Independent Author Spotlight: A.F. Stewart

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Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
I am from Nova Scotia Canada, and I write dark fantasy and horror. My latest release is Renegades of the Lost Sea, the final book in my dark epic fantasy series Saga of the Outer Islands. The series is all about gods and monsters, as well as a scheming Crow, ghosts, and in the third book, evil pirates. Plus, the main character’s mother shows up in book three, and she happens to be Death.

Let’s face it, there are tons of fantasy books out there, and more are released every day. Why should someone take a look at yours?
Well, my main character, Rafe Morrow, is a god who commands a sailing ship, rescues ghosts from sea monsters, and some of his sisters kind of want him dead. His life is being manipulated by a creature called the Nightmare Crow and he’s finding out all these big family secrets. Plus Rafe has parental issues, there are vicious sociopathic pirates and a broken hearted death goddess. All wrapped up in your run-of-the-mill impending doom.

What are the most prominent influences on your writing? How do you incorporate those influences without being derivative?
Mythology and folklore are my most prominent influences and they are very easy to play with to incorporate variations, twists and other strange things. It is a wide field to delve into for ideas with room to still make it your own.

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What are the greatest difficulties facing you as an independent author?
The greatest difficulty is reaching an audience. There are so many talented authors out there with great books, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Some days it seems like it’s more marketing than writing.

How much does your audience’s expectations factor into what you write? Does this ever cause you to hold back from experimenting?
The only audience expectation I try to meet is writing a good story. Anyone who has read my books or stories knows I don’t shy away from the weird or from unusual formats. Chronicles of the Undead is an epistolary novella and Ruined City is a book of twelve interconnected short stories.

Name one newer and one older book you have read and enjoyed recently. (“Newer” meaning from the past year or so, and “older” meaning written before 1980.)
I’m in the middle of reading Andy Peloquin’s Trial of Stone which is book one of his Heirs of Destiny series and that came out this year. Most of the stuff I’ve been reading lately is from independent presses and authors, so I don’t have any pre-1980 stuff in my recent lists, but I love Ray Bradbury’s work.

Any final words?
I just like to thank you for the opportunity to do the interview, and to thank my readers for supporting me and my books. It is a privilege to be able to write and, I hope, entertain people.

Check out A.F. Stewart’s website here.