1/30/13: Chumming with Steven Montano
Welcome to Season 2: Episode 1 of Chumming with Sharky™ where viewers from every corner of the deep blue sea are treated to a small taste of talented authors from a myriad of genres. Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Steven Montano, author of the über popular Blood Skies series, to chat it up talk show style. Now, on with the show…
Sharky: Ah, it’s great to back in the studio again, but there’s just something not quite right about the décor. Where are the sharks? And what are those funky looking fish with the long curved teeth protruding from their lower jaws? They’re eating all of my exotic fish! And what about the sharks? The shark tank is supposed to have . . . um . . . sharks!
Video source: YouTube, user: predatorfish UK. More videos here
Producer: You ordered the vampire fish last week for the show, remember? And regarding the sharks, somebody forgot to feed them their weekly dose of surfers over the holidays. However, Anchor did stick around to make the drinks.
Sharky: Ahem . . . well, um . . . it’s a good thing that hammerhead shark has a weird appetite for galvanized nails and Home Depot shoppers. Anyway to start this season of Chumming with Sharky™ allow me to introduce today’s first guest (okay, our only guest). He’s a San Antonio Spurs fan (and used to eat basketballs for breakfast), star of “The Good Doctor” (No, not that one, Karen) in high school, a wannabe cyclops, an accountant, and he wrote this little series called Blood Skies when he wasn’t busy slaying real vampires and hellhounds. He is the one and only Steven Montano.
[Applause from studio audience . . . all three of them]
Howdy, Rob! Thanks for having me!
It’s great to have you on the show, Steven. What would you like to have to drink? I’ll be ordering the vampire cocktail.
I’ll take a nice tall glass of Shiraz, please. No more blood for me tonight.
[Ariel the waitress delivers our drinks and smiles, revealing fangs.]
Thank you, dear. Hey, Ariel, have you been swimming with those vampire fish? You’re looking a bit pale, too. Maybe you should get some sun.
I think she looks great. 😉
So, rumor has it that your experience in the mail room of a healthcare company and your high school theater leading role in “The Good Doctor” almost led you to Hollywood stardom. What are your thoughts of Orlando Bloom being selected for the role of Dr. Martin Blake instead of you?
That’s a different show, actually! I had no idea there were so many “Good Doctors” . . . The play I starred in was actually about a series of stories written by Anton Chekhov. Either way, Legolas can’t hold a candle up to me. 😉
Oops! My bad. [Checks producer’s notes] The whole idea brought up old wounds for Anchor the Hammerhead. Our toothy bartender was turned down for the leading role in Jaws . . . and again for the role of “Bruce” in Finding Nemo. I guess he was destined to be a bartender for a low-rated talk show.
Anyway, I’d hate to pour salt on old wounds, but I can imagine it was very painful for you to leave the mail-room job to work in Accounting, but . . . on second thought, maybe that really was painful. Seriously, though, I grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons back when TSR held the reins. As a fellow D&D gamer, what was it like to land a job with Wizards of the Coast, who now owns the rights to Dungeons & Dragons?
It was pretty awesome! The best part was getting to meet guys like Bruce Cordell, Stephen Schubert and Mike Mearls, whose work I’d enjoyed reading back when I was playing the game more. Unfortunately, going to work for WOTC effectively ended my career as a freelance adventure writer (Conflict of interest and all), but after I was here for just a short time I became hopelessly addicted to the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game, and I got to have showdowns with the guys from R&D in our in-house tournaments. (Occasionally I even won.)
Oh, you’re just being modest. I’m sure you kicked ass and just aren’t saying so in public. Speaking of Dungeons & Dragons, tell us briefly about your experience writing RPG adventures before becoming a novelist.
After the release of 3rd Edition D&D and the creation of the Open Gaming License (which allowed third-party vendors to produce D&D products within certain parameters) I decided to try my hand at writing adventures, and to my great surprise I actually had a few accepted and published by a variety of companies. “Bloodhollow” was put out by Bastion Press. “Black Ice Well” and “Hellstone Deep” were both published by MonkeyGod Enterprises. “The Black Egg” appeared in Dungeon Magazine and “Fane of the Witch King” was published by Necromancer Games. It was great fun, but, like I said, all came to a halt when I went to work for WoTC.
Here are some links:
Very cool, Steve! I remember Dungeon Magazine, and it’s cool to know that you are published in it. When I read Blood Skies, I noticed some familiar creatures from my Dungeons & Dragons gaming days, such as the wights, for example. I understand that while you haven’t played D&D in a long time, you still look to the game for inspiration. Where else do you get inspiration for the Blood Skies series?
