Author Interview with S.G. Redling

22817397I’m interviewing S.G. Redling today, author of “Ourselves”, a book which brings a new twist to vampire lore. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for visiting!

1)      How long have you been writing?

I’ve tried my hand at writing on and off since college. I only began to write in earnest, with an eye for publication, in my late thirties. Once I began writing, I never stopped. I think I needed to reach a level of maturity to get out of my own way.

2)      What is your favorite genre to write?

            I write thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, and urban fantasy. I can’t say I have a favorite; it’s more like I have a six-second attention span. Being able to write different kinds of books is a luxury I don’t take for granted. Hopping from genre to genre keeps ideas fresh; I don’t ever feel like I’m grinding out the same book. That said, I do love playing around with the rules of reality so if I HAD to choose, I’d probably say urban fantasy.

3)      Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

I would love to try my hand at a graphic novel. The storytelling is so tight in them, plus you have the added dimension of such cool visuals. (This is a plus since I loathe describing scenery.)

4)      Please tell us about your book.

OURSELVES takes us into the hidden world of the Nahan, a secret culture that lives among us. They’re human; they look just like us. They work in our offices, they live in our neighborhoods, their kids go to school with ours. They’re just like us with one important exception – we are their prey. They’ve managed to hide in plain sight among us for centuries by diverting our fear and attention with legends of monsters. The Nahan are the truth behind the myth of the vampire.

In this first book, we follow Tomas and Stell, two young Nahan who are trying to find their place in the outside world as well as navigate their path within the Nahan culture. They learn that each of them has a particular –and unusual – skill set which they’ll need to fight a dangerous conspiracy threatening their community.

5)      Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

My favorite and easiest to write was Stell. She’s ‘a blacksnake of a girl,’ wild and blunt but really innocent in an animal-like way. With Stell, we get to learn the world of the Nahan Council since it’s all new to her as well. Plus there’s just something so freeing about getting into the head of a character with such a wild moral compass. She’s ferocious and gets to say all the blunt things we don’t get to say in real life.

As for my least favorite, I don’t think I can name one. There are some bad folks in the book, very bad and easy to dislike, but one of the challenges of creating believable villains is that I have to get all the way into their heads. I have to understand their point of view. Good villains believe they’re doing the right thing; they can justify their actions and they really believe in them. That means I have to be able to believe in them too while I’m writing them. Once I do that, in some weird way I actually root for them. The better they are, the bigger the challenge for my protagonists and the better the story is. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching them go down for their misdeeds of course.

6)      What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The hardest part of Ourselves was clarifying Tomas’ quest. As I mentioned earlier, Stell is an incredibly easy character to write – she’s blunt, she’s honest, she’s unsocialized. Tomas, on the other hand, is shy and very polite. He’s introverted and hides things even from himself. Where Stell gets to go on this kick-ass violent spree, Tomas goes deep into a very strange, dark, mind-swirl. He’s got a really hard challenge ahead of him but he’s still the product of his environment. I didn’t feel it would be authentic for him to suddenly become this wild rule-breaker. That was a hard narrative line to straddle – to keep him true to himself while his reality is blown to pieces.

7)      What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

I try really hard not to have too many necessities to write. I have this fear that I’ll say “I absolutely have to have M&Ms and blue Bic pens to write” and then M&Ms and blue Bic pens will be discontinued. Besides the innate horror of a world without M&Ms, I worry about being reliant upon touchstones or habits to write. But of course I have some routines. I always carry a black composition notebook; I number them and keep them and load them up with all the brain junk that can clog my writing. Whenever I’m really despairing about getting stuck in a story, I can go back and see that I always panic at the same point in every book. Plus before every writing session, I free-think in the notebook; I just do a quick pep talk to myself and go over what I want to achieve in the next writing session, nothing detailed, just a focus moment. They’re fun to go back over at the end of a book – but I have made my sister promise to burn them all should something happen to me. There’s a lot of crazy in there.

But no matter what happens, I would never, ever attempt a book without coffee. I’m not a madwoman.

8)      How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

This book took the longest of all of them. “Ourselves” is actually a much-rewritten version of the very first book I ever wrote. I wrote it many years ago. It was horrible and needed to be hidden away but I never gave up on the story. Years later, I tried it again, and I loved it but I was still learning how to write a novel. I didn’t put any restrictions on myself; I threw everything into it. That story meandered and roamed and frolicked and napped but it finally came to a conclusion and I really loved it. So the first draft of Ourselves took nine months to finish and it was a whopper. Then came the chopping. Oh the chopping.

9)      Can you tell us about your editing process?

I don’t do much editing as I’m writing. It only took a few times of correcting some plot point multiple times to learn that I work best if I edit after I’m done with the whole story. I don’t outline so my plots tend to go astray in the first draft. The more I write, the better I get at corralling them on the first pass but I feel freer knowing that I can always go back and fix something rather than worrying about getting it right as I go. It’s not at all unusual for my manuscripts to have notes that say something like “Timeline is correct from here.” For example, in my Dani Britton thriller, “Redemption Key,” I started the story happening at night but then realized it all had to happen in the middle of the day. A third of the way through the original manuscript, there was a yellow sticky that read “Now it’s day.”

