I am a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. I began writing when I returned to education when I was thirty-two. I went to Norwich School of Art and Design, where I did a degree in Cultural Studies. I had a great three years, our time was spent in thirds: art and social history / studio work / creative writing. Before this I had been a chef, a mini-cab driver, and a painter and decorator. After art school I went onto the MA in Creative Writing at UEA where, ten years later I became the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow. The first book I had published was in 1999, a collection of short stories, set in Stoke-on-Trent, where I was born: It Cracks Like Breaking Skin was published by Faber and Faber.


Winterton-on-Sea, Norfolk, Summer 2008, with Dylan and Ollie

123 Responses to About

  1. Steve Barton says:

    Hello Stephen,

    Really enjoyed Walking Ollie; in fact it in part inspired me to start writing about my dog Lily, from her perspective, initially as a blog but now as regular feature column in Dogs Monthly magazine. I have been considering the possibility of putting the collections together as a book at some point; I wondered if you could pass on any advice, in particular with regards to approaching publishers, using literary agents; could you recommend any etc.

    I hope you don’t mind me contacting you this way and thank you for your time.

    I look forward to reading Along Came Dylan – best of luck with that.

    Kind regards

  2. Stephen Foster says:

    Let me know if you got my reply Steve: your email bounced back, but I know from experience that that doesn’t always mean it didn’t get there.

  3. Mary Schantz says:

    I just finished reading your book “Walking Ollie’. Are you really writing one about Dylan? I can’t wait! I have a Toy Fox Terror of my own that could fill a couple hundred pages of accounts describing ultimately why we do go the extra mile for “difficult”, but at the end of each day, dogs nonetheless! Thanks so much for a GREAT read!
    Forked River, New Jersey

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks for taking the time to find the blog and say all that Mary, I really appreciate it. Yes, it’s true about Dylan (see ‘About Books’ for link)

    Forked River, New Jersey is the coolest address I have ever heard of in my life. Are there good places to walk dogs round there? I may move.

    all best, Stephen

  5. Mary Schantz says:


    Yes, there are many town parks, and we live close to the Barnegat Bay that offers beaches and trails. There is a 20 minute ride to the ocean, but taking the Toy Fox Terror there could prove disasterous! I think the UK is much cooler than Forked River NJ! Can’t wait till “Along Came Dylan” comes stateside!
    Have a great day, and you’re quite welcome!


  6. Hi, I just finished reading your book Walking Ollie yesterday. I laughed out loud all the way through it! I am one of those Weimaraner owners (blushes) I am afraid (but not a snooty one ;O) ) having been involved with the breed for a number of years and involved in rescue of them. I didn’t consider myself to be a novice dog owner until we met Stella. My introduction to the Saluki breed was through a very challenging desert bred bitch (Stella) we rescued last year (I am an ex pat living in Saudi Arabia). I recently started blogging about her as a form of therapy to make light of her antics as the past year has been somewhat of a roller coaster. She has ended up depicted as somewhat of an evil genius, of course she has her sweet and loving side but she has proven to be very challenging and has made me laugh, cry, question my sanity and rant on many an occasion.

    I look forward to your coming book “Along Came Dylan”, I have often wondered what it would be like to have a clean slate and begin with a Saluki pup. Perhaps one day I will be brave enough to find out. Thank you so much for the laughs your book gave me, it is good to know one is not the only one dealing with a challenging dog and to be able to take a step back and laugh about it. Thank you again, really enjoyed the laughs.

  7. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Karen, your ‘form of therapy’ is one I recognise! And thanks so much for taking the time too.

    Stella’s ‘Life with Infidels’ is newly linked on the blog-roll: she looks the sort of dame that might dally with Ollie for a while before casually discarding him…

  8. Thank you for the link. Stella is one heck of a character, I think Ollie would be counting his lucky stars to have got away LOL! He only needs to ask Eric who often wears a pained expression these days, poor old lad. I think he rues the day she became his companion/torturer.

  9. Susan N says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Like my fellow commenters here, I have just finished reading “Walking Ollie” and wanted to let you know how much I loved it, and how it made me laugh. I have four rescue dogs, all of whom are saluki/desert crosses. One of them, Louis, is a total basketcase (bless him), has been abused, is scared of everything, snaps at your hand if ultra scared and thinks there is no other way out, and yet is such an incredible, affectionate character and is coming on beautifully after 18 months of enormous patience and hard work. So many of Ollie’s exploits made me laugh, because I have practically verbatim stories about Louis! I can’t wait to catch up with Dylan now!

  10. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Susan. Taking on four rescue saluki/deserts is heroic! Dylan is a happier book all round, though, without giving too much away, he is no angel 🙂

  11. barb lewis says:

    We own a Saluki/Greyhound bitch, who is 15 months old. We have paid for 2 dog beviourists to visit us and we have now come to the conclusion there isn’t much hope that she will ever be normal! She doesn’t really like other dogs coming within 10 feet of her and will snap, likewise with people she doesn’t know. I have found reading your books so helpful and have re-read walking Ollie many times. Now, halfway through Along Came Dylan – I am so pleased i am not the only one to cope with a dog with issues!!!

  12. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Barb, neither of the books are ‘manuals’ as I’m sure you know, but I’m glad they’re a help, even if simply in terms of ‘fellow-feeling.’ Salukis and saluki-crosses are special cases, I think, and they are more than worth persevering with: Actually, I’m not sure if this is made plain anywhere in ‘Dylan,’ but Ollie did get a lot better when he got to about three or four.

    Good luck, and all best wishes, Sx

  13. Lucy says:

    Hi Stephen

    I’ve just finished “Walking Ollie” and I loved it. I realised exactly why my friend had leant it to me when I got to page 16: “… and worse than that he is a rescuse lurcher with Saluki in him”. Ahh, so that would be like Sam who I adopted from Lurcher Link about 6 weeks ago!

    Happily progress seems speedier with Sam perhaps because he is older (5-6 according to the vet though he looks younger as he relaxes into his new home). I found your attitude to other dogs and and particularly some owners very refreshing!

    I watched Sam and my whippet Amy run like mad things around the local reservoir this morning and what a joy it was. I think we have a better breed of fisherman around Sheffield (maybe because you can put money on the fact that round here one of their relatives breeds some sort of sighthound!). The dogs made one jump this morning but he then spent the next ten minutes telling me what great dogs they are 🙂 I know.

    Will be settling down with book number two tonight.


  14. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Lucy, that is raight proper of you to take the time to post that.

    I often thought it would be more relaxed in Stoke on Trent, owners-wise, but the one time Ollie visited and I took him out every owner was a ‘haha he only wants to play’ type, but of the type whose dog stayed on the lead and was dragged away. I was quite taken aback.

    Good luck with Sam, and hurrah for Lurcher Link.

    all best, S

  15. Berny Bennetto says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed ‘Walking Ollie’ so we got ‘Along Came Dylan’ at the weekend and my wife and I have now both read it.

    We have borderline collies and we have had to cope with rolling, bird and rabbit chasing, kite barking. Have particular sympathy with your comments about cyclists and joggers.

    Delightful – thanks for a great read.

    Berny and Kathy

  16. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Berny, that’s very kind, There’s some sort of tracking device on wordpress.com that indicates where posts come from and yours says ’round about Amsterdam.’ Can that really be true? Would be consistent with cyclist/jogger ‘issues.’

    All best wishes, Stephen, pp Ollie & Dylan

  17. Deb Conrad says:

    I haven’t finished “Walking Ollie” yet, but I am ruled by a Saluki mix who loves nothing more than to run… and run… and run. And jump our fence to do some more running. As you describe Ollie and his behaviors in your book, I am constantly noting to myself, “That’s Kumo.” There have been days when I wonder why I brought him home from the pound – the signs were all there of what I was getting into, but now that he’s here, his third home, it is his final home despite all the hassles that surround owning him. His crowning achievement, however, has been figuring out how to make friends with our Lab/Boxer mix who is not dog-friendly, but who now loves to play with Kumo as he races around our yard, using his tail as a rudder to out-manuever her until he can make his full on bowl-her-over and “nibble, nibble, nibble” her to death. Thank you for your book – I am happy to know we are not alone!

  18. Adam Greenwold says:

    Read WO a while back and have just finished Along Came Dylan. A rare book, laugh out loud on the metro funny.
    As a dog owner so much of what you write is familiar and as one who lived in Norwich for 10 years, with a previous dog there’s a bit of nostalgia too.

    Now in Whitley Bay, great beaches for the current dog, Northumberland Water Hound (if anyone asks)

  19. Katie says:

    My sister bought Walking Ollie for me last year because we have a Saluki/Greyhound, Diesel. He was only two when we got him but we were his third home. Luckily he instantly made friends with our other dog, a four year old ‘mutt’ called Holly.

    It is so nice to know we are not the only ones who have to contend with a wilfull dog who will do exactly as he pleases no matter what and then we get grief off ‘weekend walkers’ when all he wants to do it play. Holly is happy to run with him but if he goes full blast she just can’t catch him, much to his delight!

    I have just finished Along Came Dylan and I completely identify with the whole not coming back scenario, I can’t count how many times we have had to stand and watch him lashing about on the other side of the field just waiting for him to get fed up and come back. A few weeks back he followed a man and his two dogs out of the field where he has his walks/runs, got hit by a car then ran off. My Dad who was walking him spent the whole day searching for him to no avail. When I came home from work I took over the search with help from my 12 year old nephew and we eventually found him back at the field 9 hours after he had gone missing! Thankfully he didn’t break anything, he was just bruised and not happy he had been out in the cold and wet all day. He has not been for a run since as he is still a bit battered but he has attempted to chase cars while out for a circuit round the block! He will get off the lead again though, it is so lovely to see him run free with his sister
    He is very handsome (looks like a vibrant ginger greyhound with lovely saluki eyes) but has a mind of his own, although Holly is still top dog, he hasn’t worked out how to depose her yet.

    Really enjoyed both books and I’m really pleased Dylan and Ollie are doing well, I’m sure Diesel would love to meet them

    Katie, Holly and Diesel

  20. keith says:

    just herd on the site about you best friend i know one two off us S L R have been they mat

    Sorrow fills a barren space;
    you close your eyes and see my face
    and think of times I made you laugh,
    the love we shared, the bond we had,
    the special way I needed you –
    the friendship shared by just we two.

    The day’s too quiet, the world seems older,
    the wind blows now a little colder.
    You gaze into the empty air
    and look for me, but I’m not there –
    I’m in heaven and I watch you,
    and I see the world around you too.

    I see little souls wearing fur,
    souls who bark and souls who purr
    born unwanted and unloved –
    I see all this and more above –
    I watch them suffer, I see them cry,
    I see them lost, I watch them die.
    I see unwanted thousands born –
    and when they die, nobody mourns.

    These little souls wearing fur
    (Some who bark and some who purr)
    are castaways who – unlike me –
    will never know love or security.
    A few short months they starve and roam,
    Or caged in shelters – nobody takes home.
    They’re special too (furballs of pleasure),
    filled with love and each one, a treasure.

    My pain and suffering came to an end,
    so don’t cry for me, my person, my friend.
    But think of the living –
    those souls with fur
    (some who bark and some who purr) –
    And though our bond can’t be broken apart,
    make room for another in your home and
    your heart.

  21. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Keith, People are really being kind; it’s so nice.

    all best, Stephen

  22. Have trodden the same path as you with my Maisie, a lovely Sheltie who died aged 5 after a week’s illness of brain cancer. I was devastated and it has left a hole in my heart which will never be filled. She was sweet, kind and loving and my constant companion.

    Four years down the line I now have another Sheltie whom I love just as much. The bond will never be broken with Maisie but I have finally made room for my Josie in our home and of course my eart.

    Thank you for voicing my own very personal view on precious pets.

  23. Ken Robson says:

    Tearfully passing the “Body and Soul” to me over the breakfast table this morning, I am told, by “management” not to miss your poignant account entitled “The dog that broke my heart”. Having failed totally to get over the loss of “Panzer”, our German Shepherd, I am now faced with the sudden world shortage of tissues.
    Also you should know that Panzer was similarly put out of his pain some 20 years ago.

    Today, like any other day, we exercised at day-break at West Stowe, complete with detachable 11 year old Visla, George. Mornings, like this morning, sort out the dog lovers from the posers -with a combination of east wind and sleet a real test for the three of us. He is a “pointer” rather than a “chaser” so is always off the lead and great on recall, enabling us to freely run or walk the miles of free amenety presented by the Forestry Commission. We cannot imagine life without him and although the inevitability looms larger, that awful day will one day dawn. Ollie will surely be there to help us.

  24. Vanita Mirchandani says:

    hi stephen

    I just wrote to you at your UEA address. I read WO in 2006 and a great reader and dog lover, and I bought Dylan’s book the day it came out.

    We also have our saluki mix Snoops, who is as crazy as Ollie. It is crazy how similar they are. Yes, I did question my sanity when I rescued Snoops as a puppy hobbling around with a broken leg in the outskirts of Damascus. My husband thought it was a bad idea, but I just couldnt bare to see this weak puppy hobbling around. He is introverted and scared of everything just like Ollie, and had a broken leg.

    but now, he is “our son”. We cant imagine a life without him and our other dog Luna. Snoops took a lot of getting used to and rehabilitating, but he is now the kindest, sweetest boy, even with his quirks. He loooooves his master, my husband Marc very much and Marc adores him. Our friends though we should put him to sleep when we rescued him as he was so malnourished and we couldnt find a vet to cure his leg, but as hindu, I just couldnt do it. So we went to Beirut, Lebanon, to a vet who fixed his leg beautifully. We now have moved to India where he enjoys a big garden and hangs around the gate and adores the security guards who guard our house. He is a great watchdog..and refuses to sleep inside the house. (It is warm in India!). He runs around our huuuuuuge garden protecting us from the evils of the world. He is on a mission and he takes his mission very seriously.

    We are so glad now that we rescued him. He is making up for lost time, from that broken leg from his puppy days which took ages to heal. Now he runs faster than any dog we know and loves the outdoors, just like Ollie. He has some nice friends and many canine friends who he is very popular with.

    I am sad that Ollie is now in heaven. I cried. I also got worried that Snoops will die early, given his past malnourishment. He often gets sick (unlike my other one who was well nourished from birth), like Ollie. I will cry my eyeballs out when this happens.

    thanks for your book. Just made us laugh so much and realise that we are not the only crazy ones to keep a dog like Ollie/Snoops.

    we thought we saved snoops, but actually, snoops saved us.


  25. Stephen Foster says:

    Many thanks to all: Ken, Dylan and I were out getting blown sideways early yesterday too, there’s not much posing to be done under those conditions…

  26. charles says:

    Steve ,

    I was most touched by your piece in the Times do you have an email and would like to send you something that helped me


  27. loulou says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ollie, Like Karen I’m one of those pesky Weimaraner owners. I’d never even heard of a Saluki until Karen rescues Stella.

    I started writing when we got our second rescue dog. Our first was a handful but once things settle down it’s easy to forget just how far he (and us) had come. I look forward to reading more about both Ollie (RIP) and Dylan’s escapades.

    My Weim bitch rescue has her own blog where I am tracking her progress. She is at this moment teasing the male with her rope pull toy with me in the middle.

    I wish I could ease your pain.


  28. Clair Litster-Huckle says:

    I read your book last summer after reading another rather well known dogs story lol
    My sister gave me your book saying it was a great read and I have to agree 🙂 and have just passed it on to a friend to read.
    I also know Karen, with Stella, through our love of Weims I have Jackson and Bella our little 6 month old rescue and I’m nowt like the owners you depict in your book, but love the stereo type because I have met other weim owners like that.
    I look forward to reading about Dylan I saw the book in the shops and just had to get it but I have to finish another read first.
    Anyway I just wanted to say thankyou for such a great great read!
    Clair. x

  29. allanmayer says:

    Hi Stephen-
    I’ve just found your blog as an incoming link to mine. First I noiticed the mention of Stoke City, then reference to your short stories set in Stoke. I was born in KIdsgrove, and my book refers to it, and oatcakes. etc. Which part of Stoke are you from?

  30. Stephen Foster says:

    Chell. My mum lives in Whitehill – that ain’t far from Kidsgrove.

    What is your book?

  31. Annie Rhodes says:

    Hello Stephen,

    I’ve just finished FWCHTAD and enjoyed it greatly, thank you, recognising the ever-present pull of S-o-T on the psyche as much as the actual places you describe. I’m from Tunstall, a little older than you; my parents ran Rhodes’ sweet stall in Tunstall market and my mother’s family were the Copes who had fruit, veg and flower stalls there. We moved from Pinnox St when I was 11 to live on High Lane and every Friday night of my early teens were spent dancing to sweet soul music at Chell. Is your auntie one Mildred Brereton? If so I was in her choir after the merger of the three Tunstall methodist churches in the late 60s. So much resonated in the book for me (apart from the football, although we did live in an ex Port Vale manager’s house at High Lane) and it’s particularly touching as both my parents have died recently and connections with Tunstall are loosening. There’s quite a divide between those of us who left for whatever reason and never went back and those who never understood a need to leave.

    Sounds as if you escaped the political correctness of the 80s better than me but that proud work ethic just doesn’t go away does it? Have you read JB Priestley’s chapter on S-o-T in his English Journey? Very accurate description of the proud independent but ultimately puzzling (to him) people he encountered there.

    I’ve been a bookseller most of my working life and know how hard it is to get published; well done and all the best for the future.

  32. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write that Annie I really appreciate it and the answer is Yes, it was Mildred Brereton who came round and saw the sherry sideboard opened! How amazing. She lives near The Talisman at the bottom of Biddulph Road now.

    I worked on one of the butcher’s stalls on Tunstall market (Forrester’s) for a Saturday job for a while: I used to spend some of my wages at Rhodes and was not-so-secretly in love with a girl who worked there who always gave me the knock-back. I think her name was Lynn.

    Where do you sell books?

    all best wishes, Stephen

  33. Annie Rhodes says:

    Hi and thanks for your reply; I remember a Saturday girl called Jane but not Lynn although I left Tunstall in 1973 to go to Leeds University and might well have not known who was working on the stall for the next few years.

    I became a bookseller by accident (nearly all booksellers start that way) as I needed a job after University and the student’s union there was looking to develop a bookshop employing graduates with links to the academic staff. Then radical book distribution through the early 80’s (heavy political stuff!); a stint at The Women’s Press and then a move to Edinburgh to start Bookspeed in 1986 with my partner Kingsley Dawson. We began by wholesaling B format paperbacks which were seen as cutting edge and literary and other wholesalers didn’t know what to do with them. We also introduced the notion of next day delivery into a trade that liked to take 2-3 weeks to get books from publisher to shop. As bookselling has diminshed to Amazon and the retail chains we have developed consultation and supply to specialist retailers in the Visitor and Gift markets who want to sell relevant ranges of books but need a single source of advice and supply. I’m not active in the business sadly anymore because of health issues but it’s thriving and strong.

    I’ll be in Tunstall in two weeks time for a gathering at the Sneyd Arms to celebrate my parent’s lives and no doubt will go across to the market hall to see what’s happening there now.

    Congratulations on your successes and good luck with all future books. Norwich is a good place; do you know Peter Tollhurst of Black Dog Books there; he’s published three collections of Norfolk stories in beautiful editions.



  34. theresa says:

    hi just finished reading along came dylan it was realy great i liked the part about the cheltenham race you got me cheering for the horse ,i think you did make phil a hero in the book. i walk a saluki called fargo he is 11 now and has arthritis but still manages to do an hour round the feild his owner said when he was young they had to wear padding to protect themselves from him dive bombing them in the house and he would get a scent and not come back, he doesnt like black Labradors ,i have been walking him for about 3 years and i had one experience where he got through a gap in the park and ran up the road at the time she had a 3 legged lurcher so i had to tie him up and chase after fargo i was so scared as the road was very busy luckily he ran to the layby and i managed to lure him by opening up a wheely bin he is very fond of wheely bins as they contain such delights . luckily when i got back badger was waiting obediantly

  35. theresa says:

    this is continued from previous response as i clicked submit by accident.
    fargo now has a new brother dooley who is a collie cross greyhound about 18mnths, he is a rescue and a sister ella a redsetter about a year, got from a pup .i walk all 3 with my dogs i have a staff diva who is 12 and exceptional for her age, she can be a bit grumpy with dogs and i have max a year got him from 5 mnths, he is cross jack with pommeranian he is a handful but i must say he is getting better day by day i have to mention my old dog percy who was a staff sadly lost him at 9. you can only imagine what its like when i go out with all 5 dogs, dooley barks at any dog that passes us which sets them all off then i have to shout at dooley to stop and then diva gets anxious and buggers off to the other dogs owner, everything is fine until the owner dares to strokes his dog and then diva snaps at it then i have to shout dont worry shes got no teeth. then the owner gives me a look and quickly walks off. so im bit like you trying to find places to walk so it can be relaxing but its all worth it in the end they warm your heart .
    sorry to have gone on for so long but i was wondering if you could give me some tips on writing as i would love to write a book thanks for taking the time to read this. say hello to ollie, dylan, trezza and phil oh and ask phill does he have a tip for the grand national take care theresa

  36. theresa says:

    hi i am so so sorry i didnt read all of the responses till after i wrote mine just the first few jumped in head first again i didnt realize ollie had passed away and i said say hello to him my heart goes out too you you gave him a great life take care theresa x x

  37. Stephen Foster says:

    No problem Theresa, thanks so much for all those kind words. I’ll tell Philip you think he comes out a hero, he’ll love that. I’m not sure whether we’ll get anything out of him for the National because it’s a handicap and officially he ‘don’t bet on handicaps, boy.’ But I’ll try, and I’ll get back to you on it, and I’ll get back to you about the writing too…

    all best wishes, Sx

  38. Stephen Foster says:

    He can’t recommend a horse for ‘that lottery, boy.’

    His tip is for the 1000 Guineas on the first Sunday of May: Rainbow View.

  39. Bari says:

    I finished reading, Walking Ollie, this afternoon and did a quick search to see if there were any updates since. Our stories have many parallels beginning with our first Golden and our two rescues.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope someday to share our original story (the main domain) and our rescues’ story.

  40. theresa says:

    hi thanks for the tip only just relised you put it on havnt been on the computer in ages its mon now so missed the race could have been a millionaire did it win ? if so a bet phills having a good time celebrating ask him if he has a tip for the cheltenham gold cup hope dylans doing well take care theresa

  41. springit says:

    hi am reading at the moment along came dylan i enjoyed walking ollie this book is great i hope that you carry on i love to read about dogs and all there antics i am a springer please read my blog mummy has only just started this it is fun i am not as naughty as dylan or ollie but i can be if i want to as if you read my blog you will see tha i love to run of and find any dyke or foxes poo to roll in i love the smell but mummy doesnt well keep writing

  42. Caroline says:

    Hi Ive just finished reading “Walking Ollie”
    I feel so much better about my Lab (sorry Choc lab) after reading it. She listens to every word, but alas chooses to ignore me.
    I too come from Stoke on Trent and now find myself here in Norfolk. I didnt ACTUALLY just find myself here…I did intend to be here.
    I have wondered if my dog just doesnt understand my accent her being a norfolk girl and me being an ‘ey up duck stokey. Shes my first dog and I think she knows it and is taking advantage of my naivety. Ive tried her on oatcakes to help with translation but to no avail.

    Great book. I really enjoyed it and it made me snort in a couple of places. Not entirely attractive and not terribly wise,what with the flu scares 😐

  43. Laura Marcus says:

    Stephen I’ve just finished From Working Class Hero… and I absolutely LOVED it. Thank you.

    I bought it while browsing in Webberleys which, I hope, tells you where I am based. I made an entirely opposite journey to you, though I live in Leek so I guess that doesn’t count 😉

    I love living up here and find it much better than Surrey which, trust me, is no place to grow up poor. I feel more at home up here than I ever did down there.

    Much respect for your mini cabbing in London. And all the rest of the stuff. So sorry for the sad stuff (won’t say more as this is public and don’t want a spoiler!).

    It’s a great read and I highly recommend it. I won’t be reading the dog books as I’m not a dog person but I will be looking out for the rest of your stuff, including the footie books as although I’m an Iron, Stoke have been my second team ever since I moved up here – 20 years ago as I just couldn’t stick living in London in the 80s any longer. Our local pub, the Dyers in Mill Street/Macc Road, sends a coach to all the home games and while it used to be just one coach it’s now FOUR 49-seaters. Makes going to games very convenient though I am only an occasional attender. Many congrats on not only stopping up but finishing so high and confounding all those gits that said you’d go straight back down again.

    I think it’s great for the city and I do hope you stay up in that difficult second season in the Prem – bit like difficult second books/second albums eh?

    Oh and before I stop wittering and yarking on… I grew up very near Woking. Paul did us all a very big favour by proving there is a working class in Surrey and we’re not all stockbrokers/Sloanoids.

    Again, many thanks. I had a tear in my eye by the end and it also made me laugh out loud lots and some bits I insisted on reading to my non-book loving Leeksian and very working class boyfriend.



  44. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Caroline, that’s so kind of you to say so, my stock with Lab owners can be on the low side, post-WO!

    Perhaps we’ll bump into you one day – what is your dog’s name (that’s the way we’ll know…)

    all best, duck, Stephen

  45. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Laura, that’s a great review, I really appreciate it.

    The Irons (this is the Hammers, isn’t it?) feature quite big in one passage of the forthcoming ‘…And She Laughed No More’ – our away game was eventful, one way and another.

    I can’t believe their are non-book loving people in Leek, I always thought that was rather posh out there…

    all best wishes and thanks again, Stephen.

    nb, I am, or rather was, a non-dog person, that’s how Ollie starts. But, still, I wouldn’t say read it on that recommendation alone…

  46. Laura Marcus says:

    Stephen – the boyf thinks I’m *weird* for wanting to read all the time when there are hills out there to be climbed. Coming from Surrey, Leek doesn’t seem posh to me at all! Everyone thinks I speak like The Queen and that I’m all la de dah. I love it up here. Love the Potteries too. Lovely people. Much better than Surrey posing tossers.

    Yes, the Irons are the Hammers and I recall the eventual game last year at UP. (Wasn’t there but heard about it).

    And you’re wrong about writers not liking other writers – I like other writers very much provided they can write. It’s the ones who can’t write but still get deals, columns, etc cos they went to a particular Oxbridge college that really give me the ache but that’s a whole other thing.

    I’ve stuck up a review on amazon as well btw. Hope it helps!

  47. Stephen Foster says:

    Ah, just visited your website, and Amazon. Thanks so much. It’s not really troubling the best seller lists, but the mass market paperback might do better: it’s really all to do with exposure these days – Tesco is where it needs to be (I imagine there’s only a Waitrose in Leek ;–))

    Yes, your writers are the ones I mainly meant, of course, but I don’t always spell it out in full… I live with a writer myself, so there’s at least one exclusion 🙂

  48. Laura Marcus says:

    A Waitrose in Leek? You’re ‘aving a larf arentcha? In the 20 years I’ve been here, we’ve been promised an M&S practically every week in the Leek Post. I think they do it just to tease me.

    We are, however, getting a Sainsbury’s. In walking distance – near the Dyer’s I spoke of in my first post. This means no more trips to Hanley for the weekly shop which I’ll miss. I quite like Hanley. It’s not Kingston upon Thames for a start and full of poncy southerners. That’s very much in its favour…

    Could you not get your books at least into Stoke and Potteries Tesco’s, etc? And the footie ones, are they in the club shops? They’d go there, I’m sure.

  49. Dianne says:

    Hi Annie

    I remember well those Friday nights dancing to sweet soul music at Chell Youth Club. A good end to the week after a hard stint at Brownhills!

    I still live in the area, but moved to the other end of the city (Werrington) 33 yrs ago when I got married. Parts of Tunstall have changed so much over the years I hardly recognise some of it now. Last year a new road was finished, linking the D Road with Chell via Sandyford. It was 40 years too late for me and Judith (Barber) it would have saved us walking the long way round to Chell in the dark on winter nights!

    How easy we all lost contact after leaving school in those days, probably because we didn’t have the benefit of emails, texts and sites like Facebook to facilitate keeping in touch. It’s nice to “bump” into you again on t’internet through a mutual appreciation of Stephen’s books. I haven’t read FWCHTAD yet but intend to read it soon.

    Finally apologies to Stephen for using his blog in a Friends Re-united way – he can be proud the power of his writing has bought old friends together across the years!

    Best wishes Dianne Hodgetts (nee Beswick)

  50. Stephen Foster says:

    You carry on – I might be able to persuade Powergen to take up advertising on the site and eventually sell out as a dotcom billionaire…

  51. Hi Stephen,

    Haven’t seen you since i was NSAD in 2005.

    Thought i’d let you know i finally got a publisher for my Shanghai memoir i started writing 8 years ago. In fact the deadline is 3 weeks away.

    I live in North london, but come back to Norwich every so often and It would be good to catch up again.

    All the best


  52. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Dom, that’s great news. Will you make the deadline? & who is publishing it?

    Yes, a catch up would be nice, drop a note when you’re up next? … all best, S

  53. Laura Marcus says:

    Well done Dom. I’ve no idea who you are but eight years is showing some tenacity and I’m thrilled you’ve got a publisher for your memoir. Hell, I might even buy a copy! I bought Stephen’s book and loved it.

  54. Michael Lynch says:

    Dear Stephen,

    I’m looking for a Mr Stephen Foster who worked with me in Claridge’s in the 1980’s. He worked with me in Room Service with Freddie Mather. If you’re not the Mr Stephen Foster I’m looking for I’m sorry to have bothered you.

    Best Wishes,
    Michael Lynch.
    Butler at Claridge’s.

  55. Stephen Foster says:

    That’s me Michael – how amazing to hear from you. Quick, put that cigarette out, Enzo’s coming…

    How can I help?

  56. Dom says:

    Thanks Laura + Steve.

    Mainstream Publishing are releasing it in March. The deadline is 1st sept so the clock is ticking. I’m up to 95,000 words but have just read it and decided one of the chapters (about druggy adventures in Goa in the 80s) is a bit crap so either i’ll rework it or dump it.
    We’re off to Vietnam on Tuesday for 17 days holiday, so i really need to have it finished before i go. I’m taking my laptop with me, so i’ll probably write a bit while i’m there.
    My main problem is still structure,since much of the book is flashbacks. I’ve become so overfamiliar with it now i’ve no idea whether its coherent or not.
    After i hand it in it goes to an editor, so i’m thinking i may have a chance to make some more changes based on his\her feedback?
    What’s your experience Steve?
    Do you just hand it in and forget about it, or do you make amendments with the help of the publishing house editor?

  57. Stephen Foster says:

    My experience:

    You must get it as tight as you can when you hand it in, because that’s only one end and another beginning. At that word count I’d prune it back (if I could) between now & 17th. Anything above 70K words looks like the width of a book.

    You should receive pages of edits from your editor upon which you may or may not act, and then a month or two after that you should get page proofs (where it looks like a book) to agonise over; you can’t make any substantial changes at that point but it gives you the opportunity to notice that you’ve used the same word three times in as many lines…

  58. Dear Stephen Foster

    My name is Luciano Trigo, I’m a Brazilian writer and journalist. I’d like to ask your permission to use this photo of Damien Hirst’s shark in the cover of my next book, a collection of essays about contemporary art.

    Congratulations for your blog.

    Yours sincerelly,
    Luciano Trigo

  59. Laura Marcus says:

    @ Dom.

    Well done on the book. Sounds very interesting. I’ll look out for it in March and best of luck in hitting your deadline.

  60. Liz Boundy says:

    Lost our 1st,” normal” little lurcher 7 years ago, routine op went wrong. I lurched from rescue centre,after centre looking for the same dog. 2 weeks later at the fantastic un P C, 2nd Chance, we were pursuaded to foster Nervious Nellie. All our chums thought she was a no hope-er, beaten, starved, so frightened that she lived in the back of the house, we at the front. After 2 weeks John said the dog had to go. not one scrap of response from her, then she honestly came into the room, and carefully put her head on his knee! 7 years later she is the sweetest part Saluki/ small greyhound, which I so identified with all of Ollies foibles when I read your 2 brilliant books. In fact they really helped me understand her (me the vet dog owner, you the new kid on the block!). She has had 2 major rips in her body, can ignore us for no reason, but one look from the Khol black eyes , a puff of fetid breath reduces us to to jelly. We rescued Poppy 2 years ago same daft reasoning as you and Dylon, but this time no Saluky in this mini greyhound lurch ( chucked out in Cork, we were short legged) as I will never be left dogless again. I only found your blog today,was brought up never to write to strangers, but was so really saddened to hear about Ollie, he was unique.Tears. Very best wishes for the future, hope you draw your dogs, they are beauts. Off to bookclub and large glasses of wine, read Remember Me! Small world! Liz

  61. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks so much Liz – it’s ok to write to strange authors, just don’t accept any offers of sweets ;–)

    I hope Remember Me got a good reception…

    all best wishes, and well done with NN & Poppy,

    Stephen x

  62. Gisy says:

    Dear Stephen, I read “Walking Ollie” some time ago. It is endearing. But there are two things I want to tell you: it’s “Weimaraner” and not Wiemanraner. They come from the German town Weimar.
    The other is, I have a cat like Ollie. I have had her three years and yet any time I get near her she acts as if I am after her life. Yet I can stroke her if she gets on my lap – not often. She came from a shelter and was in a bad state and I don’t know her story. But I just cannot make any progress. I hope Ollie and Dylan are still alive and well.

  63. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Gisy, welcome to the blog. I don’t know what to recommend for a cat like that, they are so mysterious aren’t they? With a dog, at least – because they art less good at looking after themselves – there is a more a direct ‘active care’ relationship and a way to build through that…

    I just looked at my edition, which does have Wiemaraner in the correct spelling – perhaps you have an early ‘collectors item edition’ …

    As for our own Ollie – I’m afraid we lost him last November. There’s a Post here about it:


    Dylan is well.

    all best, S

  64. Amanda-Jane says:

    Hi ya really loved your book walking Ollie.

    But I would like to say that if you do have problems with a Dog Trust Dog or Blue Cross dogs now, they invite you back to the centre with your dog and have trained behaviourists, that work with you and your dog for free at the centre. Some great breeders will help as well, but I know Dog Trusts dogs get free behaviourist advice for life.

    My own experience of Rescue was a three year old dog from the Blue cross that everyone called a gentleman, and never did anything wrong at all, a simple join to own.

    And a 10 week old Puppy from Dog Trust, that did have some nerve issues inherited from her Mum I think. She was also scared of bags, signs, log piles to name a few, I had to go and stand by the scary item and ignore her fear, gradually the birth she took of it got less wide on each occasion, then she would come and sniff it, now if something scares her she looks to me as if to say, what do you think and if I go forward she follows at my side.

    I think it’s a shame that Ollie slipped through the net, at being helped more quickly, but at least he is fine now.

    I love dogs and am looking forward to reading your book about Dylan.

    OH ps

    You should bring them on holiday to the New Forest and also visit Testwood lakes, I am happy to say where I live we all let our dogs play, and thoroughly enjoy the antic’s, even most Border Collie owners, put the ball away and encourage their dogs to join in.

  65. Amanda-Jane says:

    Sorry to hear you lost Ollie.

    I lost my dog to Kidney failure in Jan 2008, in December 2007 he was charging across ground full scamp, all so sudden, it was a shock and so very sad.

    But all you can do is give them a good life in the time you have them. I rescued another dog and aim to give her a good life. One day all my dogs will be together with me at rainbow bridge.

    I’m sure Ollie will be waiting there for you and Tressa.

  66. kevin marsden says:

    Hello Stephen, I have read your wonderful book Walking Ollie, it was given to me as a present. I then went and obtained Along Came Dylan, it was also brilliant. From that, I am now half way through From Working Class Hero.
    I was amazed at 2 events you described in Dylan and Hero. In Along Came Dylan, you described a (play) attack by Ollie on a man’s 2 Yellow Labradors. I read the passage in the book and was gobsmacked to say the least, for I was that man and the Labradors are mine. I howled with laughter at your description of myself, as obviously being from Up North I get a fair bit of stick at work etc with the way I speak.
    In From Working Class Hero, you described a riot that happened in Whitehall along from Trafalgar Square, during the Miners Strike of 1984 -85. I was also on that march and was right in the middle of the riot, although I am not claiming to have started it. Our supporters coach was parked right behind the flat back truck loaded (then unloaded) with crowd control barriers.
    I spent the 1st 25 years of my working life working underground as a miner in and around the coalfields of South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire!!
    Once again, the books have been an excellent read, keep up the (good) work. Will my appearance as an extra warrant some sort of payment??? I look forward to reading the rest of your works to see if I feature in them too. Sorry to hear about the demise of Ollie too, I know how hard it is to bear losing a loved companion and pet.

  67. Stephen Foster says:

    Blimey Kevin that is a reet : ) pair of coincidences. I’m chuffed you’ve taken the time to find the blog and make contact and are enjoying the books, that’s great. Are you still walking the UEA? I’m up there a couple of times a week with Dylan.

    In retrospect, when I look back on it, I think Ollie had his cancer coming on during that period when he started to get snappy with more or less all comers. I think it was some way of getting his retaliation in first, before they could smell it. Of course, this may be a fanciful idea.

    Payments for appearances in books! – that’s a corker – it’s hard enough for authors to get money out of the bastards … 🙂

    all best wishes & Happy New Year, Stephen

  68. Alice Hall says:

    I read Walking Ollie when a dog park acquaintance told me my Dobby was a ringer for the cover photo. He’s a bit more Doberman coloured that Ollie was, and a wee bit thicker, but looks very similar. Thank you so much! I now understand some of Dobby’s more interesting (alarming?) habits, including taking other dogs’ entire heads or necks in his mouth without biting down. We adopted Dobby only 3 weeks after losing our Keeshond mix to hemangiosarcoma. We were told he was Doberman/Husky, but our vet agrees there is Greyhound in the mix as well. He has shared out home, harassing the cats, for 2 years now, and will turn 4 on 1 May. He runs at amazing speeds, bounds through tall grasses like a deer, can jump a five foot stall door with ease, and is the cuddliest dog we’ve ever owned. He has a Deerhound friend with whom he runs and wrestles, can keep up with the greyhounds who come to the park, and cheerfully presented another friend with a live rabbit which promptly took its last breath at her feet. Couldn’t be angry -he is a lurcher after all.
    Ollie will live forever in so many hearts and minds; thank you for sharing him with us all.
    Alice Hall
    West Chester, PA, USA

  69. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks for taking the time to visit the blog and for those kind words, Alice. Dobby sounds a perfect animal : ) Isn’t it amazing that Ollie got to be known of in West Chester, PA (which sounds an exceptionally cool address to my ears).

    all best wishes, Stephen

  70. Jeanine Craven says:

    Hello Stephen,
    I’m reading Walking Ollie right now and would like to use it as my first book review in a podcast. I’m starting a podcast this year about books relating to dogs. I’ve just started your book but I’m enjoying it so much and find your experiences to be familiar and I love the way you articulate them with the inside dog owner cult humor. What I’d like to ask is your permission to talk about your book (I realize I don’t necessarily have to ask the author to review their book but it just seems so odd to talk about someone’s work when they are accessible by the web to check in with) and make a few quotes from it. I’d love to have “Walking Ollie” as the first podcast in my series, and I would be mentioning a bit about too — at least what I have found here on your blog. I’d be happy to share the audio file copyrights with you as well. Please feel free to correspond — I’d love to hear from you. And, thanks for writing the book — your work is appreciated.

