‘Did William Shakespeare Die on His Birthday..?’

World Book Night 2016 Image









I, as they, cannot be sure, but it is the first thing that entered my head as I woke at 3am just a night ago.

3:07am – Just a Night Ago…

To wake at 3am is one thing, to turn over and re-lay your head and fall back to sleep is the right thing, to climb out of bed, to sit at your desk to write, as I am doing now, surely, a crazy thing.

‘How brilliant if he did die on his birthday, as poetic as it gets…’

I have risen for a brief moment from my desk, to stand before the patio windows, to stare in awe at the seascape before me lit via a clear sky, stars and the moon above the dotted clusters of lights that sit as if miniature Christmas trees just short of the horizon – working fishing boats, quite brilliant, a working day already well underway for these fishermen.

I sit back down at my desk and think of now against back then, the 23rd April 1616, William Shakespeare’s death, and back 52 years to his birth, the 23rd April 1564. I smile as I ponder that I was born 400 years and just one solitary day later – and so, a decision made, a feeling, that for me, despite the vagueness of the facts, that the great man did indeed die on the date of his birth – thought to poetic licence insisting upon it.

And so: World Book Night 2016, already in its sixth year, to inspire ‘the readers,’ ‘the writers…’ a celebration of William Shakespeare himself…

Run by The Reading Agency, the independent charity with a mission to get people reading more, a celebratory World Book Night, to be held in association with Devon Life magazine on Saturday the 23rd April, at Stoke Lodge Hotel in Stoke Fleming, Devon. This prestigious event is truly honoured to have as guest speaker, the best-selling novelist, Lesley Pearse, whom, with 10 million sales around the globe, presents an opportunity for her army of fans to meet her (well, a privileged few) and have their books personally signed. And, as-well-as, also, some quite inspirational guests/authors will be with us to answer any questions you might have. Places are extremely limited – please contact your host Sarah Stevenson-Olds for further details email: steve@stevenson-olds.com

The STEVENSON-OLDS connection with Devon Life magazine..?

Well, it was before Christmas, the grapevine doing all that the grapevine does, from one reader to the next, The Human Jigsaw gaining quite a reputation, and so a publication with a readership that far exceeds the South West of the country felt it their duty to read it for themselves. I was warned that due to my work being ‘steamy in places,’ their words, not mine, and such is the excessive demand for a review in their respected magazine, that I should expect a ‘no.’

‘Did I get a no..?’

Umm, I have to go, sleep beckons, but I promise I will let you know, and soon, in about a week’s time… Take care…X

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‘I wasn’t going to say anything… but here goes…’

Wedding Photographer Devon Photo Nouveau  377All authors will tell you, that to have your book chosen as the new read for any book group, well, it always feels as if it is an honour, and it is, an array of ages, male and female, a rainbow of reading tastes, so fair to add a sizeable amount of responsibility that goes hand in hand with the honour of such a selection. Over the last handful or so months I have had my book chosen by several book groups, up, down, left and right of the country, so yes, an honour, responsibility… hmm, and nerves, as I am sure that any of you presently reading, or having read, The Human Jigsaw, will fully understand. However, just before Christmas I was informed that four book groups had voted the unflinching ‘The Human Jigsaw’ as their ‘Read of the Year 2015,’ Wow, I thought. I pondered sharing the news with you, but stepped back and promised those around me – those that continued to goad me – that I would should I get five. Just before New Year, I received number five, and still I made my excuses not to share. To receive another notification, and then another, to go on and receive my tenth just four days ago, and so now I share this with you. I had been asked to give an acceptance speech by the respective groups, to which I have, and so I share this with you too:

“Thank you, it is an honour in itself being chosen as your group read, to then have my work so well received and, to win such an award, steadies the nerves, fuels the adrenalin to give more of yourself within this writing lark. To not fear the censor, or wrath of the individual as you pursue the telling of a story that you see as beautiful, rude, thought-provoking, haunting – your words when describing my work, that I hear and cannot help but beam in response – so thank you, for this, for taking the time to read all I do. And so, with your kind permission, I would like to share your ‘Read of the Year’ award with my followers, well, with anyone at all that might listen? Happy New Year… X’

