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Meet Stephen Frame

Every Friday, we meet a member of the BFS and peer deep into their soul (or, at least, a form they filled out). Want to be featured? Email us: online@britishfantasysociety.org

Name, including preferred pronouns
Stephen Frame (he/him)

Which region are you based in?
Highland, Scotland

Genre you write 
SciFi, Fantasy

Are you drawn to any specific SFFH sub-genres?
Dark second world fantasy, cyber-punk, steam punk, widescreen space opera, alternate history. Anything dystopian or apocalyptic, and I’m there. 

Your influences

Tell us about the book/film/thing that got you into SFFH: What was it? How old were you? What impact did it have on you?

No one thing did it for me. I’ve been reading SFF pretty much since I could read. My dad (thank you, dad) read SF, so my older brother picked up on that, and I picked up from him, (thank you, bro). But if we’re talking seminal works, I’d say 2000AD comic, featuring a certain grumpy fascist cop called Dredd. I was 12 years old and can still remember reading the first issue as I walked to school. It opened up a whole new kind of story-telling to me, stories where the good guys didn’t always win. Where, sometimes, the good guy wasn’t even a good guy.

How does that early influence show up in your work now?

I like gritty. I’m for the little guys, the working joes. They’ve got the best stories to tell. Kings and queens, princes and princesses, not so much.

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

What’s happening in the world. There’s so much that’s exhilarating and terrifying. Research is a great source of inspiration. Looking into one topic inevitably leads to new curiosities. Down the rabbit hole is way more fun than the slog of drafting. Wikipedia is an adventure playground. 

I try to stay sensitive to fusing disparate ideas together. I find that’s the alloy which makes for the best story. Though it’s not always easy to translate good ideas into good story, so a fair amount gets left by the wayside (and in the rejection pile!).

Who do you look to as a genre hero? Why?

Howard Waldrop. His story ideas are way out there. Way, way, way out, beyond the line of sight, out there at times. But he’s such a great wordsmith. I’ve read stories of his that I had no clue about, from start to finish, and still enjoyed, simply for the prose.

Your work

You’re stuck in an elevator for 60 seconds with that hero, and they want you to describe your work. Give us the pitch.

The Festival of Hungry Ghosts sees the Big Bad Wolf leave Fairyland, to work as a private eye in 1930’s Los Angeles. He’s got a new case he doesn’t want; finding the kidnapped son of a local crime boss. He’s got a new partner he doesn’t trust; a chaotic female gangster, who’s a fox spirit with a fondness for dames, booze and bullets. In three days’ time, the kid dies. But if the kid’s found, it spells a whole load more trouble for BB Wolf. Lethal trouble.

What are you working on right now?

Drafting a sequel to the above. My character, BB Wolf, has found a place in my heart. I like the guy. So, naturally, I want to make life as difficult as possible for him.

I’m also in the early planning stages of a second world fantasy inspired by Michael Moorcock’s “Elric,” but think more a working class Elric, a wandering swordsman who’s in thrall to his cursed sword, which compels him to carry out all manner of grisly jobs. 

Thinking about all of your stories/work you’ve done, which one sticks out most in your mind? Why?

The relationship between my two main characters in The Festival of Hungry Ghosts. They start as strangers, their friendship grows more intimate. And it ends . . . Well, you’ll need to buy the book to find out. But it was a joy to write. 

Where and when do you create/are you at your most creative?

Mornings are my writing time, sitting at an old dining table I use for a desk. If I need to mull things over, it’s out to my local forest, where I work as a volunteer. A bit of grunt work is great for working loose ideas.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity?

Try to do some writing every day. But writing is more than putting down words. Thinking about writing counts. Reading counts as writing. As does studying the craft. Going for a walk, specifically not to think about writing counts!

(Pictured left: Stephen’s ‘shelfie’)

What’s your writing soundtrack?

The sound of the sea. It’s right outside my house.

The quickfire round

Sci-fi, fantasy or horror?

Fantasy

Quiet or loud?

Loud

Dark or light?

Dark

Strict lines or genre blend?

Blend

Awards or bestseller?

Bestseller

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction

Poetry or prose?

Prose

Plotter or pantser?

Plotter

Reading or listening?

Reading

Notebook or computer?

Computer

Favourite SFFH book of all time?

Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War

Last book you read?

Saevus Corax Deals With the Dead by K J Parker

Any SFFH author on auto-buy?

No. Reviewing books for BFS keeps me on an ever-changing roster of authors.

Favourite podcast?

I’ve never listened to a podcast. That doesn’t make me a bad person, does it?

The home stretch

What’s the best thing about being a SFFH writer/agent/publisher/reader/fan?

Going back to something you’ve written and thinking, “Yeah, that’s not half bad.” And seeing your name on a contents list is pretty cool.

Time to plug your stuff! Where can we find you and your work? What have you got coming up? Consider this your advertising space.

My debut urban fantasy novel, The Festival of Hungry Ghosts, from Champagne Book Group, is due for publication in 2024.

My short stories have appeared in the following anthologies, amongst others:

  • Swords and Sorceries Vol. 7, Parallel Universe Publications.
  • Daughter of Sarpedon, Brigids Gate Press.
  • Judge Dredd The Megazine (reprinted in Judge Fear’s Big Day Out and Other Stories), Rebellion Publishing.
  • One Last Chance: A Fabled Journey Anthology, Remastered Words, audio book.
  • Fabled Journey II, Remastered Words, audio book.
  • Secrets and Confessions, Scottish Book Trust.

And I had a comic strip published in Futurequake 2019 (Futurequake Press). I’m particularly proud of that one. You think breaking into writing is hard? Try comics; always there for people who need more disappointment in their lives.

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One response to “Meet Stephen Frame”

  1. Renee Wildes avatar

    Brilliant interview – always learning new things about you! Looking forward to the cover and galleys – we’re almost there. Can’t wait to see what you have next for poor old BB Wolf LOL