Hello one and all! How are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! It’s so great to be with all of you again. Welcome back to my writing blog page where I try to share whatever I think may interest you. Today I interview another fellow author. I love meeting other authors and promoting them. It's so much fun. Why talk about myself when there are so many wonderful authors out there and everywhere waiting to share with us.
With me this time is author Steven aka S. B. Redstone as he discusses writing and his latest release, Stardust Dreams, which was released on June 1, 2014 in both paperback and e-book.
Steve began his career, after graduating from Hunter College, as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services, Protective Services, investigating the horrors of the abuse and neglect of children. After attaining master’s degrees in Social Work and School Psychology, and then completing a post-graduate education in Psychoanalytic Therapy, he became a School Psychologist in the New York City Department of Education and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in his private therapy practice on Long Island. treating adults, adolescents, children, and couples. Always striving to improve his understanding of human nature, he researched and then wrote a personal improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors and Winning, which offers remarkable insights into behavior, societal institutions, and relationships. Steven has written articles on the web concerning human nature, relationships and the abuses of societal institutions, done lectures, and appeared on radio shows.
Always having a vivid imagination and a desire to write fiction, he developed his writing skills by becoming a successful writer of short stories, all of which have been published on the web or in print. In the beginning, Stephen King and Peter Straub were Steven's favorite authors and he wrote in their graphic styles. However, as an expert in human psychology, he has been able to develop characters from the dark side of human nature where his villains don’t aspire for happiness through personal achievement, but rather from their demented narcissistic schemes. Many of Steven's characters have been taken from his clinical experiences.
Welcome Steve and thanks for joining us here. You’ve lead such a fascinating life. Shall we begin to learn more about you and your writing?
SJ: From your debut novel in a mystery thriller with A Sinister Obsession to a romance with science fiction elements with Stardust Dreams, why the change in genres? Was it difficult for you transition from one to another?
Redstone: My writing interest began with short stories, in the horror genre as it was fun to write. Blood curdling scenes, language and sentences, fascinating evil characters, all action. They were published in online magazines and I was thrilled. A Sinister Obsession began as a horror novel, but I seriously toned down the violence and it into a mystery thriller. In the novel, there is a sub-genre, my female detective has a paranormal ability that is terrific to solve crimes, but a disaster to her social life. The social recluse falls in love with another detective and sparks fly! With all the violence in the world, I lost interest in creating more. Learning that seniors read a great deal and like adventure and romance, a story came into my head about a great adventure where the main characters seek immortality and their dreams. Besides, I love romance. But, I was scared to death making the change, so before I put a word on the computer screen I must have read twenty romance novels to learn and design a style that would work for me. The transition was hard and I became quite insecure. But, to know me, I never give up on anything I do. Lastly, it’s far easier to create emotional impact with violence than love. Romance is a warm, glowing aura between lovers.
SJ: Obviously your background in Social Service has to play a role in your stories. Can you briefly tell us how that works for us? Was one genre easier for you to write than another?
Redstone: Psychology and social issues are my stories. I can’t separate my therapeutic self from my creative self. And that was good and bad in my private practice. The kids I treated couldn’t wait to come and see me and some adult patients imagined they came to be entertained. As a Clinical Social Worker and School Psychologist, post-graduate trained therapist, and author of a psychology book on human nature and relationships, those educational experiences have enabled me to create honest and realistic characters that readers can identify with. Some characters are past patients. Like Dickens, social issues play a major role in my stories. I thrive on creating powerful emotional impact. In a mystery thriller, it’s the killer’s mind and the dread created by his or her narcissism. In romance, the emotional impact is in the lover’s interactions. Each genre is hard work to achieve my goals, they’re just different.
SJ: What was your inspiration for your current release, Stardust Dreams? Can you tell us a little bit of how the idea came about?
Redstone: As I said, I was tired of writing violence. When I realized seniors, my world now, read I did some research. Having enjoyed the romance between Detective Aubrey McKenzie and Detective Joshua Diamond in A Sinister Obsession, instead of writing a sequel, I decided to write a romance. I have always loved romance films, watching them over and over again. Add another facet to me, I love science, especially astronomy. The whole world wants to know if life exists on alien worlds. Of course it does. That’s why there’s a universe. If not for intelligent life, what’s the point of it being here? I have ten stories in my head about friendly aliens. So, I put a mixture of what seniors care about death, health, love, and attaining their dreams. And so, Lance Forrester and Sage Saint Charles seek theirs in Stardust Dreams.
SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?
Redstone: Let me start with the least. Selling myself and my work. No choice. If I don’t put myself out there, and spend hours doing it, no one will find my books. What do I love the most? Creating unique and meaningful stories. Creating great characters. And creating great sentences. Hearing honest feedback from readers. Marketing does have a great plus, I interact with so many fellow writers from around the world. Wow! From the time I first put a sentence on paper, I never interacted with another writer. It wasn’t my world. And readers? I never interacted with readers either. To be honest, before I was published, few people even knew I wrote.
SJ: What writer inspired you most and how?
Redstone: To name just a few: Stephen King was an inspiration as his emotional impact with words were terrific. Dickens in terms of social issues. And Shakespeare for his style of presenting a powerful conflict and working it through to the end. However, my inspiration to write didn’t come from them. My inspiration came from films. I was a fanatic TV watcher and movie goer since childhood. From silent films, through the 30’s, 40’s, and so on. The visual impact stirred my imagination. It didn’t matter if it was a cowboy film, musical, drama, comedy, and science fiction, I loved them all. I loved the passionate dialogue. I still do. And when I was finally free of writing term papers, I began to put my imagination on paper. My work exemplifies the 1940’s style of dialogue.
SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Redstone: Don’t bore your readers. Don’t be mundane. Trite. Confusing. Readers grab a book. They read a page or two. You didn’t hook them. Book is tossed aside. At least that’s what my wife does and so do I. I believe in emotional impact. It’s in my art and it’s in my life. Passion fuels my work. And to achieve this, the writing and the story have to drive home your passion. I grab the attention of the reader on the first paragraph and I don’t let go. Never let them go.
SJ: In closing, Steve, what is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?
Redstone: I’m having a “senior moment”. There are so many. I really don’t have a favorite that stands above all others. It’s in genre. Horror is Stephen King’s Carrie. Romance is Love Story by Erich Segal. Science Fiction is Alien. Comedy is Portnoy’s Complaint.
Thank you, Steve for allowing use to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you about your writing. Keep writing. Readers, take note you may purchase a copy of Stardust Dreams or any of his books at on-line book stores and direct from his publisher available as both an e-book and paperback.
But before we go, it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t share the synopsis for Stardust Dreams:
Lance Forrester is a dreamer. After a celebrated career as an astronaut and engineer, he and a friend built a secret spacecraft to seek their destinies in the stars. But, his friend died. Now that Lance has terminal cancer, he hopes to convince Sage who he hasn’t seen since high school, to join him on his quest to reach an advanced alien civilization and immortality.
Sage Saint Charles lived a wild and notorious life in Hollywood before she descended into obscurity as a social recluse. Sage has regrets, more regrets than a person should have. When her drowsy eyes open, in hospice care, an unfamiliar old man is standing at her bedside.
Stardust Dreams is a love story. This unique tale of hope and faith is so realistic you just might feel you’ve gone along on their madcap adventure into the galaxy. Unfortunately, true life is not a child’s fairy tale. If Lance and Sage are to achieve their happiness, they must first overcome the emotional scars of their pasts. With every turn of the page, you’ll delight in the fascination and mystery of unknown worlds and destinies.
Interested? Then here’s an excerpt from Stardust Dreams. Read on and enjoy:
I knew that the truth in my heart reflected in my old, weary eyes. “Yes, I do. Look, I’m no slick-talking salesman, as you can see. I’m just a scientist and engineer, but I truly believe there is a statistical probability of success. But even if I’m wrong, and our voyage ends up to be pointless, so what? Think of the fun you’ll have. Imagine the excitement and wonders of space travel that come before our long sleep.” I paused to dramatize my resolve and let a burst of quixotic energy erupt from me. “Cherish the adventure!”
It wasn’t her fears that I was battling against, but a lifetime of distrust. My confidence in a successful mission collapsed. “Of course, you have no reason to believe a word of what I’ve told you. You don’t really know me, except through my noted accomplishments. But I can’t disappoint you because I’m only offering friendship and hope.” I pushed my point harder. “Sure, we can die here on Earth. We can die in space. Or we can awaken on a remote and caring world that saves us! We are the captains of our fate, not the Grim Reaper—yet!”
Fascinated like I was? Want to read more? Here’s the purchase links for your convenience:
For more about Steve and his writing, remember to check out his website at:
Or feel free to connect with him on social media:
Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month...every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference.
S. J. Francis
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al.
In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Coming soon from Black Opal Books.
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