Author Craig A. Steffen’s book A Family Apart: Sleuthing the Mysteries of Abandonment, Adoption and DNA, is his story from being abandoned to being adopted to unraveling the mysteries of his life. It is unlike any memoir you have read before. Steffen employs creative writing skills in the best way to tell his story (review coming soon). Select bloggers were provided with a Q&A with Steffen.
Q: Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you do for fun?
A: I love to travel to beautiful, natural places with my wife Cindy and our German Shepherd, Cyon. We seek out remote spots that are still mostly unspoiled by the presence of humanity. My most recent travels took me to Alaska, Nova Scotia and the Manistee National Forest in Michigan. I’m also an avid Major League Baseball fan and follow the Baltimore Orioles closely. I played competitive baseball for the Dayton Ducks till I was 50. Baseball has played a significant role in my life.
Q: How long have you been writing? How many books have you written – including those unpublished?
A: A Family Apart: Sleuthing the Mysteries of Abandonment, Adoption and DNA is my first published book. I am about half done with a Novel, and recently started work on another Memoir that focuses on my spiritual journey. I’m learning that the balance of a writer is to find time to write, when so many people want to talk about what you’ve already written.
Q: What genres do you like to write? Do you also read those same genres?
A: I like to write Memoir, because it allows me to write in my personal, authentic voice. My book could be described as “moving away from a pretend world,” so speaking from a real and authentic voice is quite appealing right now. I also like to read memoir. I think Memoir is a genre that builds global community as we discover that we’re not alone on this tiny, obscure blue marble floating in the vastness of space.
Q: Why did you write your book? Is it inspired by true events?
A: As I began the journey to discover my biological roots, and a piece of my own identity as a result, I found the details of the story to be complex, unique and compelling. As a practical matter, if I didn’t start writing them down, I was sure I’d lose the nuance of the truth I was uncovering. But, as the thread of redemption began to appear within the story, I felt that my story might be both compelling and healing for others as well.
Q: How did you begin your project? Did you write outlines and character profiles, jump right in or focus on one section at a time?
A: I wrote the book as the facts of the story were unfolding, so in the early parts of the book, I write about things I literally did not know the answer to as I wrote. Later, many of these questions do get answered. By making this choice not to wait to begin writing until the story resolved, I feel like my true emotional state is captured and the reader gets to see my inner self and thoughts in real-time. Additionally, the reader gets to go on the journey of discovery with me, rather than just reading about it after the fact. By the end of my writing, I had 90+ short “chapters” that had to be edited, merged, arranged, expanded or culled. This later process took nearly as much time as the writing.
Q: Where do you like to write? Do you have a “ritual” you do before writing?
A: For me, it’s not so much about where I write as it is about when. I like to get up early in the morning, make a steaming cup of dark roast coffee and write before the world starts playing its distracting tricks with me. I know it’s been a good writing day, if there is cold coffee in the cup when I push my chair back and breathe a sigh of satisfaction.
Q: What is your next project?
A” This is always a tricky question for a writer. I’m working on a Memoir about my own journey of faith from my early childhood beliefs and how that faith has morphed and matured into something very different over the years. But all good writing must be inspired by passion, so I leave the door open for a new passion to sweep me off my feet and take me into a completely different book.
Q: Who do you ask first to look over your writing?
A: Usually my wife, Cindy K. Steffen, who is also a published author. She has focused more on Poetry and Fiction, so she brings a completely different perspective as a reader of my work. And, because we have such a close relationship, she’s not afraid to tell me what she REALLY thinks – which is so very important when getting feedback on writing that’s in-process.
A Family Apart was published in July 2015 and is available on Amazon: