Hailing from the capital of the Great White North (i.e. Canada), Stephen Coghlan spends his days erecting buildings, and his nights reveling in the dreamscape. Since 2017, he has produced a myriad of flash fictions, short stories, novellas and novels, including, but not limited to, the GENMOS Saga, the Nobilis series, Urban Gothic, and has had his works read on podcasts and featured in anthologies.
After disappearing from existence, Devlin Keper returns from his eight-year exile in order to gather his children, bio-engineered weapons known as Genmos, in an attempt to protect them from the government that wanted them destroyed.
Links for Genmos:
When her family of intergalactic hippies are brutally murdered before her eyes, a young woman inadvertently recruits the help of a grizzled veteran turned janitor, an exiled alien princess and her indebted human husband, four enslaved children, a genius scientist with not one social grace, and a giant alien that contains her brother’s soul, in order to help her maintain her freedom and her life.
(Nobilis is still a work in progress)
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Well… Kind of, yes. I always had an idea of writing a book, and back in the early days of my youth I hammered away on an old Underwood typewriter whenever I found one, and I wasted quite a few sheaves of paper making “books” that held “stories” and full-color “Illustrations”.
Thinking on it, I might not have always wanted to be a writer, but I did want to be a storyteller.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your novels?
I have two novels coming out this year. Firstly, is Nobilis: Seedling, the debut novel in my space opera series. It’s a deep sci-fi adventure where humans are far from the dominant species, corporations control every aspect of the galactic sphere, and where a space-hippy tries to escape the most dreaded pirates with the help of some unwitting friends, and a giant, mysterious, living machine.
The second novel I have coming out this year is a sequel to my first ever published book, GENMOS (The Genetically Modified Species): Gathering Storms, and it's called GENMOS: Crossroads.
The Genmos series is a cross-Canada YA action adventure series that focuses on 15 animal/human hybrids as they attempt to be recognized as living beings. Book 2, Crossroads, starts immediately where book 1 ends, and deals with cliques forming, infighting, and how to deal with a possible spy among their ranks.
What brought you to these genres?
For Nobilis, I’ve always enjoyed series where you can watch characters evolve over time. That's the entire point of Space Operas. You, the consumer, develop a relationship with each well-informed character until you feel you have to know how their lives turn out. Science fiction, meanwhile, allows the creator to explore modern day themes. I live on the Ontario/Quebec border, so I'm right in the thick of Anglo/Franco relations. In Nobilis, there are two primary dialects, and not every character has learned both. Also, I might take a satiric stance on capitalism and racial tensions.
Genmos was the first series I ever wrote, so it's kind of my first literary baby. I actually began it because I fell in love with some anthropomorphic webcomics and thought, hey, I would love to try making a story that's half as good as what I'm reading.
Admittedly it took me years to get there, but I feel like I managed my own goal. It helps too, that I reached out to those who inspired me, and one of them has even written a forward for book 2.
What inspired you to write these particular books?
Genmos was inspired by two particular webcomics. Namir Deiter, and the Cyantian Chronicles. (https://www.namirdeiter.com/ and https://cyantian.net/ respectively) Between study breaks, during my college years, I found myself enjoying reading the online adventures, and I wished to be able to create something as amazing as the worlds that I read. Being only 18, I realized that I could tap into the feelings of my very recent youth, and, taking advantage of it, hopefully write something that would connect with YA readers. Overtime, I worry that many edits have lost some of my connection with my younger self, but at the same time I do think my added maturity has brought more depth and realism to the stories.
Nobilis, on the other hand, was created because of my love of ongoing stories where characters grow and develop. Babylon 5, Star Trek (DS9 onwards) and Robotech all fueled some part of the story telling. But, that’s not all. When I first penned the rough outline, I was going through a kind of Giant-Robot phase, (Gundam, Zone of the Enders, Brain Powered) and I wanted to really play with the dynamic of something alive, familiar, yet alien all in one. Since I was coming into adulthood, I began to make satirical jabs at corporate ownership, which, sadly, seems even more prominent now than ever to me. Lastly, I play around with language barriers. I am an Anglophone, but I live and work in Ottawa and Gatineau, so I often hear French being spoken. Sometimes, heck, oftentimes, the conversations in French are too rapid-fire for my limited language skills to follow, and I wanted to reflect that difficulty, hence why there are two separate primary languages.
Are any of your characters based on either yourself or people you know?
Yes, quite a few… I try to draw inspiration from the world around me whilst paying homage to much of what I care about. The father figures in my works are oft-idealized versions of family, or myself , while other characters have traits of those near and dear to me.
How do you react if/when you get any negative reviews?
So far I haven’t had a negative review, per-se, and that might have to do with the fact that all my work that’s been made available, had been through small presses, so every piece has been refined and edited by amazing teams of dedicated editors.
I’ve had some constructive criticism come my way, and that has been exceedingly valued. I’ve been blessed to avoid trolls, so far, which is a blessing of not being too famous.
Where can people find out more about you and your books? (eg blogs, websites etc)
Oh, time to plug my website and blog, which I TRY to keep up to date. http://scoghlan.com, which also has links to my other social media accounts. Now, to be honest, you can almost always find me on Twitter as @WordsBySC.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
Yes, and it's taking a toll on my emotions. I had an idea to write a Gender/Cyberpunk story based on an American parolee in the near future. So, I started my research by contacting some people who've experienced the penal system first hand.
Holy Crud, I am so happy to be Canadian. I know Canada's penal system isn't a walk in the park filled with unicorn farts, but what I heard from those who replied is far more depressing.
Do you have any advice to other authors who would like to be published?
Be willing to accept criticism. Writing is a craft, an art, and it can take time and help to create something clear, concise, emotional, and vivid. My ego stopped me from being published for over a decade until my wife slapped some sense into me when she told me that the opening to my first book made no sense.
Others had informed me of similar flaws, but I had ignored them because how Dare someone tell an artist how to hold their brush! The thing is, language is a fickle beast and must be treated delicately. If your words do not convey an idea in a way that can be understood, than no one is going to be able to follow your ideas, your characters' actions, the plot, the politics, etc.
Where do you write?
Honestly? As a father of young kids and a full time technician for building automation, the answer is wherever I am when I have a spare moment, which in turn often means… while I’m on the toilet where I can lock the door.
Hey, it gives me a good excuse if people find my writing a bit crappy…
If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?
Telepathy. I would love to be able to move things with my mind. I don’t need to know what others are thinking. I don’t need to fly. I don’t need an independent super-healing power… Let me be a living crane. I can do so much more supporting construction, or lifting debris off injured people, or tearing apart a burning automobile to rescue those trapped inside.
Chocolate or Ice Cream?
Double chocolate Ice Cream?
You’re in a horror film. You’re in a house and a bad guy is chasing you. Do you run up the stairs?
If I’m in the basement…
What’s your favorite music?
Metal, where you can clearly hear the singer and their lyrics. I love metal, but I’m not a fan of growls and grunts. Give me something where the vocals are clear and concise and I can understand the meaning.
Thank you Stephen! It was great to learn more about you and your writing and your novels. Good luck with your future writing endeavors!