S.A. Stovall on Writing Influences, Characters Traits and her story ‘Thirty-One Days and Legos (Ranger Station Haven #2) (guest blog)

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Thirty-One Days and Legos (Ranger Station Haven #2) by S.A. Stovall
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press  and Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.A. Stovall here today.  Welcome, S.A., and thanks for answering our author questions!

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with S.A. Stovall

 

Hello Internet! It’s me, SA Stovall, here to have an interview with the great STaRW team! Happy holidays, and remember to check out my romantic Christmas novella, Thirty-One Days and Legos!

What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I’m not sure what you mean by “wild” but if that means “craziest thing” then I once wrote a scene were a girl cuts her own heart out with a jagged dagger. It was a high fantasy novel, and the girl was immortal (so she wasn’t killing herself) but the pain was real, and the symbology was great.

I’m a lover of adventure and epic moments, so I could list a million instances, but that one still takes the cake as the wildest.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Two people played a major role in influences me as teenager: Stephen King and Robert A. Heinlein. I loved that Stephen King wrote in so many genres and with so many characters. My favorite parts of stories are the characters themselves, and while King seems to have a stock of similar character architypes that shows up in most of his books, I still love them all.

Heinlein, on the other hand, explored Mars and beyond, widening my imagination to places beyond Earth. He wove philosophy perfectly into his narrative, and I loved every instance. His characters were also very compelling—Jubal Hershaw is still my favorite.

I want to write memorable characters, like both King and Heinlein. I also want to write in every genre, and explore places far beyond Earth, be it fantasy or Alpha Centauri.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I find self-control, intelligence, and honor to be interesting traits. And I write them all the time into my characters! I love subplots of people trying to rein in bad habits (or their temper), and intelligent characters are among my favorite (Jubal Hershaw is a super genius lawyer, basically).

I know honorable characters aren’t always people’s favorite, but I think it takes a lot of stones to know what’s right and stick to it, even if it’s to their detriment. I admire that trait, so a lot of heroes are honorable people.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes, several times. My latest novel, about a space mercenary, basically, was put on hold for quite some time. At first I thought I’d never get it to work, but now that it flows, I couldn’t be happier with it.

I’m sure you’ll see it sometime in the future! Stay tuned!

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

A lot of scenes and character interactions that happen in my novels have taken place in real life. I’ve had relationships, some unconventional, and I’ve lived in both terrible poverty and comfortable environments. I like rehashing some of the feelings I had in those moments—finding the right words is almost cathartic. Some memories are painful, but they help me write the scene from a genuine place.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes. Like I said, I read a lot of King and Heinlein, but I also remember the things I looked for when I was searching for books. I try to appease Teenage-Me when I pick plots and characters for books. “What would I want to read?” I ask. It’s helped out in more ways than one. More adventure! More memorable characters! More romance! More rivalries!

Great stuff.

What’s next for you as an author?

Thirty-One Days and Legos (a feel-good Christmas novella) released Dec. 11 and it’s the sequel to Ranger Station Haven! After that, I have Vice Enforcer, sequel to Vice City (my debut novel) and its more action-adventure with some m/m romance! Vice Enforcer releases April 3rd – I enjoyed writing both of them, so I’m super excited to share them with the world.

Keep an eye out for my next few stories! I hope to keep them coming throughout the years!

 

Blurb for Thirty-One Days and Legos

Park rangers Carter and Owen Williams have decided to expand their family and adopt two brothers—boys they rescued a year before when they tried to escape the foster system and flee to Canada. After completing their parenting classes, Carter, a reserved man who enjoys the simple life, swears he’ll be the best father possible. His patience is tested, however, when one brother adopts a cat out of the snowy Voyageurs National Park and the other brother refuses to talk about what’s bothering him.

Owen wants to make sure their first Christmas together is a special one, and he decides all of December should be a celebration. He has an activity planned for each of the thirty-one days, but none of them seem to go off without a hitch. The cat has fleas, the boys need to attend a court hearing, and Carter is more than a little overwhelmed.

But Carter is 100 percent determined to make his new family work. He just has no idea how….

About the Author

S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.

