Steve Griffin is the author of the mystery adventure series The Secret of the Tirthas
Steve Griffin’s two books are The Book of Life and The City of Light
Steve was sure that he was going to be a writer when he was at school
Steve Griffin is the author of the mystery adventure series for children and adults – The Secret of the Tirthas. The two books under this series are The City of Light, and, The Book of Life.Your real name and pen name? Steve Griffin
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood: Exploring rock pools on the beach at Eastbourne with my mum and grandparents; being collected by my German granddad in his VW Beetle to go up on the Sussex Downs and see the lighthouse at Beachy Head.
About your education? I have an English degree from Southampton University and an MSc in Environmental Management from Stirling.
What career did you plan during your education days? When I was at school, I was sure I was going to be a writer. I wrote action books involving school friends and they got passed around the class. It gave me a taste of the pleasure of writing for others – although the greatest enjoyment was always the imagining and unfolding of the story to myself as I wrote. Going to University threw me at first, I was all over the place about what I wanted to do. At one stage I thought would be a journalist, then I thought I was going to go and hunt caribou in Alaska. When I went to Stirling to do my Masters I wanted to save the planet, I did a lot of volunteering in nature conservation. The desire to be a writer disappeared for most of my higher education but returned when I started my first job and began writing poetry.
What languages you can speak and write? I have a French A level, but can only barely get by now.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? After family, it’s nature and particularly landscape – for the mysterious joy and connections available there.
What hurts you most in this world? The existential things – death, loss of loved ones, watching people suffer.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it? Existential again! I remember suffering a period of anxiety in college that left me reeling about myself and the universe. Very dark, but I basically worked through it myself. I guess it’s an experience most of us end up going through at some stage in our lives, we all find our own way to cope.
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why? Bob Dylan. He bursts with so much imagination, he’s almost an archetype.
What is your favorite genre and why? I mainly read contemporary fiction, but I love contemporary fantasy (which I write) – something where the supernatural infringes subtly on reality. Much of the best of this is written for children (The Dark Rising, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, more recently The Lie Tree).
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing? I was about seven or eight. I was in love with Purdey (Joanna Lumley, doing karate with a pudding bowl haircut) in the secret agent series The New Avengers, and I wrote a 100-page adventure story about them. My dad even sent it to her agent, but we never heard back. Then I started writing for my school friends, action stories as mentioned above. Then I had a long break, and started writing poetry in my 20s, encouraged by getting a run of poems accepted by poetry and literary magazines. My novel writing didn’t start until I was in my 30s. I think there are several reasons I write, but it’s always about imagination and the discovery, or uncovering, that it involves. I am always keen to find new worlds, new realms.
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work? I’ve had over fifty poems published, in magazines such as Poetry Ireland, The New Welsh Review, and Poetry Scotland. For the last few years I’ve been writing and publishing a mystery adventure series for children (and adults) called The Secret of the Tirthas. The first book, The City of Light, follows the adventures of Lizzie Jones as she explores the magical garden she’s inherited and discovers a portal (I use the Indian term, tirtha) to the sacred city of Kashi. There she finds a demonic killer is preying on street children – and using the portal to evade capture. What will Lizzie do?
Last year I published the second book in the series, The Book of Life, in which Lizzie goes through another garden portal and is chased by half crazy men and boys to an old plantation house on the Louisianan bayou, where a sickly girl is trapped with her helper. There she has to solve the mystery of the house’s grisly past before she can get back home. Finally, I’ve just finished the first draft of the third book, The Dreamer Falls, in which Lizzie travels deep into the African jungle to save a hapless boy from her village who has accidentally discovered a portal and been kidnapped by reckless bandits.
What are your forthcoming writings? After I’ve finished The Dreamer Falls, I will start the final book in The Secret of the Tirthas. It’s got a working title of The Lady in the Moon-Moth Mask – but that may change!
What genres you write in and why? Besides the poetry, it’s mainly contemporary fantasy. I like a touch of the supernatural, but I think the real world is plenty rich enough to fire up all those ‘otherworldly’ feelings we often associate with fantasy – if it’s done right.
What keeps you motivating towards writing? I’m forward-looking generally, and I like the concept of becoming. I think writing is the best way to constantly become. Being creative helps me to feel ‘flow’, and to create, or at least uncover, myself. And it helps with insight into other people, and the wider world.
