Remember when I mentioned my author support system? Well now you get to meet them!
First of all, I’m not going to lie. Roger is family. Not “like family,” actual family. He’s my first cousin, once removed (I had to Google that.) Anyway, I met Roger when I was in my teens and thought he was a “cool” adult (this is damn near a miracle as far as teens are concerned.) Actually almost twenty years later, it still applies. I don’t know if writing runs in all families, but it sure does in mine. Word to the wise: if he mentions something his dad said, pay attention. I adored my Great-uncle Leonard, and the man was a wellspring of wisdom.
Take it away Cuz!
Because it’s the first question everyone asks, why did you want to become a writer?
Thank you for inviting me, Emily. I knew since grade school that I wanted to write; I devoured Black Beauty and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and promptly rewrote the Jules Verne classic to my liking! Later, as a teen, I got somewhat more original, thankfully, with short stories, usually horror, and by the time I was in my twenties I was firmly embedded in sci-fi/fantasy. But within the last few years, I’ve found myself writing more mainstream fiction, at least, mainstream for me.
Because it’s the second question everyone asks, where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! I grew up in a Native American and Cajun family that spoke of spooks and creatures such as the rougaroo, a Cajun werewolf thing that supposedly inhabits the swamps of my homeland in south Louisiana. My Indian forebears spoke of such things as Neka Sama, a beast that lurks in the swamp and makes a whistling sound accompanied by something like beating on a hollow log, and was known to yank children into fires. Typical ghost stories—visitations, sightings, eerie events—were also abundant. Later I was inspired by the sci-fi and fantasy greats, especially Ray Bradbury and JRR Tolkien, then Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I fell into the mainstream market when I read a news story regarding eminent domain abuse that completely hacked me off, and it turned into my novel “A Divide Beyond Reason” that was intended to be one book only, but has stretched into a series.
How many books have you written to date?
Goodness, this is going to take up some bandwidth!
“Native Waters: An Indigenous Fly Fisher’s Journey Across Time and Water” Memoir, 2012
“The Great Sadness: Indigenous Angling and the Loss of Home” Memoir, 2012
“Carry Me Away: A Quest For Wild Places” Memoir, 2012
“Chasing Thunderbirds” Short stories, 2012
“Losing Home: A Native Waters Compendium” Abridged version of the previous three memoirs, 2014
“With Reservations: Musings From the Other Side” Humor, 2014
“For There Is Still The Sky” Fantasy, Allidian Saga, Book 1, 2012
“The Dark Lands” Fantasy, Allidian Saga, Book 2, 2012
“Fortresses” Fantasy, Allidian Saga, Book 3, 2012
“There Will Come A Beast” Fantasy, Allidian Saga, Book 4, 2014
“Firekill” Science Fiction, 2012
“The Thunderchild Fables” Science fiction, 2012
“A Divide Beyond Reason” Fiction, Lawson’s Peak book, 2012
“A River Named Vengeance” (Sequel to “Divide”) Fiction, Lawson’s Peak book, 2012
“Dead Witch in the River: A Lawson’s Peak Mystery” Mystery, 2015
“Those Who Carry Fire: A Lawson’s Peak Mystery” Mystery, 2015
“Finding Lazarus: Askuwhetea, Days of the Watcher, Book 1” Fiction, 2015
Coming soon: “Something Broken: A Lawson’s Peak Mystery”
Can you pick a favorite book?
Harry Middleton, author of several wonderful outdoors books, best of all being “The Earth is Enough”
Tell me a little about your favorite character to have written.
I love them all! If pressed, I’d have to say Lazarus Askuwhetea, an old Indian who first appeared in the “Lawson’s Peak” books.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Absolutely a pantser! Funny thing is, it usually works out great. Usually.
How do you write? With music? Silence? In the morning or late at night? Are your characters voices in your head, or do you see scenes like a movie? Do you need to work things out on paper first? What process do you prefer, (Scrivener, Snowflake Method, Scaffolding Method, a bulleted outline in Word)?
Started in Word, hated it; went to LibreOffice, loved it! Finally learned Scrivener and will never, ever go back.
