hello folks, today we continue the Steve week with an interview with UK author, Steve Lockley
GNOH – Hi Steve, how are you doing?
STEVE – Hi there, I’m doing fine thanks
GNOH – How’s the Bank Holiday weekend been?
STEVE – Busy as always which made it much easier to avoid coverage of the royal wedding
GNOH – Could you tell us about yourself?
STEVE – Where do I start? I always find questions like this the hardest to answer. I’m originally from only a few miles from the brewing capital of the world (that’s Burton-on-Trent if anyone has any doubt), but I’ve been living in Swansea for more than 25 years. I’ve been writing and getting stuff published for more than 25 years too and still no-one has heard of me.
GNOH – So what’s the draw of horror?
STEVE – It’s not necessarily horror that’s the draw, as the story idea. I’ve written SF, fantasy, crime as well as horror. Quite often it’s what I’m asked to write that points me in a certain direction – I’ve done Sherlock Holmes stories, Arthurian tales and even rewritten Hamlet as a murder mystery at the request of anthology editors
GNOH – What do you think makes for a good book?
STEVE – A story that keeps you thinking long after you’ve read the last page and leaves you with that itch to read it again in case you’ve missed something.
GNOH – Who are your literary heroes?
STEVE – Ray Bradbury for the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes and the short story The Crowd alone, Lord Dunsany, Graham Joyce, Jonathan Carroll, Charles de Lint, Lucius Shepard… the list goes on.
GNOH – What would you say would be a good starting point to your work?
STEVE – If you want to get a taste of what I can do on my own, there’s an e-chapbook called Fairground Attraction. The four stories in there might just help people figure out what my contribution to the various collaborations might be.
GNOH – You have written a number of collaborative works. Which author has been the most fun to work with, and which author has given you the biggest insight into your own writing?
STEVE – Now that’s an unfair question, I couldn’t possibly set one above another. I guess the one that has given me the biggest insight though has been working with SF author Mike O’Driscoll. Many years ago we wrote the first draft of a Lovecraftian Young Adult novel which has never seen the light of day. We have very different styles, but it was only by seeing my work alongside his that I could see what I did badly as well as what I did well.
GNOH – Do you think writing with another author helps you hone your own writing?
STEVE – It certainly challenges you and makes sure that you’re on the top of your game not only in terms of your prose but also the inventiveness of your plotting; the obvious twist just won’t do.
GNOH – I’ve had the pleasure of reading Mostly Human. Who came up with the initial idea, and how did you all come to be involved?
STEVE- Steve and I had been chatting about the possibility of getting another couple of guys on board to do either a collaborative novella or a mosaic piece in the way that I did something called In That Quiet Earth some years ago. Scott’s and Willie’s names floated to the surface fairly quickly. I suggested doing some kind of monster tale set in the Lake District after reading an article about sighting made on Windermere of something that has become nicknamed ‘Bownessie’. Bowness is a small town in the Lakes. We bounced the idea around between us until something finally emerged.
GNOH – The story reads seamlessly, how hard was it to get everyone’s writing to flow together?
STEVE – Mr Savile has to take much of the credit for that. We wrote the first draft as a round robin, each taking it in turn to cary the story further, but Steve did a final draft to iron out inconsistencies and smooth it out stylistically
GNOH – You have worked with Steven Savile a lot, how did this partnership come about?
STEVE – I’ve know Steve for more than 15 years. We meet up most years at Fantasycon and when you stick two writers together late into the night talk will eventually turn to collaborating. Our first efforts have yet to see the light of day, but one day we hope to go back and sort out the problems with them. I think that Of Time And Dust was the real catalyst to us working together. We accepted a challenge to write a novella in a weekend and not only has it done reasonably well it has given us something that we can see becoming a series. It has also made it onto the long list for the year’s British Fantasy awards The second story Missing has only been published electronically and we are currently working on a third – Deadlines.
GNOH – You have also worked with Paul Lewis a few times. How does the collaborative process differ between the different authors?
STEVE – I’ve actually written a lot more with Paul. The novels, The Ragchild and The Quarry along with the novellas The Ice Maiden, King of all the Dead and The Bell. There’s also the promise of a collection of our short stories in the pipeline.
Writing with Paul is completely different to working with Steve. Paul needs to know pretty much everything that happens in a story before a word is written while Steve takes a far looser approach. We have a rough path we’d like to follow but we can wander off that.
GNOH – Is there a dream collaboration you’d like to do?
STEVE – I’ve got enough possible collaborations in the pipeline already without thinking about a dream collaboration. There’s more work in the pipeline both with Steve and Paul. Tim Lebbon and I have been (very) slowly chipping away at a novella for some time and I’ve chatted with both Gary McMahon and Cavan Scott about possible ideas.
GNOH – I see you have also written a Dr Who tie in novel. How did that come about? Did they contact you with an idea, or did you pitch the story to them?
STEVE – It’s actually a short story that’s part of a mosaic novel – The Story of Martha (BBC Books). This is something I did with Paul and getting the job followed on from a story we did for one of the Big Finish Short Trips anthologies. I managed to get an introduction to the series editor and were eventually invited to take part. We were given a location (a space station) and a theme which ultimately changed and had to come up with an outline for approval by the powers that be. Thankfully, although it took a while to get approval, we were not asked to make any major changes to the proposal
GNOH – Are there any plans on releasing The Ragchild as an e-book?
STEVE – There are indeed, in fact Paul and I have been working on revisions for the last couple of weeks. We’ve both moved on as writers since that novel was published and while we have been trying to resist rewriting it completely we want it to reflect what we are capable of now not the stumbling efforts of still novice writers
GNOH – So what does the future hold for you?
STEVE – Who knows? There are lots of things approaching fruition including a solo SF novel in the new Scattered Earth series and a vampire series with Steve Savile. I’ll be sure to let you know when I have any news on those
GNOH – Many thanks Steve for taking the time to answer my questions.
Folks Steve is a great author I highly suggest you become accuinted with his work. You can buy his books