Steve was the grandson to a Thames-Docker, and son of a schizophrenic, alcoholic mother. Life on the streets of East London in the 60s was a testing time for him. In 1971, he moved to rural Essex aged 14-years. At 16-years old, he was in a house fire, leaving him with life-threatening injuries, which resulted in nine minutes on the other side. He believes he was given a second chance to write about Rebecca.

He went on to work for Royal Mail for 32 years, retiring at the age of 52. He then turned his attention to writing, aiming to improve his use of the English language. It took him five years to recognise his literary voice was a feminine one. Unbeknown to him, Rebecca had been waiting patiently.

Time to chat with Steve!

Is your recent book part of a series?

I only ever intended Rebecca & the Spiral Staircase to be a one-off story chronicling the adventures of a 15-year-old girl. I had finished – or so I thought – and was preparing my novel for a launch date. Then from nowhere, my beloved Rebecca called me for one final chapter. This chapter changed everything, and opened the door for Rebecca, A Way Back, and more…

Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?

My name is my name. I write with a feminine voice, but even son, a guy writing about a 15-year-old girl raised a few eyebrows. It was suggested I changed my name and instead choose a female pseudonym. I wasn’t comfortable with that, especially as it is so hard to spell ha ha.

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

 Aha, that’s an interesting, and in my case, fascinating question. When I first decided to get some words down on paper, a manly sci-fi novel seemed to be the obvious choice. After a couple of years of trudging my way through this story, I realised that either I didn’t fit it or it didn’t fit me. I tried some alternative styles with little joy. I was seemingly lost in literary oblivion. Then from nowhere, Rebecca called me. The moment I started typing she was there waiting. I had found my voice, and genre. Rebecca chose me.

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

Adults lose their ability to see.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

My girl closes the front door and always turns left. Even though I have a set route or plan for Rebecca, she’s rarely prepared to be led, and instead chooses an unforeseen direction. When she speaks, however, I know how she thinks and responds. Either, I am in her head, or she’d in mine, so there’s rarely a surprise.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

Oh, if only it were that simple. With an individual like Rebecca, there is no way she’d allow me or anyone else to pre-empt the ending. As with her first chronicle, just when I thought it was done-n-dusted, she shouted an alternative conclusion.

 How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?

That’s quite a provocative question. Generally, the personalities of my characters or their roles within my novel will ultimately determine their name. I can see everyone’s individual’s facial expression, appearance, and characteristics, which mostly results in a perfect name fit. Sometimes though, I have no choice but consider era appropriate names as with Meredith, a lady from 1853. Rebecca, however, picked her name, and I went along with it because it suited her perfectly. I subsequently discovered that Rebekha was the wife of Isaac in the Hebrew Bible and one of the four original female names.

There are so many conflicting opinions out there about everything related to publishing: e-book pricing, book promotion, social media usage etc. How do you sort through it all to figure out what works best for you?

At the get go, I struggled deciding the right publication route for my novel. Initially, I believed the conventional road via a literary agent was the only way for my girl. I soon realised that in these times of austerity, a new author book deal was always going to be a difficult direction. Literary agents receive an endless list of proposals and invariably your beloved novel, can, and will end up on the ‘slush-pile’, even if your story is outstanding. I tried six agents and although their response was positive, there was always a, “at the moment, we cannot consider new authors.” Interestingly, I didn’t get one auto “thanks but no thanks” reply. Although frustrated, I was actually spurred on by their positive comments. I then looked at the e-book route, and decided to let Rebecca loose on the world. Ultimately, the readers decide if your tale is good enough, and so it has proven with a phenomenal response.

I do use social media as a platform for my novel and this has had a mixed response. I write an angling blog, and with a constant world-wide audience, I used that to promote my novel. Although my fishing blog employs a somewhat different literary voice, it led to a few sales. I also run an angling forum via Facebook, and this platform produced a decent level of sales. Of interest, all the female anglers who read my book openly shared their enjoyment. The male anglers, however, showed their pleasure via private messages. Mostly though, Twitter has been a fantastic method of promoting for my novel. I believe that providing you are proactive and engage your followers, then they will – it would seem – purchase your book once they get to know you.

I spoke with an employee of a large UK book store, and he had an interesting view on independently published books. He explained that while at university, he was tasked with exploring the indie author route. He suggested that over ninety-five percent of e-books are “rubbish,” and that if you have a good story, and it is well written, then it will, in time, rise up through the ranks. His view was that reviews, an attention grabbing cover, a fascinating tale, and believable characters are the keys to success.

