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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spotlight Saturday: Author Interview and Giveaway with Stephen Zimmer

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Stephen Zimmer.

About Stephen:

Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker, whose literary works include the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga, as well as the epic medieval fantasy Fires in Eden Series.

The Exodus Gate, Book One of the Rising Dawn Saga, was Stephen's debut novel. It was released in the spring of 2009, with The Storm Guardians following in 2010, and The Seventh Throne in August of 2011.

Crown of Vengeance, Book One of the Fires in Eden Series, was released in the fall of 2009, with Book Two, Dream of Legends, following in December of 2010. Crown of Vengeance received a 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel in Small Press.

Stephen’s short fiction includes the Harvey and Solomon steampunk stories included in the Dreams of Steam and Dreams of Steam II: Bolts and Brass anthologies from Kerlak Publishing

As a filmmaker, Stephen's film credits include the supernatural thriller feature Shadows Light, the horror short film The Sirens, and the recent Swordbearer, a medieval fantasy short film based upon the H. David Blalock novel Ascendant.

Further information on Stephen Zimmer can be found found at:
and also on Google+

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Stephen!

Stephen has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him!

A Good Writer is a Good Reader
by Stephen Zimmer

One of the wisest pieces of advice I ever received was that to be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. It goes without saying that all writers have influences, whether from within the genre they write in, or from without. Writers have different strengths and elements they are known for, and there is always something of value about the writing craft that can be gleaned from a given author.

In my own path, I have come across many authors that have had profound influences on me. I enjoy their work to this day, find new things when I reread their works, and have been given many things to think about in terms of the approaches these authors take to their fantasy craft.

Instead of discussing myself and the writing that I do, I would like to take a few moments to share a little about a few of the primary fantasy (and one horror) authors that have really had an influence on me over the years. All are very different, but all are outstanding, and their work has stood the test of time.

J.R.R. Tolkien: Without question, J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the true fathers of the fantasy genre. The literary quality of Tolkien's work has demanded respect from those in literary circles who often tend to scoff at genre fiction. Few authors today have developed the kind of world that Middle Earth is, with an extensive, thoroughly plotted history, and even invented languages. The attention to detail and the thought put behind the tales found in books such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit is mind-boggling. Without question, Tolkien's richly-developed world, with its keen attention to detail, has been a profound area of influence to me in terms of remaining conscious of the things that make a fantasy world come alive.

C.S. Lewis: C.S. Lewis is another father of the fantasy genre, with the Chronicles of Narnia. Along with Tolkien, Lewis was present at my foundations. His mastery of the allegorical, his ability to tackle “bigger picture” kinds of issues in his work, and his talent for really making the personalities of characters sparkle were all things that I analyzed closely as an author.

George R.R. Martin: George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire is a real clinic on how to manage an ensemble cast and a complex group of subplots. His ability to plant seeds for the future is amazing, and a reader really should pay attention to detail when reading one of Martin's books, as he sprinkles hints and foreshadowing everywhere. The byzantine intrigue and range of characters helped make this series very effective in a television format as well. With Martin, it definitely is his ability to orchestrate and maintain such a large ensemble of characters and plots that I pay extra attention to, when reading his novels.

Clive Barker: Clive Barker's Books of Blood, an amazing short story collection, along with novels such as Weaveworld, The Damnation Game, and the novella Cabal, provide a gallery of the visceral and macabre in a literary context. While not for the faint of heart, Barker's close association of the mundane and the macabre is very well executed, and something well-worth studying as an author.

David Gemmell: Gemmell's Drenai novels are truly profound fantasy constructs. Compelling characters and subtle undercurrents of the transcendent drive the Gemmell novels. There is always a sense of something greater right at the edge of the story, and sometimes Gemmell pulls the veil back just a little to give everyone a look. Iconic characters like Druss the Legend and Waylander spearhead his tales with a balance between the heroic and the introspective. With Gemmell, it was his talent to weave subtlty into the story that I honed in on to study as an author.

Robert E. Howard: The Conan short stories are nothing short of incredible, bringing the reader into an ancient world with a larger than life hero. It is one of the best examples of sword and sorcery fantasy, as the engine for these stories lie in the heroic rather than the complexity of the world it is set in. “The Tower of the Elephant”, “Queen of the Black Coast”, and many other Conan adventures have become classics in fantasy literature. Howard's sense of the larger-than-life iconic hero and brooding, atmospheric settings are things I've come to strongly appreciate as an author.

