Steve Stred’s upcoming release The Girl Who Hid in the Trees officially drops on February 28, 2019 and is a very quick, brutal coming-of-age novella. It is available for pre-orders now and the paperback will be available shortly as well.
KR: To celebrate this new release you can download Four Dark Tales from the mind of Steve Stred exclusively FREE by following this link
Steve was born in Nakusp BC, Canada, but grew up 30 mins away in small Burton BC. He graduated from the University of the Fraser Valley with a Kinesiology Degree in 2008 and is now a practicing Certified Canadian Pedorthist in Edmonton AB, Canada. Steve has been an athlete his entire life, first with Golf, Soccer and then Weightlifting, before he transitioned into Shotput. He then switched sports, pursuing his love of the winter sport of Bobsleigh as a Brakeman. Outside of work and sport he loves spending time with his wife Amanda, son Auryn and goofball dog OJ.
KR: A lot has happened since Steve last answered the KR questions back in July. Time for an update.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
Well, not much has changed since I visited you last time! I’m still an indie author who writes dark, bleak horror. I live in Edmonton, Alberta Canada with my wife, my son and our dog OJ!
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
I work full-time as a Certified Canadian Pedorthist. So I assess and design Custom Made Foot Orthotics, Custom Made Knee Braces and Custom Made Footwear. So that’s Monday to Friday. Outside of work, we try to stay really active and explore our City. Edmonton has a ton of stuff to do and we like to get out and explore. When that’s all said and done I read. A LOT. Haha!
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
I’m going to update this with a current read that my son and I read a few times a week. It’s called Ride the Big Machines Across Canada. Our really good friends Shane and Angela Wiebe gave it to him when he was born, so I’ve probably read it a few thousand times now haha!
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Well this hasn’t changed at all! My all-time fav album would be Six Feet Under – Haunted. Introduced me to heavier music back in the day. Plus that album cover!
A secondary fav album of mine, that I listen to pretty much one every week is Type O Negative’s October Rust. It’s been a constant for me since it was released and over the years it’s just morphed and become a constant companion. “In Praise of Bacchus” might be my #1 TON song.
Music most certainly plays a major role in my writing. I’ve started to share what I’m listening to a bit more on my Friday blog updates at my site/blog. I find, personally, trying to create a specific atmosphere is always aided by music and the emotions that song can give us or make us feel.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
I really don’t. There are some director’s whom I naturally more drawn towards (John Carpenter, Guillermo del Toro) but for me it’s more about what the movie’s about.
As for a fav horror movie, I don’t have a specific one. There’s the usual suspects of horror loves; The Thing, Cannibal Holocaust, Alien etcs. I just love really well done movies.
KR: What are you reading now?
By the time this is released it’ll probably have changed! Currently I’m reading;
- Darkest Hours by Mike Thorn
- Beyond the Black Gates by Joseph Sale
- Witch Hunter 2 by JZ Foster
- The Red Labyrinth by Meredith Tate
- We Are the Accused by Lucas Mangum
KR: What was the last great book you read?
A Plague of Pages by John F. Leonard. Man can John write. I’ve loved all of his stuff. Literally the only complaint I’ve had was for his release Call Drops, and that was that it was too friggin’ short!
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
I’ve been vocal about my love of E-books now. Really for me, the only way I get any reading done is on my Kindle. It’s been a life changer. From January 1st of 2018 to the end of April 2018 I didn’t read a thing. Then my wife got me a Kindle as an early Father’s Day/Birthday Gift. I read 100 books from May 1st to December 31st. So far this year I’ve read 29 books. Having a toddler, and one that I co-sleep with, makes the ability to read with a lamp on or an above light on impossible.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Stephen King was my earliest author that made me see how amazing writing could be. Now though, I’m much more inspired by the horror community and all the authors I interact with daily, weekly and monthly. Seeing us all grind and strive to release stuff and make our dreams come true is very inspirational. I’ve been very blessed to be welcomed into this tight-knit group of amazing people.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
Depends. I’m a very ‘mental’ writer. Because I have very limited writing time, I’ll essentially come up with the story in my mind well in advance, get the bare bones down and then flesh the story out from there. For some of my short stories, I’ll see where it takes me, but I’d say 95% of the time I know exactly what’s going to happen and how I’m going to get there.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Less and less now haha! I won’t ever be mistaken for a historical fiction author that’s for sure. I did a bunch of research for my Jane: the 816 Chronicles but most other stuff not as much. I have a release later this year called The Stranger, which has a Native American creation story attached to it so I researched a bunch of their stories and creation tales to see what’s come before. It was so worthwhile.