Are you a fast typist? Does your typing speed (or lack of it) affect your writiing?

Even if I could type five-hundred words a minute, Rebecca’s tale manifests itself at her pace, with the hands of the clock seemingly motionless. So no matter how fast I want to go, she keeps slowing me down, allowing her time to consider her direction.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

 As I said earlier, I write an angling blog. Interestingly, readers often say they feel they have been on a fishing expedition with me. Many have said that Rebecca takes you by the hand and leads you through every turn. Although the two are written with a slightly different literary voice, it appears, they both engage the reader in a similar way.

How would you define your style of writing?

 It has been said on a number of occasions, by many, that I have a feminine voice. My intended style is to engage people with thought provoking, between the lines, suggestions. I hope my readers are left unsure, wondering if the events surrounding Rebecca’s journey actually happen. Ultimately, I trust them to find the alternative, unforeseen conclusion. After all, I didn’t see it coming…

Have you ever wished that you could bring a character to life? If so, which one and why?

I don’t know what you could possibly mean. All my characters are alive, thriving, and very well, thank you for asking.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who dont understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

Reviews are king of the hill… Readers trust independent opinions. Today, the internet dominates people’s decisions. Those going to a new restaurant, holiday resort, or hotel, will check reviews first. Why would it be any different for a book?

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I currently live with my wife in Essex, just north of London. We hope to move soon to rural Suffolk, known as ‘Constable Country’. It is a beautiful county, with lovely people, an amazing history, and stunning old houses.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

We prefer boats, or in our case, ships. My wife and I love to cruise and have most recently returned from a fifty night cruise that took us from Southampton, across the Atlantic, around the Caribbean, Latin America, along the coast of North America, and back home. We cannot wait for the next one, so buy my book 😉

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

A two way road of honesty and compassion without an agenda is important to me. Knowing they are there for you no matter what, and that you feel the same.

 Care to brag about your family?

I have been married to Jacqui for 38 years, and she is still my best friend. Before she retired, she was the court manager at the world famous ‘Old Bailey’, Central Criminal Court, in London. Our son, Ryan is currently resident in Vancouver, Canada living the dream. He is super intelligent, getting his brains from his mother, a fantastic footballer (soccer), and an honest individual.





Angling Blog



Ellie Douglas loves horror and she wants to scare you. She is the author of the Hounded Series, Fear Inducer, Toxic Desire, The Dead Undone and the Dead Wake Anthology. Her passion and love of horror drives her and she strives to spook you. Ellie also creates adult coloring books and makes professional book covers, all of which she thoroughly enjoys doing.

Time to chat with Ellie!

What is your latest book(s)?

I have two new books that were published in December 2017. The Dead Undone is a tale set in a haunted asylum; the ghosts and paranormal activity are the least of the worries that the characters have. For their greatest fears are the dead rising. My second book, The Dead Wake Anthology, is all about zombies in bizarre, funny, and also serious situations. It’s a book of ten shorts that will raise emotions within the reader that they never thought possible when it comes to zombies.

Is your recent book part of a series?

It might be, though I don’t want to sound cryptic, my books can all become a series but I haven’t any plans at this stage to do so.

What are the greatest challenges in writing short stories?

The greatest challenge I found in writing my short stories was where to end them. Once I managed that it was a home stretch from then onwards.

Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?

Yes my first name Ellie is my chosen pen name that I got from my real name with a combination of my real first names letters. The reason for the first name change was because there is another author out there with my name and I didn’t want readers getting confused with who is who.

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

Both. The genre horror chose me and I also chose it. I tried my hand at a thriller but always found myself going back to my love of horror. Are your characters ever based on people you know?

Not directly, but some of my characters are based off of people’s personalities. In particular, my own children have inspired me with the different personalities that I see in them.

I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

I am pregnant with aliens? No, my exciting news is that I just released two novels and that is pretty exciting.

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

Eat me!

What else have you written?

I’ve written six novels in total now. The Hounded series, book 1 and 2, Fear Inducer, Toxic Desire, The Dead Undone, and The Dead Wake Anthology. Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

No. I tend to fine tune the story as I go along, so the ending can change and has done multiple times. The title is either going to be extremely hard to reach for me in particular or easy. It just depends on the story. Sometimes I’ve come up with a title before I’ve even written the story and other times I’ve struggled with a title.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I do both, or have been known to do both. I’ll start off editing as I go. Then I’ll be so into the story that I just write it. Then I’ll go back and edit.

