Meet Stephen

The scream is high pitched, sharp, and when I recognise my own voice it slices into my sanity. I’m seven and I’ve just realised I’m paralysed from the waist down. As time drags and I contemplate a world in which my mobility has been suddenly snatched away, I am befriended by a beautiful kookaburra that sits on my windowsill every day with head cocked to the side listening attentively to my hopes for a recovery. One day my friend doesn’t come for its ten o’clock feed from my mother’s hand. I feel abandoned and I’m shaking all over, then I suddenly realize I’m moving my legs. I throw off the sheet and stand gingerly on legs as tottery as a new born colt. It has been three months since the virus struck me down but now it has gone just as mysteriously as it arrived. The kookaburra knew - that’s why he didn’t come back! My child’s mind tells me it has gone to help someone else. From that instant I immediately see my world through different eyes. I feel compelled to write and not only has that compulsion never left me, it grows stronger with every day.

To me, writing is like breathing. I have to do it to live! I don’t have a choice!

Back in 1987, I was offered publication of one of my novels but when the publisher rang me to suggest a change to Chapter 3, I refused. I’ve had a long time to regret my decision but I think the kookaburra is still watching over me because I’m no longer paralysed by a lot of my old fears and that has allowed me to write in a different way.

I see my task as a writer, as being someone who can give pleasure to someone else by conjuring up words in ways that allow my readers to have a key into my mind as I look out onto my world. What could be better on a cold night when everyone else is asleep and the rain is gurgling down the drainpipe, than to be curled up in bed with a book where the writer’s perceptions keep you constantly enthralled?

I hope you like my first offering: SOMEONE'S OUT THERE. At the beginning of each month if you click on - INSIDE MY HEAD TODAY, you'll be able to walk beside me as I prepare for the release of my next novel.

Stephen Zemek