Author Stephen Herfst returns to the blog today for a ‘proper’ interview – let’s say “Hello!” :)
Hi Stephen, welcome back to Aside from Writing, thanks for joining us for an interview. So can you tell us a little about yourself, how you came to be an author?
Thank you for taking the time to read and review my book – I am always happy when someone reads and enjoys my story.
Well, I had an interesting childhood, having lived in Germany, South Africa, Holland, England and Australia. Each place I travelled to has in some way contributed to what I am today. I work in IT as a software engineer and, although you wouldn’t think it is very creative, it has put me in good stead. My inspiration to become an author came to me when I was reflecting on what I really wanted to do. It all began when I remembered the sports articles I wrote for my company’s soccer team and how they were well received. From there, I decided that I would work at becoming a successful author (still working on it).
We recently read and reviewed your book Zed (click here to see the review). It’s an interesting take on the zombie genre – what made you want to write this story?
Having watched an episode or two of The Walking Dead, and being bored to tears, I decided that the zombie genre needed a change. And that was how Zed came to be.
I wanted a story that would twist the traditional zombie genre and gave a different perspective to the well-worn stumbled path set out by George Romero. I wanted something that was humorous, funny and not gory – it was challenge to me to write a story that would appeal to the general public as well as the die-hard zombie fans.
What do you find are the best parts of being a writer?
The best part is being able to write the stories that you want to see or read. Being able to write your vision for a story and change things until you are one-hundred-percent happy is wonderful. It definitely appeals to my OCD!
And the worst…?
Translating your thoughts into a coherent and entertaining story can be quite harrowing! Even though I only took about a month to write the first book, it felt like a long time. I cannot visualize writing one story for a year or more – I think I would go insane!
What aspects of your ‘normal’ life or ‘day job’ do you find has helped you in your writing?
I find being able to divide my mind into a logical path and a creative path helps me. I have separated each path and I think clearer, I imagine better, my writing flows better. There is nothing quite like approaching a problem scientifically to gain a creative solution, strange as that may be.
What’s an ideal day for you – and how do you fit your writing into that?
An ideal day for me is to listen to good music while watching TV and writing while my laptop rests precariously on my lap. My writing environment is quite organic and I believe that my writing reflects that as well.
Any advice for people who have an interest in creative writing?
I would definitely recommend starting a blog, writing a novel without understanding the rules and being willing to say ‘I am wrong’ and being willing to go back on your hard-written writing and delete. The ‘I am wrong’ bit is the hardest part to do, let me tell you!
So – what else do you have planned for 2012?
I plan to write the remaining two books over the next six months (or less) – I have started writing the second book and it is going well. The story arch is better realized than the first and the new characters I am/will introduce are working well within the world I have created.
If you could be a character from any book – who would it be and why?
I would love to be Paul Atreides from Dune (by Frank Herbert). Where he changes from a young prince into the messiah controls the spice thanks, in part, to his evolution into the Kwisatz Haderach. It is a very heavy book but a wonderful tale.
Favourite fictional world – where would you live?
I would love to live in Xanth by Piers Anthony. I think his world would be lovely to work through all the challenges and experience all the cheesy puns first hand while I am on a quest to Save the Princess (like a good hero should).
Best super-evil baddie?
Even though Smeagol isn’t really a baddie, I would have to pick him – I always found him creepy. The things that weren’t written about him painted him far more eerily than he the way he ever was shown in The Lord of the Ring films.
Thank-you for taking time to talk to us today!
The story revolves around a teenage girl’s promises to save Zed from the human hordes.
Zed is not your typical zombie. He is cursed with the affliction of thought … although he tries to make the best of a bad situation. The goals for his unrest are simple: to improve his stride, to taste a lightly-seared pork loin once again and avoid Activists at all costs.
His life was predictable, controlled and good until chaos crashed the party. In just one day his world is destroyed and his ability to survive is tested. Would he be able to get through this in one piece? And would he somehow be able to survive the unstoppable force that goes by the name of Chase?
Want to know more? Check out the links!