You can contact her at the following addresses.

Twitter: @GameOverStation

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

SA Stovall on Writing, Books and her novel Vice City (author interview)

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Vice City (Vice City #1) by S.A. Stovall
DSP Publications
Cover art by Aaron Anderson

BUY LINKS FOR VICE CITY

DSP Publications: https://tinyurl.com/ycumb5d2
Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/yagll39f
Barnes & Noble:
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuowhk
Google Play:
https://tinyurl.com/yajyrwt9
Kobo:
https://tinyurl.com/ycu3wnl6

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.A. Stovall here on tour for her debut novel, Vice City.  Welcome, S.A.!

 

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with SA Stovall~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

13%

Nah, I’m joshing.

For the most part, I try not to put a lot of myself into a character. I’ve never written a character that was an author, gamer, or attorney (the three life roles I identify with) and I have a lot of odd mannerisms that I never write into my stories (saying kooky things, living a hermit lifestyle, talking to myself, etc.).

That being said, I use my life experiences to shape characters, and sometimes an odd phrase of mine will slip through. 

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue, or should I say Gary Stu, and using your own experiences to create a character?

No, not really.

From my understanding, a Mary Sue/Gary Stu character is a self-insert that lacks flaws, is admired by their peers, and is often the key to solving the story’s dilemma (either by being the chosen one, or by being soooo much smarter than the villain, you guys).

Like I said above, I try not to write myself as a character, but if I did, I would need to write several flaws. I’m somewhat awkward, a little too literal, and if I don’t eat something after I wake up, I tend to get hangry (hungry + angry).  Not the Mary Sue type.

And I imagine that’s the same with everyone. Everyone has flaws. If an author is using their own experiences (honestly) there’s no way they can avoid their flaws, which would defeat the definition of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Even if I make up my own world and cultures, I still end up doing a lot of research. I like my fantasy/speculative fiction to carry some real-world parallels. Additionally, I’m not an expert on everything (though that would be cool) and I tend to read a fair deal of information, even for minor scenes, just to make sure I get them accurate.

That being said, research isn’t all parties and confetti. It’s like editing—I’ve got to do it, no matter how soul-draining it can be. I know it’s all worth it in the end, however. I can be proud of the finished product, and that’s what matters.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

The first book I read and fell in love with was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. It sparked my imagination like no other books had—to this day I remember the impact it had on my thoughts.

After that, I read a ton of fantasy and science fiction, especially anything with animals (Rats of NIMH, Watership Down, Plague Dogs) or with darker themes and characters (Black Jewels Trilogy, Dune, Ender’s Game, 1984).

I would definitely say these novels have an influence on my work. I love dark, gritty themes, and one day I’ll write my own animal novel, just you wait and see!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I prefer Happily Ever After. That being said, I also like a few stories that end in straight tragedy, but those two aren’t as dissimilar as some might think.

I like definitive endings. It’s good, or it’s bad, I don’t want wonder.

Happy For Now endings are filled with uncertainty. Will the future be okay? Will it all fall apart? I don’t want to think about that. I like knowing!

How do you choose your covers?  (Curious on my part)

Well, my publisher was gracious enough to hire an artist, and I sent said artist a written out description of what would be my ideal cover. Then the artist got back to me with a few mock-ups.

When I look at the mock-ups, I go with my first gut reaction. Did I like it? Did I trust it? Then I focus in on the details. What’s going on here? Is it clear? Does it get the tone across?

The cover for my novel, Vice City, captures the tone to a T. It’s dark, atmospheric, and it’s set in a gritty cityscape. I fear it may scare people away, in all seriousness, but I want people to know Vice City is a noir-style thriller, not a light-n-fluffy crime drama.

What’s next for you as an author?

Lots and lots! The sequel to Vice City, titled Vice Enforcer, is already set for publication April 2018. Additionally, I have several novels with my agent, and three more in the works. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my adoring fans (*waves to the two people on twitter* – Vice City is my debut novel – doesn’t mean I can’t pretend).

