Interview with Herman Steuernagel, Author of Lies The Guardians Tell
01 Dec 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Lies The Guardians Tell?
Lies the Guardians Tell is a Young Adult Science Fiction novel with a touch of magic. It follows Sierra Runar, a teenage girl who lives behind a protected forcefield called the Sphere. An ancient artificial intelligence known as the Guardians have kept them safe from the outside world, which was made uninhabitable by the ancient wars. After one of her dearest friends is murdered, she’s sent on a quest to discover the truth about the Guardians and the history of humanity.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Writing has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember. My parents read to me at a young age, and I remember being able to read as early as Kindergarten. I loved writing throughout school but I never believed that I had what it took to write a novel.
Last year, some friends of mine somehow convinced me to run a half-marathon. I had never run a day in my life, but I put in the work and dedication to accomplish my goal. Once it was over, I had so many people congratulating me on “knocking something off the bucket list”, to which I thought: “But that wasn’t on my bucket list!” It was then that I decided that if I could put that much effort and dedication into something I barely wanted to do, that I could do the same for something that I had always dreamed of doing.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
That is a tough one as there are so many good books out there.
1. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks – This was the first fantasy book that I had ever read, and I was immediately captivated by the world Brooks created. I was about 13 at the time, and I am still a fan of the series today.
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – There is so much going on in this book that’s overlooked, and it’s really a shame that the movies, though really well done, couldn’t do it justice. I love the political dealings that come later in the series.
3. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan – Nothing captured my imagination more as a teenager than this series. The world that Jordan creates far surpasses almost any other world out there and I simply love the magic system of the One Power.
4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown – This may be more about recency, but this is one of the best series I have read in awhile. One thing, that I believe, makes this book stand out is how Brown does an incredible job of ending chapters in a way that makes you compelled to keep reading. It’s a series that has cost me a fair number of hours of sleep.
5. 1984 by George Orwell – Having been an English major I have read a lot of classic literature. This is one that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I cannot think of a more influential book on dystopian literature, and though written over 70 years ago now, is still completely relevant.
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 be Brandon Sanderson. His writing and teaching have been very influential to me. I would ask him more about his writing process and the inspirations behind his work.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love seeing new worlds and new characters coming to life on the page. I love how characters often take on a life of their own, and do things that not even I expect. It feels cliché to say, but I am genuinely surprised when my characters react differently to how I had mapped out before putting a scene down on paper.
What is a typical day like for you?
I work full-time as a web designer so I set my own hours. I typically wake up at 5am, have my cup of coffee and get to work developing sites for clients. I’ll work until early afternoon, and then either run errands or work on my writing. Pre-COVID that meant enjoying a local coffee shop, but lately I just move from the desk to the couch for a change in mindset. I try to get in a walk, run, or just an hour of video games for a mental reset. I spend the evenings with my wife Nettie, or if I have the mental capacity to continue working on my writing or marketing.
What scene from Lies The Guardians Tell was your favorite to write?
Without giving too much away, there is a battle towards the end of the book that was a lot of fun to put together.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
The only thing standing in the way of your dream is you.
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