Hello everyone and welcome to our latest author interview for the 7th annual Self Published Fantasy Blog Off! I’ve been working on reaching out to each of the authors who have landed in our batch of books for the competition to see if they would be interested in being interviewed or contributing a guest article in an attempt to drum up a little extra excitement for their book and (hopefully) get to know them a bit better.
Today, we are joined by the author of God of Nothing, Shane Scott!
If you want to check out the rest of our SPFBO coverage, be sure to check our SPFBO 7 landing page here. On to the Q&A!
Thank you so much for joining us for this short Q&A! Before we get going, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Justin, I want to thank you for taking the time and interest to help me promote my book. Marketing is hard for indie writers.
I’m 55 years old and I live in Maine with my feral cat, KooKooNut. I spent most of my life working on computers and writing code.
I want to start things off by asking: what is a great book that you’ve read recently and why should we give it a go?
I have read around 30 books from indie authors over the last couple of months. Two that stood out were P.L. Stuart’s A Drowned Kingdom and Eve Koguce’s Neglected Merge.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing? Do you care to elaborate?
I enjoy flying, sailing, SCUBA diving. A year ago, my sister taught me to cook and I find myself doing that more and more. I make a mean beef stew.
Tell us about your road to writing. What made you want to become an author?
I never wanted to be an author. I still don’t. I say my story clawed its way out me, often painfully over twenty-five years.
Writing is a hard and lonely affair in the best of circumstances, but it can be even more so as a self-published author. How do you achieve a good work/life/writing balance?
I fail miserably at achieving any type of balance. My wife calls me 8-bit and unable to multitask. When I am working on writing, be it the actual writing or learning something else I need to know as a self-published author, I focus on doing only that. I need to learn to achieve a better balance, if that is even possible.
Is this your first book? If so, what lessons have you learned from writing it? If not, what lessons did you learn from writing earlier books that you brought into this one?
This is my first book. I have drafts for several more in the series, God of Everything, God of Fire, God of Blood and God of Evil. I am also working on two stand lone novellas set the ALL.
Do you usually write to background noise, music, etc. or do you prefer silence?
I can’t write a single word unless I have music playing. My playlist has hundreds of songs from the 1950s through around 2010. I have a theme song for each character and place.
Is this your first time entering SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
This is my first time entering SPFBO. A friend encouraged me to enter my book. I wasn’t sure but he continued to encourage me and so I did.
What made you want to write in the fantasy genre? Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
A fantasy world can be anything I want. I can imagine a world where small differences do not divide people, where magic, Dragons, God, Devils and Werewolves are real, and anything is possible. I’d like to write an old time whodunit someday.
There are so many roads to releasing a book these days (which is wonderful!). Why did you decide to self-publish?
I see so many authors talking about “querying” and their struggle to find an agent or publisher. It requires so much time and effort and I can’t say I see the benefits. Self-published I control my work, money, and time. After I finished God of Nothing and everything that requires; learning to write, beta readers, rewrite with an editor, proofread, cover at, ISBN, Copyright and converting to ePub I questioned what a traditional agent or publisher could do to help. Everything was done.
Are there any advantages or disadvantages to self-publishing rather than going the route of the traditional or independent presses?
Self-published keeps creative control as well as the money in the author’s hands. The biggest disadvantage is there is so much to learn and do to make a book happen without help. It is harder to market a self-published book as well. I still haven’t figured that out yet.
What is one thing that you love about the current state of fantasy and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
Part of the reason I wrote my book is I am so tired of the same told trope in fantasy books. The stories are all the same and nothing original or different is out there. I wanted something different that ignored all tropes.
Who are your favorite current writers and who are your greatest influences?
I like so many authors but can point way back to grade school and Urusla Le Guin, Wizard of Earthsea trilogy as a a huge influence. She wrote good characters who were flawed. Other authors I like are Tolkien, Pratchett, Gaiman and Robin Hobbs.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
I am not sure I understand this question. Who I write like or how I would describe my own writing? I like to think after ten years and rewriting my book six times I finally have a basic grasp on how it is done. I hope my writing is articulate and easy to read.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am for certain a pantser. I never once wrote an outline. I don’t write a single word until I have the entire story in my head…start, middle and end. The strangest thing I found though, when writing the story things changed from how I envisioned it, as if the characters were saying, “no not like that, like this.”
What are your favorite types of characters?
I like flawed characters who are trying to do their best but make bad choices at times and must live with the consequences of their actions. I like my good guys and bad guys black and white, who is who. This doesn’t mean the good guys always behave good.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
A lot, scattered in small pieces here and there.
For those who haven’t read God of Nothing give us the elevator pitch.
What if God and the Devil had a daughter? Who would she be?
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
I found this the hardest question. I’d describe it as realistic as possible for a fantasy story, at times humorous and other times dark.
What do you think is the overarching theme?
It should not matter who we love. The person is on the inside, not the outside. Shape, color, and gender are all superficial. If you love them and they love you then nothing else matters.
Were there any specific challenges with writing God of Nothing? Or, did you find anything to be easier?
I first wrote my book in 2008/2009 and then my house burned down, and I lost it all. I screwed with it until 2017 when I was diagnosed with leukemia and then got serious about finishing it. The leukemia brings a lot of fatigue into my life but I learned I can drag my computer to my bed and write even on the worst of days.
Everything about God of Nothing was hard for me to write except dialog. I know dialog is supposed to be the hardest part to write for me it came easy.
If you had to do so in just one or two sentences, how would you describe the plot of God of Nothing?
There is always someone trying to fuck up someone’s good thing.
They say to never judge a book by its cover and maybe that’s true in the philosophical sense, but it certainly happens with books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of God of Nothing?
I always liked the 1980s and 1990s type of fantasy book covers and wanted one like that. It also shows important aspects of the story. Everything on my cover has meaning.
One of my favorite things is highlighting quotes that really resonate with me and sharing them in my reviews. Do you have a favorite quote from God of Nothing?
Death never hurts. Dying usually does. Living hurts most of all.
What can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you?
Right now, I am halfway done a standalone novella, set in the ALL called FAITH. I want it finished and published before Winter. I am also hacking away at the next book in the series, God of Everything.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! I always enjoy this little peek behind the curtain. Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
There are fantastic worlds to visit and people to meet in books. Never give up reading.
About the Author
Shane Scott writes fantasy stories about Gods, Devils, Dragons, Werewolves, Demons, Titans, Vampires and Mortals clashing in never ending battle of love and hate.
He lives in Maine with his cat, KooKooNut.
In his youth, Shane Scott worked as a lifeguard, flight instructor and bartender. He then spent 30 years repairing computers and writing code.
Shane Scott turned to writing in 2008 and released his first novel, God of Nothing in 2021. A novella titled FAITH is schedule for release at the end of 2021 and his second novel, God of Everything is scheduled for release in the spring of 2022.