Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and Public Relations writer. His published works comprise three full-length novels, two novellas, a collection of short stories, and a compilation of his magazine columns. He is also a contributor to a number of short story anthologies. Previous roles include radio newsreader, presenter and phone-in show host.
He lives with his wife Sue, in Leicestershire in the UK, and has two grown-up children. As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking in bare feet on woodland trails. He is also a servant to a very charismatic budgie called Alfie.
- Please describe your book Timeshaft in a single sentence.
Timeshaft rocks along to the past and future with twists and paradoxes galore.
- When did you realise that you wanted to become a full-time author?
I was bitten by the writing bug when I was seven, in 1963, through watching the original series of what has been my favourite television series ever since: Doctor Who. Even at that young age I was enraptured by the storylines which can take place at any time in the past and future, and absolutely anywhere in the universe and beyond. I started creating my own worlds and my own characters, writing my stories in little blue notebooks until my parents bought me a portable typewriter for my 9th birthday.
And those make-believe worlds became invaluable after my Dad died when I was 11. I retreated more and more into those places where I was in control of my characters’ fate, knowing that whatever happened to them during the story I would make sure they were okay in the end. My worlds were certainly better than the real one at that time. These days my fiction is purely to entertain others, but it all started thanks to Doctor Who.
- Describe a typical day in your life.
There are two types of “typical” day.
First, a research day, which means I’m out and about on the road, travelling the length and breadth of the UK interviewing people. So that would mean leaving home in the afternoon and driving to a hotel, staying there overnight (and enjoying some wonderful food and wine, of course!) ahead of carrying out an interview the next day. Then driving home, exhausted.
Secondly, a writing day. Into my office straight after breakfast, and writing, checking emails, and carrying out general admin until at least 6 p.m.My neighbour’s cat is my regular writing companion. Ever since she discovered I work from home she graces me with her presence most days, spending her time curled up on a chair alongside me. After dinner, I’ll normally spend time on book marketing activities, on Facebook and Twitter, or liaising with my publisher, whose time zone in Canada is seven hours behind me in the UK.
Around 9 or 10 p.m. I’ll catch up on some escapist television such as Supergirl, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, maybe accompanied by a glass of malt whisky. During this time my charismatic budgie, Alfie, perches on the back of my chair, talking non-stop into my ear.
Bed normally around midnight.
- Imagine that you’ve got stranded in a desert island. Which three books would you choose to wash up on shore with you?
The Phoenix Project, by DM Cain. An absolutely scintillating and thought-provoking dystopian novel set in the not- too-far-future where the Government supports televised fights to the death between inmates in prisons. It’s the tale of one prisoner’s journey to self-discovery as he brutally kills opponent after opponent in the ring.
The Hound Of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I love all Sherlock Holmes stories, in particular this one for its apparent supernatural element, taking place in the grim and spectral setting of Dartmoor.
“The Magician’s Nephew.” Chronologically, this story by C.S. Lewis is set before the more famous “The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe,” telling how the magical land of Narnia was created. It leaves me with a warm glow every time I read it, giving inspiration and hope that there are other worlds around us…perhaps waiting for us one day!
- Many consider the writing industry to be quite overrated. What are your opinions about that?
Certain sections and aspects are, without a doubt. But I personally love it, and I would not change a thing about my career. I started as a journalist on a small weekly newspaper, then moved into broadcasting as a radio newsreader, presenter and phone-in show host before switching to Public Relations writing. So I have always been a writer. As well as my novels, I still write PR features for the world’s largest CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software developer, and I also have my own column in a fortnightly magazine.
Job satisfaction is the best part of the writing industry – it’s 42 years since I first saw my byline in print, but it still gives me a buzz every time the magazine drops onto my doormat containing my column, headed by my name and picture. And the feeling when I see my novels with my name on the front and spine, is indescribable!
Okay, to be successful you need to put in long hours, but as I work from home I never mind that – whether it’s writing a CAM software case study for an industrial magazine; working on writing, editing or marketing a novel; or my magazine column.
- Let’s get back to your book now. What was the hardest part of writing it?
The first round of developmental editing. My publisher’s editor was quite clear on certain aspects that needed improving, and I was working on that part from June last year through to November. New scenes had to be included to further develop certain characters and explain the reasoning behind situations, other characters needed a reduced role in the story, and it was revealed right at the end of my original manuscript that two characters were father and daughter. That was a big no-no for my editor, who asked for that to be changed.
While all these changes to my “baby” were disappointing at the time, I can see now how absolutely right the editor was. She made Timeshaft a much better book than my original manuscript.
- How was the idea behind Timeshaft born?
Timeshaft came from three aspects. The original idea came from a walk in a London park in 1991 with my wife, father-in-law and baby son in his pram (we all get a cameo role in the book with a dramatization of that actual event). My father-in-law mentioned that there had once been a manor house in the park which was demolished many years previously…and that a plaque in the churchyard commemorated a well-known British comedian who committed suicide in the 1960s. Those two comments were the foundation stone for Timeshaft, which is my most successful novel to date.
- Do you have any unique writing habits?
Hhmmm, not really, other than I seem to have developed the bad habit of going to my coffee machine, crisp cupboard and biscuit tin at regular intervals.
I only ever write in bare feet. But as I go barefoot at least 90% of the time, only wearing shoes when it’s absolutely necessary, that’s not a habit just connected to my writing.
- Lastly, are we going to see more such wonderful books from you in the future?
I sincerely hope so. Within the last few days I have been signed by a new publisher after my original one announced it was ceasing trading. They’re reissuing Timeshaft and In Shadows Waiting, and later this year will be bringing out the novel I am currently working on. I’m also hoping they will also publish a collection of my short stories and a brand new novel in 2017.