Hey folks: I'm pleased to have AF Stewart here for an interview today. She is an author I have admired for quite some time, both for her published work and also her online presence of being both entertaining and helpful .
A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she’s published novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.
● Book title:Ghosts of the Sea Moon (Saga of the Outer Islands Book 1)
● Genre: Dark Epic Fantasy
● Synopsis: In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean. Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World and defend the seas from monsters. Rafe has dedicated his life to protecting the lost, but the tides have shifted and times have changed. His sister, the Goddess of the Moon, is on a rampage and her creatures are terrorizing the islands. The survival of the living and dead hinge on the courage and cunning of a beleaguered captain and his motley crew of men and ghosts. What he doesn’t know is that her threat is part of a larger game. That an ancient, black-winged malevolence is using them all as pawns… Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.
● Publish date: January 13, 2018
● Publisher: Independently Published
Captain Rafe Morrow paced the quarterdeck of his ship, Celestial Jewel, the signs of an oncoming squall setting him on edge. Blustering wind rattled the sails and the crew’s nerves, their usual jaunty hubbub reduced to grumbling and snipes. Trouble travelled on that wind.
Rafe could smell it woven in the air, and his blood prickled with a sense of worry. The ship trembled as if with warning. He glared at the sky and its darkening clouds painted amber and crimson from the setting sun. A storm sky coming ahead of a full moon meant dark magic and sea monsters would prowl the waves this night.
The Moon Goddess will hold sway tonight.
A trickle of blue energy raced across the back of his hand at the thought.
Damn her…and her beasts.
On the breath of a sigh, he whirled to face his crew. “Storm’s coming, boys. Doesn’t bode well, not with the moonrise tonight.”
“How long, Captain? Will we be in the thick of the weather or just what comes after?” A rough-edged sailor, Pinky Jasper, spoke up, but all ears of the deck crew listened for an answer.
“It’s coming within an hour or two, out from Raven Rock, by my reckoning. After nightfall by certain. We’re heading in, boys, but we’ll likely hit the edge of it.” He heaved a breath, exhaling. “It’ll be a bad one even for this crew so expect trouble.”
A shiver of tension settled over the deck. Some of the crew cast worried glances at the sea and each other. Others shivered, and a few more whispered prayers. Storms brought bad memories and nervous anticipation to the sailors of this ship.
“Which port then, Captain?” The mariner at the ship’s wheel chimed in. “Might make Abersythe if we head north.”
“We might, Anders. But we head east. We’ll race the edge of the tempest, but it’s closer and the ship will find better shelter anchored at Crickwell Island.”
“Aye, sir. Laying in course to Crickwell Island.” One-Eyed Anders turned the wheel and the ship’s bones groaned. Others of the crew adjusted the sails, and the Celestial Jewel leaned into her new bearing headed east.
Kasper: Hi AF, welcome to the Readers Lounge, I'm so excited to have you here.
AF: It's a pleasure to climb aboard. I'm looking forward to it.
Kasper: Hang on tight, we're ready for takeoff.
Do you have a pen name and why?
I write under my initials, as A. F. Stewart, mostly because there is a cookbook author, Anita Stewart, here in Canada. Also, In the beginning, I wanted a bit of anonymity in case things didn’t work out and to avoid any preconceptions.
Cool, I had wondered if it was a secret, but then I know you as both, so I'm glad you clarified it.
What’s the basic plot of your book or series?
Basically my Saga of the Outer Islands series is about a family of dysfunctional gods, menacing sea monsters and other creepy creatures, a few ghosts and pirates, all wrapped up in a sea-faring adventure.
Which one of your characters would you like to be?
If I could be one of my characters, I’d choose, Nimue, from my Camelot Immortals short stories and the WIP series. I think she’s the most like me to begin with, plus she’s an immortal witch who currently possesses Excalibur. She also independent, a bit impatient, doesn’t like fools or bullies, and a bit snarky.
Great description. I like the picture you have sent in of Nimue below. Nice artwork.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
I write a lot of history based stories, so yes. Much of Ghosts of the Sea Moon is inspired by Nova Scotia and also the 17th century British navy. And my new WIP fantasy book is set in and heavily inspired by Renaissance Venice.
Ooh...Venice and Renaissance. I'm in!
Tell me more about this work in progress.
As I mentioned, I’m currently writing the first book in my historical fantasy series, set in 15th century Venice. The premise is a paranormal assassin working for the rulers of the city; his first adventure is tracking down a shadowy sorcerer trying to corrupt the government. Book one is called Masks and Shadows and the series is The Obsidian Blade.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I’m sure this answer will get some gasps, but I do my own cover artwork. It isn’t as bad as it seems, as I do have some artistic background and know things like perspective and layout. I work with stock photos, combining them to make a representational image for the book and its genre. I think many indie writers think too literally when dealing with cover art and get confused as to what their covers should be. I try to design an overall theme for each book cover.
Mind you some of my earliest covers were horrendous, but I started back in the beginning of independent publishing where everyone was flying by the seat of their pants.
Wow, I have long admired your covers. Congratulations.
Guy Gavriel Kay, Neil Gaiman, Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Andy Peloquin. They are all brilliant in their own way and tend to write memorable characters.
Who would you choose to read your audiobook?
If I could have gotten one of them, I would have gone with actors Hugh Jackman or Ioan Gruffudd (who was the inspiration for Blackthorne). But I think Alyson Grauer who narrated the actual audiobook did an excellent job and it turned out great.
Ah...Horatio Hornblower. Yes, I'm a fan of his seafaring adventures too, plus he has a nice accent.
What’s your favourite pet?
I’m a cat person, although I currently don’t have a pet because of where I live (no pets allowed).
You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
I’d be Batman. You get a cool car, a cool cape and fight crime. Plus, you’re a millionaire. As long as I could avoid getting killed by the Joker I’d love it.
What’s your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Readers’ Lounge?
It’s a terrific group, and it’s been a wonderful experience as a member. I’ve been a bit quiet lately due to a busy schedule, but I try to lurk in the shadows when I can.
Favourite thing to cook: Soup
Silliest saying: Geez Louise and Aunt Matilda (don’t ask, it’s just something I say sometimes).
Best holiday spot: The seaside
Most played song: Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls
With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser? Plotter, mostly.
Do you prefer to read SciFi or fantasy: I like them both, but fantasy has the edge.
Best superpower: Flight
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: Travel to Ireland
Kasper: Well, it has been a real pleasure to learn more about you today, AF. Thanks so much for taking a ride on our Readers Lounge.
AF: Thanks for having me here.
Youtube book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cr7tSCeI0A&t=3s
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