Hello Vagabonds! Please give a big welcome to author Steve Cypert. He is the author of a new paranormal read named Scapemaker. Cypert is here today to talk about himself and his work. Cypert is also going to give away a copy of Scapemaker. So check out the interview and see how you can win this book.
OBVB: Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond, Steve. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
SC: I am originally from Los Angeles California. I have been living in the Salt Lake City area of Utah since 1995. I graduated from the University of Utah with a BS degree in Mass Communications in May of 2003 at age 30. I took more photography courses than I did any kind of English or writing courses. I have had a range of jobs from counter help, serving, managing in the food industry to being a mascot for a triple A baseball team for a summer. I LOVE to write, though, sadly, I have never gotten into reading because I was never a good reader in grade school and always felt a little self-conscious reading. So, I am sorry to say that I am not familiar with many of the authors that today’s readers are familiar with. I love the outdoors, I am a movie fanatic, and I country swing and ride horses with the best of them.
OBVB: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
SC: Like I said in the previous question, I have never really been a big reader. I truly wish that in my life growing up that it was different. I now envy those people that grew up reading. I admire readers so much, because I know how much dedication that takes. But I have always loved to create stories in my head and imagine all of the “what if” scenarios my mind could handle. I have always been fascinated that anyone can just dream up any circumstance and scenario I wanted to and give whatever names to characters I wanted along with personalities and it would never be considered wrong. I remember distinctly thinking to myself in the school yard one day in jr high school that I can imagine up all these fantastic stories and be swallowed up in them and that is something that no one can take away from me or change in me. I numbered over a dozen different stories in my head and it amazed me how many different plots and storylines there were. I realized the amount of imaginative stories out there were literally innumerable. I never thought that one day I would actually put these stories to paper.In high school I wrote the beginnings of a YA novel that I called Piercekeen and the Sprite. I wrote about a boy who had an imaginary friend—a hawk, that he played with. His father fell into a coma one day and he ended up finding out that the Sandman had taken him. The boy’s imagination had crossed into the dream-world where it met reality at a tangent. The ending to that story would be a happy ending, where the boy comes out of the dream-world with his father. Though I never finished it, I had always wanted to. When I moved to Utah I wrote a work of historical fiction based on a poem I wrote. I named the novel Port of Errors (Born of Tyranny #1). It took me 10 years to complete; however, I still have some changes to make. I learned alot from writing that story, which I do still need to edit some. Soon after completion of Port of Errors, I thought of a new storyline, in which a high school student—along with the students in his class—cross over into the dream-world from his classroom, which is connected to the dream-world through a dreamgate. I used Piercekeen and the Sprite as a basis for this new story idea and soon Scapemaker was born.I guess to actually answer the question… I have wanted to be an author ever since I can remember.
OBVB: What author(s) influenced you growing up? Any current favorites?
SC: I never read much growing up, though I did have a distinct influence. I read Lord of the Flies, by Sir William Golding, in grade school and realized that fictional stories did have meaning and could present a moral lesson within. I realized that fiction can do good in the world and not just be purely entertainment. I always set out to do so in my writing because of books like Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm. And even though they are both politically charged, I do not write books with political anything.Currently, as a self-published author, I have been influenced by Amanda Hawking’s writings and the path that lead her to becoming a self-published and ultimately a traditionally published author.
OBVB: Do you have any special rituals or anything you must do before or while writing?
SC: I don’t have any special rituals, but I think of much of my material while walking my dog, Duke. I walk Duke, a cute little shih tzu, late at night and I play out scenes in my head and even talk out loud into my voice recording app at times to remember the things that I think about. I have my wife read through the things I write to make sure what I write works as well. She’s pretty honest about it—at times… brutally honest.
OBVB: Can you tell us what Scapemaker is about?
