't consciously intend to write stories with such contrasts. But I think the kind of stories I like best myself are ones that have contrasting emotions and themes and go from high to low to light to darkness, and where the characters have contrasting sides to their personalities which encompass all of that. And in life you rarely get light without darkness, joy without sorrow, etc., and often the two can exist simultaneously, and a situation or place can be both beautiful and horrible.

I admire classical still lifes a lot, as well as the Dutch, Flemish, and Italian masters of European painting. "Summer Dusk, Winter Moon" is partly inspired by such art, as well as the fairy tales of HC Andersen, which are more romantic and softer than the Norwegian folk tales. I love the classical chiaroscuro painting technique of sharp highlights and dark backgrounds, such as in Rembrandt's or Caravaggio's work, so it's probably no coincidence contrasts play a role in my stories.

Even though artworks from the Baroque era may seem dated today, I think their subjects and portrayal of human life show that these artists knew everything about existence that we know in modern times, with the exception of the technology of course.
 
 
https://beritellingsen.com/
 
So, if you haven't been introduced to Berit Ellingsen before, I hope you have now. Vessel and Solsvart hits shelves on March 6th- be sure to pick up a copy- and also check out Berit's novel Not Dark Yet as well as her many other stories. Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Lightwood Shelfie at Alternating Current

Alternating Current (one of my favorite lit mags/sites) was kind enough to publish my Shelfie. Here, I'm talking about what's on my book shelf right now and what novels influenced the writing of Lightwood. Read on!


https://medium.com/the-coil/shelfie-steph-post-shares-her-bookshelf-2d894527c6f5#.ndx1prf0h

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wilmington Star-News

So many thanks to Ben Steelman at Wilmington's Star-News for this review of Lightwood.
 
"Post's Florida is rather farther north than the world of Carl Hiaasen's fiction, but they share the dark comedy, intricate plotting and strong sense of paltry sin and mordant evil. Readers who like Hiaasen should find "Lightwood" well to their taste."


http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170211/steph-post-tells-dark-southern-tale-in-lightwood

S. W. Lauden Interrogation

So this was fun: my first "interrogation" by fellow crime writer S.W. Lauden. Read on as I get very candid about how the process of writing is akin to be attacked by snakes and leeches and what exactly we Floridians want you to know about our state.... (in other words, this interview doesn't pull any punches.)


https://badcitizencorporation.com/2017/02/13/interrogation-steph-post/

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Seahawk

This was a wonderful surprise! Maddie Driggers attended my writing with Taylor Brown at Old Books on Front Street and wrote about the experience for UNCW's The Seahawk. Many thanks!

http://www.theseahawk.org/lifestyles/old-books-on-front-street-hosts-authors-of-new-books/article_d5caef8a-e8b4-11e6-9b20-37d89fd93234.html

Fabulous Florida Writers

Many thanks to Jackie Minniti and her Fabulous Florida Writers blog for this article on Lightwood, A Tree Born Crooked and, well, me. :)

http://fabulousfloridawriters.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 13, 2017

Writer's Bone February Book Radar

Many thanks to the Writer's Bone crew for including Lightwood on their list of 16 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: February 2017. Writer's Bone is one of my go-to sites for lit news and book recommendations, so this is much appreciated. :)


"Post is a natural fit for the “sunshine noir” genre, and Lightwood is getting great buzz from the crime fiction crowd. Don’t be surprised if Post is a household name by book three!" -Writer's Bone

http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/1/10/14-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-january-2017



Crimespree Magazine

Wow, thanks so much to Kate Malmon over at Crimespree Magazine for this killer review of Lightwood.

"There has been a lot of buzz around Lightwood and Steph Post, and it is well deserved. She weaves a strong story about families and what people will do for theirs. Pay attention to Post. She’s going places." -Crimespree Magazine 



http://crimespreemag.com/review-of-steph-postss-lightwood/



Goodreads Giveaway for Lightwood!

Feeling lucky? Then enter the Goodreads Giveaway for the chance to win a copy of Lightwood!



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30316211-lightwood