If Writing a Book is taken as a project, What are the key essentials you take care of in Project Management? Development – ensuring that your premise (overarching vision) is good, and plotting out enough detail and good quality set scenes to enable the writing to flow fast and stop you going down any fruitless dead ends. Implementation – writing the first draft straight off, without worrying too much about accuracy etc – the key thing is enabling the good story to come out. Evaluation – re-reading and editing the first draft myself, then passing it to family / friends for review. Then several more drafts, and then we go into phase 2 of project management, publishing and marketing...
How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments? I write when I’m not looking after the children / working / too tired.
What are your future plans? To keep on writing.
What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why? I prefer paper books, but I’m getting used to ebooks, there are certainly advantages to having a whole library in your bag.
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book? Suspense – which necessitates the reader really caring about your characters. Crisp writing that renders the world, action and emotions clearly and succinctly, with no purple prose. Payoff – the reader must be surprised and delighted, and never betrayed. Integrity – which rides over all the other three.
How much real life goes into a fiction writing? A good deal, but never let it get in the way of the best story.
Is a high level of imagination important to have for an Author? Yes, the most important thing. The second most important thing is the craft of writing.
Your dream destination on Earth? St Lucia where I had my honeymoon takes a lot of beating.
Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe? I was born in Eastbourne, the sunniest spot in England, and have done a lot of travelling, to Nepal, Thailand, the US, Australia, and Myanmar. I spent three months travelling all over India, from Varanasi to Dharamshala, then down to Jaisalmer, then Udaipur, Mumbai, Kerala. I think India is a fantastic country, and it’s inspired me ever since. Varanasi was the first major city I came to, and for me the highlight of the whole trip. I loved the physical, slightly crumbling beauty of the place and the deep spiritual tradition that was reflected in people’s daily routines – doing puja at the ghats and then washing, chatting to the person standing next to you. It still amazes me, we don’t have anything like that in the UK. It inspired me to write The City of Light.
Favorite time of the day? Relaxing with a drink and some music when all the chores are done.
Your zodiac/ sun sign? Leo
Your favorite color and why? Purple, it’s rich.
What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading? I read The Lie Tree, just before it won the Costa, and am now reading The Music of Chance by Paul Auster.
Your favorite book and why? It changes, but I’ll go for War and Peace for its comprehensive take on the human condition.
Your favorite movie and why? Il Postino. It’s not often that movies open your mind, but there’s a scene when the hero is sitting on the beach talking to Pablo Neruda about life and metaphors that have always stuck with me. And it’s heartwarming and sad too.
Your favorite food? I always go for Indian, chicken bhuna will do nicely today.
Your favorite sports? Does hill walking count? If not, squash, although I don’t play it now.
What is the force that drives you? To understand as much as possible.
What comes to your mind when you think of India? The ghats of Varanasi; brilliant sunlight; faded temples in lakes; busyness; ebullience; neon-lit stores; a variety of people, place.
Some quickies: Sun or Moon, SUN (reluctantly having to choose) Laughter or Smile LAUGHTER, Morning or Evening EVENING (although gradually / increasingly as I get older MORNING), Coffee or Tea COFFEE, Mountain or Sea MOUNTAIN (it’s not fair not to get both), Long Drive or Short Drive LONG, Silence or Conversation SILENCE, Water or Fire WATER, Air or Earth AIR, Mars or Jupiter NO PREFERENCE, Tulip or Rose TULIP, Red or Blue BLUE, Left or Right NO PREFERENCE, Glance or Stare GLANCE, Fame or Money MONEY, Day or Night DAY (now), Tree or Plant TREE, Love or Passion LOVE (now)
First thing you do in the morning after waking up? Check my social media messages. I know, sad.
The last thing to do before sleep? Read.
If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to the opposite, what will be your first reaction? I would love to experience the feelings, thoughts, viewpoints of not just the opposite sex but lots of other people and animals. I think that’s why I write. But I would always want to come back to being me.
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote. I’ll go for a poem, the last stanza of Cormorants (which can be found on my website in full):
And there I would find the cormorants, with
black bills hunched in a cloak of grey, watching
watching what? as they soak
with rain and briny spray, watching for
the tides which make and seek them.
Links & other relevant details:
Publisher: Create Space
Twitter handle: stevegriffin40
Facebook page: click here.
Goodreads author page: click here.
Any other links: website
Thanks, Steve Griffin. Hope to see more books after The Book of Life, and, The City of Light in the mystery adventure seriers The Secret of the Tirthas.