Welcome Seth Lindberg (S.E. Lindberg)
- Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am mostly a mid-West U.S.A. guy, with roots in Wisconsin and Ohio. For about two decades now, I have lived near Cincinnati, Ohio. During the day, I practice chemistry & microscopy to further the production of complex mixtures (shampoo, toothpastes, cosmetics, detergents); by night, I write and illustrate weird fiction. By the way, Ohio has had many fantasy writers (including 3 of the 15 “Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America” of the 1970’s): Roger Zelazny, Richard Lee Byers, Andre Norton, Ted Rypel, John Jakes, Stephen Donaldson….and more…
- Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.
Dark Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery in the vein of Robert Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. Perhaps hipsters of today would call it Grimdark.
- Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?
Although I love fantasy art with tons of blood & gore, the slightest amount of real blood makes me sick. I have trouble squashing bugs even, and faint easily. I love horror movies, but could never watch more than a few seconds of the Faces of Death series (an 1980’s documentary series showing actual deaths of animals & humans). Real death revolts me, but books & movies I watch better have tons of the fake stuff!
- Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book?
Not a “message” as much as a “muse.” Artists (writers included) are driven by something, a motivation or “muse.” I think anyone creating art should consider why they are compelled to do so. Mimicking someone else’s art can be good practice, but realizing someone else’s muse generally does not please the audience or the artist. Usually people get fascinated with something that other artists are not exploring.
My Muse? As a practicing chemist and hobbyist illustrator, I’m driven to explore the weird experience of artists & scientists attempting to capture the divine. I identify with early scientists before chemistry splintered from alchemy, when Art and Science disciplines had common purpose. Take, for example, early anatomy (Medieval and Renaissance period): surgeons searched for the elements of the soul as they dissected bodies; data was largely visual, and had to be recorded by an illustrator. The technology behind paint and dyeing was developing alongside advances in medicine. Back then, the same instrumentation in apothecaries produced medicines as well as paints/inks, so the distinction between artist & scientist was obscure. Despite all the advances over centuries, much of the alchemical focus remains at large. Personally, it drive me nuts knowing that energy and mass are conserved quantities (that can be measured, tracked, and manipulated), yet the “soul” still evades detection or practical measure. As long as intangible things exist beyond our reach of understanding, we’ll need artists to interpret (study?) them. With Dyscrasia Fiction, I rely on Sword & Sorcery as a medium to contemplate life-death-art, so undead characters play a big role!
Here is my standard blurb: Dyscrasia literally means “a bad mixture of liquids” (it is not a fictional land). Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black and yellow bile). Artisans, anatomists, and chemists of the Renaissance expressed shared interest in the humors; accordingly, the scope of humorism evolved to include aspects of the four alchemical elements (water, air, earth and fire) and psychological temperaments (phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric). In short, the humors are mystical media of color, energy, and emotion; Dyscrasia Fiction presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease. The books explore the choices humans and their gods make as this disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies.
- Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)
For most storytelling, readers desire a character to be a liaison. However, to provide satisfying escapism, the world-building aspect must be solid (“real” almost). This question resonates with me, since I experimented with prioritizing these first hand. Ideally, I could have figured out a way to simultaneously build a world and fascinating characters—but as I started writing, my “world” kept changing. So I chose to build a strong, consistent world with my debut book Lords of Dyscrasia. Most reviews confirm I succeeded…at the expense of character development/reader-engagement. I took reader reviews to heart (it is tough to relate to an alien world when most everyone is undead) and introduced the living protagonist Helen in Spawn of Dyscrasia.
To reinforce the character focus, I commissioned master fantasy painter Ken Kelly to portray Helen on the cover. I blogged the experience; here, I highlight the design choice of a still, portrait-style composition over an action scene. For Book 3, Helen will grace the cover by herself (working title Seer Helen, due out ~2017).
- In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?
Print and eBooks, available from most online retailers. Audio books are in production now, for a March 2015 release via Audible.com.
- Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?
With rare exception, the amount of editing scales with quality. Editing can be painful and time consuming, but is necessary. I hired professional editors for both my books (for copy and line editing); that was after several rounds of edits from critical beta-readers, and rounds of self-editing.
- Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, frequently. I try to review everything I read to help future readers, as well as the authors.
- Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?
Favorite mainstream published author: Clark Ashton Smith (poetic weird fiction from the pen pal of Robert E. Howard and Howard P. Lovecraft)
Favorite Indie/self-published: Tom Barczak (an architect by day, illustrator and poetic writer by night… I relate to his Veil of the Dragon work)
- Do you have any pets?
A white, passive cat “Sweetie,” and a comical, black pug “Shorty.”
Book links, website/blog and author links:
- E. Lindberg Author Blog: The focus is on Beauty & Art in Weird-Fantasy Fiction.
- E. Lindberg co-moderates aGoodreads.com Sword & Sorcery Group and invites you to participate (link).