Author Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
Stephen Zimmer talks about Thunder Horizon:
What was the most challenging part about writing Thunder Horizon?
The most challenging thing about writing Thunder Horizon was being sure that the pace accelerated and the scale increased significantly from Heart of a Lion. Heart of a Lion has lots of action and a steady pace, but my vision for a trilogy is to see that each book escalates toward a grand finale in book three.
I set the bar high for myself in Heart of a Lion, so increasing the pace and scale in Thunder Horizon would seem like a daunting task, but it turned out to be a natural outgrowth of everything set in place in the first book. In that sense, having a natural flow into an increased pace and scale, I had an ideal situation when writing the second book.
Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Not only is Rayden Valkyrie my favorite character in this book, but she is my favorite character to write. The reason is because she is such a fusion of inner and outer strength. She is a great warrior, but all the trials and battles she has been through have not seen her lose her compassion or heart toward others.
Rayden is a true independent person. She does not compromise the things she stands for, and she is willing to stand alone when she is set on doing something she believes to be the right thing. Despite enduring great tragedy, and witnessing countless horrors and tragedies in her travels and adventures, the light within her has not been dulled. It shines bright in times of darkness and is a beacon for others.
Some authors plan ahead, making a plot outline of how they intend for the story to unfold and some will allow their muse to take over, writing the story as it is revealed to them. What writing method did you use for Thunder Horizon?
I’ve always said that I am a hybrid between the plotter and the pantser. I find it important to have a core outline in place, so I know the direction and destination of the story as I write it. However, I have found it very valuable to have flexibility along the way for new characters, subplots, or other elements that might arise in the process of writing.
Because of this, I do have a basic plot outline, but I do not put so much detail into it that I have no room for new things that may arise along the way. Different approaches work for different writers, but this one fits me very well and has resulted in some great developments in the writing process while avoiding finding myself in a corner, or stuck on the main plot line.
What would you say to entice a reader who isn’t familiar with the genre to read your book?
My work is about people, and their strength and potential when they embrace paths of self-determination and self-empowerment. Those kinds of things are not dependent upon any genre, and the characters such as Rayden Valkyrie in my books can be of comfort and inspiration to readers.
If you could sum up Thunder Horizon in just two sentences, what would you say?
Thunder Horizon is a book about courage and standing your ground against odds that appear insurmountable to most. It is a book about the importance of staying true to your convictions, taking risks, and living with honor, even if traveling that road is much more difficult than taking an easier route of avoiding conflicts and compromising yourself.