Flecks of Gold_best

Author Interview with Stephen Baird

If you have the imagination, you are welcome to join me in a time city, an Italian Renaissance city, the court of King Charles II or Bodmin Moor. The choice is yours but you may never be the same again. You have been warned!

Tell us a little about yourself

Stephen lives in Truro with his wife and two dogs. The grown-up family come and go and go and come!

My career was in education but now I can write when I want and make it a main ‘thing’ to fit in with other parts of our lives.

I have written a short story for ‘Cornwall: Misfits, Curiosities and Legends’ called ‘Flecks of Gold’. It is set on Bodmin Moor which is a beautiful and unreal place. I wanted the main character, Kitto, to love it but his passion for the moor took even me by surprise. Characters are always surprising their writers!

I published one novel, ‘Fire in the Straw’ – Adventure, mystery and a fight for survival in a medieval time city.

I have also written three plays for 8-13 year-olds to perform and a rock musical (yes, the play, the lyrics AND the music!) based on the life of King Charles II! If you like to rock on down in a periwig and frock coat with waistcoat, this is the musical for you! Let’s ‘restorate’ and rock the King! ‘Oakapple’ was a blast! Funny it never reached the West End!

Apart from writing, I like to walk the dogs (of course!), paint (mainly watercolour), support Stockport County Football Club (it’s a bloodline thing – don’t ask!), play the piano accordion, lots of reading, travel, go to live music concerts and festivals.

My wife says that her prediction that our three sons would all reach adolescence before their dad has been proved right. Hey ho – maybe I’ll just slip off to my fictional city in Renaissance Italy …

  • As a youngster, 'Warrior Scarlet' by Rosemary Sutcliff made a huge impression, then I started reading 'Lord of the Rings' when I was supposed to be revising for O-Levels - big mistake, but WOW!

  • Shreddies with enough strawberries/cherries/raspberries/pomegranate seeds on top to make it look healthier.

  • Nowadays, I read a lot of historical novels and heroic fantasy, so a mix of those is just about perfect! As an English teacher, I used to read lots of YA fiction to keep recommendations to pupils fresh.

  • Averages out at 10, depending on the make of shoe!

  • Because I just love creating situations and worlds that I can immerse myself in. It is not escaping the world. it is more like travelling. Going somewhere and loving it. If you love it enough, you'll want to go back there - again and again...

  • Loved them but it was not my best subject at school. Even so, it was the subject I wanted to study at university and then teach. History was the other love - and still is!

  • 'Flecks of Gold' was inspired by recent walks on Bodmin Moor. Kitto's favourite tor is my favourite tor. He loves it in all weathers and I have been on it in blistering heat and freezing rain! I love legends and used to do storytelling in a small way. The legend of the Wild Hunt is powerful enough to prickle my spine whenever I set foot in an area like Bodmin Moor...

  • Villains are fun to write but I think I would be a hero - probably the sort that needs to chased all the way to heroic status. I don't know how brave I could be but I hope I wouldn't be cowardly.

  • I have a room at the top of the house. It could do with a seaview but, hey...! We have named it after the fictional renaissance city in my current novel so, when I say I'm going there, I am going physically to my writing room but I am already creatively on my way to that wonderful place. Unfortunately, there is no question about 'Your favourite fictional cities'! I have two!

  • Cornwall is a place with real identity. You 'come to' Cornwall. Many other areas of England you just pass through, almost without noticing. The beauty of Cornwall is so varied and it is sop rich in legend, history and atmosphere.

  • Everything that goes with it! It's not just the writing, it's the research and the thinking constantly about details and plot. The whole 'contract' with the reader to make what you are writing the best it can be. I love creating characters and watch them become 'alive'. I can easily cry when something dramatic (good or bad) happens to a main character. You are creating something unique. Only you can tell the stories within you.

  • There are so many places you can be and suddenly find you are getting ideas or solving plot problems! 'Flecks of Gold' is my first story set in Cornwall and maybe will not be the last.

  • I hope that the Cornwall Writers Anthology, 'Cornwall: Misfits, Curiosities and Legends' will make people think afresh about Cornwall. Bodmin Moor is a beautiful place but that is just on one level. In 'Flecks of Gold' it is a whole lot more. It's alive and dangerous as well as beautiful. I wanted to write a story that would make people feel that needed to visit the moor to see for themselves. To feel the draw, the pull, the way it captures you for ever... There's more than a bit of Hotel California to Bodmin Moor!

  • Probably Scooby Doo. Likeable but doesn't always get things right and would do a lot for the right snack!

  • I've started to cook a lot more in the last few years so there has been real excitement about 'new' dishes which we then do to death! Mushroom and Spinach Risotto and Lamb Pilaf are huge faves!

  • Probably when I was eight or nine when I wrote several stories about The Lemon Family who were all...lemons! Yep, you guessed it! It was illustrated as well (poorly!).

  • Giving yourself any time to be creative is a bonus. If you have a story, tell it, whether it takes you one year or twenty! It might be just for you, for you and your loved ones or for the whole world!

  • We have two great dogs! Pepper is a 13 year-old Jack Russell with bags of character and a belief that she is really the same size as large alsatians! Bramble is a 10 year-old Swiss whippet, so he is bilingual. He says - 'ouaf ouaf' as well as 'woof woof'...

  • I used to think a badger but now I'm more inclined to think a fox. I have been researching foxes as they are important to my current novel. I am alert at night and I think I could lead pursuers a merry dance. I like chicken too! I think there is, increasingly, there is a bit of hare in me too, but that might be wishful thinking... I think the poem 'Wilderness' by Carl Sandburg is incredible and I have enjoyed letting children's imaginations run wild over their responses to it over the years.

  • I love music but cannot have it on while I am thinking or writing or trying to make it look like I am not really procrastinating. It takes me all my time to concentrate on the writing task in hand!

  • https://www.stephenbaird.info
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  • https://twitter.com/sbairdauthor