Welcome, travelers. While we typically conduct interviews that go a bit deeper into the content and character of a world and its author, we’ve come upon a very interesting opportunity to talk to a number of storytellers who have all worked on the same anthology. These authors have collaborated on Beth Connor’s collection, The Golden Gull, which takes place in her world of Isdralan (and beyond).
Because of the shift in the way we’re interviewing these storytellers, we’re going to keep things a bit more open-ended, with this format serving as a sort of template for each of our interview subjects.
Today, you’ll get to meet one of the authors, and find out a bit more about them, including what other stories they’ve got in their catalog, and what they’ve got coming up. Read on to learn more about one of the authors of The Golden Gull!
Tellest: Greetings! First off, let me say that I appreciate you taking the time to share a bit more about yourself, and to talk about your story in The Golden Gull, as well as any other stories you’re prepared and excited to talk about! If you wouldn’t mind, could you please give a very brief introduction of yourself to readers?
Steve Drew: Hello! Thank you for inviting me into your process. My name is Steve Drew and by day I am a designer of software, changes to software and all things dealing with data. I spend my evenings alternating between amusing and annoying my wife, two kids, and two dogs with stories, jokes and my sense of humor. I have to remind them frequently that I am hilarious.
T: In the typical interviews that I conduct, I first try to find out some of the formative information about what turned an author to writing and storytelling. What was it that inspired you to tell your own stories? Did you have a favorite author, story, movie, or show growing up that helped to encourage your creativity? Or did you have a family member or person in your community who had the storytelling bug, and they managed to pass that on to you?
SD: Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Batman and Battlestar Galactica were early contributors, followed by the A-Team. However, the Star Wars universe was the single largest contributor. I spent so many hours riding my bike around the neighborhood pretending it was an X-Wing. Dismounting my X-Wing (jumping off the bike) to have lightsaber battles or later to deliver newspapers. I wonder how many adults at that time thought the kid on the bike was a bit unhinged. I had quite a few of the action figures as well. No matter how cleverly I snuck them into school with me the teachers always seemed to know I had them in my desk. It was years later that one of them told me the lightsaber noises were a clue I was playing with something…
T: How did you begin your own writing journey? Did you have a specific story that was turning in your head that you needed to commit to paper? Was there some sort of contest that you were invited to participate in? Or was it something else altogether?
SD: I have always injected elements of fun writing into my communications and technical writing. It started with inserting humorous or thematic elements into technical documents to see who read them. (Hint, no one.) Most of the writing between there and Covid was for friends or the pen and paper gaming crews. During Covid I collaborated with Beth as a voice actor on some of her Crossroad Cantina episodes. That progressed to writing a few and then to writing short stories. Raama and his friends are characters that have been with me for a while and needed to be let out. As I record his story, other short stories I have written work their way in.
T: How did you first collaborate with Beth Connor? Were you already familiar with Isdralan when it was determined that you would write a story for The Golden Gull?
SD: I have known Beth for years and been privileged to participate in her process with Crossroads Cantina and also to see early drafts of her books. We even collaborated on a few short stories for competitions. When I started writing Raama’s story I asked her if he could or should tie in with Isdralan. She read all my drafts as we discussed how the two worlds overlap. The concepts from my book in progress have shown up in Beth’s books. In Raama’s narrative, the ship life is a transition point in his hero’s journey. It is a point where despite his best intentions and his own personal sense of honor, things just go awry. When I reached that part of the story, I asked Beth if she could help craft the description of the Caves of Time. It was around then that she conceived the concept for the Golden Gull anthology.
T: Could you describe the process of developing your story for The Golden Gull? How did the ideas come about, and how much would you say you communicated with Beth throughout the creation of your tale?
SD: My original story was a humorous chapter of misfortune for Raama. As the Golden Gull concept started forming, I created a few drafts that roughly outlined the experience. Beth shared one of those drafts with all the authors. While they wrote their stories, I went back over mine to flesh it out. I kept iterating over it until I felt the key personalities shown through and the story made me smile again. As I narrowed in on my final draft, I shared it with a friend that is not a fan of the fantasy genre. When he got sucked into the story, I knew I was done. I wrapped it up and gave it to Beth. Regarding how often we spoke, it was a fairly constant dialog. During the early stages it was around my book connecting to her world. Then it was around several ways of connecting my story with the stories of the other Gull authors. At the same time, she took elements of Raama’s life and incorporated them into Prodigy of Flame. I’m not sure if she had the other authors write the interludes between the stories or she did that herself. But we spoke about each to make sure Raama’s voice, motivation and state of mind were well represented. I am exceedingly pleased with the result.
T: What other stories would you like readers to know about that you have written—or that you are working on? Could you also give us a quick synopsis of any of the tales you want to bring attention to?
SD: I hope the readers enjoy the glimpse into Raama’s world. I hope to share his full story soon. In the meantime, the Crossroad Cantina episode “Two Immortals Walk into a Bar” was written in collaboration with my daughter. We voiced it as well and it is a great glimpse into the dinner table with the Drew family. “Half Assed Adventures” was another episode I contributed when Beth was trying to nudge me to do a full podcast based on a D&D campaign I ran for a group.
T: Where would you like to see yourself in the next several years? Would you like to have a full series under your belt? Are you designing a massive, shared universe that you’d like others to play in? Or are you excited by telling shorter, more intimate tales?
SD: Raama’s story has three distinct parts. I am uncertain yet whether that is three books or one longer book with three acts. I will have to finish it to know for certain. My hope over the next 5 years is that I’ve published his story and the stories of some of his intersecting characters. Raama is notoriously bad with names of people and places. I have used that to my advantage, because the locations he visits can intersect with anywhere. I would love to have other authors connect their world with his and use the magic system or any other part that tickles them. I found it exciting that Beth was so fascinated by certain elements of my drafts that it inspired some of her story. I’d love to be that catalyst for other writers as well. Stirring the imagination… that’s the goal, right?
T: Finally, what is the best way for readers to learn more about you? Do you have a website that they could visit, or do you prefer for them to follow you on a specific social media channel?
SD: I am light on the Social Media front, so far. You can find more at amazon.com/author/stevedrew or https://wolfgrove.media/steve-drew I always welcome feedback. Fans can contact me directly at my Stevedrew@wolfgrove.media I try to reply to everyone. Sometimes it takes a while when my day job has gotten crazy. Of course, they can always call Beth and ask her questions. Her phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. (Who edited that out?)
T: Thank you very much for spending some time chatting with us. This was a little bit more of an unconventional interview than we normally perform, but I hope that you had a bit of fun discussing your writing journey, and that this helps more readers find you!
SD: Thanks again for including me! You made me reach deep here, but it was a fun experience. I hope to go through it again when Raama’s story is finished.
Tellest: Once more, let’s thank Steve Drew for his contributions to The Golden Gull (both the book and the story therein), and for sharing some more about how it all came to be. Remember to check out the author’s social media links, and to dive deeper into The Golden Gull: The Isdralan Chronicles on Amazon today!
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