John has co-written and produced comedies for the stage and has created a series of books for children.
Stage & Screen
My first project was a film idea I had developed about a failed clothing manufacturer and part-time crooner who ends up becoming President of the United States. In a desperate attempt by my accountants to salvage fees from two of their least profitable clients, I was introduced to a chap named Ray Kilby, a film director by profession, who thought the piece had potential as a comedy for the stage. Immediately hitting it off, we set about writing a script – not that I had the slightest notion what this entailed. Learning on the job about how to write dialogue and stage directions, six months later a play emerged, entitled In the Balance. Apparently, I was the producer, which meant that I was responsible for finding a theatre prepared to put on a new piece by two unknown writers, as well as having to hire the cast – and pay for the six-week production!
In November 2008, the show opened at the New End Theatre in Hampstead. Being present at most of the performances probably wasn’t a good idea since I spent most of the first half with one eye peeled on the entrance for latecomers, willing them to take up the rows of empty seats. The result of this escapade was some good press, but I had lost a fair amount of money in the process and was unable to recoup my investment since the play wasn’t considered a sufficiently elaborate production for a tour or for transfer to a larger West End stage.
The problem was, I had now got the writing bug and was determined to carry on. Against both our better judgements, a second play was written by Ray and myself about a banker who lost all his money in the Financial Crisis at that time: it had the evocative title of W forBanker. Once more I had the role of producer, but knew I had to become cannier about the economics of a production if I didn’t want a repeat of the previous debacle. This meant a shorter run, limited to four weeks, and a cast of three. Although losses were considerably reduced, getting into the black was still a long way off. Unless, of course, we could come up with a monologue with either one of us in the leading part, working for free!
Another comedy was written that got as far as a few readings in the West End, but unable to attract another producer with deeper pockets than either of ours, Ray and I decided to go our own ways – he finally coming to the conclusion that I was no longer able to provide the finance, and me needing to find out whether I was capable of writing on my own. You see, at this point, although I hadn’t informed my family, I really couldn’t envisage doing anything else. With a little capital behind us from selling our house and moving into a rented property, I calculated there was enough to keep us going – at least for a while . . .
A chance introduction to a publisher, shortly afterwards, led me to a change of direction and I have now published five novels. However, my screen-play mind-set is never far from the plot and I have produced TV & film treatments based on 3 of my novels, which are simply awaiting the right producer….
2017 Blue Skies Over Berlin.
My second novel followed a young German woman who moves to London from war-ravaged Berlin in 1956 to start a new life. She takes a new name, Charlotte Brown, and lands the job of her dreams at the National Gallery. But London is a city still rising from the ruins of the war, and Charlotte encounters ruthless individuals who are set on rising with it.
“A kind of psychic trauma that regrettably won’t be quieted by anything so simple as dying one’s hair pink….” KCW Today, March 2017.
2021 John’s latest book 2021 – Three Days in Vienna
John Steinberg’s fifth novel, and sequel to Blue Skies over Berlin – Three Days in Vienna.
This dramatic novel follows Elizabeth as she discovers new revelations about her mysterious mother’s Jewish roots in wartime Vienna, as well as the dark secrets of her husband’s family in the UK. Expect unexpected surprises, romance, espionage, political conspiracy, ruthless ambition, scandals & intrigue await.
Nadine, the story of a stunning and mysterious French dancer set in London, Paris and New York.
With its nod to Hitchcock’s Psycho in how soon his heroine comes to her own point of no return, John’s plotting is nowhere more daring than in Nadine.
Nadine is a poignant story of unrequited love, a love that will one day be returned and in a most unexpected way…