Today’s is the first of a series of author spotlight interviews I’ll be running to highlight the wonderful authors of Trickster’s Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not! It seems totally fitting that we kick the series off with the series publisher, Steve Dillon.
Steve, can you tell us about who you are, and also about your writing: for example, what genres and themes do you write in and about, and is there anything that has influenced your choices?
I’m based in Hobart (for now…) having lived in various English towns and cities (Liverpool, Hastings, Reading, St. Austell) as well as Belgium, Vancouver and Vancouver Island, and Melbourne. Most of my career has been spent in IT with Microsoft, but I’ve also been an aromatherapy massage therapist and night-school tutor, swimming coach, day trader, lifeguard, life-drawing model, shopkeeper, editor, and publisher (I used to publish a fantasy games magazine called Adventurer back in the ’80s). I write dark stories because – like my paintings – that’s how they usually turn out. I blame Freud for giving me an id, and God for my evangelical born-again Christian teenage years when I obsessed over Hell and the hope of salvation, and Clive Barker for brightening the dark and darkening the light. I interviewed him in 1987 and he switched something on inside my head that’s never gone away.
Can you tell us a bit about your publications and writerly highlights, and what else we can look forward to seeing from you in the future?
After a break of way-too-long, I started writing again in 2015 for The Refuge Collection. I’ve since published two collections of dark fiction and poetry, with a third pending publication. I’m undecided when (or if) I’ll release Unholy Beginnings and Unhappy Endings. Reprints abound this year, which I nod proudly at, and I’ve had a few poems and stories accepted outside my own collections or edited works. But being nominated for the Shirley Jackson Best Novelette Award for ‘Deeper, Darker Things’ will be the pinnacle of my career, I’m sure. And I love that my first play was knocked into shape for publication in TT4 by Louise Zedda-Sampson and Geneve Flynn for Trickster’s Treats 4, Coming Buried or Not, so I offer a huge thanks to you both! I don’t know if I have the time and energy to write more stories because I’m taking time out to rediscover and reinvent myself, and to be more ‘here and now’ for my wife Jackie. Maybe I’ll paint more, or spend more time swimming, reading, listening to music, or whatever, but I think I’m all written out for a while at least. It’s not writer’s block – I don’t believe that exists – but perhaps writer’s burnout?
This year has presented a lot of challenges for many of us. Instead of discussing those, what are some of your 2020 highlights?
Of course, the Shirley Jackson Award nomination is a standout, as is publishing six anthologies (five for charity, raising over $2,000) and three collections of work by authors whom I have the greatest admiration for – Lee Murray, Matthew R Davis, and Marty Young. I also completed my third collection of stories and poems, edited a book for Sally McLennan, and co-edited Tales of the Lost Volume 2 with Eugene Johnson. Little wonder I’m exhausted by the business of publishing, I suppose. Still, I survived Covid-19, as did my immediate family and most people who are close to me (even if the Melbourne lockdowns meant we couldn’t see our younger son for most of 2020) and I hope you all did too!
Thanks for chatting with me, Steve, and sharing a bit about yourself and your work. It certainly sounds like 2020 has been a very full year. Let’s hope you see your son soon, too.
You can find more out about Steve Dillon here https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Dillon/e/B017F90XBY and his publications here http://ThingsInTheWell.Wordpress.com and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BFCY8RX
Steve’s play “Dead Set” appears in Trickster’s Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not!