Search
Resize text+=

Fanbase Press Interviews Steve Russell on the Recent Release of the Demonic Thriller Novel, ‘Steen’

The following is an interview with author Steve Russell regarding the release of his demonic thriller novel, Steen. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Russell about his creative process in crafting the murder mystery, what he is most excited for readers to experience with the story, and more!



Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Steen! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise?

Steve Russell: Thanks! I really appreciate that and the continued support from you and Fanbase Press.

My new novel, Steen, follows a disillusioned demon hunter—the titular Steen—as he investigates a series of occult murders across Greater London that sees him become entangled in a deadly game of deceit and demonic cunning.

Together with his angel-capuchin partner, Raphael, the two race to identify the malevolent entity behind the killings, desperate to banish him back to Hell before more chaos and bloodshed ensue. Steen’s attempts to stop the demon’s violent ‘disasterpieces’ only draw the two closer together, their connection deepening in unforeseen and obsessive ways, as Steen and Raphael do all they can to stop the creature’s grand demonic plans before London falls…

BD: How would you describe your creative process in crafting the murder mystery of your story? I would imagine that crafting the narrative and staying 3 steps ahead of your reader is quite the challenge!

SR: A huge part of my process with this demonic thriller was to do as much extensive research as possible. I thanked my partner, Thea, in the acknowledgements of this book because of the amount of patience and understanding she had as I read books and grimoires on demons, possession, summonings, and exorcisms. All those materials were as fascinating as they were unsettling—and that’s before the plethora of movies, TV shows, documentaries, videos, podcasts, and more that I delved into in my attempts to better understand angelic/demonic lore, mythology, and their respective hierarchies.

Thankfully, as I’m such a big fan of supernatural stories and naturally interested in angel/demon narratives, none of that was a chore…though there were a few disquieting moments here and there when I was alone and conducting more research. A few troubled dreams, too…

Having a firm understanding of how these entities act and behave was crucial in crafting the thriller elements of Steen. It allowed me to create my own approach to how possessions, summonings, and demonic banishments work, all whilst having roots in the lore they come from. I wanted to respect what I’d learned whilst using the finer details to serve the story—enhancing rather than inhibiting—and all of that research became integrated into the narrative.

That being said, I wasn’t beholden to the research and lore. It’s too vast, too deep, too layered to be shackled to every granular detail—so I took what worked, left what I didn’t need, and tweaked elements here and there to elevate the story, stakes, and characters.

One of the biggest challenges with a demonic thriller is in the obvious power imbalance between mankind and demonkind. I didn’t want it to be about a test of strength, so it had to become a battle of intelligence. Throwing in a cat-and-mouse element as the demon ramps up his ‘disasterpieces’ was also a lot of fun and added organic tension to Steen’s need to identify who he’s hunting. After that, well, he and Raph then need to determine how to outsmart the demon. No small task when the entity is one of the most cunning Hell has to offer!

The pacing was instrumental. Steen needed to discover new details so he could start piecing the puzzle together, but I couldn’t have him figure out too much too fast; so, holding things back, and making him struggle while the demon grew stronger was an essential balancing act. Every bit of progress had to be earned. It couldn’t be too easy for him, and I hope readers who pick up a copy after reading this interview enjoy meeting Steen and Raphael as they join them on their hunt before it’s too late!

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Steen and Raphael’s story may connect with and impact readers?

SR: Okay, so Steen is, at its core, a demonic thriller. It’s a supernatural story with detective elements; however, with #StoriesMatter in mind, there’s a lot more thematically going on that I believe really ties into Fanbase Press’ initiative.

To put it bluntly, Steen is depressed. Deeply depressed. He’s also incredibly lonely and struggling for money, with each paying gig coming fewer and further between. I mean…he’s a freelance demon hunter, so unless people know you or how to find you, it’s going to be hard to get work—let alone consistent paid work! It’s a real feast or famine situation. The gigging economy is a grind at the best of times, so there’s a bit of grifting that goes on that plays heavily on his conscience.

