I was born in Barnet, North London, but when I was nineteen I moved with my family – mum, dad, sister, and brother-in-law – to Rye in East Sussex where we had bought a restaurant. It was odd leaving my London life and all my friends behind, but I quickly established a whole new group of friends and that set the pattern for a nomadic life I then followed for many years.
After Rye, I lived in several towns in the Midlands, and then moved to the Lake District and then to where I am now, a lovely village in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I have lived here for over thirty years now and Barnet was literally a lifetime ago. I mentioned it was a lovely village and it is architecturally, with a beautiful mix of modern, old and ancient buildings nestled in a trough surrounded by magnificent sweeping green hills and farmland. We even have a 13th century Cistercian abbey!
But what really defines the village and makes it magical is the people. There is a great array of talent here, with writers, artists, and crafters, and we all appreciate and support each other.
There was a dreadful time some seven years ago when half the village was flooded when the River Calder burst its banks and many homes and businesses were completely under water. The outpouring of sympathy and practical support given to those affected really highlighted just what a great community this is.
What turns you on creatively?
I love to write and I will often begin a story with a very simple idea. Sometimes it’s as simple as just the title! There is a lot of advice out there to budding writers about working out the structure of the story in advance; plotting the sequences, building the narrative, and all of this is very laudable. But I think the best advice is if you want to write, then just write and write and write. If it’s a load of rubbish, then start again. If it’s not rubbish, then simply go back and make it the best you can.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
Just one word? OK, how about RECALCITRANCE. It has great sticky sound to it.
‘They expected her to obey all their stupid rules and toe the line, but instead she met all their bourgeois demands with sheer stubborn recalcitrance.’
What is your pet peeve?
Probably people who have pet peeves are my pet peeves. Intolerance of other people’s opinions and beliefs, racial and religious hatred, casual misogyny . . . There’s quite a list. With so many important things in the world, I sometimes despair how narrow minded some people can be, proudly wearing their prejudices like a badge. I’ll get off the soapbox now.
What defines Steven Elvy?
Like most people, I’m just grateful to wake up each morning, take air into my lungs, and try to get the best out of the day ahead.
Steven Elvy has had a varied working life as a film librarian, a cook, a barman, a labourer, a plastics-recycler, a salesman and a recruitment consultant. He grew up in North London then lived in East Sussex, The Midlands and The Lake District and now in a village in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Always passionate about art and literature, he has published four novels. He has been married ‘a few times’.