Tuesday 29 August 2023

Authors On Their Own Writing: Steven C. Davis

I asked my fellow authors to tell me which of their own books they most liked and why. Here's the first in the mini interview series: a Q and A with multi-talented performer and writer of dark mythology stories, Steven C. Davis.

Q: Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favourite?

A: Lore of the Sælvatici, without a doubt.

Q: What’s it about?

A: It’s a collection of ‘found tales’, a darker, previously unknown Pagan history, referring specifically to the character of Robin Hood and those times. Being a collection of fragments there’s mention of re-interpreted characters such as Robin, John and Scarlet, but there’s also new gods, an epic poem in the style of Anglo Saxon / Norse epics and so much more. I should say it is also quite visceral and maybe not for the faint hearted: it’s grim, dark and bloody.

Q: Why is it your favourite?

A: It’s my favourite because I’ve always been interested in the Robin Hood mythos, and it’s part of the ‘Sælvatici’ world that I’m creating, which is my folk-horror interpretation of the Robin Hood mythos, and includes several short stories on Audible, a play, ‘Mother Hode’, performed by Joanna Swan, and a theme tune, ‘From the Dark’ by Dark Sinfonia. I’ve been fortunate to perform the dark ritual (aka the epic poem in the Anglo Saxon / Norse style from ‘Lore of the Sælvatici’) at several festivals and events, including performing it multi-voiced, which has been and continues to be a fantastic opportunity and experience. There are also several poems set in that world, which are performed by Poetic Malevolence, a dual-voiced harmonic and disharmonic poetry duo with Laura Jane Round. A friend has described the book as a performance piece intended to let the old gods into your head ... and I quite like that description! All this springs forth from ‘Lore ..’ which is not bad, given it’s a collection of less than 150 pages! It’s also the best introduction to the ‘Sælvatici’ world.

B: Tell me a bit more about yourself and your other writing.

A: I am a bit prolific in writing projects; a friend calls me a machine but I prefer the phrase Word Witch. I feel like it’s almost a geas – because I can write anything, I must write (almost) anything that comes to me. As an example, a conversation with a friend about a forthcoming film (Slotherhouse) led to a 2.5k short story.

In addition to the ‘Sælvatici’ world, I’m also writing a Were-series, which is about human rights and the issues around being true to yourself and being who you are in a world which doesn’t like/ want/ accept you. The series is called ‘Less than Human’, and six have been published so far. It’s kind of paranormal romance without the paranormal – shapeshifting is simply down to DNA – you either have it or you don’t, so the usual Were-tropes don’t work.  It’s not quite an homage to or rebuttal of Laurell Hamilton’s ‘Anita Blake’ series, which I love, but I wanted something that was inclusive and about building a community, as opposed to simply “killing the monster”. It’s also set in grim inner city locations in the UK, which makes a nice change from most paranormal romances.

I’m currently putting together a mini tour for the Mother Hode play, which will also feature a performance piece from the book, performed by a small troupe under the title of the Sælvatici. The tour will also feature Ash Mandrake and Poetic Malevolence and other guests, and is scheduled for a dozen dates or so across 2023 – 2025.

You can see Lore of the Sælvatici at Amazon or at Saturday Books in Dudley. A website for the publisher, Tenebrous Texts, is currently under construction. The cover art is by John Chadwick.

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