January 11th, 2019
I asked Stephanie where she would like to chat:
An hour and a half from Volos on the east coast of Greece is a tiny village called Milina. During the summer, cars are lined as tourists line the streets searching for parking so they can enjoy the Agean Sea but today, one of the last days in May, the place is deserted. A table sits at the end of a rock pier, surrounded on three sides by water. The smell of salt wafts by as the breeze keeps the sun from getting too hot. Off in the distance there are family fishing boats coming back from their mornings catch.
The table has two iced coffees, water and a plate of spanakopita fresh out of the oven. There are a couple of feral cats sniffing around, hoping for scraps but they’re harmless and happy for any food tossed their way. They’ll have their pick as more food appears out of thin air since I can’t decide what I really want. It’s the only place in the entire world that can cater to your every need and that’s why I’ve never told another person about my favourite place.
Laura Mae: Thank you so much for talking with me today, Stephanie! How’s your day been so far?
Stephanie Ann: Good. Uneventful. 🙂
L: That’s good sometimes! Sounds like my day too, to be honest. Haha! Have you gotten any writing in today at all?
S: There have been a lot of ups and downs this year so I’ll take an uneventful day! Yes, actually, I got some done. Not a lot but that’s OK.
L: Hey, I’m not here to judge! I haven’t written anything in a while, so, you’re fine. Haha! What is it that you’re currently working on then?
S: I’m working on a trilogy of short stories documenting my last 12 months. I had a really rough year – surgery, radiation and another surgery – and I’m on the last one. The first 2 came out very quickly but this last one is going to be tough.
L: Interesting! Sort of like an autobiography then?
S: Yes, exactly.
L: That’s very brave of you. Major kudos for doing that. May I ask why you wanted to take on something so… vulnerable?
S: The whole experience has given me a strength I didn’t know I had. Each of my stories have a little curve to them, I guess you’d say. Nothing was as straightforward as the doctors told me. I had some complications – some minor, one major – and my case wasn’t typical. For me, getting it down on paper signifies the end of it.
L: Good for you, Stephanie. You seem like a very strong person, and it can help a lot to write it down. Is this mostly a project for yourself, or are you planning on publishing it?
S: I’ll probably put it out there, somewhere. I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet. As for being strong or brave, I don’t see myself that way. I had something that I needed to get through and did it. There were days I felt bad and sorry for myself but those feelings wouldn’t help me. I kind of just did it and then thought about it after. But, thank you.
L: Of course. So Stephanie, how long have you been writing for? And do you remember the first thing you had ever written?
S: I wrote a lot of short stories back in junior high that I can’t remember the plots of but I do remember a writing assignment in high school that I got right into. It was one of those ‘write a short story so the teacher can do other things’ type of assignment and we could leave when finished. I had this big plot going and all these details but then my friends in class finished and I wanted to leave as well, so I abruptly ended my story by writing that a bomb had gone off and everyone died. My priorities back then were a little different. Haha
L: Nice! Haha! That sounds pretty fun, actually. What would you say is your favorite part about writing?
S: I love how it takes me somewhere else. When I’m writing the story, I’m there with the characters. When I’m formatting or going through looking for spacing, font or other things to fix, I get lost in the repetition and I lose all track of time. I even like leaving a story for a while and then revisiting because there are always parts I don’t remember. I guess then, I like it all.
L: Same! I love going back and rereading for the first time, it seems! Do you have any inspirations for your writing? Authors or books you’ve read?
S: I remember reading Jane Jensen’s Judgement Day – it’s also released under the title Millennium Rising – and thinking that I wanted to write a book similar to the scope of hers. I like a wide variety of authors but don’t always like all their books.
L: Nice! What was it about that book in particular?
S: Judgement Day starts from the POV of a priest investigating a massive biblical sighting in Mexico and then follows the trail of other sightings around the world at the same time with different religions and how it’s all connected through people who aren’t religious at all. She shows through her main character the struggle of believing and the conflict between faith and science. I totally recommend it.
