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  • Writer's pictureJacob Stehman

A Q&A with Jake Stehman

No matter how often it is said to me, it’s still difficult to call myself an author. Sure, when you

publish a book, you are told by all the media promoters and publishers that you have every right to do it. “If you publish a book, you are an author!” This exact sentence has been said to me many times over the last few years. However, the sound of that statement still makes me tilt my head. The job title doesn’t seem to fit, and for those who know me, I spend a lot of time reading and working out job titles in my day job. Yet, with my newest book, A Battle for Fire, having been released last month, I cannot help but start to accept it. The guy who once was afraid to even pick up a book now actually enjoys writing them. A phrase I never thought I would speak has become more natural by the day.

I cannot thank you all enough for your support during my latest book release. From a book

launch party at Albright College to the individual messages and even reviews (both Amazon and Goodreads), the story I had envisioned appears to have interested at least a few of you. For me, that is all I ever want to achieve with my writing. To provide a quick getaway for readers in a crazy world. Yet, with my new release came some fun opportunities. Last month I was granted status as an official Goodreads Author. With that, I was given a chance to answer a few questions for my book release and I wanted to share them with you. I hope it gives some more insight into why I started to write, the stories I wish to share, and the reasons I continue to write each night.

Q&A with Jake Stehman

Q: How did you get inspired to write?

A: “During the pandemic, I was laid off from my job in recruiting. I needed a space to decompress and take what was building up in my mind and put it somewhere. I never enjoyed reading when I was young because I never felt like I could attach myself to any story or author. So, I decided to write something for myself and came up with the story, A Game as Old as Time.”

Q: What scared you the most about becoming an author?

A: “I was scared about the reaction from my closest friends and family in the beginning. Penning your ideas and turning them into a story, for everyone to read, was one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life. However, the support I received from them pushed me to publish my first book. Now, I am more worried about how my kids will feel about it. They are still young, but as they get older, I will be holding my breath as they read through each page, hoping dearly they enjoy it!”

Q: Where do you get your ideas for stories?

A: “I am a big movie guy, so I love to watch different genres of movies and see how the plots

develop. Action and Sci-Fi movies typically draw me in, however, since I have kids, I love to

analyze the actual plots of Disney movies and other fairy tale stories. Some of them are

fascinating and I love how certain characters are built through shared experience and loss (I

know, a little dark).

TV series also interest me with character development. Ted Lasso and Game of Thrones are some of my favorite shows that I have watched, in my small amount of free time, and while completely different in plot, the character development of each was delightful. 

Music also plays a huge role in my storytelling. I have a wide range of music interests from

alternative rock, to rap and hip-hop, to classical music. Once I have an idea for a story, I like to play it out in my head through music, using different songs as a backdrop or even crafting my own trailers for my books in my head.”

Q: Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

A: “My wife challenged me to expand my genres and write a fantasy novel. I instantly fell in love with the story I began to craft in my head. The Disney movie Frozen that my kids were watching, along with another movie they had on, A Year without a Santa Claus, helped me come up with some of the characters and elemental powers I put in the story. My son then got locked onto a rock version of Carol of the Bells, and with that as my musical backdrop, I created A Battle for Fire.”

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: “I am currently working on the sequel for A Battle for Fire as well as a spy novel series that I am excited to share in the future.”

Q: What do you hope your readers get from your books?

A: “I want to give my readers a chance to break away from the real world and enjoy a good coming-of-age story. I specifically try and make my books easy to follow, so readers can pick right back up in the story when they have free time to read. I believe that everyone can relate to a coming- of-age book, which is why I generally focus on that particular age group for my main characters. We all have either gone through or are about to go through that point in life where expectations change. And no matter where you are from or what you believe, that point in life builds a shared experience that we can all connect with.”

Q: Finally, what are you currently reading or want to read?

A: “Currently, I am finishing up a book by Laini Taylor called Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I had one of my good friends suggest it and I am enjoying it. I also just finished Funny Story by Emily Henry, which was also referred to me by a good friend. Again, enjoyed the book and was glad I took the time to read it.

Since my schedule is tight, I have started to move to audiobooks. My wife enjoys listening to

audiobooks, in fact, she only reads my books and listens to all her other ones, and she got me

back into using Audible. I may use that in the future to continue reading the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series since I am enjoying the first one.

When I am not reading fiction, I like to dive into some professional leadership books too. I was part of a DEI book club at my day job, and we read the book Subtle Acts of Exclusion. I loved the insight but had to facilitate a book group during my first reading which made me feel like I missed some key takeaways. So, when I need a break from fiction, I have started to re-read a few chapters each month.”  

I hope you enjoyed a little more insight into me. If you are interested in any other questions, feel free to submit them on my Goodreads page and I would love to answer them!

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