To celebrate the release of The Stranger on June 1st, Gavin from Kendall Reviews invited me to share the behind the scenes stories about writing my previous books!
To finish off the series, here is Part 4 where I discuss writing Dim the Sun and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
The Writing of Dim The Sun & The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
To read Part 1 click here.
To read Part 2 click here.
To read Part 3 click here.
KR: Alright, so we’ve covered your previous six releases, which takes us to December 2018. You kind of surprise announced a release called Dim the Sun, which was a dark poetry collection. What prompted you to do that?
Yeah, three reasons for sure. The first was, I released YURI back at the start of October and then nothing. I had The Girl Who Hid in the Trees planned to be released already at that time, but I’m a super small indie author, I don’t want to be forgotten haha! So this was a way to stay fresh, have a release. The second reason was to support my friend Rob Derman. I did a whole release post about that, but Rob’s attempting to qualify for the next Winter Olympics, so wanted to help.
Lastly – I’d read Erin Sweet-al Mehairi’s collection Breathe, Breathe and it was stunning. It really made me rethink my views on poetry and kicked my butt to return to the genre. I wrote a lot of poetry back in high school, but stopped at some point. But this really forced me to work towards doing it. Got me out of the comfort zone.
KR: You also included a short story called ‘Eaten’ in that. Was that purposeful?
To a degree. I’m planning on doing a third collection of short stories, and Eaten was one that I’d written specifically for that release. But I like providing more bang for the buck, or in this case 99 cents, so I attached that to the end to give the release some volume.
KR: And Dim the Sun is ebook only?
It was to start with, yes, but I’ve now offered it up as a physical paperback. Originally I wanted to offer up a really low priced option to help folks decide to support Rob. Amazon has minimal amounts predetermined based off of royalty amounts or print costs so paperback was tough to keep at a super low price point.
KR: Then we come to your latest release The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. How would you describe its arrival?
Unbelievable haha! I really just can’t begin to explain what the response to this release has meant to me. Just… indescribable. I was prompted or inspired to write this story for two reasons. After reading Justin M. Woodwards novel Tamer Animals I really wanted to explore the world of an urban legend.
At the same time I developed some ideas and this idea of this little innocent girl in the woods who just wreaks havoc came to me. She’s not possessed in the normal sense. She’s come back I think is a better description. And she’s angry hahah!
KR: There’s a lot of unique imagery in this story. What inspired you to create these characters?
My dreams. I know that’s a clichéd statement, but I’ve always had pretty violent, awful dreams since I was young. I think a lot of my struggle with insomnia when I was younger was because I was scared to fall asleep. Now I just accept it and only occasionally do my dreams upset me. But for the most part, when I can recall what I dreamed about, I’ll make a note, email etc to myself about what I saw. Then I’ll add that to the bank of ideas I have and I drew from there for The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. Most people who’ve read it really have found the piano scene around the camp fire to be a bit much or a bit memorable and I’m super happy with that. That was from a series of dreams I had last summer that kept getting more and more horrible.
KR: This was also your first release where you really swore. Was that a specific change or a calculated change?
Kind of. I just have never felt comfortable typing swear words haha! I message them and use them in real life, but in my writing I just never felt like it was necessary. I don’t believe I swear in The Stranger either! Maybe one or two? But I did a draft of The Girl and it was PG through and through. Took me maybe three days to write it. Then I went back through and thought – nope, not realistic for this coming-of-age tale. So I filled it with expletives, haha. I just thought in order to make this feel more real, the kids needed to swear.
KR: This was also your first release with a foreword, which you kindly asked me to provide. Why this one?
I wanted a foreword specifically to elevate this tale. I was very pleased when you accepted because you promote a ton of horror but you typically try and stay on the periphery. You are doing the “Why I write horror?” feature and I wanted to get you to provide your reasons. At the same time, this tale I felt needed a little introduction. This is a fast, violent read. I’ve had some folks say they’ve read it in as little as thirty minutes.
KR: Thirty minutes! That’s insane.
I wrote the book specifically like that. I did short, choppy chapters and I wanted it to feel like a gallop. Like you were running away from something chasing you, through the woods, but the only thing you could see ahead was a cliff’s edge. You’re between that rock and a hard place. I wanted this book to be impossible for the reader to stop and start again tomorrow.
KR: The cover does an amazing job creating the atmosphere you just described. Any thoughts on this cover?
I think I’ve been blessed to have some fantastic, amazing covers. The Girl Who Hid is another one that Mason crushed. Once again I sent him the synopsis and he sent this back. The crazy thing about this cover is it really sums up both the prologue but also the idea of heading down that path further into McConnell’s Forest. Me and Mason’s telepathy worked once again!
KR: To wrap this one up, the story itself has a theme really of loss. Was this purposefully done or did it just come out through the writing?
To start off I’d decided to try and do the urban legend, coming of age story after reading Tamer Animals. Then I decided to add some emotions into it and as with most of my releases, I try and tie in some parts of my real life into the tale.
For this particular story I put in elements of an accident I witnessed, in 2016 where I saw a 4-year-old girl be run over by a truck outside of our house. I was the first person on the scene and tried to save her, ultimately failing. I remembered my actions after, checking the newspapers and websites, wanting to see if any information was coming, any charges etc. I ultimately was requested to testify in court regarding it, which gave me a bit of closure. So I used a lot of that experience for Jason and what he was trying to accomplish, wishing to find out information about his brother and just not always being able to process stuff correctly.
Hopefully, some of that came through, so far The Girl Who Hid in the Trees seems to be a tale that resonates with people who’ve read it!
KR: Thank you very much Steve.
Competition: The Stranger Super Limited Black Hardback Edition – You could own 1 of only 5 copies that exist!
Steve has created 5 very special limited edition hardback editions of his latest novel The Stranger and YOU can be lucky enough to win one. For more details please follow this link.
Otherwise, here’s what you need to do…
To be entered into the giveaway, all you need to do is…
- Like & Retweet The Stranger Giveaway pinned post on @gjkendall.
To earn yourself additional chances to win you will need to do the following…
- Follow Steve Stred on Twitter @stevestred
- Follow stevestred on Instagram
- Like stevestredauthor on Facebook
- Post a link to one of your reviews of Steve’s books to @stevestred using #StredHeads
By doing all the above you will have 6 tickets in the draw.
One lucky winner will receive the 5th copy of the super limited edition black version of The Stranger. This is open worldwide!
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…