SC: I think the best way to tell you what Scapemaker is about is to post a polished synopsis, so, here it is:Matthew is the son of Mr. Nicholas Namely, a local high school teacher. However, Matthew does not know that his father is a dreamscaper, whose classroom is connected to the dream-world. From his classroom, Mr. Namely’s students enter the halls of Scapemaker, a dream-world high school for young and inexperienced dreamscapers.Following a couple of tragic events—his father’s sudden comatose condition and the unbelievable mysteries surrounding the unexpected death of his best friend, Dobian Brown—Matthew is compelled to investigate and is propelled into a whole new world. Matthew and his mother, Mae, are soon coerced into moving across the country for his father's strange medical needs. While attending his new school, Matthew comes to know the secrets that Daedree, an annoying girl from his former high school, has locked away. Matthew also meets Amber, a beautiful enigmatic girl who leads him to Mr. Xoner's classroom. While there, he learns the art of dreamscaping (which, unbeknownst to Matthew, has been in his bloodline for thousands of years). This new life will lead Matthew to unbelievable characters with the most extraordinary abilities he could have ever imagined—and the most deadly and wicked villains he never thought he’d be up against.Matthew will come to know of Nox Celare, otherwise known as The Sandman, who is after a special element called Magineum. He must not only solve the mysteries surrounding those tragic events, but he will also have to protect the Magineum with his life and find a way to be with the girl of his dreams. Neck deep in skinwalkers (shape shifters), sandsleepers, zombies, goblins, soul feeders, ghosts, ogres, dragons, dream-world criminals known as “night terrors” and more, Matthew learns he is in over his head. With the help of his friends, Mr. Xoner, and a determined FBI agent, Matthew will learn more about his father than he ever hoped to—or wished to know. He soon uncovers the reason for his father’s comatose condition; with vague implications of a traitorous act and a possible connection to Doby’s death, Mr. Namely had been convicted and his mind held within the notorious Sandstorm Prison inside the dream-world. Matthew must now prove his father’s innocence as a helpless victim of Nox’s plan to escape Sandstorm Prison.Filled with true adventure, mystery and forbidden love, Scapemaker will keep you grounded in the real world while at the same time make the fantastical world around it that much more possible and enduring. Scapemaker will keep you guessing and wanting more. After reading Scapemaker, you may see dreams in a whole new light and wonder… what if?
OBVB: What was the most difficult thing about writing Scapemaker?
SC: I am a very detailed and complicated thinker when it comes to writing and talking. I also love puzzles and mind games. So, when I wrote Scapemaker, I wanted the reader to experience what Matthew was experiencing as he experienced it. There were several times, for the sake of less confusion, that I had to break away from that as either the narrator or through a character to explain a few things or to add suspense. But, I purposely made it a little confusing in the beginning because Matthew did not know what was going on himself. There are many elements still hidden in the open and behind the scenes that I have decided to keep from the reader since those things are only helpful in the next few books. If you read very closely, you might be able to figure those things out. Either way, it was difficult to keep track, at times, and to keep up with the twists and hidden elements. I had to re-read the book many, many times and have my wife read it and a few close friends until there were no contradictions and until things made sense.
OBVB: Scapemaker is full of different supernatural beings. What is your favorite kind of supernatural being and why?
SC: That is a really hard question to answer. I think most people would venture to say vampires. In Scapemaker I created a new type of vampire called a soul-feeder; they don’t suck blood—their fangs reach down into the soul and they suck out their soul and life force. However, I think I personally love werewolves. In Scapemaker, the closest supernatural being to a werewolf is a skinwalker, which is actually a shape shifter. I think the concept of a werewolf is intriguing because of the pain they go through in their metamorphosis. The change they go through is always described so vividly. The environment in which a werewolf seems to always be found is so surreal and eerily majestic. I think a close second are goblins. I don’t really know why.FYI: I am adding a few more supernatural beings into the second book. Things will make more sense by the end of book 2.
OBVB: What genre would you write that isn't your own and why?
SC: I’ve never really thought about this. I have written a children’s book called Biggle and Bee. I have also written a work of historical fiction titled, Port of Errors. I would love to write something like Goonies in the middle grade adventure. I’m not sure if I know how to put myself into that genre. But it’s always worth a try.
OBVB: When you are not busy writing, what do you do in your spare time?
SC: Oh, wow. My spare time…. There is no spare time. My wife and I have an 8 month old son and a shih tzu named Duke. But, when I do happen to find the kind of time I need, I absolutely love photography. I have been shooting wild life, zoo life and landscape photography for about a decade now. I began with shooting weddings, but the stress of making sure the images were nothing less than perfect was too much over too long a time. I still sell images online, but nothing really official. If you want to see some of my stuff, you’ll just have to google my name and photography or look on my blog.I also love the outdoors. I love to road trip and camp and hike. I live in Utah and that is the perfect place for my spare time activities—whenever I have that kind of time.
OBVB: Last but not least, are there any projects you have lined up that you can tell us about?
SC: I have written a very detailed outline of the second book in the Scapemaker series called Soul Feeders. It will start off with some great suspense and it will not stop. In Scapemaker (volume 1) there is a lot of explaining to read in order to gain a good understanding, but since that is out of the way by the end of book 1, book 2 will be something to die for.I have only mentioned this one other time, but, I have also begun writing a small novella called When the Bough Breaks. This book is not really a YA. It is more of a drama of sorts. It’s not an “adult” book; there is no foul language, sex, romance, or violence. When the Bough Breaks has paranormal aspects, but it’s not really a paranormal work. This story takes place mainly in one location and will tug at the heart. My wife started tearing up when I told her the premise. I can’t however, release that information just yet. It will be a quick read, but a powerful one. As far as now is concerned, When the Bough Breaks will be about 25-25 thousand words long. Scapemaker is 122 thousand.Thank you so much for welcoming me on Offbeat Vagabond. I’ve had fun entertaining these questions. Thank you for taking the time to read my babblings. Have fun in your reading!Steve CypertAuthor, Scapemaker
Steve Cypert Bio: