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Continuing our interview series leading up to the release of Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, please welcome Steven H. Wilson. Steve not only has two stories in our collection, but is also our publisher at Firebringer Press.
Steve created the Mark Time and Parsec Award-winning podcast series The Arbiter Chronicles, as well as authoring Taken Liberty and several other novels and novellas set in the Arbiters universe. His other works include the novel Peace Lord of the Red Planet, short stories for Crazy 8 Press’s ReDeus series, and contributions to Sequart Press’s Star Wars essay collections. He has written for DC Comics and Starlog, and is publisher for Firebringer Press, whose seventh and latest book, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, collects tales of science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal by Mid-Atlantic authors.
We’re thrilled and grateful that you’ve decided to publish another volume of the Middle of Eternity series through Firebringer Press. Additionally, you contributed a pair of fantastic tales, “Making Tracks” and “The Golem and the Gypsy Girl”. What inspired each of these?
“Making Tracks” grew out of my love of railroad stories. Not sure where that came from, but I’ve always loved stories set on and around trains. Perhaps it’s because my Grandfather worked the railroads starting when he was about 12 years old. He saw the first tracks laid in our little town in North Carolina, and he saw them pulled back up fifty years later. Our time is a time of ever-changing technology, and I think it’s good for our fiction to examine that.
I love the story of the golem. I’ve always loved robots, and they have their origin in this tale of a created man who carried his own spark of the divine and came to save the Jews of Prague. The Roma culture has long fascinated me, going back to the Universal horror films of the 30s and 40s. These two characters, so steeped in the folklore of their particular cultures, just sort of popped into my head one day, and I decided to use them to create a story reminiscent of those wonderful Frankenstein and Wolfman films of long ago. With a smart female protagonist, for a change. I like Mura because she knows what she wants from life, and she goes after it. She’s told at a way-too-young age that it’s time to be an adult; so she decides to be one, but on her terms, not her family’s or her tribe’s.
Since our last interview, you also created a new paranormal audio series called The Cattail Country Store that can be heard at Prometheus Radio Theatre. How did this idea come about? We will see these stories in print someday?
I spent many weeks of my growing up years in the community of Pensacola, NC. That’s where the aforementioned railroad used to run. And, back in those days, there were a lot of country stores by the roadsides. People even used to just put up shacks in their front yards to run a store and make extra cash. By the time I came along, most of those stores were abandoned, their signs still up, reminding us what used to be. I loved to imagine what those stores were like when they were open; and, it being Appalachia, where we love ghost stories, I naturally imagined there were ghosts. When I decided I wanted to play with paranormal stories, I pretty quickly decided that there were lots of possibilities in the idea of one of those ghost-stores coming to life whenever somebody needed it to. It’s a strong anthology format, and it lets the authors come up with solid stories about people and their problems. Stuart S. Roth created a wonderfully atmospheric tale, ”Spanish Moss,” for the series. Several other writers are working on contributions, including Danielle Ackley-McPhail and a guy named Phil Giunta. When we have ten or twelve stories, I plan to publish a print anthology.
Your original SF series, The Arbiter Chronicles, began as an award-winning audio drama on your podcast site, Prometheus Radio Theatre. This has spawned two excellent novels (Taken Liberty and Unfriendly Persuasion). You also adapted the first four episodes of the audio drama into eNovellas. Now, I understand a third novel is ready for publication. What can you tell us about it?
“Ready for publication” is a bit of a stretch, but the first draft is complete. [Note: Steve answered these questions in February so as of now, his next novel is in final editing] I’ll be re-writing for the next couple of months, and launching a crowd funding campaign. The book and accompanying full-cast audiobook should be released in July. The title is Sacrifice Play, and it’s about a technology so dangerous that its creators are being killed. One Naval Officer decides that, since his ship is carrying this literally viral technology, he has no choice but to destroy the ship and kill everyone aboard. And, well, the Arbiters just happen to be hitching a ride with him. They get sort of annoyed when someone tries to blow them up, so they’ll be going after this fanatic.
Where can we find you online (website, blog, social media)?
What does Steve Wilson do when he isn’t writing?
I’m Chief Technology Officer for Howard County Fire & Rescue. I also do some IT Consulting. Other than that I read a lot.