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Eugene Stewart

answers the Usual Questions

American author Gene Stewart writes under a variety of pen names.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

I'm usually pleased at how informed, polite, and interested people can be. Usually. That may be a midwest effect, as people here seem more polite somehow. Better masks?

As to interactions affecting my work, no. I write for the sake of the story. When writing the sub-reality we inhabit together goes entirely away for me.

Plain fact is, I'm not even sure I have "fans" per se. Hope so, but a writer so rarely gets any direct feedback about one's work, especially short story writers, which is mainly what I am right now.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

When Co-Dominium: Revolt on War World, in which I had a novella, came out in mass market paperback, I held a signing to promote it a little among any local SF fans in culture-starved Warner-Robins, GA.

We were stationed there; my wife was USAF then.

Even did a promotional radio interview and a TV spot, Date With Dell, an older woman who did a fifteen minute filler show in the afternoons. I was all ready in an accommodating B. Dalton bookstore, (remember those?), books stacked on the table, pen poised...

A single customer wanted my autograph.

It being my first, I asked for and got his, too. Surprised him to no end. It was a fun, humbling experience. I was there all evening. Would have thought the proximity of the USAF Base would've prompted more interest in military SF. Found out different.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Charles Dickens, Poe, May Sinclair, Thomas Pynchon, James Tiptree, Jr., HP Lovecraft, Hemingway, Ambrose Bierce, Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, too many to list really.

Most if not all writers go through a learning phase of being strongly influenced, mimicry of, really, folks like A. C. Doyle, Poe, Verne, Well, and HPL. I quickly grew out of pastiche, needing apparently to assert my own personality and voice. I'm sure it's an amalgam of all those writers I've admired and studied along with other influences.

As an example: Rod Serling's TWILIGHT ZONE offered focused, pointed dialogue and well-defined scenes. Or you can learn to write just from studying how Alfred Hitchcock put together his cinematic stories; what to imply, what to leave out, how to include a lot without overburdening the audience, how to control POV and thus response. So much.

Observing and listening to the adults around me as I grew up. How they told each other things, information bits, hints, or full stories. How they spoke and how it immersed them in their lives. Paying attention to everything is what a writer does.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

She knows.

Actually, trapped is a challenge, so Houdini, and we could escape. If we had to stay, Isaac Asimov would be a great conversationalist knowledgable in everything. Tesla would probably end up becoming a real-life Dr. Who if left long enough on a spaceship. Da Vinci or Picasso so we could make art. Bach to discuss music and math. So many would be good.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Myself, probably. Certainly Holden Caulfield. Yeow. Any villain is more interesting than a bland, banal anti-hero or neutragonist who does pretty much nothing but whine.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

Matching conception to execution, probably. Doing the story full justice. Connecting with a reader vividly enough for a shock of recognition to occur.

To have my fiction remain pertinent and engaging as long as fiction itself does, and even after that, would be good, too. Being ineluctable. Ensuring that my work has to be dealt with before all is said and done in literary matters.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

I love writing. Capturing thoughts, observations, and experiences in words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and scenes. I'm gratified if not satisfied by meeting challenges in writing and finding ways to make them into strengths for a given story.

Using language is always fascinating, and I'm hooked on layering, references, and encoding things in many ways. Language is a code with infinite facets.

Observing collapses the potential wave-function. Writing makes things real. If you want fact, read nonfiction. If you want truth, read fiction. Meaning is made, not found.

Thanks for including me, it was a fun interview.

submitted by Eugene Stewart

March 2016

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Just the facts:
Born: Yes, I was. This time 'round on Charles Dickens's (and many other writers') birthday, in 1958 C. E. in Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA, Earth. I was 5lbs 7oz, a premie, and put into an incubator, and survived, despite the blizzard. Learned to read at age 3 and never looked back.
Resides: Currently stranded in the Midwest American Wilderness, in the Omaha zone of Nebraska. Have lived all over the world, including northern Japan and West Germany and all over the USA too. Travel is broadening, which may explain my weight. Would like British Columbia, Canada. Got close but never got there, would love to. If you're offering it, I'll take it. Go, Sasquatch. Stay back, Orca.
Best bet is to check my website at where you'll find many samples and list of credits (needs updated, I know I know) and so on. I write a wide range of fiction, different genres and so on, and use several pen names, too. Yes, I write first drafts with a fountain pen, so noms de plume is applicable. I do this not to hide but to suggest a distinct imprint of dialect of my voice. It's all Gene Stewart in the end, no matter under what name it's published, and I'm proud of it all, it's always the best I can do of what ever type.

Web site:
Again, is the best place to find out more about me and my work and interests.


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