What is your newest book about? I’m currently working on a science-fiction series called The Bloodlight Chronicles. Three novels are in bookstores and libraries, and a fourth is in the hands of editors. The series envisions a technological future of medical immortality where Eternals are hunted for the rejuvenating effects of a virus in their blood, and details the problems and pitfalls of four generations of the Davis family, who carry a DNA mutation that gives them psychic abilities in virtual cyberspace.
As the head of a Canadian writers association, how do you help authors? SF Canada exists to foster a sense of community among Canadian writers of science fiction, horror and fantasy. We do this by hosting a daily discussion forum that has run continuously since the invention of email, and we organize parties and breakfast meetings at Conventions across the country. We promote our authors and their work on our website at www.sfcanada.org and we sell books for members at convention tables and via our online bookstore.
What do you find authors need the most in order to be successful? Every author is different and must set a reasonable definition of success. Some authors are happy writing on the weekend and selling short fiction to online markets. Others want to spend a full year on a project and hold a dead tree in their hand. Some thrive on the community drama of meeting with fans and other authors. Whatever you choose in life, perform your craft with authenticity and heart.
What is the writing process like for you? I love the creative ecstasy of imagination. I enjoy working first thing in the morning, dredging the data my subconscious mind has worked on all night, fitting it together just so. I like thinking of my characters as real people and have them surprise me with innovation. On the technical side, I edit over and over in search of a minimalist perfection and have developed a concise voice in my work, described by Library Journal in a recent review: “Stanton wastes no words in his approach to language, creating a deceptively simple style that is both appealing and lucid.”
What did you do before you became an author? I worked my way through university as a steelworker, took post-graduate courses in management accounting, and spent most of my adult life as an entrepreneur. At the height of my career, I owned a retail print shop, a video rental outlet, a giftware/bookstore and an accounting service, along with various real estate projects and stock-market speculations. At age fifty I began to extricate myself from business interests to write full time, and I eventually signed a three-year contract to write a science-fiction trilogy.
How does it feel to be a published author? The initial euphoria has faded with the financial reality, but I can remember a heady feeling of responsibility and a burst of creativity knowing that I had a publishing schedule and deadlines to meet.
Any advice for struggling writers? The best advice I received as an author came from my wife three decades ago: “Get a job, Van Gogh.” There is an infinitesimal probability that a publisher is going to pay you good money to sit at home and conjure fairy tales while your compatriots flog their work for free on the internet out of desperation. In the current crumbling architecture of the publishing world, novelists can be likened to prostitutes working on a future payment plan, and you will need toughened skin and perseverance to find a vacant street corner to ply your wares in the teeming digital city.
Where do you see book publishing heading? The human brain is evolving to expect information in discrete sound bites as attention spans become increasingly shorter, so I think traditional books will be relegated to public library shelves. Audiobooks may become increasingly popular as young readers grow accustomed to passive digital input, and the length of creative literature may shorten in competition with ubiquitous visual media.