Bookworm Reviews

Also known as MRHavisham.

Bookworm Reviews

Also known as MRHavisham.


An exchange with traveller and author Seth Stivala 

Seth Stivala defines himself as an adventurer with a degree in wildlife biology. Traveling the world and seeing new places inspired him to tell stories based on his discoveries. Fate of the Firelight is the first book he's published, having this story written in his head and computer for around sixteen years. Now it's time to share it with the world!

We had the pleasure to chat with Mr. Stivala about his writing process and inspirations. Find an exclusive exchange about it below.

MRHavisham: What were your inspirations for this book?

Seth Stivala: When it comes to coming up with stories, for me, there are two ways it happens. The first is probably going to be an unsatisfactory answer, but the truth of it is...I don’t know where they come from.

It’s kind of like a daydream when it happens. You start to telling yourself the story before you realize where it came from. If you can think of it as if your mind is an engine. The first method, something already started the car and it’s ready to go. All you have to do is put it in drive (write it) and let the story take you where it will. I call this a hot start.

The second is the cold start. You have to turn on the engine and let it warm up by combining two or more old concepts or ideas and forging them into something new. Sometimes it might even be just one regular concept done in a different way, like crossing the street. Look both ways then walk across, right? How about not looking and running? Fate of the Firelight was a hot start and to this day I don’t know where it came from, but I was happy for the ride.

MRHavisham: Tell us a bit about your writing process.

Seth Stivala: I’ve actually switched when my preferred time to write is and that’s due to my change in lifestyle. My favorite time to write used to be at night because of my academic and work schedule. I know it seems like I would be tired after school and work, but writing isn’t work for me. It’s one of the things I do to relax. Nowadays, my favorite time to write is in the morning.

If I get right on it, then I can write all day. I think it’s because when I sleep, I’m unconsciously thinking about the story and I’m ready to get writing when I wake up. Ideally, this is what I would like to do for career and I’m working towards it. However, when I’m on a job (I work in the Solar industry), I switch back to night. As for drafts, I honestly couldn’t tell you how many I’ve been through. Editing and rewrites were where I got stuck because I’m a perfectionist and that’s not a good thing to be when you want to get a book published lol. If you ask any author if they would want some more time to work on their story, the vast majority would likely say yes.

Last year, I had some more time on my hands due to COVID and after 3 additional edits, I realized it was time to finally put it out there. Putting out your first book is definitely intimidating. You see so many well-known authors and think “What chance do I have? What if people don’t like it?”. But I’ve come to look at it another way. Everyone has a story to tell that someone out there needs to hear.



MRHavisham: Is Fate of the Fireflight the first book you’ve written? Or simply the first one to submit for publication?

Seth Stivala: Yup, Fate of the Firelight is my first book. Only took me sixteen years of writing off and on to finally get it published lol. I’ll be starting my next book shortly and I’m really excited! Whereas Fate of the Firelight took me sixteen years to write, I’m going to write this next one in sixteen days and I’m going to film updates as I go along. I know it sounds crazy, but I really think I can do it. The reason I think so is that it’s going to be a short story compilation book and I have no shortage of story ideas.

In fact, I’ve got a huge list I’ve saved of stories that I’ve thought of throughout the years, that I wanted to write. I’m looking forward to it because I love a challenge and it’s going to be sixteen days of pure creativity. Although, I’m going to measure success in two ways: It has to be at least 200 pages. I have to get at least two edits done. Those are the conditions for victory on the challenge. I couldn’t say getting a book published in sixteen days because of a few variables. The first is getting my proofreaders to go through it and give me their feedback for the final polish. The second is getting the cover made for the book. Either way, though it’ll definitely be coming out a lot quicker than Fate of the Firelight.


MRHavisham: Which formula works for you: character comes from the plot or the whole premise revolves around the character?

Seth Stivala: The latter. You’ll definitely see that in the book. Everything revolves around David.

MRHavisham: Did you listen to spooky music while writing this novel?

Seth Stivala: When I’m writing I typically don’t listen to music. Editing I do though. Usually, it’s something without lyrics like classical or Lindsey Stirling. Music is great for inspiration too. Sometimes lyrics just hit you in the right way and then you’ve got a story. In my opinion, that’s one thing that great music has...a story behind the song. Not just repetitive lyrics or good beat, but a story. These are the ones that inspire the most.


MRHavisham:Your main character, David White seems secluded, was it your intention?

Seth Stivala: Yeah, it was important for David to be secluded. Actually, the original title was “Isolation”. However, as the story evolved it didn’t quite fit and so it became Fate of the Firelight. To find out why you’ll just read and find out

MRHavisham: What was the easiest and hardest part during the writing of this book?

Seth Stivala: The hardest part was letting go of my perfectionism. Your first book is your baby and you want to love and protect it, but eventually, it needs to leave the nest. The easiest part was the first few drafts. Getting to see the story start to take shape is one of the funniest parts of writing.

MRHavisham: Did your travels around the world inspire your writing style in some fashion?

Seth Stivala: My writing style has definitely been influenced by my travels. By meeting all different kinds of people, it gets easier to build characters with different personalities. Seeing and experiencing different climates and terrain help me to better describe scenes that my characters are in.

We surely can't wait to dive into this! Fate of the Firelight is available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon!

Feel free to preorder it here and learn more about the author here.