  71. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi & welcome! That’s great Jeanine, Walking Ollie remains my bestselling title three publications later – when it’s done please post a link to the podcast…

    good luck & all best, S

  72. Emily Graves says:

    Wouldn’t you know, I’ve been trying to track you down for a few years now, since Walking Ollie came out, and somehow never stumbled across this blog. See, when the book came out, I was living in Norwich with my husband – and we had very recently acquired a Saluki/Greyhound mix named Jamie. Unlike Ollie, she was never timid – instead, she knew just how intelligent and attractive she was, and took full advantage of that. Pain. In. The. Ass. But of course she’s the best dog I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. We’re sadly no longer in Norwich – we’re in the US now – but she’s still with us, having lived now in three different countries.

    When I read about Ollie, I did wonder if the two might be related, as I think they’d be about the same age (Jamie’s birthday is 9/30/03), and there can’t be THAT many of that particular Saluki/Greyhound combination around…! But I think Ollie must have been a bit older. We got Jamie when she was 2 1/2, from a family in Kent who could no longer keep her, so we’re not entirely sure of her background, except that she came from somewhere north of Kent, which is, of course… everywhere.

    Anyway, just wanted to say “hi” and blather on about my own dog. I’m very sorry to see that you lost Ollie in 2008 – I lost a greyhound to bone cancer in 2006, and I know what a wasting, terrible disease it is in sighthounds. I hope that one day, they will find a way to catch it earlier and get it cured.

    Best wishes.

  73. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Emily, welcome to the blog. I don’t think they would be related – it’s a rough guess because of his beginnings but we always gave Ollie his birthday cake on September 1st (2002 being his first year).

    I’m glad to hear Jamie’s fitted into the international jet-set lifestyle : have you got a picture of her?

    all best, Stephen

  74. Emily Graves says:

    Ah, I was out by a year in my estimate of his age when reading the book. Math never was my strong suit.

    Here’s a few pictures of Jamie (sorry about the quality; they’re mobile pics):

  75. Stephen Foster says:

    O thanks! – lovely, she has a touch of the Ollies, especially in that third shot.

  76. Hi Stephen. The publicity copies of my book have arrived, and publishing day is a couple of weeks away (4th March). The publicist from Mainstream Publishing has sent many off to various papers, mags, etc, but if you have any other thoughts let me know. BTW, do you have an email, as this blog doesn’t seem like the right place to discuss my own book, and i seem to have lost the address i had some years ago.


  77. Lorraine Galvin says:

    Hi Sephen,

    I love this phot of you with Dylan and Ollie at Winterton-on-Sea they both look so happy with you.

    I love everything about Dylan and Ollie. I love reading the books again and again and seeing all the photos of them they look fantastic.

    When ever I read the books it makes me think of Ruby my Sister’s Lurcher, She would have loved Dylan and Ollie the only thing she might not like is if they could out run her, as she loves being the fastest dog, if not she does have a bit of a sulk lol



  78. Serena says:

    Dear Stephen, I came across your blog looking at pictures of saluki’s. I have a saluki cross who is virtually identical to Ollie. I would love to send you a picture ( if you are interested! ) as the resemblance really is uncanny… She was from a rescue near Oxford and is probably about 10 years old I guess.

    Am intrigued to read your books and am going to get a copy of Walking Ollie!

  79. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Serena. welcome to the blog.

    I’d love to see a picture of your dog; Ollie would be about 7-and-a-half now.

  80. Helen says:

    Hello Stephen,
    I loved both your books and found them by accident. I bought Along Came Dylan first and it caught my eye by the gorgeous picture on the cover and enjoyed it so much. After reading that I just had to buy Walking Ollie and am just reaching the end. I re-homed a 2 year old rescue Lurcher from the Dogs Trust last year and so many experiences of yours rang true! I am so happy that someone else loves the smell of dogs feet, as that doesn’t make me feel so odd anymore! I am enjoying your blog and really love seeing pictures of Ollie and Dylan.

  81. Helen says:

    Following my previous comment, I have just continued reading through the comments and found out about the tragic news about Ollie and burst into tears. I am so sorry. I had to have my 16 year old border collie dog put to sleep in my arms on New Years Day 2009 and know how awful it is. Memories though last forever. RIP Ollie x

  82. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Helen, welcome to the blog.

    Yes, it was pretty awful when Ollie went, but time is a healer and all … still there isn’t a day goes by when I don’t think about him.

  83. Suzanne Sullivan says:

    Hi Stephen

    I read ‘Walking Ollie’ a couple of years ago as passing through a bookshop the title caught my eye. The fact just by chance we have a Saluki cross called ‘Ollie’ and I kept reading out exerts from the book to hubbie saying “oh my god listen to this, this is just like Ollie” and so it went on throughout the book. I loved the book and was glad someone else went through the same agonies we experienced. From the moment we got him and I took him to training school only to hear the teacher say “you know he’s half Saluki, don’t expect much”! But he is 6 now and he is fantastic and would not have had it any other way. My husband got a posting in Bangkok and we took him with us, and know we are in Malaysia. He takes everything we throw at him in his stride and he never fails to surprise me. I have only just learned of your loss of Ollie and was deeply saddened by the news. Suzanne

  84. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Suzanne, welcome to the blog. I’m so glad you enjoyed Walking Ollie and that you got such a personal sense connection out of it! Before he passed away our Ollie had calmed down quite a bit, though whether it was enough that we could have considered taking him to Bangkok and Malaysia I’m not so sure…

    Good luck with your Ollie, long life and happiness to you all. Sx

  85. Lee Wright says:

    Hi Stephen,

    As your an honorary Hinckley Utd fan, I thought I’d keep you up to date with a bit of news.

    The protest supporters group I set up (if you remember I emailed you asking for suggestions about the name?) Well, we finally decided on PIE: Protesting Inckley Exiles. The reason behind dropping the H from the clubs name is because no one from Hinckley can pronounce the H.

    Off the pitch our chairman is giving us plenty of reasons to hate him as the club are now in debt to the tune of 1.6 million. He’s also banned the local paper from the club, so the paper has turned to me next season for a weekly fans column.

    On the pitch, we missed out on a play-off place on the last day of the season (PIE members didn’t attend the fateful match as we did a PHW trick and boycotted the game.)

    But some good news for you. Today our manager has signed Gordon Strachan’s son Gavin. He’s played for Cov & Nott’s county and being only 31, he should be a decent signing.

    So there you are. Some info you probably have no interest in but as there doesn’t seem to much scandal at Stoke now your an established Prem team I thought I’d try and fill the void.