BLURB FOR VICE CITY

After twenty years as an enforcer for the Vice family mob, Nicholas Pierce shouldn’t bat an eye at seeing a guy get worked over and tossed in the river. But there’s something about the suspected police mole, Miles, that has Pierce second-guessing himself. The kid is just trying to look out for his brother any way he knows how, and the altruistic motive sparks an uncharacteristic act of mercy that involves Pierce taking Miles under his wing.

Miles wants to repay Pierce for saving his life. Pierce shouldn’t see him as anything but a convenient hookup… and he sure as hell shouldn’t get involved in Miles’s doomed quest to get his brother out of a rival street gang. He shouldn’t do a lot of things, but life on the streets isn’t about following the rules. Besides, he’s sick of being abused by the Vice family, especially Mr. Vice and his power-hungry goon of a son, who treats his underlings like playthings.

So Pierce does the absolute last thing he should do if he wants to keep breathing—he leaves the Vice family in the middle of a turf war.

AUTHOR BIO

S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.

You can contact her at the following addresses.

Twitter: @GameOverStation

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com

An Alisa Release Day Review: The Dusk Parlor (World of Love) by S.A. Stovall

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Former soldier Hugh Harris is a “hāfu”—half-Japanese, half-American—and, after his father’s death, he returns to Kobe, Japan, in order to connect with his mother and her family. Confused and feeling out of place, Hugh finds work as a waiter at an upscale nightclub. The other employees, an odd and eclectic bunch, quickly make him feel at home, especially the bartender, Ren, and the club host, Kaito.

 

But the tranquility doesn’t last forever. As Hugh gets deeper into his relationships with both men, he finds they may have dubious connections with the yakuza in town… and when the local street leaders send their enforcers to the Dusk Parlor, Hugh, Ren, and Kaito may be in for a storm of trouble.

 

This was a nice story and the author did a pretty good job of explaining the thought process of those in Japan but I was still with Hugh in being frustrated in how those around him were thinking.  Hugh and his mother have just moved to Japan after his father’s death and he is having a hard time finding work and people who won’t judge him based on his heritage.  When Ren and Kaito give him the opportunity to work at the Dusk Parlor he is determined to show that he can be just as good as everyone there.

 

Ren is a complete flirt from the get go but we soon learn that Kaito and him have a secret little relationship going.  When Hugh discovers this he can’t help but desire them both together.  We see everything through Hugh’s eyes which makes understanding him pretty easy but it’s harder to really understand what the others are thinking as many in that culture are closed off.  There is a nice HFN ending with Hugh, Ren and Kaito and I can’t help but hope that Hugh will continue to bring Kaito out of his shell.

 

Cover art by Brooke Albrecht is a great and gives a wonderful visual of Hugh.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 86 pages

Published: May 3, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635333978

Edition Language: English

Series: A World of Love Story

A VVivacious Advent Calendar Review: Ranger Station Haven (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by S.A. Stovall

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
ranger-station-haven-by-s-a-stovallCarter is a regular Christmas grump while Owen is the polar opposite. They are both federal park rangers who are spending their Christmas in the Voyageurs National Park Ranger Station when they get a call informing them about six children who are out in the woods with a storm headed their way.
 
As Carter and Owen rescue the kids, Owen gets badly injured. This Christmas is definitely not looking up for Owen but looks like the kids they rescued might just spread around enough holiday cheer to convince even Carter to join in on Christmas.
 
I liked this story. It was an established couple romance and I loved the familiarity and warmth of love these two characters shared. Also Owen and Carter took shape almost instantaneously making this story very appealing. This story focuses on Owen and Carter and sees them embark on a new journey in their life.
 
This story was a pretty unique Christmas story. I loved how Owen and Carter end up celebrating their Christmas with Justin, Casey, Crystal, Melissa, Luke and Edmund. I loved the kids, they were just so precious.
 
I adored Carter, the story is from his perspective and I loved how he left his grouchiness behind to make Christmas special and truly memorable for the kids and Owen.
 
This is a nice warm holiday read with a bit of twist what with a rescue operation on Christmas Eve followed by a very special Christmas morning.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. I loved the cover.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
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ebook, 42 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331927 (ISBN13: 9781635331929)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug