Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with Author Steven A. McKay

9 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author Steven A. McKay

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

He wanted to find peace in prayer, but some men serve God best with a sword in their hand.

Will Scaflock wants only to live in peace. He had more than his share of adventure when he went by the name Will Scarlet and fought corrupt authority alongside Robin Hood. Now widowed and alone, and estranged from his adult daughter, he has taken holy orders and sought refuge in a remote Benedictine abbey.

Today I would like to welcome author Steven A. McKay

Tell us about your latest book

My newest one is The Abbey of Death which is my first book to be published by a ‘traditional’ publisher (Amazon-Publishing). It’s the final tale in my Forest Lord series and sees Will Scaflock moving into middle-age and feeling like his life has little purpose any more. He becomes a monk but peace is hard to find even in an abbey and his fighting skills are soon called into action again! It’s a novella – I’ve written three of those to explore side-characters from the main series and readers seem to really enjoy them. They’re also fun to write because it’s mostly just action.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I do a lot of walking and driving, both of which are great times to think up ideas for my books. So I tend to make a plan long before I sit down to actually write a new scene which means I never have writer’s block. So far at least! I’ve been lucky enough that my books have sold well and I’ve dropped my hours at work so I have a Thursday off and I use that to write. Sundays are also writing days and I aim to hit about 2-3000 words each day. Outwith the main task of writing, I edit and research almost every day. Even when I’m away on holiday I try and get some research done.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

To me, writing is supposed to be enjoyable, so don’t force yourself to do it if you’re really not in the mood. However, that’s not an excuse to play Xbox instead – just to try and keep it fun, rather than a chore. Also, you want your work to be the best it can possibly be, and that means letting other people help you, so hire an editor. There’s been times where I’ve finished a book and thought I couldn’t improve it. Couldn’t see a way at all. Then my editor goes over it and makes amazing suggestions – sometimes just little ones that only take a few lines – and the whole book is improved massively as a result.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

The easiest way is through Facebook. I think that’s a good way to connect with readers. It’s also good to run promotions like Kindle Countdown Deals and pay to advertise them with a site like Bookbub, Kindle Nation Daily or Kindle Books & Tips. There’s no point running a Countdown Deal and not telling readers it’s happening! Some authors seem to think telling their Facebook followers is enough but those people already KNOW about your book and either read it already or aren’t interested, so target NEW readers by using paid ads.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

Well, the very day I sat down to start work on The Abbey of Death I was eating my breakfast before getting the laptop setup and I read about some real-life medieval monks who’d been very naughty boys! They were into prostitution, stealing money from their abbey to buy gifts for their lovers, drinking lots of ale, fighting and all sorts of other stuff. I was well aware that there’d been plenty of corrupt clergymen in the middle-ages but to read about a whole group of monks IN THE VERY AREA MY BOOK WAS SET IN was quite an eye-opener. It really gave me a new dimension to explore in the story.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Like I say, I always plan ahead so I have a good idea how a scene will go before I start writing it and, as a result, I’ve not really had any that I found particularly difficult. However, writing all the final scenes in “Blood of the Wolf”, the last novel in the Forest Lord series, was quite hard. It was as if I didn’t want it to end because those stories and characters had been a big part of my life for four years or so. I got there in the end but it took more time (and words) than I expected.

What are you planning to write next?

I’ve actually already finished my next book which is about a warrior-druid in post-Roman Britain, on a quest to find an abducted 7-year-old princess. The main character, Bellicus, has been a great, fun, character to come up with and I think readers will really like him. I managed to snag an agent, Josh Getzler from the HSG Agency in New York, with an early draft of this book so it must have something going for it! So far it’s simply titled “The Druid” but that might change.

Steven A. McKay
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About the Author

Steven A. McKay was born in Scotland in 1977. His first book, Wolf's Head, came out in 2013 and was an Amazon UK top 20 bestseller. Blood of the Wolf is the fourth and final book in the Forest Lord series. Steven is currently researching and writing a brand new tale - tentatively titled "The Druid" set in post-Roman Britain. He plays lead guitar and sings in a heavy metal band when they can find the time to meet up. Find out more at his website and find him on Twitter @SA_McKay

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