‘Hunt’s imagination is probably visible from space. He scatters concepts that other writers would mine for a trilogy like chocolate-bar wrappers.’
My best-known works are still the Jackelian series of fantasy-scifi novels.
Set in a 19th century-level society rather than the usual furry pants world of Conan & Hobbits, the seven Jackelian books accidentally booted up the steampunk craze (“accidentally”, as, showing my usual level of self-awareness, I never explicitly set out to write steampunk-themed books).
Off the back of the Jackelian novels’ success, steampunk grew from being a tiny sub-genre only a handful of fans had heard about and transformed into a mass force of cos-players, readers, modders, gamers – a world where no fashion cat-walk can sport goggles or brown without the ‘S’ word being invoked (whisper it …. Steampunk).
The first six Jackelian novels appeared in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, through HarperCollins’ Voyager imprint – they also publish JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin and CS Lewis alongside my books.
These novels are published all around the world, including in the USA via Tor Macmillan, and as foreign language editions from publishers in countries as diverse as Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.
My first Jackelian novel was voted ‘Best Book to be made into a Film’ by the Committee of the world’s largest film festival, The Berlin International Film Festival, aka the Berlinale. I believe the elevator pitch was ‘Charles Dickens meets Bladerunner’. To date, it’s never been made into a movie or TV series.
Speaking about the failure to fly of such movies as The Golden Compass and Peter Jackson’s take on Mortal Engines, one of the directors at my trad publisher wryly noted, ‘There’s not a Steampunk Market. There’s a Stephen Hunt Market.’
I also have a scifi-fantasy trilogy – the Far-called Sequence published by Gollancz (the genre imprint of Orion Publishing and Hachette Livre).
My more recent works have been published in e-book and print format by my own indie imprint, Green Nebula Publishing.
Why? Basically, back in 2011 – in the non-contracted gap between my trad-published deals with HarperCollins and Hachette – I wrote and indie-published the initial novella in my Sliding Void space opera series.
The first thing I noticed was that the novella quickly became no. 1 most-downloaded book in the Amazon Kindle store in the UK, USA and Canada. The second thing I noticed was that I earned more from that single novella in three weeks on Kindle than I had in the entire prior year with all my traditionally published novels’ royalties.
And so, not being entirely stupid, when my deals with the Big Four lapsed, I followed the same course blazed by my chum J.K. Rowling with her indie Pottermore firm – or in my own case, Green Nebula Publishing.
I haven’t looked back since!
I don't do as many in-person appearances as I once used to, but you can still sometimes find me rattling around the odd science fiction and fantasy convention. The odd ones please me, for some strange reason.
There are so many influences on my work it'd be hard to name them all, but some of the formative ones include Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock, William Gibson, David Eddings, Clifford D. Simak, and Jack Williamson. If you want to stretch the net wider to graphic novels, let's include Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Mike Butterworth and Don Lawrence. Oh, and every strip from the first decade of the seminal British comic-book 2000AD.