L: Very interesting! It does sounds intriguing. Yeah, I might need to check it out! Do you have a favorite literary character? And why?
S: I don’t have favourites. I connect differently with each character. Maybe we’ve had similar experiences or I admire their strength but no one stands out more than any other.
L: Good answer! Do you have any favorite tropes in books or least favorites?
S: No. I like to be surprised and really like when an author makes you think they’re following a certain trope but then pull the rug from under you. Most tropes, unless done very well, make me think, oh no, not this again.
L: Very true. Haha! They need to have that twist. Do you ever match music to your writings or have an ‘book soundtrack?’
S: Certain songs can help create a scene but I don’t have a playlist.
L: What songs would those be? If you can think of them right now. Haha!
S: Pure Imagination – although I need to find a more appropriate version for what I wrote – Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Lourde cover – Sabotage by The Beastie Boys.
L: Nice! Lourde has such a great voice! And that song is great. Love the choices. Is there a genre you generally read and what are you currently reading?
S: Science Fiction. I’m not a romance girl at all. Sci-fi gives you endless possibilities, like Fantasy, so that’s my go-to. Right now I’m re-reading NK Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy and after that I have a collection of short stories by Amr Nasser – who I connected with on Twitter as well – called Earthware.
L: My two favorites as well. The worlds people create is just incredible! Very cool! So Stephanies, besides writing and reading, what is you like to do? Any hobbies?
S: I go to Fan Expo in Toronto every year and geek out with the rest of the comic/movie/tv/scifi people there. I like crosswords, theatre and travelling too.
L: Oh like Comicon! I’ve always wanted to go to one of those, but they can get so expensive! Maybe someday!
S: I’d like to experience Comicon once even though I’m not the biggest fan of crowds.
L: Yeah, same here. Gives me such anxiety! Would you say there are any words or phrases that you’ve heard that you just can’t stand?
S: Guess not since I can’t think of any at the moment. lol
L: Oh, I’m sure they’ll come to you when you’re even thinking about it. Haha! Well this has been such a fun chat, Stephanie! Would you mind leaving us with some words of wisdom?
S: Oh, geez, the pressure haha, be yourself is the best one. Have your dreams but be realistic at the same time. Listen and learn is the best way to grow and don’t be so hard on yourself!!!
L: Great advice, girl! Thanks again so much!
S: You’re very welcome.
Stephanie Ann works at an IT company and is the author of two novels and several short stories, including the N3F winning piece The Chosen. Born and raised in Toronto, Stephanie has always loved the Science Fiction genre and all its possibilities. Some of her other work includes reviews for various websites, interviews and personal accounts because her life has been quite noteworthy.
In her spare time, Stephanie likes to go to amusement parks to play the ‘guess your age’ games (is currently undefeated), immerse herself in the Marvel universe, read Stephen Hawking even if most of it goes over her head and test her theory of time travel. Since she believes it is spiral, she’s not sure if it works yet. Despite her award for ‘Most Accident Prone’ at a Christmas party in the early ‘80’s, Stephanie is also a bike rodeo winner and champion baton twirler.
You can find her book ‘The Experiment’ here.
Slate Pharmaceuticals is the oldest and only medical company on the planet. They may be trusted by most but they also have secrets. Syren Walker, however, doesn’t have the same feeling as the rest of the population. Together with her best friend, Axe Delis, they start looking into their parent’s lives to find answers.
Meanwhile, Peter Moynihan, a Slate employee no one has ever met, is arriving at the London office. As the world around them continues to decline, it is discovered that Peter isn’t there to help. He’s only interested in the data and, surprisingly, the discovery of five young adults; offspring of his failed testing years earlier he’s moved on from.
Just as Syren and the rest come together, they are chased across the globe in search of answers while the world around them is dwindling rapidly. They find a place that may hold answers they are looking for only to watch it destroyed, leaving them to find for themselves and wonder how they’ll survive.