Name Steve Pearse
Age Almost ancient, well 55.
Where are you from
I was born in Fulford near York but raised in the market town of Selby approximately 12 miles away.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am the eldest of four children, having two brothers and a sister all of whom still live in Yorkshire.
I was educated at Selby Grammar School though I cannot say I reached anywhere near my full scholastic potential as I put more effort into my sporting life than I did my academic studies, and as such became a better footballer than a student.
Leaving school I did find a good career option however, when I became first an apprentice, then a qualified engineering draughtsman at a shipbuilding company. I also worked as a retained fireman, supporting the full time staff and was among those on the scene of the famous York Minster fire on Monday 9th July 1984.
I remained there for 11 years before leaving as an Assistant Planning Manager. Seeing the possibilities that the shipyard would close I left to join North Yorkshire Police in January 1987.
It was in April that year that my son, Jazz, was born and we learnt a short while afterwards that he was a Down’s Syndrome child. He was, nevertheless, a blessing and is now 28 years old and a wonderful young man with a fantastic sense of humour. My second child, my daughter Jofi, was born in 1990 and now resides in Whitby, the setting of my debut novel, Finding Jane.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the police, working mostly in the coastal and moorland regions of North Yorkshire at a time when officers were given much more discretion than appears to be the case these days.
I left policing in 2011 when I stopped enjoying it, I seemed to spend nearly all my time at a desk and not working with people, and it was soon afterwards that I started to think that maybe I could write a book?
I now live very happily with my wife, Gilly and our two chocolate Labradors in a small village near Malton, still overlooking the beautiful North York’s Moors
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am at present just putting together the final touches of an itinerary for a visit to Venice next week, a gift to my wife for a landmark birthday, but I am sworn to secrecy over which one.
I am also about 50,000 words into a follow up book to Finding Jane, with a working title of ‘Latent Justice’. This Work in Progress is probably a little behind schedule in all honesty and my latest deadline is now Spring 2016.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As I alluded to earlier, I first began writing after leaving the police force and after taking some time out to do not a lot at all. The age old adage that everyone has a book in them really did seem appropriate and if nothing else was something that set me thinking, after all I had encountered many different situations in my career, some which would seem too outlandish if written down but which stay in the mind. How many, for instance have chased an emu around Staithes, been run over by fleeing burglars in the same village or arrested a drunken TV policeman after a night out in Goathland, the setting for the Heartbeat series in the nineties?
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m still struggling with this one. At what point do you become a writer rather than a former Policeman or Fireman?
I would like to think that I would finally jump the hurdle with the publishing of Latent Justice though it has been a wonderful period attending book signings and literary events over the past 18 months or so.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had been putting together some thoughts for a while when a landslip occurred in Whitby in early 2013. This real life event culminating in the destruction of a terrace of houses on a cliff-side was just the inspiration I needed. A tragedy for some I accept but the perfect setting for a murder mystery in my mind and so I unearthed a body in the debris of the landslip and found my victim, Jane.
My daughters close involvement with the Goth community gave me an insight into that world and the twice yearly events held in Whitby for the Goths provided the backcloth on which I could weave my plot.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My style, I suppose, is very much my own. I use a good deal of conversational dialogue and try to include realistic police procedural measures without slowing down the flow of the story-line. Shorter chapters and inter changing threads retain a readers interest, I hope?
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I feel as though I may already have given this answer earlier. Finding Jane came from the unearthing of a murder victim, Jane Hammond and the subsequent investigations that followed.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’ve never really thought of it that way, I suppose, if anything I want to convey the complexities of a murder investigation, the different threads that have to be pulled together, the leads that have to be followed and the reasons why it can all sometimes go wrong.
I hope that I have also portrayed the wonderfully diverse Goth culture in a true light but, of course, there is a need to place emphasis on my fictional characters and their behaviour.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The book is set in Whitby Town and uses real locations and, as I referred to earlier, the landslip was a genuine occurrence creating real problems for many. The procedures used by the police are recognisable but hopefully kept to an acceptable level to avoid the sometimes tedious nature of detective work spilling into the work.
The characters and plot are wholly fictional but it would be wrong to say that there may not be people out there who may recognise certain elements or characteristics of themselves?