I have not received permission to share this speech, or had a response at all by those that were vocal before my speech, not so vocal now, their heads no doubt buried in another read, in search of their ‘Read of the Year 2016.’ And so, a need to re-immerse myself in draft five of my new book, The Land of i, to ensure its completion in time for my new friends to at least consider it as their ‘Read of the Year 2016…’ So please excuse me as I do just that, and of course, a fabulous New Year to you all… X

The Human Jigsaw… The Rainbow Midst the Grey…

IMG_0544The view from my writing room… An ever-changing seascape…

The Human Jigsaw is the novel that I have been looking to read. I couldn’t find anything close – and so I wrote it myself. The men and woman that have chosen to see what all the fuss is about, tell me that The Human Jigsaw is unputdownable and its memory stays beautifully within each of them still… they do, and they are telling their friends and their book group members and strangers that they meet in the street. And so 2016 might just be the year that this unique novel of mine stands proud upon the world stage… maybe? It is coming, trust me. To read this blog, to perhaps say ‘yeah, yeah,’ and to underestimate all that is only a simple purchase away, under £10, signed, sealed and delivered to your door via a click or three from Amazon. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you took a chance and were rewarded ten-fold? Do it – do it now, be in on the secret from the outset. You have my word: you will only gain by owning and reading The Human Jigsaw


                ‘It exists in us all however much we might choose to deny it…’

  Sexual Desire:

‘It exists in us all however much we might choose to suppress the true extent of it…’

   From Grey to Colour:

‘Do you crave incredible colour in your life? I do, my Human Jigsaw readers do… will The Human Jigsaw bring colour to your life?   …  Yes…’

A snippet of a dream sequence featured in The Human Jigsaw

The rainbow has fallen from the sky…to give hope as it rises again

Chapter 15: The E… (3) – Page: 494

‘In light of the persistent rumours we dared to believe that the world was saved because the rainbow had risen, its fallen state just the penultimate step and so: to rise after that, surely the rumours were just rumours, the clues just clues, no breaks or cracks in either one that was going to prove fatal? But now as I look at the colours on each of the prolific symbols, the rainbow, the sun, the moon, the wind and the rain and the stars, they are as if painted by a child – a clumsy pastel version that hastens the heart such is the unpalatable acceptance of it. And so maybe the symbols stand where they are told, and each and everyone of us stand where we are told, a Madame Tussauds façade, a museum stance for the visitors from other worlds to see the world that the Human Race fucked up, a good day out I am sure…’


A Question

Copies of the first edition paperbacks of The Human Jigsaw – is there a blatant spelling mistaken?

For those of you who have purchased a recent copy of The Human Jigsaw, have you spotted it yet? Or perhaps the inserted verse upon the first page when opening the book has confused you?


First edition copies of anything that are flawed become collectible should they reach bestseller status – could I be sufficiently blessed to have written something that will achieve bestseller status?

Are you prepared to miss an opportunity to purchase one of the last of this first edition run?

Your Choice…




For those of you that have aspirations to write…


I have answered on many occasions when asked:

‘Where does inspiration come from for such ideas?’

The truth is that I do not for a second take credit for what ends up on the page. Without question it does come from somewhere, and so I let it pass through me and just give thanks for having lightning quick fingers to get it all down. What I’m saying is true, I’m not trying to be self effacing, humble or otherwise, it just unearths itself. I feel as though I catch hold of the tail feathers and a need to hold on for dear life!

Quote by Frank Zappa…

‘A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless it’s open…’



A little about ‘The Human Jigsaw’


The Human Jigsaw’ has taken me by surprise, in excess of two hundred thousand words to complete the first draft of this beguiling tale in just ten weeks, though four more drafts did follow, such is the dedication required – so a belief that one book is achievable per year will certainly keep me busy. I have simply been carried along by the intensity and fascination of a main character that surpassed all planning and attempts to do him justice. This is a story about vanity first and foremost, set within the millennium year in the heart of London. A dismissed and downtrodden individual who has lost his way, but his sorry life does bring him to the most dramatic of junctures. One chance is all we need sometimes, an opportunity presented, but how brave are we to seize upon it? This man does – and with both hands – and yet it begs the question of how far anyone of us would go in search of aesthetic and self improvement? His journey is quite spellbinding, controversial, erotically charged, and yet beautiful and compassionate in conviction – I am so very proud to have achieved all I have within ‘The Human Jigsaw.’