    Pulis Out 😉

  86. Teagan A. says:

    Hi Stephen,
    I went online a few weeks ago to buy the most recent book of my favourite author and discovered your two books “Walking Ollie” and “Along Came Dylan”, so being the kind of spontaneous shopper that I am, I bought them and when they arrived I couldn’t wait to read them. I enjoyed them both so much! Being a dog lover/ owner, I could easily connect with your story. I have a Miniature Fox Terrier and an Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler and I used to have a Red Heeler as well). I’m so sorry you lost Ollie. I understand how hard it is to lose a friend. As part of my life and where I live, I travel very long distances and it was on one of my long trips that my red heeler died on the back of my ute (pick-up truck) and there was nothing I could do about it. I was 50km away from the nearest Vet when she finally passed on and it broke my heart. I hope you find solace in Dylan. Will you be writing another book about Dylan soon? Take care and all the best,

  87. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Tigger, thanks so much for getting in touch and taking the time to say those kind words about the books. There are no immediate plans to write another Dylan book – we’ve tried (more than once) and failed with bringing another dog into the house, he just won’t have it. If we had land (it sounds as if you have – do you mind me asking whereabouts you’re writing from by the way?) then maybe, but at the moment he just guards the home and sees off all comers as if it’s all for his own personal private use only …

    all best wishes, Stephen

  88. Teagan A. says:

    Hi Stephen,
    I live in the Northern Territory in Australia and I’ve spent the last six years working on cattle stations. I love my job, I get to work with animals everyday and I have a lifestyle I would never get if I lived in a town or city. Most major towns are anything from 300km away from each other up here to about 550km so Vets are few and far between quite literally. We try and do our best animal health wise with what we know but sometimes there is nothing we can do especially if we don’t have the resources on hand. If you are an avid reader than I suggest tracking down a book called “The Middle of Nowhere” by Terry Underwood. She wrote it a few years ago now but it will give a bit of an idea of what things are like though these days we have television and internet and plenty of social events to keep any spare time we have busy. But having your own land would be a good thing. The traffic would be quieter for sure! Take care,

  89. Dear Stephen Foster,

    I am creating an anthology for The Animal Anthology Project (which benefits animal shelters and wildlife organizations), and was wondering if you could contribute to it. If you wrote a short piece for the anthology it would help so much. You could send in a short non-fiction piece about you and an animal experience of yours, or you could write an opinion piece. It could be basically any length- probably between 250 and 3500 words. 

    If you want to know more, you can see our website http://theanimalanthologyproject.yolasite.com/. 

    Thanks so much for considering this. I absolutely love your book, Walking Ollie.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to send me a bit of your writing!

    Thanks again,
    Christine Catlin


  90. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Christine, welcome to the blog, and good luck with your project. I’ll certainly get something to you for that.

  91. danielnice7 says:

    Hello Stephen,

    I’m a massive fan of your books about Stoke City, and as a Doncaster Rovers fan, I know how you feel!
    I am also interested in writing a book about my football experiences, and have seen most things at games even though I’m still relatively young at 25! I have been to more than 70 football league grounds, have started jotted some thoughts down and have just had a poem published on the Football Poets website so hopefully that’s a good base to build on.
    I just wondered if there’s any advice you could perhaps offer me about writing a book about football experiences? I think yours is really great and the structure is superb. If you have any tips that you’re willing to share, I’m on danielnice_2000@yahoo.co.uk
    Thanks for your time and all best wishes for the future.
    Here’s to another good season for Stoke and Donny 🙂


  92. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Dan, thanks for the kind words I really appreciate them & welcome to the blog. First things first – what will the book be about…

  93. danielnice7 says:

    Thanks for replying 🙂

    I have started to jot down all my memories of following Doncaster Rovers, from the Conference days to our current occupation of the Championship. Your book reads so well, and in many ways, it’d be a vice versa of your work as I’d be writing about going with my dad since I was around eight years old. We still go now, most weeks!
    So the book will be my account of following Rovers up and down the country – and I live in Leicester!

  94. Stephen Foster says:

    Sounds fine. The only advice I’d give is watch for clichés – they spring more easily to hand in football writing than in anything. NEVER say ‘the hallowed turf.’ : )

  95. danielnice7 says:

    Many thanks for that, it’s wise advice indeed! I have had a bit of a kick on recently and am now well past the 40,000 word mark. I reckon I have told about half of my story and it’s all actually taking shape, which I’m pleased about. I wondered, if it isn’t being too cheeky, if I could perhaps email you a small portion of it, to gauge your opinion?
    I found your email address on the Literary Fellowship website but didn’t want to just send it without explaining who I am or what it’s about! I appreciate you’re extremely busy, so absolutely no worries if you can’t.
    I have spoken to my old university lecturer (I studied journalism), who has some experience in publishing, and I know how difficult it can be to get an agent and submit a proposal that reads well, so want to make sure I’m on the right lines before targeting potential agents and publishers. As you have lots of experience and your books create exactly the style I hope mine does, it’d be great to find out what you think. If you don’t mind, of course 🙂

    Thanks for replying, it’s good of you 🙂


  96. Alan says:

    Dear Stephen,

    Thanks for linking to my blog, Tottenham On My Mind, much appreciated, although dredging through the slurry of endless Spurs matches and my precious anxiety must be a trial for you. Can’t think why you bother but I’m pleased you have.

    It’s far too much for my wife, who has never glanced at a single syllable, but she has read and thoroughly enjoyed your adventures with the dogs.

    Kind regards,


  97. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Alan, don’t self-deprecate your writing is the good stuff, keep it up. How funny that your wife has read Walking Ollie, it’s a felicitous old world online sometimes. Good luck against the Young Boys, I’ve always had a soft spot for Spurs (and for ‘Arry.) In fact, as as I was in the area, as it were, and as you could get a ticket, I took my girlfriend Trezza to see Spurs on a very early date – a European night match about ten years ago (was it Kaisersalauten?) – she asked why the crowd were singing ‘Come on you Spurts*’ when the team were called Tottenham.

    * Yes, that’s what she thought they were saying.

  98. Alan says:

    Thanks Stephen, your kind words mean a lot. It’s lonely out there in the blogosphere…

    Spurts could catch on. After all, we usually play in sudden fits and starts, bursts rather than consistency. Twas ever thus.

    I hope love blossomed during that shaky win, to think I looked on, somewhere high in the Paxton Road…



  99. ian deaville says:

    just started reading ‘walking ollie’. Love it. Im about 1/3 way through, its like an alternative story about my Saluki/Greyhound cross: Paddy. Just had to tell you I love it so far! Thanks. Ian.

  100. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Ian, hope you enjoyed it as much all the way to the end…

  101. Ann says:

    A friend gave me Walking Ollie because I have a lurcher/saliki cross with exactly the same temperament. I got her when she was about 2years old and it has taken 5 years for her to become a “proper” dog who wags her tail, greets other people (and now even me) and has even licked me – but everyone loves her to bits? She is essentially an outdoor dog, chases fur & feather and runs so elegantly, she is adorable! Our story is so like your tale with Ollie – thank you.

  102. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks for taking the time to find the blog Ann, it’s amazing that people are still reading and relating to Ollie three or four years after it first came out, I’m so glad you liked it.

    Are there any pictures of your dog?

  103. Amy Bracey says:

    Hi Stephen

    I am half way through ‘Walking Ollie’ and really enjoying it. It was a suprise to find from your references to Norwich, that we have actually met on a number of occasions. My husband and I used to live in Norwich and walked our saluki cross collie on mousehold ofetn seen with Rupert the liver spot dalmatian). I was always mesmerised by Ollies beauty, and I now gave a smooth saluki of my own who carries a similar story in terms of gaining his trust, but we had the added ineterest of him having been beaten in the past. He is now super but the ears are only for decoration of course! We lost our dear Holly in October and now have a saluki cross whippet with a few hang ups that we are working on.

    I have posted on my facebook page that all dog owners should read Walking Ollie as I have so many of the same views as you on certain types of owner. I really sturggle with how unsympathetic people can be towards odd or neurotic behaviour in a dog. The saluki is a difficult breed to handle, a rescue saluki is even more difficult. It frustrates me that people do not take the time to listen to you say that you are working on the behavioural issues, they immediatle label you as being an irresponsible dog owner and boy do they put the word around!

    Still 10 months on when they see a nicely mannered contented dog I hope they take back their words!

    Sorry for the rant. Thank you so much for making me realise that I am not alone in weird dog ownership and for writing such a super, funny and from the heart book. I will finish it tonight and look forward to reading Along came Dylan, and having met them both can picture them better!

  104. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Amy, welcome to the blog … so glad you’re enjoying the book & thanks for taking the time to say so and to rant too 😉 & yes I do remember you and I remember Rupert (unusual name for a dog : ) too.

    Have you moved away, then?

    ps: and thanks for the facebook too.

  105. Amy Bracey says:

    Hi Stephen

    Thanks for your reply. Yes we have moved away, first to Oxford, where my husband trained for the priesthood. Holly being half saluki loved it here as it was posh enough for her! and now we are in Torquay. The beaches are only a few minutes away and so perfect saluki territory! I have been browsing your past blogs and read about you loosing Ollie, so sorry to hear that and at such a young age. Holly had the same bone cancer, do you know if it is a regular occurance in sighthounds?

