Author Steven C Nelson joins us today for this month’s interview! You can find all about his latest release, and some fun facts about the author himself, down below!
Plus, join us on Twitter tonight at 5pm CST for the opportunity to ask your own questions of the author! Just use the hashtag #AsktheAuthor and tag @bustamuse and myself @spinesinaline. More details on the Ask the Author page above!
Cognitive Debris by Steven C. Nelson
Genre: Short Story / Poetry / Prose
Throughout the years, you live and witness and experience. And all of those phenomena are recalled later in varying degrees of completeness and accuracy. These excerpts from life are periods of personal tumult, events that generated intense emotions, and accounts of others’ conquests that are so poignant you’ve never forgotten them, not one detail. They are variations of trite phrases that you’ve altered to help you better remember them, and fictional stories incubated in your imagination that you augment to become more complex and pleasing. They are funny things you used to say, a trademark phrase, a “youmark”-something everyone at the party expects to hear at least twice from you. You collect them and protect them because they mean something to you, and maybe only you-they are you. We all live with this cognitive debris, and how we interpret and react to the events of each day is filtered through the prism it creates in each of us. This is mine.
And now for the interview…
Sam/Spines: Let’s start off with a little game to learn more about you: what are two truths and a lie about yourself?
Steven Nelson: What an opener! Let’s see. I used to play bass in a swing band. Growing up, my brother and I both had imaginary friends who would fight each other all the time. Of all the punctuation marks, mastery of the comma still evades, me.
S: How did you get started in writing?
SN: I was always an imaginative kid with my head in the clouds, daydreaming. Writing was just something I did when the fancy struck; it was therapeutic for me, as I could further explore the emotions and scenes bubbling up to the surface of my consciousness. Since it felt good and seemed to come naturally, I decided I should fashion my thoughts and feelings into tales and see what I could create.
S: What have you found most rewarding in your writing career?
SN: The most satisfying part of writing is when a reader tells me, “Yes! I’ve felt that exact same thing.” I love knowing I’ve hit the mark.
S: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
SN: I always knew that I wanted to do something creative where I could pour my all into something and make it uniquely mine. I thought being a musician was the route that would afford me the greatest opportunity to do this, and I pursued that dream for many years. Ultimately, it wasn’t quite expressive enough, so I opted to try writing instead, and have found it to be particularly effective at scratching that itch.
S: Can you tell us a little about your book?
SN: Cognitive Debris is a mix of fiction, poetry, and memoir, because some stories just have to be told a certain way, and touches upon a wide variety of human experiences, from things macabre to humorous. I feel the best stories are daydreams: written by you and embellished throughout the years as they’re played over and over again in your head. This book is a collection of mine—the transcript of my mind—where the reader is able to shuffle through and witness things beautiful and horrid.
S: Cognitive Debris acts as a progression through the seasons; which season did you most enjoyable writing about?
SN: I love to write about winter, hands down. Some of my best memories (Christmases, snow days, sledding with friends) have occurred when my world was covered in white. So, it’s easy and pleasant for me to daydream of a winter scene, because my best emotions are already there. I love to write about winter in autumn, actually—the anticipation of the coming snow is sometimes more exhilarating than the snow itself.
S: You also play with different styles in your collection; is there one that you prefer to work with or that you find easiest?
SN: I’m a deep guy with an appreciation for the ornate, the superfluous, and I process what the world throws my way best when I’ve had a chance to calmly digest it all, so anything fast-paced or terse sort of accosts my consciousness. Given that, I naturally gravitate toward a style that’s a little more detail-laden and, much to the chagrin of my high school English teacher, passive. But I know that can get dull page after page, so I experimented with multiple styles throughout Cognitive Debris to keep it fresh.
S: What are you working on next?
SN: My next book will be a more traditional novel. I have yet to bestow a title upon the work, which consists of about 9 mostly-complete chapters, but feel it will come to me as I develop the plot further. It’s a tale of forbidden love and the strife that this creates within the protagonist. The reader follows along as he pertinaciously overcomes obstacles both within and without, and finally indulges.
S: And now for some fun questions: What is your Hogwarts house?
SN: Hufflepuff for sure. For its values, not just because the name makes me chuckle.
S: Favourite flavour of ice cream?
SN: I can never pass up cookie dough if it’s there.
S: Dogs or cats?
SN: Dogs. Maybe it’s my own need for attention and validation, but I love how dogs are always excited to see you.
S: And finally, where can we find you?
P.S. The lie: Our imaginary friends were pacifists.
About the Author: