About Stephen B King
Me – just some bits and pieces about – ME!
(Or as my wife, Jacqui often says: “It’s all just about you Steve isn’t it?”)
OK, I admit it, I was asked (at age fifteen) to kindly find a job and leave school, or I would be expelled. Why is this relevant? Because all these years later, I’m trying to tell stories and write books, and I’m not terribly well versed in the intricacies of good grammar, word choice, or sentence structure etc. Case in point?
When I submitted Forever Night to a wonderful woman, Sarah Smeaton, a senior Editor for the Totally Entwined Group’s Evidence Press she said: “I love what you’re doing with this story, but your tenses are all wrong. You need sections of this to be in ‘past perfect tense.’” I had no idea what she was talking about so off to Google I trotted, and still feeling dumb after that, I had to ask her for examples so I could get my head around what the heck she meant. I mean is there more than three tenses: past, present and future? Well, yes there is, apparently. Thankfully that lovely woman, to whom I will be forever indebted, explained what I needed to do. So off I went and did a full re-write (one of many) and bless her cotton socks she was so impressed the book was contracted for publication.
What? You want another example? OK another editor with TEG, Shannon Coombs, when she was evaluating Domin8 said: “Steve, you are not using commas in direct terms of reference in dialog.” When I realized she hadn’t switched to speaking Swahili, or another language, I changed windows on my iPad and googled it. Because again, I didn’t have the faintest idea of what she was talking about. The last example I did understand, but was ‘gobsmacked’ when she said it. That was: “Steve, at TEG we want an informal Manuscript so we don’t want colons or semi colons.” What? Are you kidding me? I thought! A quick check showed me I had three hundred and sixty semi colons alone, and a hundred and eighty full colons. Back to the re-write drawing board I went.
You may be wondering, dear reader, why I have started this post like this, well, pull up a stool and let me explain: I was fifteen, living in the UK, and it was 1970 when I was kicked out of school for non-attendance, or as we used to call it ‘playing hooky.’ I won’t go into details, but I ‘became a man’ four years prior, and while I am not advocating that sort of disgusting behaviour, you have to understand it was the late sixties. Need I say more? Flower power, hippies, Vietnam war protests, the birth control pill had been released for women, drugs were freely available and……most importantly for me…..the music was incredible. That era we called ‘The Underground’, the Americans called it ‘The British Invasion’ and let me tell you it was a phenomenal time to be that age. To a lot of people the words; Sex Drugs and Roll and Roll may be a cliché, but for me it was a way of life, and in no small way moulded me into who, and what I am today. NO! I haven’t done drugs in many, many years, but it was an almost mandatory rite of passage back in my day.
Who wanted to go to school when there were parties, youth clubs, and open air rock concerts in Hyde Park to hitchhike to? And festivals. Let’s not forget the festivals; held over several days, like The Isle of White Festival, where the late great Jimi Hendrix set fire to a guitar and caught the stage alight! Where The Who destroyed their instruments at the end of the set including Keith Moon’s drum kit, and, where there were so many more people outside the fences (Yes I was one of them) than inside so we pushed down the fences and walked in for free.
That was the era when song lyrics affected me so much I began to write poetry, yes I agree mostly bad ones. But back then I did get quite a few poems published, so they weren’t all crap. In that era too I wrote two short stories and entered them in competitions, and Jesus; I won prizes for them. I was shocked (and delighted).
From there I met a guy, Barry who taught me how to play guitar, he had been in a rock band in Europe and had had records released and I aspired to be like him. All I wanted was to put my poems to music and so began my rock band era. I remember an old song “I gave it up for music, and the Free Electric Band” but in my case, after years of being a long haired rock-demi-God-guitarist and song writer, I gave it all up for love.
I had two wonderful children with my first wife, Danielle and Tania, and Tania in particular, much later in life became someone who dramatically supported me in my quest to write, but that’s a story for another post. I relocated to Perth, that’s Australia, not Scotland, (if there is a God he lives here by choice) with my second wife, Jacqui, and had another three children, Jason, Stepfanie and Cherise. I’ve been in sale, sales management, or owned business relying on sales all of my adult life, and some say, that’s why I’m good with words. It’s also given me a chance to watch people, and no, not as a stalker! I think it’s helped me create characters.
I’ve said, more than once, life is about the journey, and not the destination, and what a journey my life has been. We are the sum total of our experiences, and not what we eat, in my humble opinion, and when I start talking about my life to people – just before their eyes glaze over – they often say: “You should write a book about that.” So I have.
Thrillers and crime genres have always fascinated me, and in particular, the dark world of serial killers. And while my life beginnings were in the ‘Make love not war’ sentiment, I love a good, unputdownable, thriller. You know, the kind you just want to read one more chapter of at three in the morning before bed, but you have to be up at six to go to work. Have I succeeded in creating stories that can take people to that place? Boy I hope so.
Drop me an email, and let me know if I have.