It’s never too late to be who you might have been, is the quote he uses from George Eliot about his book, and it’s true for his too. Having completed a hugely enjoyable career with BBC TV in the UK as a Producer, he suddenly found himself with time to write that novel which had been ripening in his mind for so long. It Starts With A Kiss is all about having a second chance, which in his case was the opportunity to write this genre defying story of glamour and romance, of lost youth and found love. And it’s sexy and funny too. He does hope everyone enjoys it.
Your real name and pen name?
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
I loved our family holidays by the sea, running around in the sand dunes where I would imagine all kinds of heroes and villains at play. Plus I adored staging plays and shows for our put upon neighbours who were forced to sit through them, including performing as a burlesque showgirl called Stephanie Striptease, an idea initiated by my older sister!
About your education
I went to Fairfax High School in the English Midlands where I learnt how great literature can truly enhance your life from our English Literature teacher, Mr. Bound, who only a few years later would do the same for another one of his pupils, Kenneth Branagh. And I studied for a degree in Social Sciences at West Ham College, then on to Bedford College, University of London where I specialised in the Sociology of Medicine.
What career did you plan during your education days
I’d always wanted to be involved in the media in some way or other, although my Careers Officer at school tried to persuade me that I would be better suited working for a department store as a buyer of gents and ladies clothing. Could have been fun, and I would never have been short of a smart suit or a posh frock whenever I needed one! After taking a short detour as an academic I eventually became a newspaper journalist, then on to Radio followed by a career in BBC Television as a Producer/Executive Producer spanning twenty five years.
What languages you can speak and write?
Apart from my native tongue, English, I can get by in French, although these days more and more French people seem to speak English, which often makes my attempts at French conversation in bars and railway stations redundant. However, I will always try and learn a few words or phrases when I visit a foreign country, and was once applauded in an Italian Restaurant for uttering the words (in Italian), how happy I am to be partaking of this feeding experience with you.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?
My friends, family and the music of Kate Bush – and I managed to get a copy of my book to her when she was recently performing at the Apollo Theatre in London. Plus I’ve since been been informed by her management team that she is now reading it. No feedback as yet!!!
What hurts you most in this world?
Lack of kindness. Anybody who has read Emma by Jane Austen might recall the brilliant scene when Emma Woodhouse cruelly humiliates a good hearted but slightly annoying lady called Miss Bates in public, and then feels dreadful about it afterwards. I try to live by the first line of a poem written by Christopher Logue… ‘Be not too hard, for life is short, and nothing is given to man’. Not always easy though.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
The death of my parents. They both lived long and mostly happy lives but I still miss them every day. I believe they are looking over my shoulder, so that helped me to get over their passing. They wouldn’t want me sitting about being miserable anyway. And I dedicated my Book to them – how I would have loved them to have seen it – maybe they did.
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I would love to have been Marilyn Monroe on the day she seemingly took an overdose, except I would have thrown the pills away, and got my PR to announce that I was back, and going to make some great new movies, and was about to settle down with a guy - or maybe a girl would have been the answer -who loved me for who I really was.
What is your favorite genre and why?
I like Romantic Fiction, and that includes anything from George Eliot to Audrey Niffenegger. For me, the best fiction is usually about romantic relationships whether it’s the classic 19th Century English Novel, or something more recent, like the brilliant Gone Girl. I often see that book/film described as a thriller, but at heart it’s romantic fiction and fundamentally about a relationship between man and wife, albeit a twisted one.
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I first started writing stories at school. And then in the 1970’s while working as a journalist I wrote a children’s book about a stranded alien who enlists the help of a challenged young boy to get him back to his planet. Then six months later ET was released, so bang went my book! Great minds think alike! As for the purpose of my writing – I just enjoy telling stories – it’s therapy to me, creating something from seemingly nothing. It’s like magic.
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
Apart from writing as a journalist in newspapers and on TV, It Starts With A Kiss is my first published work. It’s taken me long enough - after two failed efforts in different genres in the 1970’s and 1980’s. My book is a fairy tale for grown-ups about a middle aged woman who gets the chance to live her life again, but this time around with the killer combination of a mature mind and stunning young looks. But be careful what you wish for!
