OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://steffanlewis.com
-Tell us about yourself, when and why did you start writing?
My name is Steffan Lewis and I am a pilot, satirist and author. I have had a passion for flying and writing since I was a young boy. But I didn’t start flying until I was at the ripe age of thirty. I was, however, writing creatively since I was ten years old. My first major project was a hand written stage play I wrote at fifteen called ‘Brown Feathers’. It was about a young man with learning disabilities living with and cared for by his sister. Her nasty fiancé, based on an equally nasty character at my school, bullied him whenever she wasn’t looking. As far as I know, I am the only person who has ever read it! The idea was good but I smile affectionately at its naivety now.
I began writing more seriously at university, producing radio play and scripts for the university projects.
At twenty three I wrote the film drama “Twokin’” about a gang of tearaway youths racing up the UK in a succession of stolen cars. The film very nearly went into production but fell through it the last minute as a result of industry mergers, which devastated me for a short while. In the meantime I promoted music and co-owned a large music venue in the North of England.
Two unpublished novels came next; “After Nine” and “Educated in Crime”. I consider these as my baptism in novel writing and, though they are a little crude, I may revisit and refine them one day.
Since I started flying I have written two more major projects as a ghost writer, about which, for obvious reasons, I can't disclose any information. I am glad of this experience but now feel ready to spread my wings and leave the comfort of writing anonymously. I am under no illusion that the writers’ world is a fiercely tough environment but hey, if you don't go for it!
I am lucky insofar that I can be a renegade while also feeling comfortable within the establishment. What I mean by that is; I write however I like, but play by the rules when it comes to the business aspect of the industry. I guess that's something to do with my flying career; comedian one minute, deadly serious the next. It’s like having a split personality I'm in control of. That’s great, but difficult to "brand" as both personas are public. I try not to think too much about it.
-Who is your favourite author?
My favourite author is Dick Francis CBE (1920 – 2010). He was a brilliant story teller and crafted his tales beautifully. His novels, mostly based on his knowledge of horse racing industry, are gripping and fascinating. You don’t have to be interested in horse racing, but the industry and the corrupt people who move within its shadows make a great theatre for the intense dramas he wrote. I had the pleasure of meeting his son, Felix, during an RAF Cadet Summer camp, when I was a teenager, who is carrying on with the Francis legacy.
-Do you have a special place where you write?
I can write in any place or at any time and I tend to use a shorthand app on my iPhone to do this. This enables me to sometimes write on location, describing what I see and feel. But most of my writing is done at home. Like many writers it is a solitary affair. I work in silence when I am writing dialogue and play music that reflects the mood of descriptive passages.
I am lucky that we currently live in Scotland with a panoramic view over the waters of the Firth of the Forth including one of the ten most iconic views in the world, the Rail Bridge. There isn’t a human in existence who couldn’t be inspired by the ever changing scenery, to sit and write a novel while glancing out as ships steam past.
-What music inspires you?
I subscribe to Spotify which is the best music service in the world bar none. This means that I can run a search on my phone or laptop and listen to practically any music I can think of.
I do often listen to music when I’m writing, from classical to popular music. I am a fan of recent artists such as Ed Sheran, Wallis Bird, The Magic Numbers and The Streets. I also love the greats from the last three decades including The Stanglers, Bowie, The Cure, Billy Joel, Blur, Oasis, Primal Scream, 4 Hero – the list goes on and on.
But my passion lies in jazz, Acid Jazz and many of the more recent derivatives of jazz that have crossed over into the mainstream music scene such as Drum n’ Bass and Northern Soul. It’s probably fair to say that my taste in music is eclectic.
-What book you recommend us to read?
I would highly recommend ‘The Black House’ by Peter May, set on the Scottish Isle of Lewis. It’s a gripping, sinister and atmospheric murder mystery.
-Do you have any future projects?
There are always new projects in the pipeline. My goal is to finish the project I am on at the moment – there are deadlines to meet! I have, however, recently written a synopsis for a very controversial comedy. We’ll see what he future holds.