top of page

Steven Kay

Steven Kay

Since choosing to indie-publish The Evergreen in red and white in 2014, Steve has got the bug for writing and publishing through his 1889 Books company: not just his own work but anything that comes along that grabs him: fiction or non-fiction. He has now published over 40 books. As regards his own work, he is now looking for a home for novels number five and six, which are linked – in an ideal world he’d like readers to have them both on the go at the same, since the word “sequel” doesn’t quite fit.

final logo.png
Steven Kay, author
  • Instagram
  • Wix Facebook page
  • Wix Twitter page
Built on Sand covers

Elsie has two feet in the 20th century. Smith has one foot in the 19th. Their marriage, founded on physical attraction, is built on sand as all around them the earth of Europe also starts to quake. Prised apart by emotional conflict and the loss of two children they are flung apart by the most violent physical conflict in human history. The question is whether they can survive, together or at all. 

To be published later in 2023. If you would like to review it in advance, please contact and Steve will arrange something, possibly even for free. He is particularly looking for someone who is willing to provide a quote for the back cover.

Rab they call me. Or the "little gypsy." Lucky parentage they say. If only! Irrepressible - whatever that means. Happy-go-lucky. Hah! Like they know.
I wonder who the hell I really am. Coal miner, footballer, husband, father, lover, fighter? Always being defined by others. Anyhow, that 97/98 season were a belter. We were top of the league. I were playing my best. Selina, the missus, got pregnant. Then I met Ada. Oops! Then there were bloody Sunderland. And then the wheels fell off.

The Evergreen in red and white covers

"Spirit of Old Essex"  brings together hidden treasures of Arthur Morrison's work: including "Cunning Murrell" a story of smuggling and witch-finding.

3D image.png

Steve has also published, under the 1889 books label,  a forgotten gem: WW Jacobs "The Skipper's Wooing" - it deserves to be read again.

Steve's short story collection: Historical Football Stories is a collection of the oldest football stories in the world plus a handful of new historical short stories.

3D cover.png
3d cover.png
3d cover.png

Steve's  plans for this novel, written in 2016 were somewhat de-railed by the snap 2017 election. So he called a snap publication the week after the polls.

What would happen if a left-wing, Labour leader remained popular despite every smear and lie the establishment and their media chums threw at them? What if, as the election approached, he started to gain traction because of a serious downturn in the economy, unrest in the country and corruption revealed at the highest levels? What if the electorate started seeing him as an answer to their problems? How vicious would the right-wing and ultra capitalist reaction be?
Finding himself at the heart of a conspiracy is 30-year-old Health and Safety Inspector, Mitch Miller who falls in love with someone he shouldn’t and gets into very hot water. A modern day Romeo and Juliet, facing car chases through the streets of Sheffield, murder, betrayal, kidnap and the odd explosion.

Up on the hills above the town Geoffrey Harland’s body lies in the snow with a bullet through his skull. Was it suicide or murder?
    Intrigue, romance, and the solidarity of a mining community in the bitter Miners’ Strike of 1893 provide the backdrop to this story of triumph of the human spirit. It is a unique and genuine collaboration between two authors, with Steven Kay re-working a novel written by Alfred Fletcher in 1895. 

3d image.png

Joe Stepped off the Train (and other stories) is a collection of short stories by debut and established authors, all with a war theme: how it affects people and changes lives. It started life as a short story conversation between myself and a colleague: following a short story competition at work for which we both chose the same starting line from the given list (The “Joe Stepped off the Train” of the title), and both coincidentally chose a war theme. We went on to write some more  but dried up at 8 stories. So, in the summer of 2015, I put out an appeal on social media and the blogosphere asking writers to contribute: the idea being that all royalties would be donated to War Child. The result has been a genuine collaborative effort: in compiling the collection I set out to not just accept or reject contributions. I have had my fill of that kind of  approach being taken with writers. Instead I chose to work with the writers to make them the best stories they could be. It has turned out to be, not a jumble of short stories, but a really coherent collection of stories that complement each other: tackling subjects like bereavement, love, hope, determination: feelings that war and conflict intensify. It is exciting to be able to contribute something to War Child – a great little charity which aims to provide sustainable support to the most marginalised and vulnerable children and young people in conflict-affected parts of the world — through work rooted in local communities:

3d cover.png

Joseph and Winifred Gales, publishers of the late 18th Century Sheffield Register were giants of our history. For their beliefs in free speech and democracy they had to flee to America as the authorities made a move to arrest Joseph for treason – he dared to speak the truth.

