My interview with Stephen Pellow
I met Stephen Pellow through Twitter. We started to talk and found out we both hailed from the UK, though many miles apart, and a true friendship was born. Stephen is one of those rare finds of people, he's polite, kind, very much a gentleman, and will always help wherever, and whenever, he can. I really count myself blessed to be classed as one of his friends.
Stephen is a creative writer, loves reading comic books, sci-fi, and fantasy, is a WWE Universe member, and a big fan of all things Disney (aren't we all?).
In May of 2000 Stephen's web site was awarded the title of "Link of the day" by the User Friendly site. On his site Stephen created a template of a pair of boxer shorts, yes, as in the underwear kind, and asked people to design them however they wanted before emailing them back to him to put on a gallery on his site. What a geinus idea! Not only did he get people to explore their creative sides, he also made it fun to do.
Would you like a look? Then pop on over to Stephen's Design-a-pants Gallery.
This is what Stephen Pellow had to say...
Why did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I don’t think I ever consciously made a decision to become a writer; it’s just been something I’ve always done, from a very young age. I guess I started getting really serious about it when I was doing my A-Levels and I wrote my first sci-fi novella. After that I took a correspondence creative writing course with the aim of getting into print but things didn’t quite work out that way!
What was the thing that drove you the most to do so?
I can’t sing, dance, play an instrument, draw, paint, sculpt… make origami… so writing is my one creative outlet. All these things that swim around in my head have to go somewhere, so pen and paper it is!
How long have you been writing?
I’m 38 now, but can’t remember a how old I was when I picked up a pencil! There were a few years where I unfortunately didn’t/couldn’t write but on and off I’d say a total of 20 years. I got back into it a little over 4 years ago.
Why did you pick the genre/s that you have?
I grew up on a healthy diet of sci-fi movies and TV shows. Star Trek. Doctor Who. Star Wars. So the genres sort of picked me, rather than me choosing them. I read exclusively horror and fantasy. Clive Barker, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin. So early on it was sci-fi or fantasy but now it’s more reality based with just tinges of these genres.
Who is your favourite character, and why?
Favourite character of mine? Answering this wouldn’t mean anything to anyone aside from a few people nobody knows about them… yet. There is one I’ve been working on for a long time and while certain facts around him have changed during the process of creating the story, at his core he’s remained the same character and I’m very proud of inventing him.
Do you have any particular quirks when writing?
Probably, but not knowingly! Maybe that I prefer to write initially with pen (or pencil) and paper. A large majority of what I’ve written has never made it to a word processor.
What does your family think of your work?
My mum was my biggest supporter. She really encouraged me to explore writing once I had finished my A-Levels and she paid for the correspondence course I took. My brother and dad care, but don’t show a great deal of interest. To date my dad has not read, or asked about, anything I’ve written. My brother has read one that I know of.
Do you belong to any writing groups? And if so what do you think are the pros and cons?
I belong to a writing group called Storyslingers based locally in Shaftesbury, Dorset. It’s largely informal, very welcoming and friendly.
I started going just over 4 years ago and until that point I hadn’t been writing for quite a long time. I don’t like to think that I had given up on it, but in truth if I hadn’t said yes to a friend and gone along to that first meeting on 1st November 2011 I might still have not got back to it. The best thing is obviously the support, advice and encouragement you receive (and share back). I’ve met people I would never have otherwise met and become good friends with a few as well.
The cons are few and I’d think it’s the same with any group of this kind. Sometimes “real life” gets in the way and people can’t make it to meetings. You can go weeks or even months without seeing some members. Or there are times when the group can lose focus and things get disorganised a bit.
But there is no denying the positive impact Storyslingers has had on not just my writing, but also my life in general.
How do you deal with writers block?
I journal. I pick a life event, or even just what happened that week, and write it up. It just gets words out and flowing. Some have become the basis of stories, an element or two has been used elsewhere from time to time. Largely though it ends up rather too private or personal to ever see the light of day!
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing?
Actually writing. When I do it I like to think I’m pretty good, but it takes A LOT for me to get to the point of actually sitting down and getting it done. No matter how well I can have it formed in my head, actually getting it down on paper can be a big struggle for me.
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
Those little moments where I dare to imagine I’ve actually just created something new and unique! Or just the realisation that something that’s been rattling around in my head for weeks or months has finally found somewhere else to live. I just love coming up with stories.
Where do you find your inspiration?
In the bath. I’m always coming up with stuff in the bath.
Seriously though, I think it goes back to the movies and TV I grew up with. All that science fiction just expanded my mind and left me receptive to so much. Also my dissatisfaction with other stories, be it from any medium. On screen, books or video games – several ideas have started from how I thought something could have been executed a little differently. With music, some I listen to there may be a lyric that could send me off in a direction I wasn’t expecting or the style may influence the tone of what I want to write.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Ha! Well the actions of someone I know may inform some of my characters but outright based on, no. I do “cast” a lot of my stories with actors, musicians, models etc. to help me write them but nobody directly from real life.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I have a full time job so writing is what I like to do in my spare time! For me it would be defined as a hobby but that doesn’t mean I don’t take it seriously or lack ambition.
I, of course, read and watch far too many TV shows and movies. I play video games. I enjoy walking (although not so much in the winter) and spending time in the company of a few special people. I’m also a passionate WWE fan and lover of all things Disney. It all adds up to a lot of procrastination!
What do you like to read?
These days it seems to be exclusively the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, interspersed with the odd sci-fi novel for good measure. Not as much fantasy or horror as I used to. There is also the work of the wonderful writers I’ve met, or am in contact with, regardless of the genre!
Who is your favourite author?
A tough question but I’m going to have to answer with Terry Pratchett for the impact his work has had on me, not necessarily reflected in my writing I hasten to add!
Where are your books available?
They aren’t yet! Last year I published a flash fiction story to Inkitt as part of their “Shiver” competition which is the first time any fiction I have written has been made public. I’m sure most writers wouldn’t have second guessed sharing like that but it was a pretty big step for me! There are also some past issues of Trucking magazine that feature DVD and CD reviews I’ve written.
What are you working on right now?
The on again/off again novel broken up with flash fiction and short stories here and there.
What is your ultimate goal?
I just want to keep writing, and to enjoy doing so. If opportunities become available to take it further then that would be great. The dream would be to develop an original IP that had the potential to become a franchise. I would love to be able to afford the time to wholly focus on writing. I do have ambition, but I’m also a realist!
Do you have a favourite film? And if so what is it?
The answer can change at a moments notice with me, but I always end up back at Die Hard. When it does change to something else, you can pretty much guarantee it’s from the 80’s or early 90’s.
Here is how you can find Stephen Pellow
Website: To come
Storyslingers Blog: www.storyslingers.wordpress.com
I'd like to take a moment to thank Stephen for his time, and his patience, to answer my question, and for being a willing interviewee for my blog. It has been an honour to get to know him during the interview, as well as in real life, and I'm sure you'll join me in wishing him all the very best for his future endeavours, and I also hope you will join me in following such a charming, friendly, and down to earth man on Twitter. I can promise you you won't regret it! So, once again, thank you Stephen Pellow.
15/2/2016 01:43:07 pm
Very nice interview--an interesting concept--one author interviewing another.....
17/2/2016 12:37:40 pm
Thanks for that interview. I enjoyed reading about Stephen; sound like a really nice bloke and an interesting writer. Makes me want to check out this Story Slingers group, as I don't live too far away.
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I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I live in Wales in the U.K.
Sallyann Phillips is an IASD member.
Check out their website for a wonderful choice of Indie authors for you to chose from.