Welcome to The Mysterious Stranger blog, Stuart Thaman.
"Indie Author Tuesday" is all about showcasing writing talent beyond the big publishing companies. However, while my identity is clouded in mystery, Thaman has already written several books, beloved by many. You can read more about Thaman's novels after the interview.
That experience got me thinking about my own future in writing. His humble beginnings motivated me to move from a hobby writer to someone who now attends 20+ conventions each year signing my books. Dalglish has also been the most influential writer as far as themes found in my own writing. I love his concepts of internal conflict and unusual characters. I try to incorporate those elements into my stories too.
Why should readers buy/read your book?
Everything I write has some sort of unique perspective. I've been an avid fiction reader for a decade and a half - I haven't read everything, but I have read enough of both the classics and modern fiction to know the tropes. I hate tropes. When it comes down to it, all tropes cannot be avoided, but the majority of them can be left out. To write a truly refreshing story in any speculative fiction genre, you need to avoid common tropes. In my fantasy series, I portray goblins in a very unique light.
For example: they are a hivemind, the goblin queen is incredibly intelligent (and also, strangely, not a goblin...), the goblin society is not hell-bent on destruction and chaos, goblins have sophisticated technology and culture, and one of my protagonists is a member of the goblin race. Not every fantasy writer treats goblins, (or orcs, dwarves, elves, gnomes, etc.) in the cookie-cutter fashion which evolved from Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons, but finding authors who break the mold entirely is a difficult task. I set out with each novel to break that mold. I want to shatter it. I made humans the minority in my fantasy world. I made a half-orc outwit a city of humans. I created a goblin queen more intelligent than any other being in the known world. That kind of uniqueness sets my books apart from almost everything else on the market. When a reader picks up one of my books, I expect them to have certain assumptions already set in their mind from reading other authors.
My goal is that once they finish the first quarter of one of my books, their mental barriers will have been eradicated. I want readers to open their own creativity while they read, and a refreshing story in a familiar genre is a great way to begin that process. When writers limit themselves to age-old tropes, especially in fantasy, they limit their own creativity. Fantasy is a genre specifically existing to promote creativity, not limit it.
There is a great quote from Dwight Eisenhower which guides a lot of my writing process: "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." That's kind of how I approach a novel. I plan quite a bit. I have an entire notebook dedicated to various book and story outlines with notes scribbled all over it. That notebook is invaluable when it comes to the first few chapters of my stories. After I get into the meat of writing, I let the characters go where they will and simply fill in the details. I try to steer them back on course every now and then, but they control the story for the most part.
A mysterious stranger approaches and offers you one book to read, unpublished in our universe but published in another alternate universe. Which book would you choose and why?
I would probably have to request a 7th Dune novel by Frank Herbert. I loved the Dune series and I have read a few of the other books published by Frank Herbert's children (based on his pre-death notes), but none of them have the same feel. Frank Herbert had one of the best writing styles I have ever read. I'd love to follow the Dune saga for another 10 or 20 books.
Thanks once again, Stuart Thaman, for the interview! If you'd like to know more about Stuart Thaman, please visit the link below. You can also read a short blurb of the book.