A chat with Sam Stephens (Gosford, Central Coast)

Jimmy Cain SeriesBeneath the Dark IceThe InterrogatorHornsMaelstrom

I recently met emerging novelist and regular AusLit columnist Sam Stephens for coffee and donuts at Hole in One in Gosford on the Central Coast (between Sydney and Newcastle).

You can read and interview with Sam Stephens here.

Sam enjoys good action/adventure/thriller fiction and some horror, and that’s the direction he is going with his own fiction.

We discussed action/adventure/thriller novels, including those by some of Sam’s favourite authors, Greig Beck and JJ Cooper, as well as those of some Sam is relatively new to, such as Tony Park and David Rollins, and those of some big name international authors like Stephen King and Lee Child. We also discussed Sam’s own thriller novel in progress. Set in the US, it is about a main character Jimmy Cain, a covert operative faced with someone messing with his family. The by-line reads: “What would you do to protect your family?” (I look forward to the completion of the Jimmy Cain manuscript later this year.) Sam also told me about the novels of Stephen King’s son, who writes under the name Joe Hill.

We discussed some trends in vampire and angel fiction, with Sam being familiar with some of the darker manifestations.

We talked about collaborative writing and group writing projects. Sam has been part of a collaborative writing project for the chain thriller Airborne (available as a free PDF here), involving 28 writers from Australia co-ordinating their efforts online with the help of an editor from Random House to produce a collaboratively written novel. International bestselling author James Patterson also wrote the first and last chapter. We discussed an upcoming AusLit project to put together writing teams to each write a fiction book series for commercial publication using a similar process to the way many TV series are written. We also discussed an AusLit collaborative writing project which has been in development with a number of Australian authors, with a different author writing a chapter each month, for release in November this year.

We discussed fiction writing on the Central Coast and that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of it going on. Sam told me about the writing of Central Coast thriller novelist Michael MacConnell. (If you’re a published author, aspiring to get your fiction published or part of a fiction writing group on the Central Coast, feel free to comment below or email auslit@hotmail.com to introduce yourself.)

We discussed the challenges of becoming a full time fiction writer; writing the first novel for publication, getting a public profile as a fiction writer, and getting the first novel published (hopefully in a way that will bring in enough income to be a full time writer long enough to write the second novel).

We also discussed the work of The Australian Literature Review’s two recommended charities, Worldreader.org and Room to Read, and the practical benefits of their work around the world helping children with literacy an education.

Having won two AusLit writing competitions and soon to be published in the charity anthology (a short story called Bobby West) and the Australian anthology (a short story called Dead of the Night), the next big step for Sam is a commercially published novel.

More on Sam Stephens and his fiction can be found at www.samstephens.com.

Jimmy Cain SeriesBeneath the Dark IceThe InterrogatorHornsMaelstrom

The Australian Literature Review

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