Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your daily writing rituals? How do you prepare your space for these activities?
Steven Lloyd: Truth be told, Terrie, I’m a closet procrastinator. Few people know this about me. I have no set rituals. I do enjoy writing outdoors, which I’m doing now. Lack of faith and procrastinating is a crippling disease for me, but when I am writing, I like to do so in the morning with a fresh glass of Mountain Dew and a pack of smokes by my side. Writing in cold blood isn’t for me. Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Constant readers are not stupid. They know when the writing is on the mark, or if the author is rushing or writing without fire. I don’t always write everyday, but I read everyday. I found that reading sparks my muse more than anything. Reading is a must.
TLR: What genres do you write in? How did you come to these genres?
SL: Horror and literary fiction work best for me. In High School, our English instructor gave us an assignment to write a horror story for the month of October. A lifelong fan of horror films, I wrote a story about a boy who comes home to find his family butchered. He takes matters into his own hands and seeks out the individuals responsible. I thought it was crap, and it probably was, but when I completed my reading in front of the class, you could’ve heard a mouse fart. After class, the instructor told me I had a gift for words and to keep going with it. I did. And so did the writing assignments. Students paid me a dollar to write their stories from then on.
TLR: Do you have a “day job” in addition to being a writer? If you have an unrelated day job, how do you balance your creative and work time?
SL: It’s hard, Terrie. You’ve got to make time to write. I do lots of writing at work. In 2012, I wrote a whole story at work in my head. I later titled it, “The Wooden Box.” Soon as I got home that night, I began writing it out on the computer. The next day, I read the story and cried. Cried because I finally had something good. Writing is my release from real life. Some writers read their dialogue aloud to see if it sounds right. I act mine out, and sometimes it’s not a good thing. People at work have called me mad because they think I’m talking to myself. I simply tell them my characters are talking.
TLR: What tips do you have for other writers?
SL: This is my quote. It came to me one night at work and I jotted it down. “I don’t want to be one of those writers a publisher will publish just to make a buck. I want to be a writer a publisher wants to publish because I’m just that good.”
Don’t worry about awards and money and fame. Write the stories you want and send them out. If you’re in it for money and fame, you need to pack your bags and move on because it doesn’t happen. Publishers don’t take risks anymore. You have a stadium of sixty thousand writers waiting for their shot, and only five or six will make a career of it.
TLR: What are your thought on the creative process in general and your creative process in particular?
SL: Do the best I can. If I’m not feeling it, I just don’t write. I want the reader to feel the heat coming off the page. I wanna strike emotion in readers that’ll stay with them for a long, long time.
TLR: Where do your ideas come from? What inspires you? Intrigues you?
SL: Life. There’s enough real horror that writers have an endless amount of inspiration and ideas. I can write about vampires, zombies, and mummies all day long and twice on Sunday, but nothing strikes fear into the hearts of readers more than stories that can actually happen.
TLR: What about upcoming publications? Awards and other accolades?
SL: Awards will come later. Write the best story you can. Grab a fan base. Strange Roads, my new collection, was recommended for the Bram Stoker award last year. Talk about excited! I was elated just to be recommended.
TLR: What are you working on now?
SB: Working on my first novel, Dogwood Summer, and a short story titled, “Johnny be Goode.”
TLR: Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? Ten?
SL: A better place than I am now.
TLR: Anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?
SL: For those who would like to read Strange Roads, they can download/buy the print edition here.
TLR: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Steven. I know your – and my – readers will definitely find this thought-provoking.
Steven Lloyd writes out of Southern Illinois, and has interviewed such authors and actors as Jack Ketchum, Nancy Collins, legendary film greats Bill Moseley and Sid Haig, from the Devil’s Rejects films. His work has appeared in several print and on-line publications.
In 2012, Lloyd wrote and published a fiction piece so unnerving it put him on the literary map. “The Wooden Box” reached critical acclaim and still remains one of his best works to date. In 2014, Lloyd released a collection titled, Strange Roads, which was recommended for the Bram Stoker Award.
You can visit me here.