Katelyn: I read that during your time in secondary school you learned to "fight, drink and chat up girls." Did you take your experiences and base Trey's situation at the care home somewhat from those experiences?
Steve: To some extent, yes, but I didn't have as tough a time of things as Trey has had in his early life. I did feel very out of place growing up where I did. It was a harsh environment, and being a bit of a loner can make you an easy target if you're not able to stick up for yourself. When I write from Trey's perspective, I try and remember how I felt as a teenager, and how difficult life and all the changes that are going on at that time were. It's a difficult mix of emotions and moods to express sometimes: too much angst, and your protagonist comes across as a bit of a whinger, too little and they become almost superficial.
Who'd be a teenager, eh?
Katelyn: I've heard you didn't start writing until you were in your 30s, any reason? Why start then...and after reading and enjoying Wereling so much, I have to ask why did you hold out on us for so long?
Steve: Maybe it was just the right time for me. I'd gone through some big life changes a few years before, and decided that I wanted to alter the direction that my life was heading. I'd done the big 'corporate thing', and although I knew I wanted something else, I wasn't clever (or brave) enough to work out what it was. One evening I was watching a TV programme about the rise, decline, and recent re-emergence of action/adventure books told from the male POV, and I remember reading most of the books they were talking about when I was younger. I decided there and then that I should write a book that I would have enjoyed as a young adult, and started to write Wereling. (That sounds a bit corny, but it's true.)
I guess that now I have started, I too am wondering why I didn't start earlier. Now that I'm a writer, I know that it is something that I was meant to do. It just took me a rather long time to make that discovery.
Katelyn: You recommend that new writers read as much as they can and not restrict themselves to one particular genre. Do you have a favorite genre that you prefer to read? Or a specific author?
Steve: Every book you read plants a seed inside your mind. You don't realise it at the time, but those seeds are there, waiting. Sometimes those seeds grow.
When I talk to schools about my experiences as an author, I'm keen to point out that I don't fit the stereotype of what a lot of students think you might have to achieve to become a writer: I didn't have a great schooling; I've never been to a creative writing course, or read a book on the subject; I didn't go to university. What I did do was read everything and anything I could get my hands on. And during my reading life I've switched between different genres, and between commercial and literary fiction. I do have some favourite authors: Cormac McCarthy, Donna Tartt, Stephen King are some of my 'go to' contemporary authors. I'm also a sucker for Charles Dickens and Graham Greene.
If I had to pick a favourite book, I'd probably go for To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (But that probably changes each and every time somebody asks me that question.)
Katelyn: If you could describe Wereling in three words, what would they be?
Steve: Mysterious. Suspenseful. Gripping.
Katelyn: I read that you wrote the series somewhat because you heard that books geared towards teen boys were being seen less and less and you enjoyed reading so much when you were younger that you wanted to see if you could provide the same thing for the current YA generation. Will you stick with YA or do you plan to explore another genre?
Steve: I see YA as an audience and not necessarily a genre, but yes, I have plans to continue to write for my current target audience. After the fifth (and final) Changeling/Wereling book - we're a bit ahead of you here in the UK, with book four coming out this September - I'm going to start a new series which will be quite different to the current books. A change of direction away from horror, and in a genre that is not currently as fashionable as it once was. I hope to spin it up by giving it a supernatural twist.
I get a bit cross when people ask me the question: "Are you going to write for adults one day?" (As if writing YA is not 'proper writing' and you can only be taken seriously if you are writing for an adult audience). I point out to them that some of the best and most exciting fiction is being written for the YA audience, and perhaps it's time that they started to broaden their horizons and look at some of the books in that section of the bookshop.
Thanks Steve so much for participating in the interview and I know we can't wait to read more of your work in the future, I for one am loving the Changeling/Wereling series and I know I'm not alone.
Fourteen-year-old Trey Laporte is not a kid anymore. Not after the day he wakes up in agony—retina-splitting, vomit-inducing agony. His clothes are torn. His room is trashed.
Enter Lucien Charron, the mysterious, long-lost “uncle” with freakish fire-flecked eyes and skin that blisters in the sun. Suddenly, Trey finds himself living in a luxury penthouse at the heart of a strange and sinister empire built on the powers of the Netherworld—vampires, demons, sorcerers, and djinn.
And there is a girl—Alexa Charron—who is half vampire, half human, and insanely pretty, with powers all of her own. Trey is falling for her.
Trey is training night and day to control the newly discovered power lurking inside him. Now, demons are closing in on every side, and the most psychopathic bloodsucker to rock the Netherworld wants to destroy him. Above all, he must face one terrifying question: Is he a boy . . . or is he a beast?
If you haven't had the chance to read Wereling yet, get out there and pick up a copy, you can find my review here. It's highly entertaining and impossible not to enjoy!