How to Make a Monster: An interview with Pike Stephenson

How to Make a Monster:  An interview with Pike Stephenson

Hello my fellow book worms. Here is number three of my author interviews. Please welcome Pike Stephenson.  Pike Stephenson is the author of numerous articles, short stories, and several novellas. His first book, Frenzy, was his leap into full-length fiction. When he isn’t writing he takes care of a family of six, enjoys the many superhero television shows and movies finally glorifying his childhood fantasies, and role-playing with the same people he started gaming with back in 1982.

R: Hi Pike. Let’s jump right in. What do you write?

P: I enjoy writing horror, fantasy, and urban fantasy. I grew up on the Twilight Zone and the classic monster movies. Something about the creepy tone and drawn out suspense always grabbed me. I’ve published a number of short stories online and in print. One of my shorts made it into the third issue of Murky Depths, a British horror magazine that reminded me of Heavy Metal. The art was graphic, surrealistic and out there. I only have one novel published, Frenzy. It’s a horror/urban fantasy centered on my favorite critter: the werewolf. There was always something about the tormented soul that couldn’t control the raging beast within him and trying to deal with his darker actions. It makes for fun storytelling.

R: Horror is my favorite genre, and I agree, the creepy tone make it awesome to read and enjoy. What got you into writing?

P: I got into writing about 15 years ago when friend of mine (Jade Olsen) thought we could make our own comic book. I worked out the plot and characters and he drew out the panels. We made one book which I still have tucked away. It lead me to developing deeper stories delving into the characters and crafting arcs. From there I started writing shorts to learn the process and hone my skills. My first published work was with a RPG e-publication called Silven Publishing. I started out writing reviews which lead to “how-to’s” and eventually short stories. I worked for them for a couple of years mostly for author creds and occasionally for pay.

R: Thats pretty neat. And so cool how it lead you to how you created your stories. Tell me about some experiences you have had in being an author.

P: My experiences in publishing are much like many others. I walked in blind, thinking that if I write it… then publishers will come. I submitted like a mad man to lots of traditional companies, small press and free ezines until I started getting my work out there.

I tried publishing Frenzy for years but couldn’t get a taker. Honestly, the book was a hot mess and needed lots of attention. It laid dormant until my wife convinced me to self-publish. I looked around and Amazon appeared to be my best bet. It took a few months of edits and formatting to get it ready. Then, after I published it, I discovered a pile of typos. Then others discovered more!

I learned that when the second book comes around to find multiple extra eyes to check it out.

People put money done on my book and probably felt cheated by the poor quality. And with self-publishing I’ve had to learn how to be a marketing guru. Well, I’m learning how. There are many aspects of selling your work that require learning about author platforms, advertising, blogging, and so much more. I spend time each day teaching myself the ways of the Marketeer in hopes of gaining recognition and developing a fan base that wants to stick around for what’s next to come.

R: That’s some awesome information, and I know I for one will take this knowledge as I pursue my goal for becoming a published author. What would you tell up and coming authors like myself?

P: From the lessons I’ve learned I would advise any up and coming author to learn their marketing trade secrets. Set up some anticipation prior to releasing your book. Track down beta readers and if you can afford it, a copyeditor. It’s takes some money to set these things up but the pay off is immense. As for writing, I met with author Mark Henry several years ago. We chatted for a few and he tossed some advice to me that has stuck to my mind like Krazy Glue: Never censor your writing. Basically, if you put a gag on your muse then your writing will fall short. It will be obvious to all who read it and you won’t enjoy the work. Don’t be afraid to run off on a tangent or explore some strange horizons. They can take you to places that will tweak your imagination and your readers as well.

R: Great stuff Pike. Thanks for that. Now here’s a toughie: favorite author?

P: Authors I’ve enjoyed were Laurel K. Hamilton, Anne Rice, R.A. Salvatore, Bentley Little, and Richard Matheson.

Thanks Pike Stephenson for sharing your story. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.

You can purchase Pike Stephenson’s book here: Frenzy

Pike Stephenson

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Rob Glasser

I am an English tutor who specializes in all things English from writing to literature. I have my BA in English with a specialty in Creative Writing. In addition, I have my emergency credential and am ready to help you.