Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Speculative Fiction author Steven Popkes. I asked Steven to tell us about himself and his writing, and this was his response:
My father was an engineer with the heart of a poet. My mother was a writer with the heart of an engineer. So I became a science fiction writer.
My day job is as a software engineer in aerospace. Right now I’m working on the Dream Chaser vehicle intended to supply the ISS.
Second question for you, Steven: Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Annie’s first, of course. For the ebooks, first would be bookviewcafe.com and second, Amazon. The print versions are available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Annie’s is clearly the first choice.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I have a blog I keep up regularly. (http://popke-blog.blogspot.com/) In addition, since I do most of my publishing with bookviewcafe.com, that’s a good place to go. They also have a newsletter.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your work?
I’m interested in how human beings navigate novel situations. Simple Things is a story collection so there is a broad swath of things that happen to people and how they deal with them. Welcome to Witchlandia looks at what is now called “paranormal” and back in the seventies was called “psionics” in the context of athletic or cognitive ability. It’s a crime novel. Crime novels are interesting in the way they allow you to take characters out of their comfort zone.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
Welcome to Witchlandia is deeply embedded in both Boston, Massachusetts and Columbia, Missouri. (Part 1 is in Columbia. Parts 2 and 3 are in Boston.) Since the main character has the ability to fly, her ability comes under FAA rules. I’m a pilot and this was very interesting to me. However, I could only reference a few aspects of flight in the book.
Simple Things is a story collection and covers a lot of ground. One story, Jackie’s Boy, involves a young boy and an intelligent elephant navigating a post-apocalyptic landscape. They end up at (or near) the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Given their environment, I couldn’t explore the sanctuary there. However, it is a wonderful place and I happily shout out to them now: http://www.elephants.com
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I have a new novel, God’s Country, coming out in July. If you were to ask the question what do recreational drugs, the discovery of a higher beings, prostitution, cults and biochemistry have in common, the answer would be God’s Country.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I do a lot of woodworking and gardening. Like anything else, you have to make time for that which (or who) you love.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
Music without words or words in a language I don’t know. I listen to a lot of Japanese pop music.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Steven!