Interview with Diane E. Steinbach, Author of Song of Mornius
28 May 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Song of Mornius?
This is a book I started in my early thirties while I was involved in multiple writer workshops and trying to learn my craft. I had reached the point that I was starting to submit it as a finished piece to agents and publishers, but then my world fell apart. I had a lot of bad things happen all at once, and through the course of several years, I lost the story. My computer crashed, my laptop died, and I was simply too distracted and out of sorts to think about what I had on those computers that I needed to salvage. Then as I started rebuilding my life, I realized I no longer had most of the work I had put into this book. All I could find of Mornius was a few chapters on floppy disc, and a partial, printed version of a very early draft. I realized then that I needed to make a choice–either to recreate a digital version, or move on and write something else. I decided to spend a year rebuilding. I gathered what I could find from the earlier drafts and started over again. Now as a result, Mornius represents to me not just the journey of my characters in the story, but my journey and battles as well.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Stephen R. Donaldson was my inspiration. I loved his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant books (the first two trilogies). I love the reluctant hero approach to writing, the guy who needs to save the day but has a lot of internal conflicts that get in his way.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
My top five books? Watership Down (Richard Adams), Dune (Frank Herbert), Lord of The Two Lands (Judith Tarr), The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel), Lady of the Glen (Jennifer Roberson)
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
My first guest would have to be Samuel Clemens. He is family–my mother’s great uncle. I just think he was a fascinating man who would be awesome to meet.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I really enjoy world building, but I think my favorite thing about writing books is how the characters become real for me–to the point they take over. Caven Roth (in Song of Mornius) is a great example of this. He started out as a background character. But then he made it known he wanted more. And because I listened and paid attention, now the story is better because of it. I think the best part of writing is the adventure the writer gets to go on, not just the characters. People who think writing books is a lonely business, have not experienced a character getting in their head the way I have.
What is a typical day like for you?
I feed my cats first. (Yes, I am a crazy cat lady). I also feed my dog, Haley, and my snakes and tortoises. (I am a crazy small menagerie lady, too!) Then I make my coffee, grab a bagel or whatever, and sit down to write. I do not have a set number of pages I want to get through. I just write until I feel like stopping, whenever that might be. Since I have a full-time job driving for public transit (those big 60′ articulated buses!), I always make sure to give myself enough time before I leave for work to walk my dog, etc. Then while I’m on my break at work I often run through scenes in my head, or think about where I need to go next with my story. This way I have already done the groundwork when it comes time for me to write again.
What scene in Song of Mornius was your favorite to write?
My favorite scene in Mornius? I have several. I think one of my favs is whenTerrek confronts Felrina and forces her to tell him how his brother died.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
My motto; never give up, never surrender.
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