Steven Harper on Drunk Writing in the Basement and his new novel The Importance of Being Kevin

The Importance of Being Kevin by Steven Harper
Dreamspinner Press

Published July 2nd 2019
Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press |  AmazonIndie BoundGoogle Books 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Steven Harper here today on tour for his new release, The Importance of Being Kevin.  Welcome, Steven.




Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I totally wrote a chunk of a fantasy novel while I was high in my basement.  Truth!

See, I’m a rotten sleeper.  Have been for most of my life.  Nothing beats a long day like staring up at the ceiling all night. Finally I complained about it to my doctor, and she prescribed Ambien.  Miracle!  Suddenly I was able to sleep!

Ambien does have its problems, as you’ve probably heard.  It can monkey with your memory or spur you to wander about your house, opening odd cupboards and stumbling down stairs.  It never did any of these things to me.  Until…

One evening I was hard at work on DANNY, my YA bisexual fantasy novel, and I noticed it was getting on to bedtime.  I didn’t want to quit writing quite yet, but I did pause long enough to take a dose of Ambien.  It usually takes about half an hour for it to kick in, so I could get in another chunk of writing.  I got back to my computer to hit the keys.

And then I woke up in bed the next morning.  It wasn’t until after breakfast that it came to me–I didn’t remember how I’d ended the day yesterday.  Mystified, I went into my office.  The computer was powered down.  I booted it up and called up the most recent files.

I discovered an entire scene I didn’t remember writing.  It was an action scene, a fight between a monster and the main characters.  And it used the style and voice I had chosen for the novel.  The writing was solid, and it advanced the plot the way I needed it to.

Reading it was the strangest feeling.  I never get to read my own work as a reader, and I’d always kind of wondered what it was like for people to read my stuff.  Now I was actually doing it.  This writing was mine, with characters and a setting I had created, but I had no idea what twists the scene would take or how it would end.  It was like finding a journal entry I didn’t remember making, or stumbling across an album filled with photos of myself I had never seen.  It was me, but not a me I remembered.

I kept the scene, with only minor edits.  If you’ve a mind, you can read DANNY and look for it.  Email me your best guess, and I’ll tell you if you found it!

I didn’t write THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING KEVIN while high on Ambien, though it did involve a my front porch, a water fountain, and a hella lot of caffeine.   That’s another story.


Kevin Devereaux’s life can’t get worse. He’s on probation. He’s stuck with an unemployed ex-convict dad. And he lives in a run-down trailer on the crappy east side of town. To keep his probation officer happy, Kevin joins a theater program for teenagers and falls hard for Peter Finn, the lead actor in the show—and the son of the town’s leading family. Despite their differences, Peter returns Kevin’s feelings, and for the first time, Kevin learns what it means to be in love.

But Peter’s family won’t accept a gay son—let alone a boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks—and in their conservative town, they must keep the romance secret. Still, they have the play, and they have each other, so they’ll get by—

Until a brutal attack shatters Kevin’s life and puts Peter in danger of going to jail for murder.


Steven Harper Piziks was born with a last name no one can reliably spell or pronounce, so he usually writes under the name Steven Harper. He grew up on a farm in Michigan but has also lived in Wisconsin and Germany, and spent extensive time in Ukraine. So far, he’s written more than two dozen novels and over fifty short stories and essays. When not writing, he plays the folk harp, lifts weights, and spends more time on-line than is probably good for him. He teaches high school English in southeast Michigan, where he lives with his husband and youngest son. His students think he’s hysterical, which isn’t the same as thinking he’s funny.


Visit Steven’s web page at or . You can also find him on Facebook as Steven Harper Piziks and on Twitter as Steven Piziks.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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