Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed author S. M. McCoy , about her writing and her debut instalment in The Acatalec Series, Kingdom of Acatalec., a dazzling, page-turning paranormal fantasy. (Read the review here.).
Stevie Marie is the author of paranormal fantasy and the Divine Series. Born within the apex of another universe, where magic flows like leaky faucets, and forged from the fires of the Underrealm she dug her way to Earth and reluctantly participates in human society, secretly returning to her home world to relay the stories of her monsters, and the troubled love of her people. When she isn’t writing she’s keeping her human progeny alive, and narrating audiobooks in the rainy city of Seattle, Washington.
As a mom, how do you find time to write?
You don’t. I know that sounds weird to say, but you don’t find time to write. You make time to write. You carve out those minutes, hours, whatever it takes. In the 45 minutes I wait in the car for my son to be done with Occupational Therapy, I bring my portable typer (Astrohaus Freewrite or Alphasmart Neo), or I open up my Google Docs on my phone for a few minutes. Kids are asleep, I jump on the computer for a bit before bed. Whether it takes someone 1 month or 1 year, or 5 years those minutes add up. Being a writer is about persistence. Unadulterated persistence.
How often do you read?
When I’m not writing… I’m reading. Sometimes I even stay up until 3 a.m. in the morning for a good book, not caring about the fact that my kids wake up like clockwork at 6:30 a.m. So, I’m a bit grumpy those days, but it was worth it. Some books are just that good. Plus, I like to think about what exactly I liked about a book and try to replicate that feeling into my own work. Why did I like this book? Can I do something similar in my own work? Every book is a joy and an opportunity to grow.
What are common traps for new writers?
Not having a newsletter/email list. Don’t have one? Start one now. Use a free service, and even if you only email your small list of subscribers once every 3 to 6 months until you build up your lists, that is okay. You are in charge of your email list, and that is yours. Not Facebook, not Amazon, not Bookbub, not Goodreads, and not Twitter. Your email list is yours, and should anything happen to any of those sites that people “follow” you on, that email list is still yours, and you can still build your author
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Whoah, way to air my dirty laundry, so to speak. I accumulated so many work in progress, WIPs, that I started a spreadsheet. Yup, a spreadsheet. And that sheet doesn’t even have all of my unfinished works, it’s just the works that I found so far, and the incoming ones that keep being added. I have over 30 WIPS, around 5 are finished first drafts, a few are 50k words and missing that final climax, many are partially finished with more than 20k words, and many more are 10k words or less with the basic story idea written and possibly a few chapters to get an idea of the characters, or a scene that stuck with me. I frequently get shiny new idea syndrome, and stop what I’m doing just to write down the idea, and flush out characters, and maybe write a few scenes before I force myself to get back to my “current” WIP so that I actually finish a story to the end.
How long did it take you to write Kingdom of Acatalec?
I started writing the idea for this story in February 2020 on Wattpad, it was called My Digital Romance. At the time, it was more a role-playing virtual reality romance similar to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Then I completely rewrote the story from scratch, but used the ideas I built in that version to create what it is today. I sent off my completed draft at 85K words to my editor in october 2020, around 7.5 months later. I got feedback and reworked it some more, and then set the book aside. In September of 2021 I pitched the book at PNWA, Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, Conference to a few editors, and got a full request. In November 2021, I was offered a contract with The Wild Rose Press. And after several edits and galley revisions later I finally got my release date for October 3 rd , 2022. So, I essentially wrote the book twice two different ways. I finished it within a year, and let it sit for a year, and now here we are! From idea in February 2020 to October 2022 for release.
Kingdom of Acatalec is a series, when can we expect to see the next book come out?
Yes, Kingdom of Acatalec is book one in The Acatalec Series, but it can be read as a standalone adventure. I’ve been working on book two, and am currently 50k words into that one, but got distracted with writing a prequel to the same series and am currently at 35k words into that one. You can see how I have shiny new idea syndrome, but on the bright side, it’s all in the same realm of the series. I hope to have book two ready to send to my editor by the end of the year so that people don’t have to wait long for the next installment. Readers can stay up to date on my progress, as well as get sneak peeks by signing up with my newsletter on my website. I usually only email once a month, but occasionally an extra email for when there’s a new release or ARC opportunity. I also have an option for New Release Only, so some readers only get emailed when a new book comes out.