KR: How would you describe your writing style?
Getting better? Haha! I’m a supplier of bad endings. Dark horror. Horrible things. No joy in the end. Think that sums it up! I work really hard to create a dark atmosphere. I tend to use gore sparingly, not as the main story driver. And up until The Girl Who Hid in the Trees I didn’t swear in my writing. Not sure why, just never did!
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
This hasn’t changed since we last chatted. I do all of my writing on my lunch breaks at work. I’ll fit in writing during my couple 15 minute breaks as well, but the majority is that keyboard vomit for 45-50 minutes a day each lunch. I’ve been sending emails to myself a bit as well lately. If something comes to me, I’ll type it up on my phone and email myself as I almost do zero writing at home, although there’s a few things coming down the road that may change that!
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
Last time I listed a few, but I’m going to go with just one this time. Jane: the 816 Chronicles release. The older it gets (it was only released a few years back now!) the more Jane really sits at the top as my favourite character. She just ached and longed to be loved and she held onto that hope so, so very hard. I ended it off with a nice ending and actually a touching ending, but her, Penny and Rose have been calling to me lately and I just may need to revisit those three.
KR: Can you tell me a little about the self publishing process please? I know you have a team behind you and I was wondering how it all works behind the scenes.
Ah good grief. What a frigging question! Haha! Ok, I’ll point form my process anyways!
- Steve write’s an idea
- Draft 2-5ish or so
- Sends to his amazing beta readers.
- New draft with updates
- Sends to Sodergren for copy edits
- Meanwhile, I’ve been discussing cover ideas with Mason McDonald, who now is my go to cover guy
- Get emails from Sodergren and update edits.
- Meanwhile, I’ve been contacting folks who I have developed relationships with for early reads and reviews
- Meanwhile, I’ve been developing a back page/description page
- Meanwhile, I’ve been reaching out to some blogs etc about being featured etc etc
- Finish edits from Sodergren, and start formatting ebook
- Get cover back from McDonald and send to a few people for feedback
- Send feedback to McDonald, get final cover version
- Start editing paperback
- Develop/design any ads I might be using
- Review ebook formatting and make necessary changes
- Review paperback formatting and make necessary changes
- Upload everything onto KDP through Amazon, which is where I’ve been publishing through
- Meanwhile compile reviews from pre-release readers
- Generate Goodreads page for book; add cover, info, and blurb
- Start pushing the release through my blog/website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account and my personal Facebook page.
- Finally release date comes and ensure everything launches as accordingly.
- Meanwhile – I’m doing all of that for all my other planned releases, as well as writing my new stuff.
KR: How difficult is it to get your work noticed and to get appropriate promotion? Do you have any advice from lessons you’ve learned?
Well for me that’s a double-edged question. I don’t spend money on ads. I don’t do Facebook Ads or Amazon ads or anything. It’s all purely word of mouth and posts. I’ve done a decent job of getting my stuff out and in front of people’s eyeballs, but I know for sure I’d have a bigger visibility if I did pay for some ads.
As far as getting appropriate promotion and lessons learned, I think the biggest thing is to be engaging and being willing to also support others. Why would someone want to tweet, post or share my stuff, if I’m not willing to reciprocate? I have a pipe dream of being a well-paid author who gets to write all day and spend time with family at night. I can’t see it happening, simply from the content I produce. At the same time, I know that’s every authors dream, and why wouldn’t I want to support someone else’s dreams? Whether indie/self published/trad published, I want to support you and help you gain readers! I know how difficult it can be to take an idea from paper to published, so if you get all the way to the end, that’s fantastic! I want to share it and support it!
So I engage and help support, and in turn people see that and want to engage and help support. It’s a fantastic community of great folks. We are all similar in the sense that if we read something we friggin love or adore, we’ll all shout it at the top of our social media lungs.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Oh yeah. I’m also that annoying author who comments. If you’ve taken the time to review it, whether good or bad, I’m going to leave a “Thanks!” comment. It means a lot that someone left it. I know there’s a lot of people who keep saying “reviews are for readers,” and I get that. But I stand by the sentiment “reviews are for authors,” as well. I want to know why you loved it, why you hated it and it lets me know what I can do better in the future.
KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?
