Interview with Stephen Cote, Author of Shard

17 May 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Shard?

Writing Shard helped me to ground myself while I figured some things out. I was no longer Professor Cote, I was Ranger Steve, and I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. Years of academia had trained me to think in a certain way, and I felt like I had lost something of the carefree explorer I had been before. The characters in Shard explore and learn and have adventures. I always liked road trips. Shard is a long, strange road trip.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Shard, what would they be?

They listen to such different music in the future! If Micah were here now, I think he would listen to Latin Rock and Reggaeton, maybe some Calle 13 or Bad Bunny. A theme song? How about “Todo Se Mueve.” I could be wrong, however. He is such an introvert. It’s hard to get a read on the guy.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genre to read is my favorite genre to write: science fiction. We can imagine the future and ask the big questions about where we are from, what it means, and where we are going. And of course, it’s all in good fun. Plus, you can throw in some aliens or space-time fluxes to keep it interesting.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

It might surprise you to learn that I’m reading a lot of early American history right now. That’s mostly for work, however. I started a new job in a new city less than a year ago and feel the need to do some extra research. I am reading “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow (I love the musical), and “The Indian World of George Washington” by Colin Calloway. I want to read some more sci-fi this summer. I have Adrian Tchaikovsky and Gareth Powell on my TBR list.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene to write was probably Micah’s first encounter with Blind Elk, a Native American shaman living in the California redwoods. It’s a time of healing, a rebirth, that allows Micah to overcome tremendous loss and begin to live again. It is loosely based on a sweat ceremony I did with Native Americans in northern California.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

No, I don’t have any quirky writing habits. I sit in a coffee shop and enjoy my favorite beverage while I type away. I have a tremor, so typing is difficult. But I like having the people around and the music playing in the background. And the coffee. Like Micah, the main character in Shard, I am a fan of quality coffee.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

A philosophy to live by? Maybe do no harm, or try to do no harm. Help each other rise up. Find a new path if the one you’re on doesn’t go anywhere. Face your fears. Live a little.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Remember that it might have nothing to do with you.

Also, book two is well on its way!


Stephen Cote is the author of the new book Shard: Book 1 of the Shard Series

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