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Interview with Steve Bolin!
By: The Myth Master


Welcome friends. It’s the Myth Master here and today we have with us Steve Bolin, the co-author of the fantasy novel, Black Rising, and author of numerous poems and short stories presented within the electronic pages of “The World of Myth.” And while Mr. Bolin was not aware of this when the interview took place, he was voted Member of the Month (for the second time) in out November issue.

M.M.:We would like to welcome author Steve Bolin to the Interview Booth today, and also thank him for being a regular contributor to "The World of Myth." Steve, you have offered our readers a short story or a poem in every issue of our magazine for just over a year, now. I know this is a 'stock' question, but where do your ideas for stories come from?

S.B.: I once wrote a short tale about where horror story ideas came from. It involved a man who had a near-death-experience. During the following minutes, he lay dead on the operating table as doctors worked feverishly to save him. Lifeless, his soul was sent to Hell where he existed in a timeless realm of agonizing fire.

The Keeper, an ethereal entity that acted as an overseer of the hellish realm, forced a plague of dark dreams into his subconscious. Each nightmarish vision was more abominable than the last. He witnessed horrors of an unprecedented caliber, unable to tell whether the things he saw were real or not. The surgeons successfully resuscitated the man; they were shocked when he awoke. He returned to consciousness, screaming hysterically on the operating table.

The man returns to his family, swearing to dedicate the remainder of his life to the greater good. But it is too late. The curse of the vision plague remains buried deep in his mind. He knows not when or where the nightmares will surface. He knows only that he is compelled to write them down and call them “stories,” for they have no other name.

Is that what happened to me? No, but it sounds cool doesn’t it? The question is easier to answer with a few examples of some of my stories that have been published in ‘The World of Myth.’

The Spider sprang to mind when a friend of mine gave me a rather large tarantula named Iggy. In the beginning I was fascinated by her every move. I was stunned at how quickly she could move – one second she looks like a statue and the next second she pounces on a passing cricket so quickly that, if you blink, you miss it. I imagined what it would be like to possess the savage body and primitive mind of such a powerful arachnid. My thoughts transformed into words on paper as the scene played out in my mind.

Blood Bath & Beyond came to me as I was driving past a certain popular store. Sitting in the passenger seat, my son jokingly suggested an alternate name for the business and it became the name of my story. Almost instantly I imagined a store that sold military-grade weaponry alongside bath towels and scented soaps. The story sounded like a funny idea, so I sat down and the thing practically wrote itself.

For years, my father was a heavy smoker. Watching his health slowly deteriorate left me angry at tobacco companies after his death. Unable to take revenge on them, I did the next best thing. I wrote Smoke Scream; a story where justice prevails – even if it’s from beyond the grave. It was a positive way to vent my negative feelings in a constructive manner.

M.M.:Have you always enjoyed writing stories for people or is this something that you discovered about yourself only recently?

S.B.: I’ve written poems and songs since I was a teenager in High School. As far as stories are concerned, I wrote my first tale while I was in the Navy, on April 24, 1983. I even remember the place where I sat. To be honest I did it just to amuse myself and make the time go by a bit faster while I was “on watch” with a couple of buddies.

I write for myself, first and foremost – especially during the first draft. I’m not always happy with the result of course. I have an entire file of finished stories that I’m not content with. If I like what I read then I’ll make numerous revisions until I’m satisfied that it’s ready for submission. If people can read the story without falling asleep before it ends then I feel successful.

M.M.:Many of the stories you have contributed to "The World of Myth" have been of a Horror nature. Which do you enjoy writing more—fantasy or horror?

S.B.: Much of what I write is a combination of fantasy and horror, what you might call “dark fantasy.” Take my story The Spider for instance. It is pure fantasy to imagine that a man can use astral projection to enter the mind and body of a spider then force it to grow using nothing but sheer will power. The horror part comes into play when the man uses his new, oversized, eight-legged body to carry out vengeance on those he despises.

Of course I have written “light fantasy” as well, such as The Guardian. It is one of my favorite short stories. Tales such as that are the exceptions to what I normally write, however. Much of the world is a scary place and that reflects in my writing.

M.M.:Do you perhaps have another novel for us in the near future?

S.B.: Currently, I’ve written about one-third of a new novel, but have taken a long break so that I can write more short stories; they are my first love. Writing a novel is a long term commitment, analogous to a marriage. Short stories are a kind of “affair” that I have; they provide quick satisfaction and a lot of variation with just a little investment of time.

In the unlikely event that my new novel does get published, I’d like ‘The World of Myth’ readers to be the first ones to see it. The support and praise my work has received at this web site is extremely rewarding. You can’t put a price tag on that kind of feeling.

M.M.:Another 'stock' question, here. What authors, if any, have influenced your own writing?

