Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview with Steve DeWinter

Curling Up By The Fire is pleased to welcome Steve DeWinter, author of Inherit the Throne, who is here to discuss the release of his new novel as well as a few questions about his writing and any projects on which he is working.  Here is a synopsis of Inherit the Throne:

Some lines should never be crossed.

Living under a new identity in the tiny Northwestern tourist town at the base of Mount Hood, Melissa thought she had finally escaped her past. That is until an assassin tries to kill her and forces her back into a treacherous shadow world she vowed never to return.

That same night an unmanned robotic SUV slams into the limousine of the Vice President of the United States and detonates with several hundred pounds of explosives. Melissa soon discovers that the attack on the Vice President and the attempt on her own life are related.

And time is running out to find out who wants her dead and why she alone holds the key to saving the President of the United States.

1) To start off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I love to read. And I love to write the type of stories I love to read even more. Growing up in California, I've been spoiled by good weather my whole life. But that never stopped me from sitting indoors for hours on end to read yet another spy or science fiction novel. Now that I am an adult in California, I still spend very little time outside as I am mostly indoors writing or reading. I did venture outside yesterday to the pool for about an hour; and I have the sunburn to prove it.

2) Can you tell us a little about your novel, Inherit the Throne?
Melissa Stone, an ex-special forces soldier, is having trouble adjusting to civilian life. Most likely because she is hiding from some very dangrous people and is forced to live under an alias. Unfortunately, despite the identity change, an assassin finds her and tries to kill her. Fortunately, she is one kick-butt heroine who, not easily mind you, dispaches the assassin and just barely escapes with her life. She soon discovers that the attempt on her life and the recent assassination attempt on the Vice President are related. What she doesn't know is why. And that is our story.

3) What inspired you to write Inherit the Throne?  How much research was involved in the writing?
I enjoy reading stories that show the shadowy side of life. Not necessarily the darker side, but the secret organizations that operate in the shadows. My main character, Melissa, is put on the defensive early on in the story as one of these shadow organizations is trying to eliminate her because of what she knows. And finding out why she, of all people, is so dangerous to such a powerful group is half the fun in writing a thriller story like this. I do a lot of research while I am writing. Mostly about locations or existing organizations. I want to sprinkle as much of "reality" into my writing so that the "what-if" scenario is not too far-fetched and becomes more of a "this could happen" story.

4) What was your greatest challenge while writing this novel?  The premise is very chilling.
It is chilling. I wanted to put everyone in the U.S., and quite possibly the world, in danger. And replacing the President of the United States with someone who isn't working in the interest of the people is something very dangerous indeed. My greatest challenge was to keep the story grounded in realism while still pushing the action over-the-top. Earlier drafts even introduced a supernatural element into the story, but it changed the whole flavor of the novel and I stripped it back out.

5) In this novel, we are introduced to some very interesting and intriguing characters.  Who was the most fun to write about?  Which character presented the biggest challenge? Are any of your characters modelled of anyone you know in particular?
I love villains! And the better the villain, the better the story, I always say. I work as much on their backstory as I do the main character. Conventional wisdom says that without conflict, there is no story. I tend to agree and my villains are given the same care and depth as my main character. I really don't have any trouble writing characters. Even minor characters, that may only show up in a single chapter of the entire novel, are given a complete backstory. Whether that story is given to the reader or not depends on the story I am telling, but I give all my characters some depth to make it easier on myself as a writer. If the character is "real", then I only need to write down how they respond to each sitatuion as it happens rather than force my own personality onto each character. All the characters in my books are people I met for the first time while writing them. I really don't model any of my characters after real people, but for some reason, I always picture myself as the villain. In the first few drafts of Inherit The Throne, I had even named my uber bad guy Steve.

6) What are 3 things that are 'must haves' when you write? Do you have any writing rituals?
I must have snacks, I must have music, and I must have wind. The snacks are usually chips or cholcolate, the music is usually heavy metal while I am writing the action scenes and the wind is provided by an electric fan. I just love to feel a breeze on me, even while indoors. I really don't have any rituals around writing since I still have to work a full time (non-writing) job to support my writing habit. I just feel lucky to carve whatever writing time I can out of my already hectic schedule. Someday I hope to be able to call myself a “stay-at-home” writer and then I can collect the eccentric qualities that I will need if I plan to call myself a full time author.

7) Can you share with us any projects that you are currently working on or plans for the future?
I am currently working on Book 2 (of 6) of my Hired Guns novelette series. Hired Guns follows the adventures of Joe and Kat, two Las Vegas private investigators. But from the very start, they become involved in something that is biggar than anything they have ever done before. This will test their resolve, and their very moral fiber. When all is said and done, I don’t think Joe and Kat will ever be the same. Even though I am the writer, I can't wait to see what happens next. I think I know, but then my villain surprises me with how far his reach really extends while at the same time he struggles to keep his true identity a secret from Kat.

8) Favorite authors?
My favorite author is Robert Ludlum. He is the reason I wanted to become an author. But as much as I enjoyed writing contemporay thrillers, my fingers are itching to write a full-on supernatural action-thriller. I’m going to have to scratch that itch soon.

9) What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I am usually thinking about what I am going to write when I get in front of the keyboard. The old adage of "Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life" is very true for me. I love writing. And when I am not actively writing, my brain is still working out plot and story of my current project. I’m just glad I don’t operate heavy machinery in my “day job” or somebody might get hurt.

10) Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I am often asked where I get my ideas. I don't have a specific answer to that question other than I get inspiration from all around me. The most mundane things have often generated a seed for the most wild story ideas. One thing that I make time to do is place every seed of a story into my story nursery where I feed it and allow it to grow into a more fully developed story. It is from the story nursery that I get the stories worthy of being told.  

About Steve DeWinter
If you like super-charged thrillers that merge high-tech gadgetry with ancient mythology and pit the outcast against powerful clandestine organizations, you are among friends. My goal as a writer is to transport you to fresh and exciting worlds that not only takes you on a white-knuckle ride but leaves you hungry for more when you finally turn that last page and reluctantly slam shut the back cover of the book. This is my promise to you the reader. I will continue to satisfy your never-ending desire for more. So keep reading! When one story ends, another begins.

Steve’s debut thriller is Inherit The Throne.

You can visit his website at Connect with Steve on Twitter at!/stevedw, on Facebook at and Myspace at


  1. Thanks for having me on again today. It was a pleasure to be interviewed by you and it was fun. As an update, Book 2 in Hired Guns has been published and I am hard at work on Book 3.

  2. Chris: I don't do a lot of YA but I do love this series!

    Monroe: I don't know how you can wait between books - I read the first four back-to-back!

    Book Guru: She is good at cliffhanger endings - can't wait for December!

    Blodeuedd: You should definitely read this series - it's my fave YA series :)

    Parajunkee: Oh - it was so worth it - I loved it!

    Jane: I love Dimitri but want Adrien to have a HEA too. Glad I'm not the one making the choice, LOL!

    Julie: I love them both and want them both to have a HEA. Ms. Mead is going to have to do something good there.

    Mina: Hahaha - you're so right!

    Danielle: Adrian grew on me too. At first I thought he was weird but now I luff him. Would love for him to be in the spin-off!

    December is bringing Last Sacrifice, Alien Tango, and Shadowfever - all on the same day! How will I choose?!?