Symphony of the Wind is Steven McKinnon’s debut fantasy novel, and is Book One of The Raincatcher’s Ballad. The Fury Yet To Come is a prequel novella set in the same world. His first book — the true-life tale Boldly Going Nowhere — was released in 2015. In the same year, his short story, The Vividarium,was featured in anthology dedicated to Sir Terry Pratchett, entitled In Memory, for which all proceeds go to Alzheimer’s UK. Steven is 32 years old, and was born in the bathroom of a Glasgow flat in the year 1986.He has since moved out.
Timy, congratulations on RockStarlit BookAsylum’s first birthday! *party popper noises* Was a hybrid book/music space always how you imagined your blog?
Thank you! *happy dance* Yep, if you look at my introduction post, I was pretty clear on that. I can’t imagine my life without music or books, so it was only natural that my blog would reflect that. Though, I don’t have as much music related posts as I’d like… I liked doing the Music Diggin’ Friday posts, but since last year most stuff was released on Friday, I had to do the majority of the post on that day – which wouldn’t be a problem, but by Friday I’m useless and it felt more a burden than something I enjoyed so at one point I had to call it off. Maybe one day I’ll bring it back.
After one year of blogging, what lessons have you learned? What insights have you gained?
The most important lessons I’ve learned were about myself through the people I got to know this past year. That it’s ok to be anxious, and feel bad and to be myself because not everyone will judge me. That I don’t have to please everyone, because I can’t and that’s fine. I don’t have to hide my feelings and vulnerabilities in fear what others will think of me. As for blogging, I’ve learned a lot, because – as I’m going to say in a later answer -, I had no idea what I was doing when I started. Networking is really important, to be present on social media sites, to appear professional but approachable at the same time for readers and authors alike, because otherwise they won’t bother building a connection with you. Appearance matters but it has to be honest – if you fake it, sooner or later someone will know it and then everyone will. The blogger community is a tight bunch as well as the author community. And that’s cool. I like how supportive these communities are whether towards each other or the people in the other community.
What do you see happening in the BookAsylum’s second year? Do you have any grand plans?
I have quite a few plans in my personal life I talked about in my answer to Keith McArdle. As for the blog… I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. I have a few series of posts in mind – like I need to go out more over the weekends once spring decides to stay longer than a day, but I’m too lazy to motivate myself to do so. Thus, I decided that I’m going to use my blog to manipulate myself and I’m going to show you lovely people my hometown. I always say that Budapest is awesome and now I’m going to prove it! Besides, I’m fairly sure it holds countless of surprises for me too. Every time I go near the Danube I’m always stunned how beautiful this city is. As much as I want to get away from this country, I would miss Budapest.
There is also a project I was asked to take part in, but I can’t talk about the details just yet. Not long to wait though 😉
Your author interviews are always great! If you could interview one author, living or dead, what questions would you ask?
This is payback for my interview questions, right? Why the hell do you ask me hard questions like that?? First off, I totally suck at asking questions. I always come up blank. It’s easier if I already know someone on some level, because I can start with something I’m familiar with or something I know the other person is interested in. That being said, I can’t even decide who I’d like to interview… Probably Rob Thurman, but seeing the way she acted on social media before she disappeared, I’m not sure that would be nice. For now, I’ll settle with Gayle Forman. I’d like to know if she plans to go back to Mia and Adam’s story – If I Stay, Where She Went. If Adam will continue playing music, recording albums, and if they’ll have a family and a lot of adventure while traveling. Or Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, Dark Places, etc.): how does she come up with such dark and twisted stories?
And how do you think they’d reply?
Well, I hope Gayle Forman would say “Hell yes!” As for Gillian Flynn… Hopefully not saying something about sacrificing her soul to Satan who would whisper in her ears while writing.
You’ve enlisted the support of Bunnyreads (*waves* Hi, Jen!) – is there further expansion on the horizon?
Not at the moment, but it’s in the back of my mind. Maybe toward the second half of the year or when my other plans come to fruit and I’ll need someone else to provide content. At the moment my goal was 2 reviews a week, and at least 4 posts, which is going well. We’ll see how things go in the next few months.
On the music front, will you be branching out to album and concert reviews etc.?
Hmm, let’s see. I don’t think I’ll write album reviews that sounds like something much harder to do than reviewing books. I don’t know shit about music, I just love to listen. Concert reviews are a possibility especially since I go to a few this year, but we’ll see. I definitely will try to snatch some interviews though. I have a promising opportunity to talk to Poets of the Fall, if everything goes well *fingers crossed* I definitely want to have more music related content, and I’m still trying to come up with ideas regarding that… Maybe I’ll do thematic lists or something. I’m open to ideas, by the way.
Before opening the Asylum and filling its halls with tortured authors, what other blogs did you read? Who inspired you?
Honestly? I never read blogs before, or reviews for that matter. I had no idea whatsoever about the blogging world. It was something I’d have liked to try for a long time – I had a few tries, but nothing serious – I had no expectations, no connections (except a handful of indie authors), nothing. It’s a small miracle it turned out as well as it did. But a fun fact: what prompted me to jump into it in the end was that I saw one of Drew’s reviews on Goodreads. (Drew is the one running The Tattooed Book Geek blog.) I checked his blog out and it seemed like fun. By that time I already played with the idea but wasn’t sure it was something I should have done. Until I made my decision, and the rest is history.
You read and interview a lot of indie authors – as an indie author myself, I want to take a moment to thank you. Has it tempted you to branch into self-publishing?
Well, it’s true I mainly read and review indie author’s books, but I wouldn’t want to restrict myself to only focus on self-published works. I’ll never stop shouting about them, because most people I got to know this past year definitely deserve to be known by a wider audience! When I started blogging I knew nothing about self-publishing, it was pure luck that I got to know a few authors’ works which turned out to be self-published. To me that didn’t say anything. What I saw was great books I loved and wanted people to know about them. It never occurred to me that there were self-published and traditionally published books. Yeah, I know, I was ignorant and extremely lucky I had such good first experiences. I mean, you can’t go wrong with a Benedict Patrick book or an SPFBO finalist such as Devil’s Night Dawning by Damien Black.
Depending on how things will go in the next few months, I’d like to start my transition from my current day job into freelance editing/beta reading/proofreading and I expect this will mostly include self-published authors. There is one other option in the bag at the moment, but it’s going to take a few weeks to know what are my chances there, and I don’t want to jinx it just now 🙂 Most probably nothing will come out of it anyway.
In your own author interviews, you always ask “What’s your favourite fantasy creature, and why”. Since the tables are turned, it’s only right to ask… What number am I thinking of?
You son of a… Reading the question I started to panic, thinking “Fuck, now I did it, I have to answer this question… Oh, wait… Damn you McKinnon!” So, answering your question: six, you are thinking of six, because that’s my favorite number and you are better thinking of that after you gave me a mini heart attack!
If you’d like to get in contact with Steven McKinnon, you can find him on social media: