Author Questionaire: Steph Avery

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

When I was about ten years old, I wrote and illustrated a story about a remote tropical island, with its own indigenous people, royal family and currency. My mum has it in her box of my childhood mementos. I was always being told I had a strong imagination and could express myself easily with words, but the thought of being a writer did not occur to me until I worked with writers in feature film development in my early thirties. I felt my mind worked in a similar way to those people writing for a living.

Who are your favorite authors? (Please limit your answer to five or ten.)

First loves – PD James, Ruth Rendell, Angela Carter, Thomas Hardy, John Irving, Damon Runyon. Then graduated to Daphne du Maurier, Donna Tartt, Joyce Carol Oates, Andrea Levy.

What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

Film noir cinema; British social realist cinema of 1960s / early 1970s; counter culture movements and underground, secret histories from certain time periods we think we know already; for example, London during the Blitz, or England during the so called ‘Swinging Sixties’

What genre(s) do you write?

There is an element of crime in there, but it is not straightforward crime fiction as such. There is usually a certain historical period I would want to write in, but I would not class it as historical fiction either. I am interested in how fate plays a hand in shaping our lives (the Hardy influence at play here) and how the ripples of events spread far and wide. If there was such a genre as ‘morality play’ I would say that was the most apt.

Do you have any current or future projects?

I have several projects on the go. One is set in the Anglo-Chinese Community in 1920’s Limehouse London. Another is set in London during the Blitz, and another in 1980’s England. The common thread is underground subculture operating beneath the ‘face’ of the perceived view of those periods. For example, London in the Blitz was quite a lawless place where the ‘Blitz spirit’ was something very different to what we think of now. A city with few police, many black marketeers, the good men off fighting and women left to hold the fort. I like shining a light into the dark recesses.

Where can people find your work? (to purchase or just to read)



Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?

Running. I love to run on the coast where I live in East Kent. Drawing. I am also an illustrator and have just written and illustrated a children’s book ‘Sunny’s Tree’ for publication in China. I have illustrated a series of greetings cards based on vintage 1950’s sailor tattoos called ‘Sailor Made’ for a UK company ‘Frankie Whistle’. Drawing is my therapy so incorporating it into my work life is a lucky bonus.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

After a visit to Snowdonia two years ago, I have become obsessed with walking in the Welsh mountains. I have a fear of heights so nothing too precarious, but we now regularly return to conquer another peak. It is one of the most beautiful regions I have visited and only six hours drive from my door.


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