Interview with Author Stefan Vucak

My guest today is Stefan Vucak.  Hello, Stefan!  Welcome back to Writing in the Modern Age!  It’s such a pleasure to have you again.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?  


Guardians of Shadow continues from Through the Valley of Shadow. After destroying a Kran invader, Terr, Teena and his alien brother Dharaklin, head for Orieli space where they will begin their cultural exchange mission. In a devastating Kran attack, Teena is taken and Terr seeks to rescue her. To win a war that threatens to consume the Orieli and the Serrll Combine, the fabled Wanderers must march against the Krans wielding the hand of Death.

The first chapter of the book was posted on my website in May, while I had the manuscript edited. It would have been released sooner, except that I spent two months in Europe visiting relatives. I needed to get the story out of my head! The book is available from CreateSpace, Amazon and Smashwords. Check my website for details:

Is there anything specific that inspired you to write the latest book in the Shadow Gods Saga? 

I have spent most of my adult life dreaming up plots for what eventually turned into eight books in the Shadow Gods Saga. Although my website will show a sequence of books in the series, they were not written in that sequence. With Shadow and Thunder was actually the first book written. Having started, I couldn’t leave my principal characters dangling; I had to add more to the story. That led me to writing other books in the series, which also allowed me to develop my writing craft.

Finishing Shadow Masters some four years ago, I branched out into writing contemporary political action thrillers, culminating with Strike for Honor. However, the Shadow Gods Saga kept churning in my head. I couldn’t let the series end with Through the Valley of Shadow. I can only hope my readers will find Guardians of Shadow a worthy successor, and it does leave a window open for further additions.

If this series was made into films, who would you cast in them? 

Ah, you got me there. The films these days rely so much on action and computer-generated special effects, they hardly have time to tell a real story or give actors a chance to develop their characters. It’s sad. As to who might fit the role of my primary character? I would have to check the latest Hollywood gossip sheet for that, as most actors out there don’t impress me a lot. However, Matt Damon would fit into the role of Terrllss-rr very nicely.

Now for some general questions.

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?  And why?

I have always loved the tactile feel of a real book in my hands, and the smell of aging paper. There is something comforting being able to crawl into bed, a tumbler of good bourbon by my side, and getting lost in a wild yarn. It’s hard to do this with an ebook. However, technology has caught up with us and there are many tablets and palm devices that can simulate the feeling of a real book. Still, it’s not a real book!

I agree.  

So, what are you reading now?

Right now, I am into some heavy stuff, The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama. The book deals with origins of man’s social organization, from tribalism, family groupings, clans, to how modern states developed. It is a fascinating insight about how economic, territorial, political, and religious drivers came to determine the landscape of current world states. I am sure the information will get used somewhere in my future writing.

When you get an idea for a book, what comes first usually?  Dialogue, the characters, a specific scene?  Or do you plot it out before you write?

Lots of ideas float in my head for possible future books, but they are all mostly visual scenes that set the theme for something to be worked on and developed. I don’t consider dialogue when doing initial story plotting. That comes out when I actually sit down to write the thing. When considering an idea, I do give some thought to possible characters and the likely interaction between them. It helps me to identify the plot elements. But before doing any serious writing, I spend some time researching, especially if it is a contemporary novel, and detailed plotting. See my article on:

Thanks for the tip, Stefan.  

What do you have planned next?  Or is that a secret?

Having finished Guardians of Shadow, I have already started doing initial research into a political thriller Torn Horizon. The book will involve several characters from my previous contemporary novels, but will also introduce a new cast. I cannot reveal more, except to say that a major natural calamity is initiated against the United States by a not so friendly emerging global power. I will leave the rest to your imagination. I would hate for someone to beat me to the punch if I revealed more!
I understand.  

Is there anything you'd like to add?  Any advice for new writers?

If there is one thing I learned over the years as a writer, if anyone is contemplating taking this on seriously, he should be prepared to spend many lonely hours with a pencil and paper, and sitting behind a computer screen. There will be disappointments, frustration, angst...and moments of sheer exhilaration and satisfaction when the words flow and the creative process produces something wonderful. Writing is a gift, but it can also be a curse. But once bitten with the urge to create, there is no cure. Oh, yes. Become a marketing guru!

Here is the blurb for Guardians of Shadow.

