Author Interview: J Malcolm Stewart @sabbathsoldier from Grumpy Old Trickster Gods #AuthorInterview #humour #books

To help spread the word about the Grumpy Old Trickster Gods anthology, I’m interviewing the authors involved.

Today we have J Malcolm Stewart, author of Anansi and Robert go to Queens.

What is your story in the Grumpy Old Trickster Gods about?

My story “Anansi and Robert go to Queens” is a humorous take on a well-known super hero’s origin with an emphasis on the well meaning mischief the Gold Coast trickster god is known for.

Knowing comic books and folklore as I do, I take it this is about my least-favourite superhero. LOL. What kind of research did you do for this story?

Image credit. Learn more folklore about Anansi here.

I was a big time fan of Anansi’s tales and stories as a kid and they really captured my imagination with the tricky way he would insert himself into important events. I coupled that  “behind-the scenes” background with the aforementioned nagging aspect of certain hero’s origin. When put together, I found I had an obvious (to me) story in the Anansi style of clever manipulation of events with a noble goal always in mind (if not always achievable by noble means).

Sounds like fun! Do you enjoy books filled with mythology and folklore?

Sure! As a youngster I devoured books on Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology, amongst other ancient stories, as quickly as I could get them. I watched the first run of the Bill Moyers/Joseph Campbell PBS series with a fervour of someone dying of thirst.

Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

Without getting myself in trouble with mega corporation that owns the IP for the character, I wanted to write a tribute to the creators who made the hero in question so much fun as I grew up.

The best kind of story… How long have you been writing or when did you start?

Well, like most of us who have the delusion of being writers, I’ve been telling stories of all kinds since I was a kid. I’ve been a published author with various small presses around North America and the UK for about 10 years now and as of yet no one has come to take me away. So onward I go!

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Good plotting married with good dialogue. Storytelling is characters saying the right thing and doing the right thing at the right time in the story.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

My process isn’t very formal. Usually, I find myself with a story idea, a story plot and the characters show up when needed.

Lucky you: my characters continuously hang around, nagging for their stories to be told. How do you use social media as an author?

Yes, and badly. I have to constantly remind myself to promote projects rather than plan the next objective.

What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing?

My favourite part of publishing is finishing something. My least favourite part is starting something.

I’m pretty ambivalent about both. How many books have you written and which is your favourite?

Current the author of six books and over 20 short stories. The second answer is “What did I finish last?”

LOL. Would you and your main character get along?

I like Anansi, but I’m not sure I’d trust his advice. That’s how people end up in the emergency room.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

Dr. Pepper and loud music.

If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

Always been interested in the inner life of Star Wars’ R2D2 and C3PO. What’s it like to do all the work and get none of the credit?

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?  

Finish stuff.

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

Several hundred, mostly by frustrating me with how lousy my stuff is. Top of mind candidates: CS Lewis, Mario Puzo, Toni Morrison, Stephen King.

Name an underappreciated novel that you love.

Sadly, everything written by Octavia Butler and Bebe Moore Campbell.

Which author in your genre do you most admire, and why?

Has my genre actually been brave enough to claim me? If so, I haven’t heard. I will say that the aforementioned Stephen King was the first author I really studied for his style and pacing. I started off trying to pattern my stories like his, until I realized the world already has a version of “Different Seasons.’

About the Author

Jason Malcolm Stewart is an author, journalist and media professional who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. His short fiction has appeared in the Pulp Empire Series, Grumpy Old Gods, Twisted Tales, Temptation Magazine, the Once Upon a Scream Anthology, the Killens Review of Art and Letters as well as on the Smoke and Mirrors podcast. His non-fiction Quicklets on a variety of topics can be found at He also hosts the YouTube features SEVEN MINUTE TAKES and ACTIVE VOICES.

His novel-length thriller “The Eyes of the Stars” can be found at in both ebook and paperback. His short story collections “Exodus From Mars,” “The Last Words of Robert Johnson” and “The Duel” are available now on along with his non-fiction collection of horror film essays , “Look Back in Horror.”

Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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