Glen Cook: Glen Cook's Black Company series has been praised for its military realism by veterans, and for good reason. Glen's mercenary company is gritty and real, and the way the characters respond to situations on campaigns in the books resonate with those who have military experience. The first three books involving the Black Company were my introduction to Glen Cook, The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and the White Rose, and I've enjoyed him ever since. Glen Cook has definitely had an influence on me, in developing a better focus on creating characters with realistic reactions and interactions, in short, making sure there is a good level of plausibility in the characters that populate my work.

R.A Salvatore:
R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden is one of the most iconic characters in all of fantasy. The books themselves showcase Salvatore's true mastery of fight scenes, as each one is artfully crafted, both flowing and plausible. Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn got me hooked on Salvatore, and there have been many, many adventures to enjoy since, as he is a very prolific writer. If you want a real clinic on choreographing a fight scene in a book, Salvatore is a true master of the craft, and I've learned a lot from reading his work.

Each of the above authors' works were immensely enjoyable, while also being very edifying when it comes to the craft of writing. If you have not tried out the authors that I have listed above, I strongly encourage you to do so. Read, enjoy, and, if you are a writer, you will discover your own influences!

Don't forget, a good writer is a good reader!


Thanks so much for joining us today, Stephen! I'm looking forward to reading The Exodus Gate and Crown of Vengeance


One lucky winner will receive a copy of one of Stephen's books. You can read about the first book in each series below. If you have already read the first in the series, you are free to choose another title in either series.

This giveaway is limited to entries from Canada and the United States only at the publisher's request.

The Exodus Gate, by Stephen Zimmer, is a modern fantasy novel that is the first release in the Rising Dawn Saga.

The story unfolds around Benedict Darwin, host of a popular late night radio show that deals with the paranormal. Benedict comes into possession of a virtual reality simulator that turns out to be something far greater and more powerful than he ever expected.

Meanwhile, supernatural powers from the depths of the Abyss and their human allies are working tirelessly to bring about a One World Government. They are also laboring to bridge the boundaries between time and space to bring back the Nephilim, the monstrous offspring of Fallen Avatars and humans that were destroyed in a Great Flood that occurred long ages ago.

An epic tale of courage, hope, and adventure, with fantastical realms and exotic creatures, The Exodus Gate is sure to appeal to a wide range of fantasy readers. The first edition also features 15 full page illustrations by the artist Matthew Perry.
Other titles in the Rising Dawn Saga:
(The Rising Dawn Saga, Book #2)
by Stephen Zimmer
(The Rising Dawn Saga, Book #3)
by Stephen Zimmer


On a night that begins no different from any other, strange mists engulf Janus Roland, Erika Laesig, Mershad Shahab, and several others going about their lives in a quiet midwestern town. When the mist dissipates, they all find themselves looking up into the bright skies of a new, incredible world.

Without explanation of why it has happened, or any notion of where they are, they embark upon a grand adventure within the fantastical world of Ave. Some find themselves in the lands of the Saxan Kingdom, while others have emerged within the lands of the Onan, one of the tribes in the Five Realms confederation.

Storms of war loom over both Saxany and the Five Realms, as invasion forces mass under the inspiration of The Unifier, a mysterious, captivating figure whose influence has swept across the surface of Ave ever since His rise to power in the Gallean duchy of Avanor. It is a war that will be fought in the skies, upon the seas, on land, and even in places non-physical in nature.

A majestic, epic fantasy that begins many adventures and journeys across a diverse and enthralling world, filled with races and creatures both familiar and new, Crown of Vengeance lights the flame of the Fires in Eden series, bringing to life a bold, far-ranging, and grand new venture within the realms of fantasy literature.

Other titles in the Fires in Eden Series:
(Fires in Eden, Book #2)
by Stephen Zimmer
Book #3 is coming Winter 2012  

To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is limited to entries from Canada and the United States only, and it will close on Saturday, November 19th at 12:01 AM EST.

1 comment:

  1. Darlene, thanks a bunch for the opportunity to do the post, I had a great time reflecting on the authors that influenced me! I hope the contest winner enjoys their book! Good luck to all participants.