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  • Courtney J. Hall

Spotlight on Denise Allan Steele

You’ve stated that you were inspired to write Rewind when your kids asked you about “the olden days.” What made you decide to write about Karen?

When my oldest two children were at high school, they were excited about getting tickets to see The Red-Hot Chili Peppers in Oakland, and I called the band "The Red-Hot Chili Peas." They thought that was hysterical. Then my youngest, who was at middle school, asked if she could go snowboarding with her friend’s family, and I thought that you lay down on a snow board. They thought that was hysterical too.

I was like ... The Red-Hot Chili Peas? Snow boarding? When I was your age we were lucky to go to the local 50 pence disco and get an ice cream cone from the van....!

I realised then that every immigrant with American children has these conversations, and I wanted to have a record of how simple and funny our lives were as teenagers in a small town in Scotland in the 1970s and 80s!

Karen is every teenage girl who dreams of something else...

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I absolutely love being a granny to my two wee grandsons, Sheamus and Donovan, and love spending time with them and with my large family, some mine, some acquired along the way! And with my large, spoiled dogs... I’m also co-founder of Open Gate Inc, an Oakland based nonprofit which established and facilitated California’s first Jail to College pipeline.

What’s in your TBR pile?

On my bedside table, right now is In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant, about the Borgia family and Machiavelli, and Lady Macbeth about, well, Lady Macbeth!

Are you working on anything now? What’s next in the pipeline?

I’d love to write about Macbeth’s witches, except they would not be three old hags, they would be three vibrant and powerful young women who gave supernatural counsel to the Celtic and Viking lords.

Excerpt from Rewind, published in June 2017

“Bruce Springsteen or Hugh Jackman?” I asked.

“Hugh.” “Bruce for me. Still the sexiest man in the world.”

"Antonio Banderas or George Clooney?”

“Antonio, I like dark men, obviously.”

“I would pick George for a date and Antonio for a shag. Denzel Washington or Daniel Craig?”

“Denzel, but only just. Depends if Daniel was wearing those blue trunks. Then it would be him.”

“Colin Firth or High Grant?” “Both. Bridget Jones had both, but she’s younger than us.”

A conversation between Karen and Carol, age 45. For more on the book, including a buy link, see Rewind.

Denise Allan Steele lives in California with her husband and large dogs. Her children are grown and making their way in their Millennial world, and her grandchildren are chubby and cute.

She works with parolees entering the Community College system.

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