‘So once ‘The Human Jigsaw’ was complete…what then?’

The honest answer for me in this instance; a glass of champagne to celebrate, half an hour to smile and accept the achievement of it, and then a need to start writing the next novel, yes, I know, but fifty-two days later, one hundred and ninety thousand words later, ‘The Land of I’ was born, and so draft two is now underway, so on and on, until it to, is complete, maybe five or six drafts? So, still an incredible amount of dedication needed to ensure that the tale imagined, is better than imagined once on the published page. I will post further information; synopsis etc for ‘The Land of I’ shortly. I will share with you the process; the different approach that I took with this one, and the thrill it has given me at how well it has worked out – but for now, back to ‘The Human Jigsaw.’ I have written and rewritten ‘THJ’ five times, five drafts in total, a need to sink deep into the characters and the rest just flows without comprehension as to quite how? But it does and I am eternally grateful for whatever it is that gets it there. And once there, to physically sit on my hands and accept the belief that it is done, to trust my judgement that it is done – an art in itself! And so, in answer to the question; ‘what then?’ well, once I believed ‘THJ’ was complete, the next step was to pass it on to those that check and double check all I’ve written; facts mainly, location detail, times and dates (though I do make sure of my facts, locations, times and dates as I go along, but several heads are proven to be invaluable). The process thereafter is about protecting my work, a need for clearance from portrayed established businesses; designers; individuals; hotels etc, all need to be happy with how they have been portrayed. Contracts, design and promotion, release schedules, all required before an official launch can be set, before it hits the shelves, before it is available for electronic download. Yes, exciting and yet immense frustration for me as I am desperate for it to be out there and easily accessible for all those that want it. I promise you; you will not be disappointed, though we may have to have an advisory warning on this one – though trust me, totally and utterly crucial in the telling of this man’s quite shocking, and yet, beautiful story…  

An apology and, an update…


 'The Human Jigsaw' - Let its journey begin...

‘The Human Jigsaw’ – Let its journey begin…

‘Hmm, sorry not to have written, publicly, a word for so long, though my reasons are good. Slavery to creativity being the first one, not knowing when to step back and do something else the second, but I have been incredibly productive in creating my second novel; ‘The Human Jigsaw.’ It is now complete, and I am thrilled with it. And so now; meetings back and forth with London agents and publishers is the new ritual, but ‘oh so’ worth it. And as soon as I know a launch date for ‘The Human Jigsaw,’ you will then be the next to know, I promise – and a plan to update this page every fortnight or so.’

Changes to my life that might be worth a mention…

‘There is also something that I need to share with you – let me think? Umm…oh yes, and quite a change this one. Having lived in the Midlands for thirty-seven years, Sarah, Izzy and I have a new home, the three of us now live on the coast, two miles outside of Dartmouth, South Devon. What a place, and what a fabulous time we are having. Every day I count my lucky stars for enabling me to do what I do; to write freely, without the obstruction of needing to chase a wage. It may have taken me ten years to complete my first novel ‘The Water’s Edge,’ it may have felt as though it would never find its way into the public domain, but it did. I am here to tell you; ‘little steps get you where you want to be!’ And so it is, as I sit here at my writing desk, an unspoilt vista of varying colours of the sea, the sound of waves crashing against the rocks at the bottom of our garden, that inspiration is never going to be a problem, it actually never was a problem, but this place makes sure of it. And it is you, all of you, that allowed this to happen for me, all-of-you that purchased ‘The Water’s Edge,’ either the paperback book or the eBook, just an incredible response, so without question, it is because of every single one of you that I am now free to write for hours on end every single day, so thank you!’


A View to Inspire

A view to inspire

The Water’s Edge has now left the confines of the dusty shelf, and it makes me extremely proud and happy to know that it’s been so lovingly received. I think as a writer, your basic instinct is one of the loner…a creative person that absorbs and reflects – and perhaps an inbuilt belief that you can achieve all that is required in getting your creation out there. But my biggest lesson has been in the need for fabulous people around me, their individual talents in taking my creation and getting it out into the public domain. And so the loner, the writer behind his desk with only his imagination for company, now has an exceptional team, who are creative and genius-like and for which I am eternally grateful.

Photo by Enigma Communications.