This novel was a real opportunity to place someone with deep mental health issues front and centre, all whilst following their journey to try and stop a demon from hurting others. There’s no pay at the end of this. He’s confronting and hunting the supernatural because it’s what he does. It’s all he’s ever known, and if he doesn’t stop these ‘disasterpieces’, then as far as he’s concerned that would be blood on his hands.

Also, even though the novel is set in and around London, Steen himself is Canadian. Well, half-English, half-Canadian. He was born and raised in the Great White North before a powerful entity his parents failed to stop forced them to run, sending them to England—a place that’s never quite felt like home for the surly Canuck. So, that sense of displacement, of never fitting in is a definite part of it, too, and plays into his prevalent depression and self-worth issues.

Given that it’s a demonic thriller, there are obviously religious aspects to it. Steen, however, is not shackled to that fact. It’s written with respect, but there is some challenging and questioning of faith, what faith is, and what faith and belief mean to different people. It’s by no means a negative commentary on those who believe or those who don’t.

So, yeah, there’s a lot going on with Steen I believe readers can really connect to.

Thank God he has Raph.

BD: Your last novel tackled the superhero genre and you have now ventured into the supernatural. Do you have plans or interest in tackling (or melding!) other genres in your work?

SR: As much as I love Temporary, writing superheroes, and superhero fiction, I knew I always wanted to explore varying genres and aspects of myself as a writer. It helps that doing so allows me to reflect and embrace different, darker aspects of myself, too. I would never want to box myself in creatively.

Steen was all about embracing the unsettling, macabre, and supernatural-loving side of myself and having it come together for this cat-and-mouse demonic thriller. It’s no coincidence the book came out in the run-up to Halloween! I absolutely loved wallowing in the eeriness of that time, and having a supernatural story to share really connected me with like-minded people who wanted a new horror novel to enjoy during spooky season.

With that being said, Steen was a great means for me to acknowledge and attempt to understand my own mental health issues. There’s a lot of first-hand experience in these characters, including Steen himself. But there’s also a flicker of hope in the book. It’s not completely bleak and nihilistic! I do have another book that’s like that though, one that was really tough to write because I purposefully strip back on hope. That book is called Burden. I’m currently editing it now, preparing it for a future release.

After that, however, I think I’m going to have to balance myself out again for my own good! So, it’ll be back to the Ultraverse and working on the sequel to Temporary. Although still grounded and filled with an inherent grittiness like the first Ultraverse novel, there’s also an undeniable optimism and a sense of fun that I think will be important for me to reconnect with!

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

SR: If Steen is for fans of Supernatural, The Exorcist, The Conjuring series, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Temporary is for those who enjoy the MCU, DCEU, Daredevil, The Boys, and Kick-Ass, then Burden is for people who really enjoy darker, bleaker narratives like The Road and The Last of Us.

That’s the next one to look out for, and after that, as mentioned, it’ll be back to the Ultraverse and picking up from the end of Volume One. There’s some big things happening in the sequel, and for those curious or looking forward to it, you’ll want to sign up to my newsletter to get a free story that introduces a major character that features in Volume Two.

And, of course, keep your eyes peeled for more Steen in the future. There’s a lot more in store for the demon hunter!

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Steen and your other work?

SR: For those interested in Steen, or any of my books, you can find out more on my website, www.stevetendo.com. You can also follow me on X/Twitter (still hate the ‘X’ rebranding), Instagram, and most social platforms @stevetendo. All my books can be found at www.bit.ly/steverussellbooks.

If you pick up a copy or check them out on Kindle Unlimited, I genuinely hope you enjoy them and would love to hear from you if you do! Don’t hesitate to reach out and follow me on my social platforms.

Finally, I want to say a big thank you for the interview! I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about my stories and the platform you give it to help connect me with new readers. I’m truly grateful.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief

ad516503a11cd5ca435acc9bb6523536?s=150&d=mm&r=gforcedefault=1

 

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top