Author Interview: Steph Cuthbert

Welcome to the post where once a month I feature a indie author for you to meet and agree with me about how awesome they are.  These posts are a great insight into the world of self publishing and the various reasons people do it.  If you’re new to the website I recommend going through the interviews and having a read.

 My apologies for the delay on this one, got to love technology when it works, loath it when it doesn’t. Anyway, this month I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Steph Cuthbert.

I first came across Steph on Instagram when a fellow author friend told me about about her. I followed her and feel in love with her posts; the lady has some serious fashion cred and a rockabilly wardrobe to die for. Enough from me, here she is:

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a full-time writer/YA fangirl/rockabilly mama, comprised entirely of red lipstick, winged eyeliner, sushi and coffee.

I was the geek at school who always had her nose stuck in a novel, or was scribbling furiously into a notebook. I wrote a lot of emo poetry in high school and some of it won awards.

After school I worked in the insurance industry, then at 26 decided to quit my job and start writing again. While completing an assignment for an online writing course, I was struck with a vision of a time travelling teen called Genesis Guardian, and have been writing about her ever since.

My debut YA novel, The Amulet of Hearts book one in The Genesis Guardian Chronicles, debuted at #3 on the science fiction time travel chart on Amazon and is available from ebook retailers.

I live with my husband, two noisy girls, and two cats in Sydney.StephCuthbert


What is your writing style, what do you like to write?

I write young adult speculative fiction with bisexual protagonists.

The Genesis Guardian Chronicles is a fantasy-based time travel quest about magic shoes, stardust, romance, ancient times, darkness, and evil forces. The Amulet of Hearts is the first book in the series.

I also have a science fiction novella series in the works, called Darkside. It’s a prison drama, space opera with superpowers and it’s very sexy and violent.


Why did you self publish?

I spent 5 years working on The Amulet of Hearts and writing dirty drafts of several of the other books in the series. I self-published because I was really keen to see the project through to the very end and have control over the final product. Self-publishing wasn’t a final option for me, but rather a first, and I never submitted The Amulet of Hearts to a publisher.

The Amulet of Hearts

What are the best and worst parts of self publishing?

The best part of self-publishing is that you do everything yourself. The worst part of self-publishing is that you do everything yourself.

In all seriousness though, I loved learning new skills and applying them to create my book. Some of the work (e.g. formatting) was like pulling teeth. Other elements, particularly cover design, were just another creative outlet. It takes an enormous amount of time and energy to publish a book and there were a lot of nights I wouldn’t get to bed until 2am only to be up again at 5am to keep working.


What are you currently working on?

I just finished the first draft of the second book in The Genesis Guardian Chronicles. Genni’s quest through time continues in ancient Greece in The Tears of Zeus. It’s been a blast to write, particularly, as the plot was established in The Amulet of Hearts, there is now more room for character development. There are some new characters in this book too, and while the first book was written from Genni’s perspective alone, I’ve introduced duel points of view in The Tears of Zeus. This has given me so much freedom and a chance to delve into a character who is a favourite with readers.


What advice have you got for people who may be thinking of self publishing?

Research. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. There is a lot of work involved in publishing a book, and if you don’t have the time, energy, or skills to do it, think very carefully about your motivation. There are a lot of publishing services that you can hire to take care of some of the elements of publishing that you may not want to do, but be careful. These services often come with a hefty fee, and it’s unlikely you will make that back on your sales.

My other piece of advice is to get some structural editing done once you feel like you’ve produced the best piece of work you can. Once your structural edit is done, then hire a copy editor. These are important steps and will mean that you are putting the best product you can onto the market.

Lastly, it’s one thing to have a book in the world, but it’s quite another to have a book that sells. I’ve found that getting out from behind my laptop, going to events, supporting other authors, meeting up with book bloggers and making friends with people in the industry all helps. But be genuine about it and don’t push your book onto everyone you meet.

The Tears of Zeus COVER


Book or eBook?

As an author-publisher I like ebooks because they are cheap to produce, distributed globally, and I don’t have stock to move.

As a reader, I don’t really mind and will read anything. I have hardbacks and paperbacks. I read on my Kindle. I even read on my phone. I don’t think it’s important how we read, just that we keep reading.


If you held a dinner party, which literary characters would you invite and why?

Ooooh. What a great question!

– Lila Bard from V.E Schwab’s Shades of Magic series because she is a cross-dressing, wannabe-pirate, thief. Pretty sure that is a good reason to invite someone to a dinner party.

– Kestrel from Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s series because she’s smart as a whip and can play the piano for us.

– Celaena Sardothien/Aelin Ashryver Galathynius from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas because she would slay.

– Adrian Ivashkov from Vampire Academy and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead because he is my ultimate book boyfriend and will charm the pants off everyone.

– Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas because… well, if you’ve read ACOMAF you will know exactly why I’d invite him.

– Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows because he is just so interesting, mysterious, dark and complex.

Good thing this is a hypothetical dinner party because I can see a LOT of plates getting smashed.


1) What was the last book you read? I’m currently reading And I Darken by Keirsten White

2) Who is your favourite author?  Gah. I can’t pick one so I’ll give you five: Neil Gaiman, Victoria Schwab, Amie Kaufman, Sarah J Maas, Richelle Mead.

3) What can’t you leave home without? Red lipstick, a book, and a notepad and pen.

4) What was the last song you heard? Disarm by The Smashing Pumpkins. This song has been the anthem of The Tears of Zeus.

5) What is your favourite word? (Can be in English or another language) Zugzwang: a situation where every possible move or decision is a bad one, or one that will result in damage or loss.

For more from Steph you can find her at the following:

Twitter: @scuthbertwriter

Facebook: Steph Cuthbert Writer

Instagram: @cuthbertsteph



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