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Author Keith Steinbaum

About Keith – 

From many years of writing poetry, to a decade as a scratching-of-the-surface professional song lyricist, I eventually branched out towards a desire to write a novel, culminating in the completion of my first book, “The Poe Consequence.”

Winner of Books-And-Authors.net’s Book of the Year in the Supernatural Thriller genre, “The Poe Consequence” was also recognized as one of the top Indy books of the year by Kirkus Reviews as well as receiving a Finalist placing in Book Excellence Awards International Competition for 2017.

My second novel, a whodunit murder mystery entitled “You Say Goodbye,” has recently been signed to a deal with Black Opal Books, and probably won’t be ready for release until early next year.  The story is a mix of The Beatles, a ‘one-hit wonder’ ex-rock ‘n roll star, and a little girl fighting cancer who is a big fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. And, through it all, the search for a renowned serial killer.

Questions –

  1. When did realize that you wanted to be an author?

I’m hardly a religious individual, but when the realization hit me, it can be described as similar to how people speak about religious experiences.  My daughter and I had just seen the Mel Gibson aliens-attempt-to-take-over-the-earth movie, ‘Signs.’  While walking back to the car, I stood on the corner waiting for her as she lollygagged behind staring at the movie posters.  Spurred, no doubt, by the theme of the movie, which touched on a semblance of an idea I’d written notes about in the past, an epiphany, like a wave of tranquility, overtook me, leaving me in a temporary state of bliss.  At that moment I recognized, corny as it may seem, my calling.  When I got home, I called a local university where I had enrolled for a night class on landscape, canceled that, and registered instead for a creative writing class.  It was there that I started the first draft of my first book.

  1. How long does it take for you to write one of your books?

                I’ve written two books and each one took years.  How I wish I had the financial freedom to bring a cup of coffee to my computer each morning and plug away at a story, but like most people, I have a job and a life that brings the usual time consuming situations.  So I have to find those openings, mostly through hours on the weekend, or in the evening if fatigue doesn’t overtake me.  Then, of course, there are the different drafts it takes to go from the first line of the first draft, to the last line of the last draft.  For my first book, “The Poe Consequence,” at least I knew all along that it was going to be a novel. My second book, “You Say Goodbye,” which has recently been signed to a deal and therefore not due for release until a year from now, I went from attempted novel, to a short story, to a rewritten short story, and then back to a novel again.  Years…

  1. How do you balance your work schedule when you’re busy writing?

                I touched on this in my last answer.  There are those nights during the week where an hour or two here and there is sometimes possible, but many nights my creative energy just doesn’t come around.  A pad of paper in my car and on my nightstand is essential for making sure I write ideas that come to me in order to make sure I don’t forget them.  For me, as I would think for most others, there’s a high degree of difficulty balancing work and writing during the week, and this is why weekends, especially Sundays, is the predominant writing day for me.

  1. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

                On those Sundays where I know I’ll be working for hours, I make sure to give my dog a good face rub for inspiration.

  1. How do you come up with ideas for your books?

                  For the first book I wrote, “The Poe Consequence,” I could write a page length reply if I were to discuss everything that inspired the storyline.  But as a condensed answer, it entails a combination of a book I read about the Bloods and Crips entitled, “Do or Die,” and the years I spent working in, hearing stories about, and observing various gang riddled neighborhoods (only during the days – hey I’m not a cop!)

                  For my second book, “You Say Goodbye,” I happened to glance at the obituary section of the Los Angeles Times and had my attention immediately drawn to a large photo of a young girl selling lemonade.  I came to discover the tragic, yet influential story of Alexandra Scott, the 8 year-old girl who died of cancer but was the inspiration behind the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  I cut out the photo to put on the office wall in my home as a perspective reminder.  At the time, I didn’t think it would lead to a story idea, but after a number of months, I started developing a character who lacks that perspective and eventually the genesis of a murder mystery came forth, starring a little girl with cancer and a former rock ‘n roll star whose ‘one hit wonder’ career left him bitter about his current life.

        6. When did you write your first book?

                   I started my first draft in September of 2002, and after several re-writes finished my final version in 2008.  

        7. What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?

Playing tennis and piano, reading, and when the time and finances allow, going somewhere out of town with my wife.

        8. What does your family and close friends think of your writing?

                  They are very supportive.

         9. What was one of the most interesting things that you learned about yourself when you published your first book?

                I’m going to answer this in two parts.  I’ll first start with what I learned about myself when I completed my first book:  I had suffered with periods of depression for a number of years, despite having the fortune of a loving wife and kids, health, home and job.  When I started it, an inner anger fueled the plot, and, consequently, certain characters and actions.  But this turned out to be the release I needed.  By the time I finished my first draft, the obsession with the story, and the difficulty and commitment to make it to the end became a cathartic adventure.  Those demons of insecurity dissipated, replaced with a tremendous sense of accomplishment and a reawakening of my self-worth.

                As for what I learned about myself after publishing my first book, despite some great comments from every top publishing house in New York, thanks to an agent who represented me, I couldn’t seal the deal with any of them, or a few others he tried.  Feeling an impatience to finally see it in print, I eventually wound up going the self-publishing route.  So, in reality, I didn’t learn anything new or interesting about myself that I hadn’t already learned prior to this.

         10. How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?

                I’ve written two novels.  I’m very proud of both and won’t say that either is my ‘favorite,’ but due to the previous explanation I gave about the background on what inspired my first novel and what it did for my mental health, that is the more meaningful of the two.

         11. What do you think makes a good story?

                An interesting premise that draws me in is a must.  Without that anxious desire to pick up the book and resume reading, what’s the enjoyment in that?  Attention-grabbing characters and character interaction, creative literary descriptions of wherever the story is taking place, and emotional engagement are other factors as well.

         12. Where do you like to kick back and write your books?

The quiet of my home office on my MAC, or in my backyard on my MacBook Air with my dog nearby while listening to the chirping of the birds.

Contact Keith- 

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