After a hiatus of three years, Stefan Vucak has finally produced another book in the Shadow Gods Saga!

Having destroyed a Kran invader, Terr, Teena and his brother Dharaklin, head for Orieli space where they will begin their cultural exchange mission. In a devastating Kran attack, Teena is taken and Terr seeks to rescue her, confronting an implacable enemy. The Fernai emerge from their self-imposed isolation and provide technology to enable the Orieli to protect themselves. Undeterred, the Krans attack Anar’on, the fabled world of the Wanderers. In retaliation, the Wanderers seek to wipe out the blight that is Prime Zero. Wielding the hand of Death, Terr is prepared for a final confrontation. An explosive continuation of this interstellar saga.

Here is an excerpt.

“Teena spoke of you, Terrllss-rr, and of Dharaklin. What are you?”

“Scan our minds and you will know.”

A pink glow enveloped Dhar’s head, then faded. Terr heard a loud buzz and his skin tingled. A few seconds later, it stopped.

“I am unable to penetrate your mind shield. Lower it.”

Terr blinked in surprise. It appeared the god held his protective hand over him even here, but what was time and distance to a god.

“You want to know what I am? I am death. I am chaos. I am total disorder which you fear the most.”

“Your words are uncorrelated. Explain.”

“It is better if I show you,” Terr said softly and began to chant. “I shall walk in the shadow of Death, and it shall be with me all the days of my life. With shadow shall I smite my enemies, and with thunder shall I purge their land!” Power built within him and his voice rang with authority. He saw himself grow, looking down at his body, at the mortal creature that invoked him. Reality flickered and creation lay naked before him to shape at his will. “And all who stand with me in the shadow of Death shall know my power and be comforted. With shadow and thunder shall I walk their land!” He raised his arms and lightnings crackled between them.

With a shrug, he pointed a finger at the flickering wall before him and a bright blue bolt smashed into the panels, penetrating the shield enclosing him. A pealing crash of thunder made the air shake and his ears ring. If he was to die, so will Zero Six and this world.

“Stop! Further damage me and your crew and ship will be destroyed.”

Terr saw the arrayed spheres again. In one, a crewman clutched his head, his mouth contorted in agony. He convulsed and was still. The sphere turned black.

Arlon Dee looked at him imploringly. “Terr, don’t!”

With an effort of will, he dropped his arms, still cloaked in power. He would not let go, not now, not if this meant the end of everything, but he wouldn’t get Teena if he allowed his rage to consume him.

“What are you?” Zero Six demanded again. The panels around them flickered furiously. Terr watched in amazement as the damaged sections faded, replaced with new ones. Could this thing be destroyed?

“I am a Discipline adept, able to join with a god. You saw the manifestation of my power.”

“I saw an exhibition of your mental abilities. Gods are imaginary creations, delusions of organic lifeforms.”

“I can make my demonstration more vivid.”

“You seek to annihilate me?”

“If you harm Teena or anyone else, I will destroy you.”

“At the cost of your own destruction?”

“If Teena ceases to live, I have no reason to continue existing.”

“Propagation pair bonding. I understand.”

“Despite your array of captive specimens, you still don’t understand anything. Propagation is the least of the reasons why we bond.”

“It is a prime biological imperative.”

“Perhaps, but that imperative doesn’t make us stay bonded. You must have gathered that from the prisoners you interrogated.”

“I wish to understand it from your perspective.”

“To understand, you would need to transcend your logic and experience the ineffable quality of being human; having feelings and emotions, indulge in incoherent behavior which you find distasteful.”

Author Bio  

Stefan Vucak is an award-winning author of seven techno sci-fi novels, including With Shadow and Thunder which was a 2002 EPPIE finalist. His Shadow Gods Saga books have been highly acclaimed by critics. His political thriller, Cry of Eagles, won the coveted 2011 Readers Favorite silver medal award, and his All the Evils was the 2013 prestigious Eric Hoffer contest finalist. Stefan leveraged a successful career in the Information Technology industry and applied that discipline to create realistic, highly believable storylines for his books. Born in Croatia, he now lives in Melbourne, Australia.

To learn more about Stefan, visit his:

Twitter: @StefanVucak


Shadow Gods Saga:

Other Books: 


 Writing Tips:




1 comment:

  1. Wow! Congrats, Stefan...and best of luck for continued success with your novels!


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