Meet Shami Stovall, a multi-genre author whose books include the historical fantasy The Ethereal Squadron and the newly released Sci-Fi novel Star Marque Rising. Shami is another member of my beloved #5amWritersClub.
"SOLDIERS, SORCERERS, AND MONSTERS…THIS IS WORLD WAR ONE LIKE YOU’VE NEVER IMAGINED IT." -- from The Ethereal Squadron blurb.
I cannot put The Ethereal Squadron down. The story is just too good!
What inspired the story concept for THE ETHEREAL SQUADRON? I took history as my undergrad degree. World War I has some really interesting engagements and the timeframe of the 1910s is really amazing, but most people overlook WWI in favor of the (more exciting) WWII. Every story—at least that I’ve seen—wants to focus on the Nazis or the Holocaust. And while those things are indeed fascinating things in history, they have been done to death.
What is your favorite genre to write and why? My favorite genre to write is science fiction. I love aspects and concepts about the future. I like imagining it awesome—with humans on far-off planets—or devastating—with the world destroyed by nuclear power. The future is filled with so many possibilities that I can’t believe we don’t have tons of science fiction writers! Genetic engineering, Dyson spheres, faster than light travel… so many wonderful inventions and concepts. Truly, the possibilities are endless.
When it comes to world-building do you have any particular tricks or techniques? I like to weave world-building in through the characters and setting. If I have a story about magic, I tend to have characters who either struggle with an aspect of learning it, or have two characters competing—anything to bring up the difference from a “normal” sorcerer/wizard and an “unusual” sorcerer/wizard, because it highlights the entire magical system in a way that’s natural to the narrative.
Or I might have the landscape devastated by some magical phenomenon. That way the characters can feel the effects of the magic, even when they’re living in their fireball-crater home.
What was the most difficult part of the publishing process for you? Doing all the changes my editor wants. I’ve had lots of discussions about what is good for the book or story with multiple editors and sometimes my vision doesn’t align with theirs. It can get frustrating.
What does your writing space look like? A room with a computer and a ton of video game systems. I love gaming and I love writing. I need them both in the same space!
What are your tricks for juggling writing with a full-time job, family, life, etc.? My schedule is a tad different than most. I do everything at night, basically. The evening is when I hang with friends and family and the night is when I do all my work and writing.
What is the best book you’ve read recently? That’s a hilarious question—I’ve read a lot of terrible books lately, haha—but I did recently read ON BASILISK STATION, which is the first of the Honorverse series. It was pretty fun, with great characters, and a six-armed cat. I would highly recommend it.