    Exiled to the United States they were important figures in the early 1800s. Joseph was the first to report the proceedings of Congress verbatim.

    230 years on, when there is more than a hint of the rotten boroughs still hanging over British “democracy.” Today the votes of 37% of the electorate in the UK are held up as being an “overwhelming mandate” to push one of the most momentous, critical decisions taken by government in decades – it has nothing to do with returning power to people, but further restricting it.

    Over in the United States the free press is demonised and accused of producing “fake news” just for holding up the mirror of truth (not “alternative truth”) to power.

    In many ways we have made progress but in others we are taking retrograde steps, and under threat of losing hard-won liberties. Joseph and Winifred Gales are very relevant 230 years on.

 How Great a Crime - tells the story of their time in Sheffield working on the Sheffield Register and how they came to be exiled – how Britain’s loss became America’s gain.

    Steve co-wrote this with his dad, Neil, who died in 2015 leaving his unfinished manuscript.

I have published Boy in Blue for local writer Steph Henley. It is a novel unlike anything else on the market. The nearest comparators are the Sarah Waters novels.

     This is the story of some of ordinary men from who fell foul of a harsh legal system and were prosecuted for a victimless crime: for what went on behind closed doors at a private party. Treated worse than murderers they felt the full weight of the law. At their first hearing in Dewsbury, an angry mob of several thousands gathered and had to be held back by the police such was the public anger and disgust at the offences.

    The case swung on the evidence of Sheffielder, Police Constable John Higgins: a Victorian pretty policeman. Higgins had gained their trust and obtained an invite to the party. But was he really undercover or was it just a cover-up? A scandal so big the Chief Constable had to lie that Higgins was there on his direct orders? 

    Based on a true story, this is a carefully researched tale of love, temptation and betrayal in Victorian England, told from the points of view of John Higgins, his wife Annie, and of his close friend Bill Kilroy, who after being put on trial, spent the rest of his life in a lunatic asylum. It is gritty, but also lyrical and moving.

3d image.png
3d cover.png

Launched in 2017 at a night celebrating Mather's songs with Ray Hearne bringing some of the songs to life.


Joseph Mather was one of the greatest Sheffielders in history. His was the voice of the common person in the turbulent, revolutionary times of the late 18th century. He composed his songs to the rhythm of his hammer as he worked as a file-cutter. Then hollered them out in the streets and pubs of Sheffield on a Saturday night. This was the 18th century jukebox, karaoke and alternative comedy.
    This edition adds to the last published version of 1862, with previously unpublished songs and historical background. Download of Ray's versions available.


The Songs of Joseph Mather … seared across my mindscape like a lightning flash…
                                             - Ray Hearne


Accessible to the modern reader, this is an introduction to the poetry of Ebenezer Elliott: probably South Yorkshire's most celebrated poet. It should answer the question of all those who walk past his statue in Sheffield's Weston Park and say: "who was he then?"

But He Got the Ball Ref is an Illustrated book on the rules for fans and players. Explaining the rules in an easy to follow way so you don't make a prat of yourself when you shout at the ref. 


Put Yourself in His Place oldest known Sheffield novel, written by a contemporary of Dickens and Elliott, loosely based on the true story of a London woodcarving-tool maker, James Bacon Addis, who was brought to Sheffield by tool manufacturers Ward and Payne. It is a Victorian melodrama interweaving class, heroism, love, treachery, and tragedy into actual events: the “Sheffield outrages”: battles to protect union membership often through violent means in order to defend labour against capital, the Great Sheffield Flood etc. It all comes together in a happy ending, with all plot threads neatly tied together.

The Bantams is Sheffield’s second oldest novel, telling the tales of Sheffielders in the 19th century: their loves, rivalries, and struggles. The characters jump to life on the page: the author allowing them to use their own rich language rather than forcing them to adopt standard English. It is the first novel to include Sheffield dialect.
   It is romantic in places, in the style of many Victorian novels, it is humorous, and moving.
   Anyone familiar with Sheffield will enjoy the references to places we all know and love, and the way Balguy creates atmosphere.

3d cover.png
bottom of page