What are your forthcoming writings?
I’m currently working on a sequel to Kiss. I’m certain there is at least one more story to tell, if not two. But the original book most definitely has a beginning, a middle and very satisfying and surprising end.
What are your future plans?
I also want to write a book of erotic/romantic short stories where women most definitely call the shots, called Bedtime Stories, plus a full length romantic adventure about a couple who stumble upon a frightening state secret, with once again the female character taking the lead. Well it is 2014 after all!!!
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
Plenty of coffee, phone switched off, music gently playing in the background and a head full of ideas.
How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
It varies according to the author. I am probably much more imagination based than some, although I do draw on experience to a degree, especially my time Producing a TV Make-Over Show called Style Challenge which proved invaluable when it came to writing about fashion, make-up, hair styling and image in general, which is at the heart of my book.
Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
I think it certainly helps, but it does depend on the genre of book. Some literary fiction can be quite uneventful, more character based, not requiring sweeping great scenarios or huge imaginative leaps.
Your dream destination on Earth?
Machu Picchu, or locally, Blackroot Pool in Sutton Park. And I adore New York, where my book is set. Whenever I visit NY I always feel twenty years younger, although I suspect I might feel 20 years older if I actually lived there!
Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed.
I was born in Sutton Coldfield in the English Midlands, where I still live (what a stick in the mud!), although I have also lived in London. I have travelled fairly extensively in Europe, the Far East, Australia and of course the USA.
What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was particularly impressed by North Vietnam – I didn’t get to visit the South of the Country – both by its stunning beauty and the charm and friendliness of its people. I also fell in love with New England in the Fall, while Boston USA boasts so much history and sheer class, plus I actually had the opportunity to drink in the Cheers Bar – well kind of – and I used to love that Show!
Your favorite time of the day?
Sunrise, just before everybody gets up and running. You can smell the hope in the air.
Your zodiac/ sunsign?
Capricorn. I share this sign with both Jesus and Elvis. I am not worthy!
Your favorite color and why?
Pink. Well they say it takes a real man to wear pink, and apparently it used to be the colour for boys in Victorian times. And after all, I do write as a woman, so it only seems appropriate.
What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.
And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.
Your favorite book and why?
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
Scandalous in its day,and shocking in that the author’s depiction of an adulteress is sympathetically viewed by the author. And it reads like it was written yesterday – it feels so contemporary. Emma Bovary is flawed but we love her, and why shouldn’t we?
Your favorite movie and why?
Some Like It Hot. Just hilarious, and so sweet, and how I would have loved to have been in that All Girls Band with Jack, Tony and Marilyn.
Your favorite celebrity and why?
Dolly Parton … eternally glamorous, seriously funny and so smart.
Your favorite food?
What comes to your mind when you think of India?
Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening,
Sun, Laughter, Morning.
Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare
Tea, Sea, Short Drive, Conversation, Water, Air, Mars, Rose, Red, Left, Glance.
What three words come to your mind for each – Technology, Life, God,
Technology – threatening, liberating,frustrating.
Life – thrilling, exciting, everything.
God – omnipotent, infuriating, mysterious.
Humanity, Terrorism, Racism, Childhood Abuse, Love, Parenting, Old age
Humanity - inspiring, kind, cruel.
Terrorism – misguided, evil, wrong.
Racism – fear, unfamiliar, sad.
Childhood abuse – unforgivable, disgusting, selfish.
Love- you, me, everyone. Parenting – selfless, selfish, eternal.
Old Age – inevitable, wise, challenge.
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
Can I suggest the first line of my book.
‘On my wedding day, which should have been the happiest day of my life, I committed myself to a truly wondrous man. If only he’d been my husband’.
Follow that, and I did!
The last line of your autobiography would be…
Could we just do that again.
What made you interested your genre –
I’ve always enjoyed a combination of love stories and fairy tales, my favourite being Cinderella, which I first saw on stage when I was about eight years old. I remember being entranced by her escape from drudgery to go to the ball and actually have an encounter with Prince Charming(!), and then cheering her to the rafters when that slipper finally fits. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Steve N Weddle
It Starts With A Kiss
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