How did you start your writing career?
I wrote several poems in college, but I didn’t show them to anyone because I was too insecure. I wrote a short story, which I took the courage to show a favorite professor for his opinion. He was kind in his criticism. Very kind. I never sent it to a magazine. I’d say that was the beginning of my quest to write. Unfortunately, with the demands of college, two masters degrees, then a post-graduate education in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, while working as a social worker during the day and a psychotherapist in the evenings, along with a growing family, I had limited free time to put any of the novels that were stored in my cortex on paper. So, for the next decade only my imagination could be enjoyed. When I switched careers to school psychology, I finally had more free time for myself. and I wrote in earnest, with an old typewriter and two fingers. Encouraged by Stephen King’s success, I wrote a horror novel, with a unique succubus that possesses and controls humans for a quest for power. I sent it out to agents and one actually sent me a personal note. He said I had talent “Learn to write. Start with short stories”. I took his advice and taught myself how to write better. However, with much soul searching, I realized that it was taking forever to complete a story. The problem wasn’t the lack of free time, it was my masochism. I was unconsciously putting roadblocks to a writing career. Angry and determined, I put aside all my other narcissistic endeavors, including oil painting, home improvement projects, and making cement ducks (that’s another story), and completed those short stories. To my astonishment all of them were accepted by Internet magazines. Back to my horror novel, which I edited another ten times, but still no agent was interested. Always the therapist, I was encouraged by colleagues to write a book about human nature and relationships, which was published by New Horizon Press, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning. It has had a bit of success. More years passed and more impediments, but undaunted, to my joy, my second novel, a mystery thriller, A Sinister Obsession, has been published by Black Opal books. A dream come true.
Tell us about your current release.
A Sinister Obsession is a suspense, mystery thriller. Without giving away the plot, I can say that my novel is for all you readers looking for a unique story that entails dark fiction, heart-throbbing action, a paranormal female detective, a combative 1940's style romantic relationship between detectives, a hot social topic viewed from a humanistic perspective, and an elusive suspect whose narcissistic obsession leads to heartless murders and a diabolical scheme to achieve personal happiness.
Tell us about your next release.
If an old flame from high school comes into hospice care seventy years later, and makes you an outlandish offer to join him on quest to the stars in his spaceship for the hope of seeking immortality, would you accept? That’s the question put to Sage Saint Charles on her death bed. This novel is affectionately called a senior romance, but it is for all readers. It’s working title is Stardust Dreams. It’s daring plot grasps hold of the lives of two desperate women—one is human, the other an alien, and the man they love. This grand love story, with sci-fi/fantasy and futuristic sub-genres begins on Earth in the near future, flourishes on a beautiful Earthlike planet in the distant galaxy, and concludes back on a heartfelt Earth two hundred thousand years into its now sad future. The opening chapters will ensure the readers this is no same old love story. Dynamic interactions between characters, miracles, comedy, wonder, mystery, love, tragedy, and unexpected twists of fate dominate the pages. I’ve made the story so realistic, I believe the readers will imagine they’ve travelled along on this fantastic journey. I am particularly hoping those readers that long for eternal youth, adventure, true love, and a second lifetime to achieve their happiness will want to grab a copy.
What was your first sale as an author?
I received five dollars for a horror short story on the Internet. I was so excited. Ask me now, I forgot what I spent it on.
Who are your books published with?
A Sinister Obsession is with Black Opal Books and Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies is with New Horizon Press Books’
How do you describe your writing style?
I formulate my books in the style of Shakespearean plays. He generally began his plays with a crisis and took five acts to dramatize the story and its conclusion. That is my design as well. The opening chapters are intended to grab hold of the reader’s attention and not let go, I present a graphic crime or a titillating situation that will grow into a mystery and a heart-felt story. Then, I add the spice with a variety of genres, interesting characters, entertaining dialogue, and situations the readers would never have guessed. As I hoped, this style apparently pleases readers as the comments and five star reviews show their pleasure.
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
Somehow a story plot pops into my head. I don’t know why or how it happens, it just happens. Most I reject. Some I archive. But, when one begins to excite me, usually when I’m lying in bed, just before falling asleep. I think about the story for months. Characters pop into my mind. More themes develop. Recently, I realized a major theme has been not to give up on one’s dream. Of course, that applies to me. Dickens wrote about victims in society. I have that theme in my head as well. I won’t write boring because I won’t read boring. I intentionally want my stories to be different, unusual, psychologically accurate, and emotionally intense—like a punch in the chest. When that is all in place, I begin to develop a storyboard of chapters. What’s really weird; when my characters are fully developed, I think of them as real people. I can picture them and have imaginary conversations with them that’s how powerful they are. I have ten books in various stages in my mind now. I don’t know which one I will bring to life as yet. I don’t write more than one book at a time. But, I don’t write a book that I think will be a bestseller. I just write what I love and hopefully everyone will love it to.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had a vivid imagination like most children and I dreamed of being a soldier, Superman, a cowboy, and a pirate because those were the characters I saw on television. Like most children I told people a profession that I had no emotional connection to. I don’t know where this came from but I was telling people I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. I told my high school guidance counselor, who met me once, and he nicely reminded me I received a 65 in chemistry and physics. I thought about that for a moment, and then said, I think I’ll become a lawyer! That didn’t happen either. However, I finally chose professions that I loved, but it’s been a difficult journey to do them all at the same time as I have described. I told my therapist, eons ago, that a twenty-four hour day wasn’t enough time for me. I needed a thirty hour day!
What one word best describes you?
What have you learned about yourself as a writer?
I learned the truth that writing is truly ninety-five percent perspiration and five percent inspiration. Everyone has imagination. Everyone has a story in them. But, it takes more than desire to put words on paper. It takes determination. Self-awareness. A belief in yourself when you’ve never done something before. Overcoming the fear of failure. Accepting criticism to improve. Learning from one’s mistakes. Never constricting one’s imagination for fear of what people will think. It is fortunate for me, my personality doesn’t allow me to dwell on my fears and insecurities. With the abominable impediments to success, inner and outer, no longer in control, I am finally free to do what I love!
I write under the name S. B. Redstone. After attaining master’s degrees in Social Work and School Psychology, and then completing a post-graduate education in Psychoanalytic Therapy, I became a School and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in his private therapy practice on Long Island. I wrote a personal improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning. I have written articles on the web concerning human nature and relationships, given lectures, and appeared on radio shows. Always having a vivid imagination I became a successful writer of short stories. My mystery novel, A Sinister Obsession, was published by Black Opal Books. As an expert in the field of human psychology, I have been able to develop realistic characters from the dark side of human nature where my villains don’t aspire for happiness through personal achievement, but rather from their demented narcissistic schemes. Many of my characters have been taken from my clinical work. I have two additional novels seeking publication soon. I am a member of the International Thriller Writers Org.
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