From all over the place, really: books (I read lots of dark fantasy, military sci-fi and horror), films, music, and comic books (though I only read “The Savage Dragon” regularly at this point). I tend to put together playlists to match the mood and feel of whatever I’m writing, and I try to watch and read things that I think go in the same vein as my work (no pun intended) to keep my mind focused. But, honestly, I’ll pull ideas from anywhere, twist them around and make them work. Blood Skies has bits of J.V. Jones, C.S Friedman, China Mieville, my D&D adventure “Black Ice Well”, Saving Private Ryan and even 3:10 to Yuma in there, though the manner in which those various influences make their way into the book are so obscure I doubt many would even see them apart from me. 😉
In any case, I think it’s awesome how your different influences make it into your work. Now that I think of it, I can see some Saving Private Ryan in Blood Skies. So, no Twilight in there, huh? You know, I actually considered writing a vampire story once, but research was a bitch. The vampires I finally tracked down in Transylvania kept trying to kill me when I attempted to interview them. Then I finally found some relatively nice ones in my neighborhood that were all sparkly and glittery. I don’t know, but maybe the vampires in my neck of the woods weren’t real. What do you think? What makes the vampires in Blood Skies more real than those phony, glittery ones in my neighborhood (and here comes the hate mail; you know I’m just kidding. I’ve seen the first Twilight and it was actually a decent movie. ;-))?
With all apologies to the Paranormal Romance genre, I’ve never been able to get into the “sexy vampires” thing. I prefer vampires to be portrayed as ravenous and inhuman monsters with a hunger for human flesh, not seductive viscounts whose piercing bites induce shuddering orgasms. I’d take 30 Days of Night over Twilight any day, because to me vampires should be scary, and a vampire that wants to sex you up or that whines like a teenager is far from intimidating. By reducing vampires to slightly stronger-than-average sexy humans, we’ve taken most of the visceral jolt out of them, and my vampires are my (admittedly small) attempt to pull them back to their more monstrous roots. But, hey, to each their own, right? 😉
Yep! And I couldn’t agree with you more with the 30 Days of Night comparison. That was an awesome movie! So, tell me, if “The Black” from Blood Skies ever became reality what would you suggest our audience do in order to survive?
Brush up on those survival skills. Hope you’re one of the few who receives the benefits of a mage spirit. And, most of all . . . run.
Having a mage spirit would definitely give me a slight edge of all those people preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Chumps! We all know it’s “The Black” we have to worry about and not those flesh eating zombies!
I like to end each show with a little hypothetical situation for my guests. Here is yours:
You’re being chased by vampires in the middle of a dense forest only lit by the full moon above. You trip and twist your ankle (You thought that only happened to clumsy women in horror movies, didn’t you?). You hear a howl and then a large, grotesque werewolf approaches you slowly on all fours, growling with blood and drool dripping from its teeth. You only have a pocket knife to defend yourself with. Then to make things worse, twenty vampires (the sparkly type) show up and block any escape. The vampire leader offers to help you with your little werewolf problem, but you must join them and become a sparkly vampire like them. What do you do? Do you take your chances with the werewolf or do you join the vampires and become one of them? Oh, and there’s a third option . . . you can always turn the pocket knife on yourself.
I could take down the werewolf. All of this working out hasn’t been for nothing. 😉 Depending on how many bones he breaks and how many of my limbs he rips off before I can emerge victorious, I may or may not turn my attention to those vampires once I’m through with the hairball . . .
Ha ha! Here’s a box of Teen Wolf bandages to help patch you up. It was a pleasure having you on the show, Steve. Be sure to take home one of those vampire fish with you as a token of my appreciation. Anchor will give you a little coffin to transport the fish in. On second thought, take them all with you. I don’t want to end up with a bunch of blood sucking sharks in the tank.
I’d better get through Books 2-5 quickly then! To all of my “Chumming with Sharky” fans out there, I hope you enjoyed the first episode of the 2013 season. Be sure to check out Steven Montano’s bio below and links to all five of his Blood Skies novels. Cheers!
Steven Montano can’t believe he’s written five full-length novels in this series. Writing five more will likely be the death of him. But hey . . . it was fun while it lasted.
He lives in Washington State with his wife, two children, a dog of below-average intelligence, and a ridiculous number of books and bottles of wine.
Visit Steven’s official website, bloodskies.com
Check out Steve’s latest book in the Blood Skies series:
Get the first four books in Steve’s Blood Skies series below. Note: Book One is currently FREE for Kindle, Nook and Smashwords . . .
Chumming with Sharky™ is a monthly spotlight series brought to you by Robert “Sharky” Pruneda, author of Victory Lane: The Chronicles and Devil’s Nightmare. If you would like to be a guest on Chumming with Sharky™ or you know someone who you think would like to be featured, please send an email to: ChummingwithSharky (at) gmail (dot) com or contact me via Twitter @SharkbaitWrites.
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