Short Sharp Interview: Steven Porter

Q1: How long did Countries Of The World take to write?
I think it took about 3 years but I spent a lot more time reading and researching than actually writing. The idea had been brewing for years. My original idea was to go to South America and try to track down Scottish fans who’d gone to Argentina for the ’78 World Cup and never come home. The funds never materialised so instead I wrote some fiction about someone who went there and did come back. Q2: Has living in exile-Spain- affected your writing?

I’m sure it has. I believe all our personal experiences affect our writing in some way. I had an interest in Spanish-speaking countries long before I went there (maybe inspired in part by those World Cups!). I suppose it would’ve been harder to get a genuine feeling for someone returning home and seeing things differently if I hadn’t had some sort of similar experience.Q3: Do you think the ebook revolution has liberated writers?

It’s early days. I’d like to think so. But you usually find with DIY ethics that it doesn’t take long for the industry to wake up, regain control, sanitise and nip any revolution in the bud. In two years, I couldn’t find a publisher to take a chance on Countries of the World. I suspect they were scared off by its diversity. It doesn’t fit comfortably into any genre and might not have a huge target audience. But these new avenues allowed me to get it published quite easily instead of tossing what I consider my best work to date in a drawer.
Q4. How did you first get involved with Byker Books?
I first became aware of Byker Books through the Radgepacket series. My story Blurred Girl Diaries is in vol. 4. I enjoyed reading the others in that collection and have purchased one or two others dirt cheap on Kindle. 

Q5. What was Byker Books involvement in the publication of Countries Of The World?
I hired the editor (let’s call him Ed) to help me with book design, typesetting and sorting out some commercial issues with Amazon and so on. Byker call it their “Assisted Authors”. I believe I was the first to take the plunge. Ed was very good to work with and are very straight up, not promising the world, which suits me. 

Q6. Your previous book was The Blurred Girls & Other Suggestive Stories. Could you tell us something about that?
Blurred Girl and Other Suggestive Stories was published by a small New Jersey publisher called Thunderclap Press. They publish mainly poetry books so I was chuffed to be the first prose writer to publish a collection with them. (I sound like some kind of trailblazer!) The book is available on Lulu in a rather tidy square format. I plan to publish a Kindle version soon with two or three bonus stories that didn’t appear in the original edition.
Q7. What’s On The Cards?
I don’t normally do Tarot, but let’s see… That looks like a script in my crystal ball. I’ve just been approached to work on the narrative of a documentary film about a Scottish city so hopefully that will happen. I’m also finishing a bilingual collection of poetry that should be out towards the end of the year with a Manchester publisher (16 Poems in English and Galician). There’s also a series of monologues telling the life story of a Spanish poet that I need to finish. Other ideas in the pipeline too but that’s enough to be going on with because technically I’m not a full-time writer!