I think I’ve become more efficient and better at self-editing. David Sodergren (author of The Forgotten Island) has been instrumental in my development as a writer. He’s now become by copy editor and I’ve been truly blessed to have him help me. It’s also been great seeing how his return emails to me grow smaller and smaller. Where maybe once he’d have stuff for me to correct every paragraph now it’s less and less on each page.
KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about your writing?
I’ve received a few good pieces of advice so far. The first was “write for yourself,” and the second was “don’t write to be rich.” I can’t recall who said those, but it’s always been my mantra. I write for me. I want to know what happens to these characters. To have even one other person show interest and/or buy any of my stuff is truly amazing. I recently received a great piece of advice from Kealan Patrick Burke, who has been so amazingly generous with answering my random questions. He said to never release anything you can’t stand behind, which makes so much sense, but as writers sometimes the idea of writing more “commercially” can rear up. It’s like a metal band writing a pop song. If you can’t stand behind the song, don’t release it.
KR: What scares you?
This really will never change. Werewolves, fog and horses – in that order.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
My latest release (which comes out Feb 28th) is The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. It is a violent, brutal novella. It follows our main character Jason, who is searching for answers to what killed his brother some years back. The town is situated near McConnell’s forest, which has a horrific past. So Jason and a group of friends head into the woods, wanting to find out just what is actually going on. They’re met with gore and death!
KR: What are you working on now?
I’m always working on a ton of stuff. The first three are all going to be released in 2019.
- Just finished up my last draft of The Stranger, a horror novel that has Native American elements in it. Really proud of this one.
- Starting final touches on Ritual, a horror novella. It’s a crazy ride, following a devoted religious guy named Brad.
- Going through another draft of Piece of Me, a horror novel. This one ties into the same place that For Balder Walks is set in, but also the same place as the story Poppa? That was the Christmas short piece Kendall Reviews kindly featured.
KR: You can read Steve’s excellent Christmas short ‘Poppa?’ here
I’ve also now started working on my projects for 2020 release.
- Wound Upon Wound – a horror novel/novella. I haven’t decided on length yet. Essentially a coming of age tale set in the town I grew up in, Nakusp. It follows a few kids over a summer and they start to realize that maybe their good friend isn’t such a good friend.
- The One That Knows No Fear – a horror novella. This is actually a piece being written by me and another author, whom I won’t name currently. It follows a dare-devil who doesn’t die.
- The Navajo Nightmare – a western-horror novel. Another tale with another author. I’ve just started the bare bones of my part. I have a western-horror tale out now called The Navajo Nightmare and this one takes off after that story.
- And I’ve just started working on my side of a short story collection, also hopefully with another author.
I’m always writing, writing, writing! Love it!
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend.
This was a great question last time, so I’ll come up with some new answers for it.
A – Ok fine, I guess this one’s the same. I’ll pick my character Jane from the Jane: the 816 Chronicles again. Like I said before, she’s just a character that keeps rattling around my brain.
B – Hmm, well last time I chose Roland the Gunslinger. So this time I’ll pick Atreyu from The Neverending Story. I loved his dedication to trying to prevent the darkness from consuming Fantasia and the childlike princess. His protection of the auryn was an integral part of the movie. (It also has a personal meaning which many folks might catch.)
C – Last time I went with Jake “the snake” Roberts. So this time I’ll choose Till Lindemann from Rammstein. He’s a hard one to get a handle on. A lot of it’s because of the mythology around the band and some of the disconnect from language of lyrics, but I’ve heard from friends that he’s a very friendly guy. He loves literature and from some of the interviews I’ve read, he’s read a lot. So we could spend many years talking sports, movies, music and books, which would be good.
KR: Thank you very much Steve
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark 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.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
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
The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
Something lurks just beyond.
Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.
Now the kids who reside near McConnell’s Forest live forever in fear.
Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.
Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.
But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.
She’s out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.
From the dark mind of Steve Stred, the author of Wagon Buddy, YURI and Invisible comes this fast-paced, seat of your pants coming-of-age tale. A quick, violent, bleak read, The Girl Who Hid In The Trees will make you think twice about those sounds you hear far off in the woods.
You can buy The Girl Who Hid In The Trees from Amazon UK & Amazon US
“I’m a supplier of bad endings. Dark horror. Horrible things.” That is what I look for in good horror. Thanks so much for the fun interview. And the free short stories. I’m excited to read what you sow!