In today's guest author interview we welcome S. C. Barrus to the hot seat, he's currently busy working on his debut novel 'Discovering Aberration', find out more below:
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi Michael, thanks for having me stop by your blog. My name is S.C. Barrus and I write strange and thrilling literary adventures. My latest work is my debut novel, a steampunk adventure/thriller called Discovering Aberration. It follows Freddy and Lumpen as they steal an ancient map from under the nose of a notorious gangster and set out to make the archaeological discovery of a lifetime. In this world, making an archaeological discovery is on of the quickest routes to fame and fortune, so as news of the map leaks, Freddy and Lumpen find themselves up against not only a psychopathic gang lord, but also rival archaeologists, scuttlers and scarlets.
But about midway through the story, upon reaching the island the map leads to, Freddy and Lumpen discover that their rivals are not their greatest enemy The island has it's own secrets which one by one send them into fits of violent insanity.
It's coming out in January and it's pre-order only price is .99. I'm really excited for it to come out in the new year.
What first inspired you to start writing?
There are really two books that first inspired me to write. When I was about twelve or so, my dad bought me a copy of Edgar Allen Poe's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination". I loved these scary short stories, especially "The Pit and the Pendulum". It was these stories that drew me into literature.
Years later when I was in high school I read "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk. Chuck's books really spoke to me then. After reading "Fight Club" I found out that Chuck had written a series of essays on writing, so I dived into them and began to realize that I could do this too. That's when I decided I really wanted to pursue a life as an author.
And what attracted you to steampunk?
The first thing that drew me into steampunk was the setting of a video game called Arcanum. It fused together steamworks and magic in this dark atmosphere that was always moving. I loved the themes of technology vs the natural world it presented as well as the aesthetic. I'd never seen anything like it and immediately wanted more.
Later I began to read some of the classic sci-fi novels which drew me in a little deeper, stories like "20,000 Leagues Under the Seas" and "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". It wasn't til later that I discovered the modern steampunk subgenre or the fashion or any of that. But really, I love it all.
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Hermann Hess. I have read and re-read his books for years now, especially "Steppenwolf", "Narcissus and Goldmund" and "The Glass Bead Game". His mind is fantastic. Reading his books literally changed the way I see the world, even changed the way I think.
It sounds goofy, but after reading "The Glass Bead Game" I felt like it had expanded my mind. The concept of that story is so simple, it follows the life of a man from birth to death. But within it is this whole realm of thought that forces you to dust off the corners of your brain and look at every thought from different angles.
If I had the opportunity I would love to spend the day with him.
What about your writing makes it stand out?
One of my goals while writing "Discovering Aberration" was to capture the classic style of writing Jules Verne employed so I could even further capture the atmosphere of the era in the writing style itself. There are not many other writers in the steampunk genre or otherwise that I know of who attempt to do this. It gives "Discovering Aberration" an extra sense of identity I think.
Where is your happy place?
Probably Malt and Vine. It's a little micro brew shop with a bar that has something like 15 rotating beers on tap. I like to go their, order a couple of beers, pull out my laptop and write for a few hours. Two beers and two hours writing at the computer is my vacation.
Which author do you most admire and why?
I would still have to say Hermann Hess again, but for the sake of not being lame, I'll throw in a few others I look up to.
There are tons of authors I admire, each for vastly different reasons. I love Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson because they write such entertaining adventures that suck you into their stories, but I also admire writers like Cormac McCarthy and F. Scott Fitzgerald because of their devotion to the craft of writing. Recently I read "Perdido Street Station" by China Mieville, and his pure creativity blew me away. Finally, I've been obsessed with William S. Burroughs for a while, especially his recordings. He has an excellent voice.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm still preparing "Discovering Aberration" for it's release. I finished drafting "Discovering Aberration" a few months ago and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund cover design and editing. My goal has been to keep it up to the standards of a traditionally published novel, and so far it looks like its right on track to do just that. Right now I'm in the final stages of editing, and that's been taking up all my time. After that, it's on to formatting and printing. Can't wait to feel my copy in my hands.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Mostly I've published short stories and essays in magazines. Currently I have one short available for purchase called "Midway Between Heaven and Hell" which you can find on all major ebook retailers (link points to amazon). "Discovering Aberration" will be my first novel release, and it's available for pre-order at iTunes, Kobo and Barnes and Noble.
I also recently complied a guide to self publishing called How to Self Publish a Book: A Newbie's A-Z Guide. It's huge, tons of information for people new to self publishing.
Finally, if readers want to learn more they can head over to my blog, Away and Away, or follow me on Google+ or Facebook.