Author Spotlight: Stewart Bint

Who is Stewart Bint?stewart-bint

Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife Sue, in Leicestershire, in the UK, and has two grown-up children, Christopher and Charlotte. While writing, his office companion is his charismatic budgie, Alfie, or his neighbour’s cat. But not at the same time.

When not writing, he can often be found hiking in bare feet on woodland trails.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

The desire to liberate all the ideas that were flying around inside my head, to make room for some more.  I was actually bitten by the writing bug by watching the very first series of Doctor Who on TV in 1963 when I was just seven years old. I was fascinated by the storylines which could take place at any time in Earth’s history 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 ninth 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.

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

When I’ve finished a chapter I read it aloud. I find this is a good way of checking if something works. Many years ago I trained as a radio broadcaster, and one of the BBC’s top DJs at the time (1978) taught me that something only reads well on the page if it sounds good to the ear as well. He taught me to read aloud while making it sound natural and unscripted, and that works well today, almost 40 years later. I still put it into practice with my novels. If it doesn’t sound right…out it comes.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story, and how did you overcome it?

Keeping the humour vibrant and fresh, while staying true to the satire that I set out to create – i.e. mocking the tit for tat arguments that both sides in a “management versus trade union” dispute nearly always sink to.  I met the challenge by ruthlessly editing the first draft, then ruthlessly editing the second draft.  

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

Mozelbeek, Albert’s Guardian Angel. I’d get him to take me on a tour of both Heaven and Hell. And then, if Hell’s not too bad…well, just think of all the things I’d get up to when I’m back on Earth.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

I’m currently working on my 2017 novel, To Rise Again,which is set on the island of Jersey, with chapters alternating between the 1980s and World War 2 during the German occupation. And my PR writing continues – I write case studies for the world’s number one CAM developer. It’s fascinating visiting their customers and finding out how they use the CAM software to create components ranging anywhere from tiny gears for medical instruments right through to equipment on the space vehicle currently heading to Mars and will land on the surface in 2020. Also, I have my own column in a fortnighly local magazine.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Inspiration for the actual storylines and books is very different from the inspiration I need to knuckle down and write every day. A variety of sources provides the inspiration for the books, and have included reading an article on the Chernobyl disaster, Twitter bullying and harassment, and a walk in a London park inspired Timeshaft. In fact that features as a scene in the book, with my wife, father-in-law, and son when he was 4-months old, and me, all getting a little cameo role of that real-life incident.

And my new book, The Jigsaw And The Fan, was inspired by memories of reading the news on radio and hosting radio current affairs and ‘phone-in shows during the bitter UK miners’ strike in 1984/85.

But what inspires me to write each day is a different pan of potatoes altogether.Sometimes I’m full of beans and raring to go, which is no problem. Other days I’m too easily distracted by the coffee machine and biscuit tin, and have to tell myself: “No dinner or glass of wine until you’ve finished this chapter/scene.” That definitely inspires me”!

What is something you are not good at doing?

Wearing shoes. They make me grumpy and downright bad tempered. I go barefoot around 95% of the time now, and hate having to wear shoes, which I now only do for the case study interviews and unenlightened restaurants.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

Although I write fiction purely to entertain, I suppose there is an underlying message in The Jigsaw And The Fan. And that is, that even the most ticklish dispute can be resolved through good, effective communication; and always attempt to see the other person’s point of view.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, watch tennis, eat good food and drink fine wine and malt whisky, and hike barefoot…in fact, just walk anywhere barefoot, town, city and countryside, I find it helps me relax and keeps me sane.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t think about it. Do it – submit your work to a publisher. I never thought my work was good enough to be published, and didn’t bother to polish it beyond the first draft. Then a friend encouraged me to send it to a publisher. I fished the old manuscript out and edited it. Then edited it again. And again. And then submitted it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

Ashday’s Child – the enigmatic tramp in Timeshaft. I love the way he is so driven by his destiny that he simply cannot give up until he achieves what he knows he was born to do. And Albert Carter, the main
character in my new book,  The Jigsaw And The Fan. He, too is driven, but in a different way and for different reasons. I love exploring my characters’ psyche, and these two are so very different, while being very similar in many ways.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

“Now listen carefully, Stewart. Ignore your careers teacher at school when he says you can’t become an assassin. You’ll make far more money bumping people off in real life than just killing a couple of characters off in your books.  

Purchase Stewart Bint’s novels

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