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Interview with Steve Holloway, author of scifi novel Pelagia

cover of Pelagia by Steve Holloway

Former special forces agent turned particle physicist Ben Holden is on the run.

The New Caliphate will stop at nothing to get their hands on his wife’s scientific research, which is believed to hold the key to unleashing chaos in the West and advancing their cause.

But in reality it’s Ben’s biometrics that have the potential to unlock the information they so desperately need. Within the oceanic world of Pelagia, in the year 2066, Ben finds sanctuary among the sea settlers of the South Pacific Pelagic Territory, but his respite is short-lived.

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Excerpt from Pelagia

Ben’s Escape

He lifted the hatch and placed it onto the deck, then pulled himself up and lay flat near the bow. The coolness of the storm awakened his senses. Rolling onto his back, he paused under the deluge and allowed the rain to stream into his mouth, gulping down the water.

Thirst barely slaked, he slithered to the edge of the boat. The wind now lashed his wet body. He shivered, staring into the night, allowing his eyes to adjust. He spotted the island, a dark fleeting promise glimpsed through a break in the squall.

Looking back, he saw a silhouette climb out onto the side of the boat. Adrenaline shot through him. The man was just a few metres away, clinging to a rail as the boat rolled under them, but still looking towards the stern. Ben inched closer to the edge of the bow, willing himself to be a shadow.

Holding the safety rail, Ben swung himself over the side with the roll of the boat. He hung for a moment, suspended above the sea. Large, deep breaths. Each time the boat tipped his feet dipped beneath the waves. On the third tip, he released his grip, slipping below the surface noiselessly.

As he surfaced, he heard the man on deck shouting into the water in Arabic, “Cut the rope!” There was an answering shout from the water that was lost in the roar of rain.

Ben kept to the shadow of the bow rocking above him. After a minute, that seemed like an eternity, the man climbed back into the stern cockpit. Ben slipped below the water.

An Interview with Steve Holloway

-What inspired you to become a writer?

Many experiences have set me on this path to write Pelagia. In other posts on this tour, I’ve talked about my grandmother, whose love of books and words inspired me to love them as well.

I enjoy the sea and nature, and so am inspired by the challenge to capture this beauty and wonder in a net of words.

I am intrigued with science and seek to understand the mysteries of this world. This exploration inspires me to write about what I learn in a way that draws others in.

I find people of many cultures fascinating and am interested in their lives and stories. So, my book, Pelagia, is populated by composite characters reflecting many of these inspiring people I’ve met.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

There would be so many things I would like to do and see in the Pelagic Territories of the South Pacific. Probably the one thing that would be most fun would be to pilot a submersible aircraft named Kestrel in the book. It flies, hovers and can dive to 300 meters under the sea. It has several types of camouflage making it useful in reconnaissance.

At the controls of Kestrel for a day, I would dive down and explore the seamount that lies deep beneath Marcelli Ring and tour the mariculture sites of Marcelli Rise.

It would be an awesome day, which I’d close by visiting the Battuta family on their nomadic vessel.

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

Ben. Poor Ben Holden. He has come back from a tour with special forces and comes face to face with his worst nightmare.

Though tough, resilient, smart and resourceful – this loss and grief crushes his spirit and he spirals into alcoholism.

In a drunken stupor at the side of an empty desert road at two in the morning, he wonders if death is near. He might even welcome it. Yet deep inside, there is a spark that wants to live.

The rest of the book tells Ben’s odyssey to regain his life. Circumstances don’t make it easy, there are ruthless agents after Ben for the biometric key he holds gives them the ability to humble those who stand against their ambition for power.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

I think that would be Paul Whitestone. He is part Native American and has faced down his own personal tragedy in a way that has deepened him, grounded him spiritually and given him a measure of wisdom beyond the norm.

Paul was the one that found Ben at in the desert. He spotted Ben sprawled in his car on the side of the road and pulled up to see if he could help.

What happens next changes their lives and has knock-on impact on the lives of people living thousands of miles away on the open seas of the Pelagic Territories in the South Pacific.

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

“Hey, slow down there, Gimli. I see you are angry, I’m sorry about not seeing you when I tried to sit on that chair. It was a natural mistake, no need for the axe there. Nice edge, by the way. Tell you what, how about I buy you a round, and dinner to boot. That your wife? I love her beard. Yes, a round and dinner for her as well – make an evening of it on me. A date night. Barkeep! Here, give this beautiful couple anything they want…”

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

I don’t think I could write in genres that exploit human nature’s dark fascination of gratuitous violence, sex or horror. Allowing our minds to feed on these things diminishes our humanity, draws out the worst in us and often gives us an excuse to act in ways that dehumanize others. As people, we can be better than this.  I try to use the infinite choices in daily life to choose Life – not darkness.

About Steve Holloway

author Steve Holloway

Steve Holloway grew up on the beach cities of Los Angeles and has always loved the sea. This passion led him to gain a degree in Aquatic Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara; a background which opened many opportunities for him in researching, developing, and engaging with mariculture activities around the world.

Steve and his wife have lived and travelled in many countries over their forty years of marriage, successfully raising three kids in exotic locations in the process. They have always engaged with the people and cultures they live among.

Currently Steve lives in England and consults for a Christian charity in areas of research, leadership development, adapting to new cultures, social enterprises, and mariculture projects. Currently he is consulting for a Indo-Pacific mariculture project – a social enterprise – growing sea cucumbers, a delicacy for the Chinese market.

Steve has always loved books and writing. The story of Pelagia reflects three of his passions: science, the sea and the narratives of faith. The background, in his words:

“I have for many years believed that settling the open sea was within our grasp, and even more accessible than space as our ‘next frontier’. So through the last ten years or so I have been thinking just how this might happen, what would be needed, where people would settle, what kind of livelihoods they might have on the open sea, beyond the EEZs of terrestrial countries. My son Adam told me about what would become a key component of Pelagia, Biorock or seacrete, because of his experiments with it. Many discussions with other scientists, engineers and others helped to begin to fill in the gaps and the concept of the Pelagic Territories, similar to the unincorporated territories of the early US, and what geopolitical contexts they would find themselves in.”

Steve finds any excuse to get into the ocean: sailing, diving, swimming, or just poking around tide pools.

Find him online:


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7 thoughts on “Interview+Giveaway: Pelagia by Steve Holloway

  1. Hi Mary, thanks for hosting my book Pelagia. I liked your blurb about your own journey in writing and moving beyond subjective writing to allowing constructive critique to hone your skills and shape your story for your audience. Good insights.

  2. Congratulations on your recent release of Pelagia, Steve, I enjoyed the interview and excerpt and I enjoyed following the tour and learning about your book, which sounds like an exciting science fiction read for me and I love the cover! Good luck with your book and I hope the tour was a success! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a fantastic weekend!

  3. Happy Friday! I hope that you have enjoyed your book tour and I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading your stories

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