Born in Harrogate, Steve’s home town is actually Knaresborough, once a fiercely independent Urban District Council which was led for many years by Steve’s grandfather William Emmett.
Knaresborough is now part of the Harrogate District and retains a small Town Council with little power. In the 1980s Steve served on both councils before breaking loose and heading back to big city life.
Knaresborough is famous as the home of Mother Shipton, a cave-dwelling hag who foretold the future. Was she a witch as some say? Of course not, but as a child Steve often visited her cave and petrifying well. He thinks this may have something to do with his interest in the dark and mysterious.
After attending King James’s (Grammar) School in the town Steve went to York College of Arts and Technology were he took a diploma in construction and surveying, then to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London where his eyes were finally opened.
Steve’s Yorkshire father had no time for the artistic talents being developed at the AA and all but dragged him back to Knaresborough to provide slave labour for the ‘family building firm’. After building a few houses Steve escaped and ran away to London again. For over twenty years he ran his own real estate agency specializing in Italian country homes and, for almost ten years, lived by Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, the setting for his horror debut – Diavolino.
Steve grew up on Dennis Wheatley novels and Hammer Horror films, and on many occasions started to put pen to paper. Completely dissatisfied and unfulfilled with his career, Steve decided in 2008 that he wanted to write and, while taking a course in novel writing, began Diavolino. Right now he is completing some dark, psychological novels, some comedy, and some short stories – when he’s not writing and delivering humanist ceremonies.
Steve’s fiction is influenced by the writing of John Ajvide Lindqvist, Stephen King, M R James, Anne Rice, Yasmina Khasra, James Hamilton Paterson, and Joanne Harris (and one or two others), but he has his own distinctive style. He is an avid reader of horror and psychological suspense, and has been an occasional reviewer for the New York Journal of Books. He currently lives in near York with his long-term partner, and misses his grown-up son more than is good for him.
Steve is a committed humanist and a member of Humanists UK. He worked for a couple of years as the British Humanist Association’s Ceremonies Training Coordinator, and is himself a humanist naming, wedding, and funeral celebrant.
Some may say that being a humanist doesn’t sit well with an interest in the supernatural but Steve disagrees entirely. “Just because tales of demons, devils and gods interest me for entertainment doesn’t mean I have to believe in them,” he says. “They are fictional characters just like any other and for me, showing what harm belief in the supernatural can do is perfectly in line with my humanist approach to life. I don’t believe in the reality of my characters any more than the Reverend Wilbert Awdry believed in talking trains.”
Steve likes to quote the late, great Stephen Hawking: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” It’s that fairy story that Steve enjoys playing with.