An Aberdeen-born author said seeing his first collection of horror stories vying with Stephen King for top slot on a book chart was a “surreal moment”.
“Stephen King is one of my favourite authors,” said Steven Dines who released his collection of stories – Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been – last month (September 21, 2021).
“To be listed alongside him on anything, even for the briefest moment, is an honour. Reaching number 2 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases (Horror Short Fiction) surrounded by King’s work was surreal.”
However, Steven says he is “under no illusions” and knows that the ultimate success of his book won’t be based on the ranking.
“It’ll be based on the book’s longevity and, of course, good word-of-mouth,” said the author.
— Steven J Dines (@stevenjdines) August 7, 2021
Steven Dines’ new book offers 11 stories
Steven, who also works as a report production assistant and proofreads medical and legal reports, had previously published stories in numerous print and online magazines, but this is the first collection of his work.
Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been is a collection of 11 stories, including three novellas. The stories are dark literary fiction/horror – including one fantasy tale – and they represent the best of Steven’s work from the past eight years.
“They explore themes of loss and grief, love and hope, with a focus on family – fathers and sons, husbands and wives,” said Steven.
“Three of the stories – So Many Heartbeats, So Many Words, The Harder It Gets the Softer We Sing, and This House Is Not Haunted – follow the same family as they struggle through a particularly dark period, clutching at hope however they find it.
“These stories connect the others in the book, turning the collection into one cohesive whole, a statement on grief, dwelling on the past, the dangers of always looking back.”
Steven’s stories do more than just scare
While the stories fit the horror genre, Steven’s intention has always been to do more than simply scare the reader.
He said: “The stories are invariably dark and bleak – with scattered touches of humour – and some have nasty twists, but the hope is that when the reader stops, closes the book, looks around, they come away with a better appreciation of their own life, of what they perhaps take for granted.”
Steven is currently working on a novel – his take on the ever-popular haunted house genre.
“It’s a modern gothic thriller with, I hope, the intimacy and authenticity I instil in my shorter works. It’s currently titled Heartwood,” said the author.
Grateful to former English teacher
Steven, who is now based in Salisbury, attended Kittybrewster Primary School and Powis Academy (now St Machar Academy). And it was the encouragement of one of his teachers that made him pursue a career as a writer.
Steven said: “I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to my former English teacher from St Machar Academy, Gregor Phillips. He saw something in my writing and it was his encouragement that invigorated my interest in language and story.
“Thirty years later, I’ve not forgotten.”
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