10 Questions with Steven Raaymakers
Steven Raaymakers lives in New Zealand. He has a degree in graphic design and is currently in his final year of law. His passion for writing has led to two published novels, with three more on the way. He enjoys fantasy with deeper themes and high stakes.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
I’m a New Zealander, a Kiwi in the local lingo. As a student, I’ve moved around quite a lot in the last four years, but my home is always with my family. There’s nothing like seeing your loved ones again after months apart.
New Zealand’s landscapes inspire me as a fantasy writer.
What drew you to that particular genre?
I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction, even as a young child. The very first fantasy book I remember reading was The Wizard of Oz, followed closely by The Hobbit. Both left an impression on me with their unique worlds, fantastic creatures and incredible magic. I discovered Narnia much later, voraciously reading the entire series in a few days. There is something truly wondrous in fantasy that draws out my deepest emotions, and I love that.
What’s your best known work?
My first book, A Canticle of Two Souls, was very well received. I am currently working on the third book in the Aria of Steel trilogy, alongside a new collection of serial short stories called Scars of Magic, to be released in two volumes. All three books will have a 2021 release.
What inspired you to write it?
I began writing what became the Aria of Steel when I was 16. That was half my lifetime ago, and it has changed drastically from that original idea. Two things remained: the sentient sword and the shadowy banshees that plague the main character. The actual book took four years to write, with the sequel taking only two. My writing is increasing in both speed and quality, which makes me really happy.
Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between?
I am definitely a plotter, outlining my entire series before pen touches paper. The stories do change a bit as characters sometimes take things into their own hands. I do think that adds a touch of unpredictability to my stories while retaining the foundation that I have set.
What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
The weirdest was some research into using dung as a heat source. I also know an inordinate amount of facts about camels, discovered in preparation for my next series.
What’s the most personal story you’ve written and why?
All of my stories are very personal. Scars of Magic is an amalgam of fantasy and real-world trauma experienced by anecdotal stories told to me. The most personal thing I have ever written was in A Canticle for the Fallen when the main character has a nervous breakdown. I drew from personal experience there and I believe it shows in the realism of that moment.
Who are your literary influences? In what way?
Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are at the forefront of my inspirations. Lovecraft has some influence in my creature design and love of mysterious magic, while R.E. Howard is a massive influence for my short stories.
I often try to break tropes and make referential jokes, which was partly influenced by Andrzej Sapkowski’s style. For example, I make some references to video game tropes, and one obvious homage to Berserk, though never to such an extent as to break the fourth wall. My other big inspiration is Dmitry Glukhovsky, author of the Metro series. He writes characters who are down-to-earth and realistic, and I try to emulate that aspect of his writing in my stories.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
A copy of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Grim Solace by Ben Galley.
Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
I am exclusively with Amazon at the moment, though I do have some exciting news coming soon for those that enjoy hardbacks. You can find Aria of Steel books here.
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