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Since deciding to indie-publish The Evergreen in red and white in 2014, Steve has got the bug for writing and publishing: not just his own stuff but anything that comes along that grabs him. He is currently doing some ghost-writing work and has various other ideas in the pipeline. "It's exciting to see where this is heading next," he says.

 

Steve is the author of The Evergreen in red and white, the story of Rabbi Howell's last turbulent year in Sheffield. Rab was a footballing pioneer: he joined Sheffield United in their first season and left under a cloud just before they achieved glory. The Evergreen tells his story: how he is torn between two women and struggles to do the right thing given the constraints of Victorian society. It is based on the facts that can be gleaned. Find out more at: 

Steven Kay

Steven Kay

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

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

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.

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.

Joe Stepped off the Train (and other stories) is a new 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:  https://www.warchild.org.uk/

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.

I am publishing 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.

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.

It is a contemporary political thriller based on the ridiculous notion of what might happen if a left-wing Labour leader managed to emerge from all the attempts by the media to discredit him. What if, as an 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 would the right and big business react?

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, betrayal and kidnap.

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.

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. 

Launching on August 3rd 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.

             

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

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