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If you’ve been to fantasy cons around the UK, you’ve likely seen this guy. He pops up, smiles, gives you a pin badge and has a good natter. He’s a lovely bloke. So, why did Inquisitor Makhell drag him in for questioning? Because Makhell’s a dick, that’s why, but he did get twenty answers to his twenty questions. Alas, it took me a loooong time to publish them. Sorry, Steven Poore:
- If I gave you an elk, where would you hide it?
You can’t find a darned thing in my Dad’s garage. Believe me, we’ve tried. I swear there’s a portal on one of the walls from a dimension of tat-hoarders, and somebody’s been chucking “good wood”, old receipts, and random nails from in there since the 1970s. I wouldn’t be surprised if I went to hide an elk in there and found one already dozing behind the old microfiche reader that Dad swore would come in useful one day.
- Why would you be hiding it? Weird.
Mainly, so it wouldn’t bother the cats. Do not disturb the cats. It’s more than your life is worth. We had to hide the body of the last person who disturbed the cats… in the garage, oddly enough. Looked for it the other week actually, but it doesn’t seem to be where I left it. Maybe it’s under the elk…
- Tell us something about your work in progress?
It’s a sort of sequel to Heir to the North and The High King’s Vengeance. Or perhaps you could say that those books were the prequel to this story. Either way, it’s set twenty years on, and there are no elks. Not yet, anyway. It still harks back unashamedly to the classic epics of the ‘80s and ‘90s though, because fantasy needs more of a sense of wonder about it. Not everything has to be totally grim. (At time of writing. My bad. – JP)
- If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
That tree. No particular reason, but it hasn’t done anything to make me angry, so it must be a good tree. Some trees are evil, you know. They give succour to pigeons. There’s nothing worse. Except forgotten elks. They say that pigeons came to Earth as the last survivors of Martian life – the pigeons ate everything they could find and left that world dessicated, and then they cast their beady eyes on this innocent planet and slowly, surely, they drew their plans against us…
- Were you an avid reader as a kid?
Definitely. I used to read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. When my uncle emigrated to South Africa and left behind three massive boxes of books (Asimov, Eddings, Feist, Gordon R Dickson, EE Doc Smith, Le Guin…) that cemented the direction that the original Star Wars films had started me off in. Before those boxes, I was already reading The Hobbit and Dad’s old James Bond paperbacks. Goes to show that if you leave books around, kids will read them. You don’t have to force them. My niece reads all the time. She picked up Heir to the North, read the first couple of paragraphs, and said to her mum, “I don’t think I’m old enough to read this yet.” I was rather chuffed by that, believe it or not.
- Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
I have caught many elks in my time. But I lost them all in the garage. You could say I’m a collector more than a gatherer.
- You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
Braised Elk. Or Defiant Nerd. I’m sure you can mix that shade at B&Q. As to why, I’m one of those quietly furious people who looks at the world today and wants to take up archery to start evening out the scores. You know, that shade. There’s some people who say crayons should be seen and not heard – I’m not one of them. Say that to me, I’ll scribble all over yer face.
- What was the last gift you gave someone?
An Elkie Brooks CD. And a badge that says #TeamRais (See! – JP) on it.
- What were you like in high school – nerdy, sporty, etc…?
I ran the lunchtime D&D gaming group. It meant I didn’t get beaten up on the playground, or have my head flushed down the toilet. We weren’t worth the effort. But it’s always the quiet ones you have to look out for… They forced me to play sport too, mostly because the teachers remembered my Dad being good at cricket and rugby and they expected me to be good at them too. If you’ve met me you’ll know I’m completely ill-suited to rugby and have absolutely no hand-eye coordination. I once accidentally tackled the largest player on the pitch (short-sighted, see) and he fell over out of sheer surprise.
- What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
These days I don’t watch so much TV. It’s usually on, just to keep the cat amused, but I’m rarely paying attention. My partner binge-watches things like Bates Motel; I’m in the corner typing stuff up. I did watch Leicester v Derby this week, and snooker and tennis are excellent background distractions.
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
A little bit taller. Or a baller. Or maybe that I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a six four Impala.
- Describe the colour green to somebody who is blind.
It’s that colour you feel when you hear that somebody has a signed ARC of a book you really really want… It’s the colour at the heart of the mind of an elk… It smells of Mam Tor, Graves Park, and Edale.
- Who would win a fight between Frodo and Sam?
The elk, as proven in the UFC programme I dreamt up last time I had the flu. I’m sure Steven Kelliher will back me up on this.
- A white rabbit hops through the door right now wearing a helmet. What does he say and why is he here?
“I’m here for the elk.”
He’s here for the elk.
That reminds me of a really weird text message I got the other month. Random number says, out of the blue, “I’m here for the feet. X.” Somewhat nonplussed, I invited clarification and got the reply, “Foot fetish.” One look at my bruisers will put anybody off feet for life, so I told ‘em that & didn’t get any further reply. Try saying it in a broad and deep Welsh accent and you’ll have hours of fun.
“I’m here for the feeeeet.”
- What’s your favourite game, be it video, board or tabletop?
Toss-up between Shenmue (Dreamcast), and the old-style RPGs Traveller and D&D (3.5ed). I still have my Dreamcast, and it still works perfectly.
- The last book you read was…?
Irenicon, by Aiden Harte. The alternate world he’s built is fascinating, but the book itself didn’t draw me in fully until more than halfway through.
- Supercar, Superbike or Superboat, and why?
Why no Superlibrary? (Good one! – JP) Can you imagine a mecha-library, thumping down the street, batting Godzilla out of the way with encyclopedic knowledge, pinning politicians to the ground with truth, bringing enlightenment to one and all? All libraries need to be Superlibraries.
- Where is your preferred writing space?
Next to the elk.
- When’s your next book out?
Hang about, I have to write it first! Meanwhile, you can find my latest short story The Witness in the new anthology Journeys, from Woodbridge Press. It’s alongside stories by John Gwynnelk, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Juliet Elk McKenna, Julia Knight, Gail Z Martin, Thaddeus White Elk and loads more. #smallpressbigstories, as they say.
- Do you have a question for me?
What’s with the constant elk references?
JP: Why not? Elk are super cool forces of nature, that wield storms among their antlers and clap thunder from their… Oh no, wait, they’re just big deer…
There you have the super late published interview with author Steven Poore, who’s likely got even more books out by now. Watch out for him at various cons around the UK, or say hello to him on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Better still, buy his books!
He’s been Steven Poore, I’ve been JP and you’ve been entertained.