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book draws on my experiences of policing in a small community and I have researched The Goth community and events in order to give them what I believe to be a realistic representation within the scope of the plot.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I do not have a mentor but love to read the works of Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson and yet my style is very different to both or either. I can only dream of reaching such dizzy heights.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
A Venice travel guide! I’m also reading More Fool Me by Stephen Fry as a break or change from the crime genre.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Rob Sinclair, Rik Stone and Jonathan Nicholas are authors to have caught my attention recently and I have no doubt there stars will rise in coming times.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My current work in progress is a follow up to Finding Jane and the second in what I hope will be a trilogy following the life of Detective Inspector Suzanne Collins and her team of investigators, then who knows where I might go.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I was very fortunate to receive support from friends and ex colleagues whilst writing, together with an occasional dig at my expense of course.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would genuinely like to think so, my debut novel was written with the intention merely of me committing to print and with no greater expectation than that. I received some really positive feedback however and now feel more capable and less nervous about it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes. I would bring in a proof reader earlier than I did last time and also begin the editing process sooner. I am doing this with the follow up as well as using some of the feedback I have received to tweak my style, without it becoming someone else’s work.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I don’t know that I can in all honesty. I read from a young age and enjoyed it but I am of an age when books were more in vogue, that is, we didn’t have electronic games, tablets and the like to sway our attention.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
An Asian Police Officer is found murdered outside his place of work shortly after completing his tour of duty. He has been killed with a single blow from a hammer to the back of his skull and left to be found later by colleagues.
An investigation commences but there appears to be no motive nor suspect, D I Suzanne Collins pulls together a team of detectives to solve this heinous crime.
A second victim shortly follows, another cop and the pressure to find the killer intensifies……..
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Being believably creative and not being formulaic.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Ian Rankin. I love his descriptive work and how his characters evolve. I do not know Edinburgh so well other than as a tourist but I feel I recognise locations even so.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really, I am writing about things I know and my settings are within driving distance on the whole. I have travelled to research other locations and discuss issues with others but it is only a relatively small part of the process.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
As I wished to keep costs down on a debut novel I actually put the covers together myself, taking the photographs used and typing the descriptive content using other books as reference points. Overall I was pretty pleased with the outcome though have made plans to work with a professional for my next cover
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Keeping the tedium of detective work interesting whilst maintaining the integrity of a lifelike investigation, knowing what to include and what to leave out as the enquiry developed.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I developed an even greater respect for other authors together with an understanding of just how dedicated you have to be to achieve your goal and go to print.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
To steal a catch phrase, just do it! What’s the worst that can happen and you may well find that you enjoy it no matter what the outcome?
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to ask anyone who buys a book and has the opportunity to leave a review to do so. Reviews help authors to see what readers think of their work but also, and maybe more importantly, it helps other potential readers to make a decision about buying that book too. Think about your own last purchase, did you read the reviews before buying, I guess you did?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I would be lying if I said I was certain of that but I do remember reading The Hobbit and Stig of the dump at a very young age.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I cried when I heard the news that my son had Down’s Syndrome but he has brought me so much happiness since that time that I tend to forget.
On a wholly different level I love stand-up comedy and go to live performances as often as I can.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I love cricket and would have loved the opportunity to have met and chatted with Donald Bradman, the best batsman the game has ever known and a true gent respected by all his peers.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Whatever I answer to this I hope it won’t be needed for quite some time yet, however I would like to think that something along the lines of ‘A kind man who tried to make a difference.’
This maybe sounds a bit twee but I genuinely do hope to be that person.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love team sports and even though I am now too old to play an active part in the games I love, I still really enjoy watching them, getting involved in debates about them and suffering when my teams lose.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Have I got news for you? Mock the week and other similarly satirical TV shows. I also like to attend the cinema and have watched Spectre and Suffragette this past week, eclectic enough?
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Indian food, deep bold colours and blues music
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have had a remarkable working life but would dearly have loved to have been a sports journalist combining my love of sport and writing.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website is www.snpearse.com unfortunately I don’t seem to find the time to update my blog pages as often as I would like but I will treat this question as a reminder.
‘Finding Jane’ on Amazon; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Jane-S-N-Pearse/dp/178407747X