Stephanie Elmas has lived in many places during her life but has remained the longest in London, her favourite city and the setting of her novel The Room Beyond. She is half English and half Czech and was born in Hong Kong. Her family moved back to England when she was still young and lived in various parts of the country, eventually settling in Bristol. During her teenage years her ultimate goal in life was to live in London, which she achieved when she accepted a place at King’s College, University of London to read English.
Although she worked for a number of years as a head hunter after her degree, her love of academic life called her back to King’s College to complete a Masters degree in Victorian fiction. There she wrote her dissertation on the dark world of sensation writing which was very popular during the Victorian era, Wilkie Collins perhaps being the most famous author to have appeared from this genre. Elmas focused her research on the writer Mary Elizabeth Braddon, who was massively well-known at the time for her mysterious, eye-popping works that sent middle-class housewives flying to the bookshops. It was some years later that Elmas revisited this inspirational writer by taking on Braddon's mantle and writing her own gothic Victorian sensation drama with a present day story line entwined within it. The result is The Room Beyond.
After her Masters degree Elmas and her husband decided to travel as much of the world as possible before starting a family. They caught trains across Russia, boats and buses through Cambodia and Vietnam, coaches down to the furthest reaches of South America and spent six months living in Tokyo. During her time in Japan Elmas taught business English in various Japanese companies and to the air traffic controllers at Tokyo’s Narita airport – a responsibility that made her somewhat nervous!
She loved teaching English so much that she continued when she returned to London, qualifying as a teacher of English as a foreign language. It was during that time that she had her first daughter, followed by another daughter and then a son! During those years she made a failed attempt at beginning a Phd but gave it up in favour of writing The Room Beyond. It took her seven years to achieve this, mainly during her children’s sleep times and any snatched moment she could find.
When life in London with children became too cramped Elmas and her family moved just outside the city to leafy Surrey. She is currently promoting her novel and writing her second book about Walter Balanchine, a character from The Room Beyond. She is still mainly doing this during her children’s sleep times and any snatched moment she can find!