I have been following fantasy author Lauren Stinton on social media for some time. I also had the honor of serving as a beta reader for one of her short stories. That was so much fun and I got to see first hand how imaginative her writing is. I knew then that I had to interview her. I lover interviewing my fellow writers. They bring creativity to the questions. Check it out below, her answers are in bold.
Where do you call your hometown?
Richland Center, Wisconsin
Do pieces of your hometown make it into your stories?
I write mostly fantasy, and I don’t think I’ve based anything specific on Richland Center. However, this would quickly change if a dragon, troll, or even a very large bat were ever spotted roaming the Wisconsin hills and stealing cattle.
You studied Journalism at Evangel University. What drew you to Journalism?
When I was a kid, I read author bios that said so-and-so had a degree in journalism. I knew I wanted to be a writer, so I figured journalism was a good degree for the more important thing: novel writing.
What is something you learned about writing that you did not expect while studying?
In my senior year of college, a friend suggested I join the school paper. Little did she know how her simple suggestion would impact my life. While working for the paper, I realized I wanted to be an editor—that I could be an editor. I have been helping people finish their books and other projects for eleven years now, and I can trace my story back to the moment when my friend spoke to me in the hallway about joining the paper.
You are a proud Christian. How does faith affect your fiction?
It affects my writing constantly, even when I’m not purposefully trying to be spiritual. For example, with Should I Choose to Die Again I wasn’t thinking deep spiritual thoughts—I just had an idea for a story. But somehow I ended up with a book that talks about spiritual gifts. I love Hamal, the main character, because he is filled with hope. Everything he does offsets the darkness around him and leaves people open mouthed and staring. I have so much fun with him. He is an intriguing character who impacts my readers, even though in the beginning, all I really intended was to tell a story.
Tell us about your sword. What kind is it?
I may not be cool enough to answer this question! Haha. I believe my sword is meant to be a medieval-era weapon. A friend carried it in a wedding, and I nabbed it from him a few years later.
Do you plan on expanding to a larger sword collection?
Do you know anyone with a medieval-themed wedding coming up?
What is House of Elah about?
The House of Elah is a tale of gods at war and the man who is caught between them. Sold as a slave to a gamer, Myles is marked for death. His new master intends him to die in the arena, cut down by a dragon. But the god who claimed Myles at his birth has made different plans. That’s the general description. On the more spiritual end of things, The House of Elah is the story of a man who has no idea what the Father-heart of God is like. But through a series of adventures involving sorcerers, monsters, and evil men trying to kill him, he learns what it means to be a son. I love this story and I’m excited about where it’s headed.
Elah has a sequel, The Alusian’s Quest, any plans to make it a trilogy?
I am editing the third book now, and HOPEFULLY it will be out in the next few months. (These things always take longer than I intend.)
Should I Choose To Die Again is volume 1 of The Hamal Books. Where did the inspiration for that come from?
It came from an idea I had a few years ago about a man who saves someone’s life, and that simple act was his great purpose. What if your purpose in life was to save someone else—because that person was going to save the kingdom? Anyway, that was my original idea, but the book became much more involved and interesting.
You have written a few stories and working on a sequel, do you see The Hamal Books more as a limited series or do you think it would keep going?
I am hoping to create an entire world with Hamal. I have a lot of ideas, and I plan to write about him long into the future.
If you had to pick, what actor would play Hamal if it was adapted into a film? Who would direct it?
I have thought about this and I have no idea! Two key things about Hamal are his hope and innocence, so he would need to be played by a young man with an innocent look about him—he would need innocent eyes. As a true and proper nerd, I love The Lord of the Rings movies, so I think Peter Jackson would be a good vote for director. I mean, of course.
Many say that writers were readers first. What were some titles you enjoyed?
One of the first fantasy novels I ever read was Medallion by Dawn L. Watkins. It was published by Bob Jones University Press, and I think it was part of my homeschool curriculum. I was just a child at the time and didn’t put much thought into why I loved the book so much, but now I write fantasy novels, so it makes sense.
How would describe your writing style?
Engaging. Imaginative. Hopeful.
Who are your influences?
Every book I read is an influence of one kind or another. There are things I notice about the writing style, what I like or dislike, things they did well, surprises in the plot, etc. Two of my favorite series are the Codex Alera books by Jim Butcher and the first Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
Do you write with it silent or with music playing in the background?
I prefer silence because music tends to distract me. However, every so often I find a song that reminds me of one of my book characters, and I listen to that song over and over and—
What motivates you to get up and write?
Writing feels like reading to me. I have to know what happens! I haven’t had much luck sitting down and plotting a book in detail, because if I know exactly what is going to happen, I get bored after a while. I do plot…but only from a distance, knowing it might not end up the way I think it will.
Do you have a special nook, cafe, or library where you go to write?
Most of my writing is done at my desk in my home office. I like to read my stuff out loud to get a better feel for it, and people look at you funny if you try to do that in public.
When you need inspiration, where do you go to find it?
I read a lot, which tends to open up a creative flow within me. I also talk to God about my books. “Hey, what do You think about this? What’s her secret? How is this going to work? How could we make this cooler?” That sort of thing.
One final question, you have mainly written fantasy, any plans to branch into a different genre?
I love fantasy…but I also love romance novels. I know, I know, but seriously—I recently finished writing a draft of a romance novel set in Idaho, and I love it. It’s hilarious and quirky. It’s actually a nice break to write about something set in the real world. I get to talk about coffee (hoorah!) and what books she’s reading (yay!), and I had a lot of fun scribbling that first draft.
That concluded our interview. Check out her official website The Hamal Books, like her on Facebook, and of course, follow her on Twitter. If you’re interested in purchasing one of her novels, check out her Amazon page.
It was so much fun getting to know her. Be sure to like and share this interview. Don’t forget to subscribe for more upcoming articles.