S.B.: More than any other, Stephen King has inspired me to write of the macabre. I’ve read nearly everything he’s written up until the Dark Tower series. Due to the way he ended the series, however, I’ll never buy or read another one of his books – but don’t get me started on that.

M.M.:Do you have any favorite current authors whose work you enjoy reading?

S.B.: I enjoy Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. I’ve also read nearly everything by Dennis McKiernan, Robert J. Sawyer and Brian Jacques. I also love to read anthologies of horror, science fiction and fantasy.

M.M.:When not writing stories, what do you do with your spare time?

S.B.: I play guitar and write songs. I love to act and am a member of a drama team that performs for my church. I belong to the Central Indiana Writer’s Group and enjoy giving and receiving constructive criticism with other serious writers. I love to learn new and interesting things. I enjoy watching educational TV such as the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and the History channel, to name a few. I also have a Journeyman’s card in the skilled trade of Machine Repairman, earned while I worked at General Motors.

I also spend a lot of time with my wife. She’s one of the funniest people I know. She’s always making me laugh and offsets my serious nature with lots of silliness and humor. Though she’s a kid at heart, she is the sweetest, most compassionate and thoughtful individual I know. We never get tired of being together and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with her.

M.M.:How does your family feel about your writing success?

S.B.: I don’t consider myself successful in the traditional sense. My definition of success is knowing that there are people out there – other than my slightly biased family – who enjoy reading my work. When I see that the poll results show more favorable ratings than bad ratings, it motivates me to continue writing. Believe me, I sure don’t do it for the money.

Both my wife and son are very supportive of my writing. They usually end up proofreading my tales, then point out plot inconsistencies, grammar corrections and scenes which need clarification. As my way of saying thanks, and because I love them, I’ve written several stories for my wife and an entire six part, comedic series for my son where his fictional alter ego is the main character.

M.M.:How can our readers find out more about your book, Black Rising, and anything else you may be working on?

S.B.: For more information on Black Rising, visit www.BlackRisingBook.com . It is a tale of high fantasy with dragons, holy warriors and a power hungry wizard who will stop at nothing to make his dreams come true. The web page also contains a sneak preview of the book’s first chapter. Check it out. If you’re poor like me, ask your library to purchase it so you and your friends can borrow it.

I do have two unpublished anthologies. The first, Demented Dimensions, contains a collection of my short stories of dark fantasy. Most of the stories published so far in ‘The World of Myth’ have come from this anthology. The second, Imaginations Unlimited, is a collection of the lighthearted stories I’ve written for my son. I have enough material for a third anthology, but have been too busy to put them together in an organized fashion.

M.M.:Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone out there who may be thinking about a writing career?

S.B.: Anyone can write, but not everyone can write well. Only the best writers can actually expect to get paid for what they do. Take classes, join a writer’s group, get plenty of feedback. Have realistic expectations; becoming a success in novel writing for example, like Dean Koontz or Larry Niven, has odds somewhere in the neighborhood of hitting the lottery.

Many aspiring writers are reluctant to submit their work for fear of being rejected. You need to get past that. Expect to get rejection slips until you have so many that you could wallpaper a room with them. Be aware, though, that the vast majority of editors will give few if any reasons for rejecting your work. On occasion, if you’re very lucky, you might find an editor like Terry Scheerer who is professional enough to give you constructive criticism in a positive and encouraging manner. Accept any honest criticism humbly and without resentment. Learn from those who’ve been where you are now.

Lastly, I would say that you should write about things that interest you. Chances are, you’ll write more passionately about topics you love. Write your first draft with reckless abandon, getting ideas, details and thoughts down as quickly as they come to you. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or sentence structure at first; there will be plenty of time for revisions later.

M.M.:We appreciate your taking time to be with us today, Steve. Is there anything we did not cover that you would like to share with our readers?

S.B.: Almost all my stories are written in longhand and lovingly typed by my wife. You should see the pile of notebooks used, over the course of a year, to bring Black Rising to life. Pencil and paper is a word processor that will never crash, try to correct my spelling errors or suggest alternate grammar usage. It allows me to fully concentrate on what I’m writing without annoying distractions. I would like to thank the numerous fans of ‘The World of Myth’ for their support by offering a gift, completely free, to anyone interested. Sometime ago I wrote a booklet of short stories, which included a tale for every member of my family. Each story is less than 1,000 words long and is a quick read. I print and hand assemble each one individually. For anyone who would like to have a free copy, they can e-mail me at SBBolin6059@yahoo.com. Due to the overwhelming demand, I ask only that they cover my cost of postage and supplies; $2 for the first booklet and $1 for each additional copy.

M.M.:That sounds great. Thank you again for spending some time with us, Steve, and we look forward to many more stories from you in ‘The World of Myth.’

All right, gang, that’s it from the Myth Master for now. I wish everyone a Happy Holiday season and best wishes for the New Year, not to mention…Peace.


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