What are your top three favorite books or series?
Wow, that’s even harder than figuring out my favorite character of my own books. Let’s see…Craig Johnson’s “Longmire” books; “Boy’s Life”, Robert R. McCammon; “The Stand”, Stephen King.
Who are your top three favorite authors in your genre?
I’m not even sure what my genre is! The first two Lawson’s Peak books, coming of age, family drama, who knows? They were hard to shoehorn into a genre. The mysteries, of course, were easier. So…Craig Johnson, for sure, helluva mystery writer. Harry Middleton, because like mine, his books are mostly set in the outdoors. And top it off with Nez Perce warrior and orator Chief Joseph, my personal indigenous hero.
Do you have a book boyfriend/girlfriend? If you have more than one, (because, well who doesn’t?) please list your top three.
Among my own characters—Lomasi, “Pretty Flower,” an indigenous woman who married one of my three main characters. Someone else’s work, Arwen, perhaps?
If you could interview your favorite literary character, what would be the one question you’d ask?
Gandalf, “Lord of the Rings,” and the question would be, “Why didn’t you just get the dang eagles to bring Frodo to Mordor???” (Of course I know, then there wouldn’t be the whole rest of the epic!)
What is the one part of writing you dread? Editing? Reviews? Marketing? Talking to fans?
What have you found to be the best way to overcome this?
Lots of staring at a blank screen, combined with coffee, chocolate and an occasional adult beverage. Or my dad’s advice on just about anything such as that: “Just walk away from it until it all comes around right.”
If you could go back to the day you finished the first draft of your first book, what advice would you give yourself?
Don’t be stupid, go to law school. Just kidding! Probably, “Watch for Amazon to introduce Kindle self-publishing and get in there first!”
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
All of it, even the pains and frustrations. Best of all, is feedback from happy readers who want more. Nothing more rewarding than that.
You walk into a bar and happen to sit next to your favorite author. What’re you going to say, besides gushing?
“Hey, Harry, aren’t you dead?” (Harry Middleton died in 1993.)
Thank you so much for being the first in the series Roger!
About Those Who Carry Fire, the second book in the Lawson’s Peak Mystery Series:
Deep in the back country of the southern Appalachians, a small settlement of Native Americans has existed in self-imposed isolation for three centuries with little contact with the outside world. But when someone, or some thing, burns Madeline Day Star’s cabin, and her with it, Sheriff Gordon Bredenbury searches for a murderous arsonist while desperately trying to keep the secret of that hidden village he’s kept safe for more than fifty years.
When the home of Carolina Proud Horse is also burned a few days later, Gordon reaches a horrid realization: there is an Indian killer in Yona County, and it appears to be the resurrection of an ancient indigenous spirit.
Gordon pursues a killer, flesh or spirit, and soon learns there are also other fires: the fires carried in the hearts of those he holds dear.
Roger Emile Stouff has been an author and journalist for more than thirty years and pens the award-winning column “From the Other Side” in the St. Mary and Franklin Banner-Tribune.
He was featured on the television show “Fly Fishing America” in 2006, and was writer and narrator of the documentary “Native Waters: A Chitimacha Recollection” on Louisiana Public Broadcasting in 2012. Based on his memoirs, “Native Waters” and “The Great Sadness,” the show is now showing on public broadcasting stations nationwide, was nominated for an Emmy and was recipient of a Bronze Telly Award.
He is the author of the fiction novels “A Divide Beyond Reason” and its sequel “A River Named Vengeance” that both question the strength and boundaries of friendship and loyalty. A spinoff from those books, “Dead Witch in the River” is a mystery featuring many of the original characters.
Stouff also has written science-fiction and epic fantasy novels with co-author Kenneth R. Brown, including the first four books of “The Allidian Saga”, a series in the works.
He is the son of Nicholas Leonard Stouff Jr., last chief of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, and Lydia Marie Gaudet Stouff, daughter of a Cajun farmer.
You can connect with Roger on Facebook, and at his websites Shadowfire Books and Native Waters.