Kentucky's own Horror and Urban Fantasy author Stephen Zimmer is coming to Louisville's 4th Street Live for a book signing this Saturday. He has a schedule to publish a new book every seven months for the next four years. As if that's not enough to keep a man busy, he also has a busy tour schedule and still finds time to make horror films. We talked to him about his books and the business of writing.
You can meet him yourself Saturday, June 12 at Border's bookstore. Anyone who buys two or more of his books gets a free t-shirt of their choice from his urban fantasy series. There'll also be full color collectibles from his new book.
You're an author and filmmaker. Tell me about your film projects.
I'm in fantasy and horror. I've been making films for 2 years, mostly short films and documentaries. Now I have two titles "Shadows Light," a modern fantasy supernatural thriller and a horror, twilight zone short 30 min long called "The Sirens" which is available on "Indy Movie Masters Festival of Horrors" volume 1.
What sparked your interest in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genre?
I've been a fan since my earliest childhood. My mom read me The Lord of the Rings every night starting at the age of seven.
What's your day job? How do you find time for your creative projects when also paying the rent?
I work part time as a freelancer doing video production and also work part time at Keeneland doing video production. Having two part time jobs means I'm able to get away to do some creative work of my own. For a month and a half straight I'm going to conventions and book signings, then I'll be working nonstop to pay the bills.
The gig economy works for me. It's an absolute necessity for a small press author or filmmaker to be out there, meeting people, going to conventions and festivals. I'm trying to make a transition into a full time writer and filmmaker, so this gives me a chance to build a bridge to that point.
What made you decide to go with a small press instead of traditional new york publishers?
Right now the major presses are cutting loose a lot of mid list authors and shortening the catalogs of authors they're carrying. With them mainstream publishing shrinking, it's not the best of times to be picked up by a major publisher. At the same point, with all the advancements in technology, the small presses have been doing a great job getting titles out that are the same physical quality as the big presses. For me, it was a choice of whether I wanted to wait years to be found in a slushpile with no guarantees anyone would ever read me or, since I had a publisher interested in me, I could get off the ground right now, get out there, get my work seen. It'd be great if I was picked up by a major publisher, but I wanted to get my carrer going.
People at small presses often have difficulty getting distribution in mainstream bookstores. How did you get into Borders?
Some chains are more difficult to get into. I've had a great response from borders stores, plus the independent bookstores are a lot friendlier. I'm also carried at Carmichaels. Unless you get a national buyer to pick you up for a region, you have to talk to each store individually in order to get on the shelf. It's a lot of work.
What projects are in your pipeline?
I'm currently working on two series - one of them with 7 books. Every 7 months a new book is coming out. The second book in the Rising Dawn saga is just coming out and the Fires in Eden series is underway as well. I alternate between the two of them on a publishing schedule.
When reading for fun, who are your favorite authors?
JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis in major presses and more recently George RR Martin in style and how I structure my books. In small presses Clive Barker.
What recommendations do you have for new genre authors.
Make sure you're willing to go out there and meet people. Do book signings, go to conventions, that type of thing. Most of all - don't fight with your editor. They're there to help you.
Saturday, June 12; 12 - 3 pm
Borders Book Store
400 S. 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40202