S-Morris.co.uk

Steve Morris is a teacher of maths and science. He travels around his region of the UK teaching students who are too ill to get to school. Despite a background in maths and science, one of Steve's passions in life has always been English literature and antiquarian books. Story writing began at school where he enjoyed some early success. Steve graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1993 where he enjoyed representing them in soccer for four years. He lives in a rural 200 year old property is his adopted Cheshire, UK accompanied by a protective guardian of a dog. 


Short Story Collections

Jumble Tales
(Pneuma Springs, 2010)

reviewed by A J Kirby

In All Probability
(Pneuma Springs Publishing, 2009)

reviewed by Sheila Cornelius
Interview with Steve Morris

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Steve Morris: Well, some of the stories were born as half-typed stories from some years ago and some are brand new. In all, it took me around one year in the gaps around a hectic day job.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

SM: Well, firstly I wanted to smooth up the raw "first book" edges of In All Probability. Despite their positive press reception, I also wanted to write stories that are a little longer than some of those in Probability. A criticism of the first book was that the stories were too short. But then, that is always going to be a problem with short stories in general, that people will be reluctant to invest too much emotion into characters who will no longer be there just a few pages later. It is a little like taking a temporary job or a short-term relationship. The theme around Jumble Tales , like In All Probability are those quirks of fate or chance that turn life on its head in an instant. Life is like that.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

SM: Some of the stories in Jumble Tales have been previously published in anthologies. One story “Just one big game”, an anti-war tale set in our digital age was chosen by the F.L.O.W (Forces Literary Organisation Worldwide) charity for inclusion in their anthology Stories in the Poppies and endorsed by Dame Vera Lynn amongst others. I support the work that FLOW do to support those suffering the worst effects of war. I also included a longer version of Dead-Eye which was in the first book. I tried to develop the background and character. But I still didn’t give him a name! There is a mixed bag of scenarios such as soccer, coming to terms with middle-age, the music industry and even some romance. That was how we chose the name.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

SM: In the same way that a good tune is a good tune whether played on a single piano or a full orchestra, a good story is a good story, whether two thousand words or a seventy thousand word novel. A good story is original and stays in the mind. I spend a lot of time driving for my day job. I like to listen to radio plays no matter how short. Some stay in the mind for ages. Some are disposable. The aim of Jumble Tales is that the stories can be read in any order at times to suit the reader, and re-read at a later date.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

SM: Without realising it, I read in a newspaper review that I have been writing stories for “men of a certain age”. This was unintentional and I’m bearing this in mind for any future projects. Most of the press reviewers for Jumble Tales have been female as well! Why is that? I would like to think that it is a book to be read in break times or on the commute to and from work, but most of all I would like one of them to be developed into a radio play. Maybe short stories now suit the needs of modern busy lives more than a complete novel.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

SM: Would you have preferred any of the stories as a novel? Can you remember the character names? Do you like happy endings?

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

SM: It feels a little strange as I have been a book-collector all my life. I’ve bought three books just this week. Seeing things through the eyes of a book buyer, I realise how rarely I buy a book from an as-yet unknown author.

TSR: What are you working on now?

SM: I’ve been advised by most people to have a go at a novel which I have now started. Having said that, I’ve got load of ideas for stories. All I need now is some vacation time to type them up. We’ll see how Jumble Tales fares first.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

SM: The collected stories of Philip K Dick volumes I and II The collected stories of H. G. Wells




Interview with Steve Morris (2009)

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Steve Morris: Either eighteen months or twenty years depending on which way I look at it. I began writing them in my teenage years and always intended to carry on but the distraction of getting a job and some life experience got in the way. A few of the stories were just simply re-typed from badly printed dot matrix paper. One of the stories I wrote in entirity one summer evening last year but usually they take two weeks each.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

SM: Yes. For me the problem with writing a novel is that if it doesn't work out for whatever reason then that is two years down the drain! With a few short stories that I have binned, I've only flushed away a week or so of my life! Seriously though, I love every moment of writing them.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

SM: My editor removed a number of weaker ones. Of course the decision was correct. That is what being experienced and objective is all about. For the order, we disagreed. Some people find "Dead-Eye" a bit abrupt to begin with but I'm fond of that one, along with "Lightning strikes twice"

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?


SM: A good story is a good story regardless of length. I admire anyone who can stretch a story to a five hundred page novel. Basically a novel and a short story are the same thing and could each be written in a summary of similar lengths. However I wish I had the endurance to stretch one of mine to fifty thousand words. A retirement project for me.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

SM: A review this month described the book using the phrase "boys' stories" (meaning male rather than child). I didn't consciously write for a male readership. This is always going to be my problem, being a bachelor.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

SM: Would you have preferred any of the stories to be novels?

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

SM:It is a pleasant feeling although when I look at it now all I can see are the faults. I say now "Oh.. I wish I had written....there"

TSR: What are you working on now?

SM: I am beginning to type up a shed load of new ideas for stories. I am currently waiting for my new house to be built so I am a bit disorganised. I can't wait to get settled into writing the second edition of "In All Probability" this winter.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?


SM: How's this for an eclectic mix?: H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennet, Philip K Dick, Thomas Hardy and load of new anthologies and magazines written by new up-and-coming authors.

 
                     
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Find out what other authors, from Aimee Bender to Sana Krasikov, said about their collections, what the word "story" means to them, and how it feels to know that people are buying your books! More interviews >>>