Once I’m done with the first draft, I read it over quickly, just pounding through to see if any of the dialogue or plot points snag me or drag me out of the story. I write cryptic notes like “Stuff here” and “make thicker” that I rarely understand when I go back to them. Most of my editing is really just chopping, cutting extraneous words and unnecessary actions. When I write, I go a little nuts with body actions (gestures, expressions, movement) – they help me see the story as I write  – but in rewrites they’ve got to go.

I actually enjoy editing. I consider it the do-over we don’t get in real life.

10)   Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

It is book one of a series that I’m so excited for. I love this world! I love these people. The next two in the series are already completed and Book 2 might be my favorite book I’ve written. The working title is The Reaches and it’s a dual timeline story in which Stell tries to unearth her mother’s history while we watch her mother grow up and move across the country.

There’s so much to discover when I’m writing in this world; I can’t see ever getting tired of it or running out of material.

11)   Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write. Just write and write and write. It’s so horribly simple that it’s almost unbearable. Write. Don’t worry about what people are going to say; don’t worry if the story is dreadful. Write it. Finish a story. I always say you learn more from dragging one craptastic manuscript over the finish line than you do from starting and abandoning a hundred potential masterpieces. Write what you want to read and keep on writing. Write a lot and read more.

And don’t listen to anyone’s advice like it’s gospel. As Somerset Maugham said “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.”

12)   Why should everyone read your book?

Because I’m super nice? Kidding. Everyone should read my book in the hopes of seeing their day-to-day world with fresh eyes. What’s hiding in plain sight? What ‘facts’ do we take for granted that might really be manipulations by forces beyond our understanding? OURSELVES and the whole Nahan series is about humanity – what makes us human, how broad can that definition get, and is there a pecking order? Plus there’s a lot of action.

13)   If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?

In no particular order:

Dorothy Parker. I would love to sit down and have martinis with her to get her take on any topic she chose. She was so funny, so intelligent, so hard to outwit.

William Shakespeare so I could put to rest once and for all who actually wrote all those plays.

Gloria Steinem, so I could thank her for opening my eyes to feminism at an early age.

14)   What inspired you to write your book?

I wasn’t so much inspired as compelled to write this book and to create this world. I grew up LOVING vampires. From Bram Stoker to Anne Rice, from “Lost Boys” to “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” I couldn’t get enough of them. But one thing always bothered me: why did they feel so guilty? I just couldn’t get my head around it. Sure they were killing people but they had to; they were hungry and they needed blood. Then the idea started to grow – what if they weren’t monsters? What if it wasn’t a curse but just an evolutionary diversion? Who would they be? How would they live around us without us destroying them? Who would they be to themselves? What would their mythology be? How would they use the rumors of their existence to their advantage?

Answering those questions and others not only helped me create a broad and complex world but it also forced me to examine my own world and my own biases.

15)   Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it? 

I’m currently working on a psychological thriller about a woman who is rebuilding her life after a horrible tragedy. She thinks she’s found a safe, quiet place to go to ground to heal and winds up framed for murder. It’s different than anything I’ve written before. For one thing, it’s my first book based in my home state of WV; it’s also my first novel told from the first-person point of view. I’m loving this story so far- it’s dark and tense and looks like it’s heading for real mayhem. It’s set for release in January of 2016.



by S.G. Redling

The first in a captivating new series from bestselling author S.G. Redling, creator of Flowertown and Damocles

S.G. Redling burst onto the scene with Flowertown, a high-octane conspiracy thriller that earned her fans around the globe and was followed by bestsellers including the space adventure Damocles and techno-thrillers The Widow File and Redemption Key. In her latest novel, Redling charts new territory – and puts a fascinating new twist on vampire lore – in telling the story of the Nahan, a human race who live among, but are startlingly different from, “common” humans. OURSELVES (47North; January 27, 2015) is our first peek into this hidden world, a world the Nahan have protected by cultivating the myths of fanged, bloodsucking monsters that haunt legends.

The Nahan have always been among us: working in our offices, attending our schools, living next door. Polite but private, they are also efficient and extremely protective. Young Tomas lives a sheltered life in the Nahan community, his future secured by the long arm of the Council that protects their people throughout the world. But when he meets Stell, a wild, beautiful girl outcast from a Nahan cult, they ignite in each other a desire for a different path.

Soon, Tomas is training with the elite and bizarre order of Storytellers, while Stell uncovers her own skills as an assassin. When they unearth corruption within the Council and a dangerous plot that has already cost one young Storyteller his sanity, they must test their new skills and, teaming up with other young Nahan, challenge the most powerful organization in their world.

Darkly sensual and remarkably detailed, OURSELVES introduces readers to the compelling, sensual, and imaginative world of the Nahan, a secret society hiding in plain sight.


S. G. Redling hosted a morning radio program for fifteen years before turning to writing. A graduate of Georgetown University, she was a finalist in the 2011 Esquire Short Short Fiction Contest. She is the author of The Widow File, Redemption Key, Damocles, Flowertown, and Braid: Three Twisted Stories. She currently resides in her home state of West Virginia.


S.G. Redling

On Sale: January 27, 2015 · Amazon Publishing/47North · 334 Pages

$14.95 Trade Paperback · ISBN:  978-1-4778-2039-1

$4.99 Kindle Price · ASIN: B00LOXDISI


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