Wednesday, May 4, 2011

C. L. Stegall - Book Review, Author Interview

PhotobucketAlexis Rain is not your average high school girl preparing for college. She has spent her entire life sheltered from the truth of who she really is: a child of mythological lineage.

When her mother is taken from her without warning, Alexis is suddenly thrown into a whirlwind world of danger and secret agendas, of demigods and deities. When a self-righteous deity decides that Alexis is his best hope for retrieving an ancient artifact, she finds herself on the self-discovery journey of a lifetime, tracking a killer and a kidnapper.

With her best friend Keats in tow, she sets off to make her own destiny. Her path will take her to London, Dagestan and Hollywood. She will have to come to grips with who she truly is, and just what she might be capable of, if she wants to survive long enough to save the one person in the world for whom she cares the most.

The Weight Of Night is a tense, rousing and sometimes humorous coming of age tale involving car crashes, insurgents, walking canes and ancient Greek gods.

Review: The Weight Of Night
C. L. Stegall

From the beginning this book sucks you in. The characters are relatable, and well formed. It has the Greek Mythology that I love so much but only find with a handful of authors. What was even more nice is that this book took the Greek Myth to a new playing field. C. L. Stegall did not just do the basic gods. Nope. We are talking gods, demigods, and even deities. So Thumbs up on the originality! The writing style, plot/storyline, and even the pace, flowed easy, and seamlessly. The world that this story was built, is just… Wow! It was such an awesome read and I do recommend that you grab this book up.

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Interview Questions

Can you tell us a little about yourself?  

Growing up in the countryside of North Carolina, my one desire was to get out into the world. I joined the army at 17 and spent most of the next ten years as a linguist for Military Intelligence. After more than twenty-five years of travels, I've settled in Dallas, but will always call San Diego home. I'm owned by my irrepressible Wife and two prissy dogs.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

When I was a freshman in high school, we had a writing assignment in Spanish class. I think it was the first A+ I ever received and the teacher was kind enough to inform me I had a talent for storytelling. That was really the beginning.

What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process? 

Even after having read quite a bit about it, I was astounded at just how difficult it is to be traditionally published. I had published poetry early on, but fiction turned out to be a different story, so to speak. Eventually, I began the process of learning the self-publishing route, the good the bad and the just wrong ways. Hopefully, I've stepped up my game enough that I can do everything myself in the most professional manner possible. To assist in that effort, I co-founded Dark Red Press, an independent author co-op.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula? 

Honestly, it's different for every story. Sometimes I just sit down and begin pecking at the keys and channel some tale that has been hiding in my brain; other times, I outline like a madman. The formula, if you want to call it such, that I am using lately is to use a snowflake method, tweaked to my own needs. I jot down the basic premise; I detail out the theme; I outline with single sentences the three acts that server as the foundation to the story. From there? I wing it.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing? 

As a writer, the most basic prerequisite is to be a voracious reader. Learn from those books and stories that draw you in and with which you connect. The most essential element to any good story, I feel, is a good strong set of relatable characters. If you can read a character and feel like you know them, could hang out them - or, in some cases, be very afraid of them - then those are the ones that stick with you. A weak plot can be buoyed by a strong set of characters. It is much more difficult to pull a story off with the opposite being true.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I've been terribly busy of late. I've been working diligently to get Dark Red Press off the ground and I have several writing projects close at hand. My next release will be "Harder vs Stone", which is the story of two people from opposing worlds on a collision course with love and death. Later this year I will also release the first novella in my "Valence Of Infinity" series, as well as working on the next novel in the Progeny series.

In Twitter Fashion use140 characters or less, sum The Weight Of Night for us. 

A young girl comes of age when thrust into a dangerous world of gods and demigods she never knew existed, in order to save the one she loves.

How did you come up with a story that was such a whirl wind of events? 

Greek mythology is rife with stories, characters and events worthy of plumbing for material. When I began the tale it was much more linear than it eventually became. Lots and lots of research led me to see how Alexis' path might become more convoluted and dangerous based upon the mythology from which my tale was born. I knew that Alexis had lived a sheltered life up until the time her mother died, and from there she would need to grow (rapidly) in her experience and maturity if she was to survive and accomplish the goals set before her.'s fun!   

How long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way? 

I first wrote the short story, upon which the novel is based, seven years ago. I worked on it for two or three years, but once I had the final idea and plot, I wrote it from start to finish over the course of 2010, January to November. I was blessed to not once encounter any form of stumbling block along the way. (I had a lot of motivation and writer's antagonism from my friends and fellow authors, John J Smith and Brian Fatah Steel.)

Will we be seeing a following book to this stories? 

Absolutely. I've been getting that question a lot lately. yes, "Red Tome' is the next in the series and it will be published in Spring 2012.

How did you come up with the character Alexis

Alexis is a combination of quite a few women I've known, not the least of which is my Wife, Mona. I wanted to write the character as a bit of a know-it-all, but someone who had a huge level of self-esteem and confidence.  Maybe even too much. Alexis is her own person, no doubt. And, even though she can sometimes be a bit arrogant and stubborn, she has a heart of gold and that is something that gives greater weight to her tale.

I always must ask, If you could pick one actress to portray Alexis on the big screen who would it be and why? 

Oh, I've pondered that myself on occasion. Sometimes I see Blake Lively, with lighter hair, as Alexis. Other times I see Christine Bailey as Alexis, or Helena Mattson with her striking blue eyes. I think Blake could pull off the job of portraying a demigod best, however.


Was there anything you find particularly challenging when writing this book? 

Initially, the toughest thing was that, in the first draft that I sent out to readers, the one piece of commentary I received was that Keats was unlikeable. He was, at first, more shy and aloof.  After I sat down and thought long and hard about how he would need to serve as Alexis' conscience in certain instances, I rewrote him to how he is in the novel. (I've been told by several folks that he is now their favorite character!)

What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book? 

Well, since I designed the cover (and everything else about the book), I was thrilled! I did have a bit of help from Brian Fatah Steele, who helped with the layout and typography. Better yet, when my Wife saw it, she wanted to print out a poster version to hang on the wall. That was all I need in the form of a thumbs up!

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tears_of_fire said...

This book sounds interesting. I am going to have to add it to my ever growing list of to be read books. :)

Read Between the Lines said...

I love greek myth and this books sounds awesome will go on my TBR pile.

Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

Great interview!

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