    I think half of Devon are reading your books at the moment, hopefully you might see an increase in sales! I have finished Along came Dylan now and passed them onto an elderly chair bound lady who loves dogs, Jasper visits her as a PAT dog. The only problem I found with you books is that I am left feeling home sick for Norwich, still someday we may well be in the East again…

    Rupert is coming down to see us in a few weeks time, could be interesting with three large bouncy dogs in the house…

    All best wishes and love to Dylan


  106. mandy woolford pye says:

    stephen is that you its mandy from market drayton your books sound fantastic please get back to me if it is you would love to talk to you

  107. Stephen Foster says:

    Hello Mandy! Yes it is me ie your cousin. How are you? x

  108. Sarah Saunders says:

    Hello. Bizarrely found your blog when I googled images of biscuits and an image you had posted in 2008 came up. Was then taken by your handsome hounds and read on. The realised I had read your book a few years back. I have an Ollie look-i-like. (So sorry to read he is no longer with you) called Mitch ( Mitchell Stephen Davenport to be correct) who came from Evesham Lurcher rescue some 9 years ago. We have just been going though chemo and radiotherapy with him as he has had a very aggressive cancer, but it looks like we are going to have him for a few more years. Mitch has always been a very affectionate dog with us but is a total snob with strangers and sticks his nose in the air and walks away. He does no tricks, barely sits on command and ignores recall if something more interesting is going on. The best command he does (mostly) adhere to is ” WAIT” screamed at various decibels of panic. This seems to make him at least hesitate long enough for us catch up or for him to have a think about his actions. We call him our “special dog” as our other lurcher is at degree level compared to his year one of kindergarten level. I have to say I have more love for this dog then I can express. He takes up far too much room on the bed, snores and farts, ignores me when I talk to him and often just walks away in mid conversation……pretty similar to my husband but with softer ears !
    Would try to post a pic of Mitch but have no idea how. Anyway, thanks for the book, thanks for rescuing lurchers and bringing their plight to the fore

  109. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Sarah, welcome. What were you looking for biscuits for? Your comment is Walking Ollie in a paragraph! Mitch sounds quality – I’ll send you an email & if you can reply with a picture I’ll put you up as a guest post if that’s okay – I like this description and actually we haven’t had hounds so much lately…

  110. I loved Walking Ollie and bawled my eyes out (literally) when I found he’d died. I’ve had Salukis for most of my adult life so could so easily relate to your experiences. Now have a border collie cross (what a shock to the system!) but no whistle with different tones. Await the conception of a “little brother” for him from a breeder from whom I’ve had dogs before and who is giving us a puppy as long as it’s male (most people want bitches). Can’t wait to live with a hound again. Meanwhile my partner has read both your Ollie/Dylan books several times and enjoys them very much as he’s a first time dog owning gambling, football loving bloke.

  111. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Flick, welcome to the blog and thanks for the kind words, esp from your partner who sounds like a perfect chap [wink here] – I’ve just clicked over to your blog: good luck with your novel, I hope it finds a way into the world.

    all best wishes Sx

  112. Thanks Stephen. I’m keeping my fingers crossed (and toes as well!)
    Yep, Mic is a top bloke. He thought you were too, especially your descriptions of the Cheltenham Festival…

  113. Stephen Foster says:

    Cheltenham! the highlight of the year: Ahh … It won’t be long now.

    After Friday: Recession Proof: 16/1 e/w in the Supreme Novices…

  114. Ah yes, I remember it well last year, the queue to get into Ladbrokes stretched round the block and there was a party going on inside. Must be great to actually go there.

  115. June says:

    Apologies Stephen, my mistake. I asked a couple of days ago about more books on Ollie & Dylan, then read more posts… It’s great he lives on in your books and we all love them both. I lost my ‘soulmate’ Rocky (my sister’s dog) 2 yrs ago, who came out of Battersea Dog’s Home at 9 mos old. Shiny, black, half labrador, half Belgian shepherd (was thought), with puppy eyes – extremely handsome. He had his quirks and memories he never lost totally, but what a character; he loved doing things to make me laugh. We were both always heartbroken every time I had to leave to go back home. I was very lucky to have shared precious time with him again in his last days. If only they lived to a riper age, but then again, there’d be a lot more homeless.

  116. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks for the kind words June, I was going to come back to you on the other thread, but we’re all up to date now. I think about Ollie every day, he was a real blessing. They really get under your skin, don’t they: if I ever drive the estate without Dylan in the back it’s only a matter of time before I find myself checking the rear view to see why it’s so unnervingly quiet in the back…

    Run Free Rocky.

  117. Katharine Boyle says:

    I have recently rediscovered the joys of reading a “real” book and am currently half way through “Along Came Dylan”. I needed to know what you looked like to complete the pictures in my mind of the three of you walking along the sands at Winterton. A Google search led me here to your blog which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. I am not a writer of any description, nor am I an academic and I have never owned a Saulki BUT I am a dog lover and I am a people lover – both species fascinate me.
    I laughed so hard there were tears rolling down my face and I found it hard to breathe reading about Dylan’s antics as a puppy. Your ability to paint such realistic and enchanting pictures with words is phenomenal. Maybe too it’s because over the years I have shared my life with a staggering variety of canine friends all of whom have their own individual characteristics and foibles. I have never chosen a dog yet – they seem to find me one way or another. The fourteen years I spent with three rescue greyhounds was quite an eyeopener both on canine and human behaviour. Now I am blessed with four terrorists, sorry, terriers: a working lakeland who can leap over anything under ten foot tall, a norfolk terrier who digs more holes per hour than the most industrious of moles and loves nothing more than smearing her beautiful blonde coat in fox excrement, a miniature Yorkie who has delusions of granduer and who is currently recovering from a severly bitten ear having been put in his place after months of forebearance by the aforementioned Norfolk – and then there is Henry! Henry is a kleptomaniac Jack Russel whose foragings from our alledgedly secure back garden have included 9 terrecotta plant pot feet, a stone otter, an entire set of 8 green plastic solar garden lights and a grey satin thong!
    Thank you for your books and for reminding me just how pleasurable it is in this crazy world to slip away into the land of the raconteur.


  118. Stephen Foster says:

    Hi Katherine and welcome to the blog: what can I say after all that except, ‘Thank you very much!’ *bows low*

  119. Dianne says:

    “I am not a writer of any description” Kathy, I beg to differ! Your post had me laughing as much as “Walking Ollie” and “Along Came Dylan”. I could easily spend my life reading amusing doggy anecdotes, even though I live with the real thing in the form of an 18 month old border terrier, who shares certain characteristics with your Norfolk terrier. She too can dig for England and thinks fox poo as a hair product is the best thing since sliced bread, both in texture and perfume. She’s also convinced cat poo is a breath freshener and horse manure is good for the digestion. We’re hoping she grows out of it but won’t be holding our breath!

  120. Thanks to you Dianne – and Stephen – you both made me think and the result of the neurological workout is this: http://bseddogsandkids.wordpress.com/

  121. Hi Stephen,
    On the 5th June at Manor Heath Park in Halifax 12pm -4pm Lurcher Link are having their 1st ‘Family Fun Day/Dog Show’. The aim of the day is to raise the profile of sighthounds in rescue, giving the public the chance to see what they are really like and of course to raise much needed funding.
    If you’re interested or can help in anyway please email me or contact Kaye (Lurcherlass) or Fi (SirLurcherlot) direct via the website.
    Thanks, Lisa – a Lurcher Linker and owner of two beautiful sighthounds (one of which is a 1/4 Saluki and a rescue)

  122. Chris says:

    Lovely photograph. Please throw a treat to Ollie for me.

  123. David Stokes says:

    Hi Stephen. I take it you’ll be at Wembley this weekend. Fancy coming to speak to Sky News at our live point ahead of the match?

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