What’s you’re favorite scene of Kingdom of Acatalec?
About a third of the way into the story there is this really cute scene between Tyler, the main female badass drone pilot, and her boss, Cable, where I wish as a reader I could have just left them alone to let the romance blossom, but I’m a mean overlord, and didn’t allow them much time to bask in the butterflies forming. Here is the excerpt:
He sighed. “The less you know about these people the better.”
So, they were mobsters, I confirmed to myself. I mean, anyone hosting an illegal drone race couldn’t be considered a quote unquote good guy, but I hadn’t really thought about it before. I merely liked the extra cash that most of these races provided, but this race was much more risky than anything I’d ever been involved with.
“If we win the race, you can get through this whole thing without anyone knowing who you are. You keep your mask on, and you stay in the drone assigned to you. It isn’t uncommon for winners to take on a persona, but if you lose you will be forced to pay off your debt, and we don’t want to owe these people, they don’t take credits. You will be forced to join the Drone Guard, as you are now considered one of the top pilots, and that is more valuable than credit.”
“Like indentured service? They can’t do that… can they?”
“They can, and they do, though most are more than happy to devote themselves to the cause.” He smirked at me. “I don’t see you as being a follow orders kind of pilot,” he joked, “If you were, we wouldn’t be here.”
I glared at him. “This isn’t funny. You could have been more upfront and said, ‘Tyler, I know you’re a sucker for illegal drone races, but you’d been getting yourself involved with gangsters. Please sit this one out.’ Would have been a nice heads up.” I lowered my voice and did a horrible impression of his silky deep tone that sounded more like a gruff cartoon character.
He leaned forward and grabbed my hand in his then smoothly said, “Tyler, don’t get involved with illegal drone races. Being as they are illegal; they are usually run by powerful overlords that don’t care about your wellbeing. Please listen to me next time.”
I pulled my hand from his and swatted at him. He laughed, and leaned back into his seat, and this was the most relaxed I’d ever seen him. Which was surprising considering we were going to an evil overlord’s lair and trying to win a drone race to save my friend Kelly from financial ruin, and now make sure I didn’t become an indentured pilot to amoral goons.
“Would that have made a difference,” he asked seriously to me.
I frowned and shook my head. “Probably not. I wouldn’t have believed you.”
“And you believe me now?” He quirked a brow. He was quite handsome when he wasn’t reprimanding
“After the cutthroat race to even be here right now, unfortunately yes. Plus,” I stopped and shook my head, changing my mind about telling him how much I was worried that I still hadn’t heard from Kelly. She was the one who even signed us up for this race, and it made me nervous knowing who we were racing for was dangerous. What if she didn’t make it through the first race, and was lying in a ditch somewhere, or worse at the hospital because another racer crashed her into oncoming traffic? Picking at my nail cuticle I flexed my fingers and then dug them into my pant legs to stop myself from picking until I had no more skin to pick.
He watched me expectantly, waiting for me to finish. The way his eyes tore into my soul made me want to tell him all of my secrets, my lip quivered because my insides hurt thinking about anything happening to Kelly. She was all I had when this was all over, at least I hoped I still had her after this was over. Misinterpreting why I was so emotional he nodded and tried to reassure me, “You’ve far surpassed most pilots I’ve seen in this race during training, but fear will help you stay sharp. Let your instincts help
protect you when the time comes.”
“My instincts are what I fear most right now.”
So, what’s next for you?
I have a few other series that I’m writing at the same time as The Acatalec Series, so stay tuned for other fun romantic fantasy adventures, the closest ones I have to being ready is a Fae Fated Mates Fantasy, and a Greek Myth Medusa retelling.
After the book is ready to be read… that’s when the REAL grunt work begins. I’ll get distracted from the marketing schemes to write more, and of course try not to let my tiny humans waste away from a healthy diet of watching me stare at a computer screen. I’ll scramble around slapping my marketing chops against the internet seeing what sticks. It’s all a massive experiment out there in the wild west of the digital realms. But, the best parting advise I can give to other fellow writers out there is team up. Gather your troops, and band together in solidarity with other writers. That is the best way to succeed. And when you do, you have so many people to share that victory with.
Thanks for having me on your site. It was a pleasure!
Stevie McCoy (S.M. McCoy)
Categories: BookView Review Interview