If you are on the Gold Coast this weekend, pop into Supa
Nova and say hello to author Stephen Anastasi. For all his confidence that his books are great, he is new to ‘putting himself out there’, so take pity on him and seek him out to say hello. He will be very grateful. You will find him amongst the many exhibitors there, maybe looking a little lost in the crowd. Read on to learn more about this interesting and quirky debut author.
When I first met Stephen Anastasi at a library event last year, I was a little taken aback at his confidence in his writing. No shrinking violet, Stephen told me how great his stories were and how much I would love them. At that stage, they were published only as eBooks. Having met many writers, I had deduced that the ones who most loved and boasted about their writing were mostly wrong. Being an amateur psychologist, I decided that they boasted to cover a feeling of uncertainty – a position of, ‘if I tell everyone how wonderful they are, it will somehow make it so’. The best writing I had seen came from the ones who were quietly confident that their books were okay. But when I sat down to read
Stephen’s book the Druid, I changed my mind. He was right, they are wonderful
and I did indeed enjoy the books. His writing style is a little quirky and he
has a tendency to make up words if he can’t find one that suits (as did many
famous writers, like Shakespeare, he constantly reminds me), but his writing is
tight and entertaining and the stories are woven from an amazing imagination.
When I learnt what he did for a living, one obvious question came to mind; how did a teacher of mathematics and physics come to write, and in particular, write fantasy stories for children? Stephen told me, “In 1992 I bought a computer and learned to touch type. At that time I had what some authors call a ‘High concept’. This was,‘What if they could put a kind of superconductive hair net over your brain so that you could be seamlessly connected to a computer? Is the limit of human evolution still human?’ When I started writing this I story, I soon realized that this was going to be a quarter of a million words. That seemed impossible to me then. So I wrote it into a twenty thousand word screenplay. That was my first foray into writing.”
This is more the kind of writing I would expect from Stephen. So I persisted and asked how his first book, The Runes of Ire come to be. He said, “One day I met a man whose name was Garney Barnicoat. To me, the name Garney Barnicoat sounds like an adventure. When I heard the name, I said to someone, ‘What a ripper name. You could write a book with a title like that…how about, ‘Garney Barnicoat goes South,’ or ‘Garney Barnicoat goes to Africa, or, ‘Garney Barnicoat and the Runes of Ire. Hey, what would that be about?’ I sat down and wrote the story. Now I know.”
I asked Stephen if he did any research for the story he said, “My background is in physics and mathematics. Knowing the rules that govern the universe makes it easier to know how far the rules can be bent. I try not to break them (all evidence to the contrary in the book). Reality is; all I did was allow one of the world’s fundamental constants – Planck’s constant – to be much larger than it is in our universe. Then I dropped an unsuspecting twelve-year-old into that world and watched him swim.”
He says, “I write because it seems to be the only way in which I can walk other
people through the unusual architecture of my labyrinthine mind. He says, ‘I
like to think that, like Jack London, or Harper Lee, when I’m gone, people will
smile, or cry, or feel something special because of something I wrote.”
Stephen has released two books at the same time, a concept that is very unusual - especially as they are both the first books in two different series. On this subject he told me, “The Runes of Ire was the first of these two books completed. After I read it again, I realised that there was a back story to how the 4 ½ dimension world our hero Garney Barnicoat finds himself in was discovered, so I set out to tell that story in The Druid. Even though these books are the first in two different series, it seemed appropriate to release them together.”
The Druid was shortlisted for a Varuna Award – one of Australia’s most prestigious award for emerging writers.
He regularly slips out of his writing space and falls into a world where there are teachers and students of science and mathematics. There, he does his best to make students believe that to a sufficiently advanced mind, physics, mathematics and magic are nearly indistinguishable. Stephen says, “Occasionally a student gets it—sees the greater reality—and goes electric with
understanding. I like to think that these students will carry a torch to others.”
The author has had a short story published; a true story of a man lost at sea who had to swim many kilometres home. But mostly, he likes to write about the
quirky side of life—funny, scary, odd; for example his other stories are; the
true secret world of a cemetery manager (A Tale from the Crypt), the life of a
rat dog trainer (Rat Dogs), the rise to sentience of a supercomputer
(Carlisle’s Mind), the world of a man who is never allowed to die because he
knows too much (A Note from 23C), and the endpoint solution when the world is faced with an Easter Island scenario (The Brotherhood of the Apocalypse). He is also working on a book that will cause great controversy – his theory of
evolution – a theory not supported by the many other books on the subject.
These books are only the beginning for Stephen Anastasi. That he will become well known author is a given. You will hear much more of him in the future.