Have you ever imagined what your characters are doing after you’ve finished a book or series?

Yes, in particular my characters from my Hounded series. I often ponder about what they are doing. What are some of the crazy things people have said to you upon learning you are an author? How have you responded?

The craziest remark I’ve ever received was a simple word; ‘Really?’ to which I simply replied back, ‘yes’. I do so with a large smile and big wide eyes.

Are you easily distracted while writing? If so, what to you do to help yourself focus?

Yes, I’m very easily distracted. If I get distracted I have to stop. I’ll handle whatever has distracted me and then see if I can pick up from where I was. If not, I’ll do some reading, clean the house, watch TV or a movie and then get back into my writing.

Authors, especially Indies, are constantly trying to understand why some authors sell very while their talented fellow authors have a hard time of it. It’s an ongoing conundrum. What do you make of it all?

I believe it just comes down to who you know as well as having a massive financial backing. Without word of mouth and money in droves it is hard to do the advertising to get noticed.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

I place a huge importance on my books cover that probably is because I’m a book cover designer so it has to be perfect. Being a perfectionist aids in that largely too.

Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?

I have full control over my characters, though in my latest novel, The Dead Undone, one of the characters decided to kill himself and I had to bring him back as he was pretty vital to the story. Lol

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?

I have once and how I handled it was walking away from my writing. I ended up leaving it for a period of two long weeks and then when I returned and re read what I had already written the writer’s block was gone and I was able to continue forward. 🙂  

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live where I was born, Auckland New Zealand. If I could chose another country I would go to England.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

Boats and trains.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Favorite comfort food would be anything junk. lol Least favorite food is fish or basically seafood.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

Rob a bank! OK, I wouldn’t do that umm if I were to be invisible for a day I would go around giving everyone a terrible fright. It’d be fun to scare them silly.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

OK this is going to sound absolutely corny and it isn’t an actual gift but the best gift I’ve ever received is ‘Life’ 🙂

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Honesty and outgoing.

Care to brag about your family?

Yes, they are all zombies. LOL I have four children and a wonderful supportive husband. One of my sons is going into medical science and I couldn’t be more proud. My youngest, the twin girls, are still in college and one of them is very artistic and creative, and has told me she’ll be an author and artist one day just like her mamma (That’s me). lol The other is going to be a saver of animals and wants to travel to places around the world to do so. Very ambitious 🙂 My oldest son has just had a baby and so yes I’m now a grand mamma 🙂 I love my family very much 🙂

What might we be surprised to know about you?

You might be surprised to know that I invented a slots machine game called Infinity slots, unrelated to the one on Facebook, mine is ad free and one that you actually win, true to the name of (Infinity) 🙂

What makes you angry?

Twitter jail! What is twitter jail I hear some of you ask? Well it is when you tweet your daily limit of tweets and then you are told by Twitter with a message that says; you have exceeded your daily limit and must wait a few hours before you can continue. That ticks me off just a little. The only other thing that makes me angry is bad drivers. Those drivers that are putting on makeup and holding up the lights to go. Those drivers who are on their phones and turn without looking almost causing a head on etc. Yeah, those!

What music soothes your soul?

Mostly any music is soothing. I’m very found of the 80’s and also of the latest stuff being released. Shakira is currently one of my favorites and one of my twin daughters is currently right into K-Pop and I have to admit some of that is rather catchy and I often find myself singing along and moving to the beat of the music.

What was the most valuable class you ever took in school? Why?

Can there be two? If so it would have to be Art and English because they gave me the abilities to be what I am today, an artist and an author.

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

This might take a while there is a few. lol

The 100

The Walking Dead

The Fear of the Walking

The Preacher

Ash Vs Evil

The Strain

Grey’s Anatomy


Super girl



Lethal Weapon

American Housewife

Little Sheldon

Take me out

Blind Date

There are a lot more. I happen to love TV and movies 🙂

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

Funny that this question is here as it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. If I had the chance to add another room, I’d fill it with a large screen TV and DVD player so I could put in a treadmill and watch movies while walking 🙂

Have you ever walked out of a movie? If so, what was it?

I have. When I was 11 years old I was taken to see The Deer Hunter and well being a tender young age I couldn’t handle what I was seeing so I left. Much to the dismay of the friend that had taken me.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Seeing my kids laughing and giggling and having a good time. Seeing them grow before my very eyes. Watching movies and singing when no one can hear me, and trust me no one wants to hear me singing. But I love to sing out loud when no one is listening. Talking to my friends, and making them laugh.


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