Welcome! I’m Steele Alexandra Douris, an author, artist, and Victorianist perpetually in transit between Northern California and South Texas. I’m a PhD candidate in the English department at Stanford University. My first nonfiction book, Spirits, Seers, and Séances: Victorian Spiritualism, Magic, and the Supernatural, is forthcoming with Llewellyn in September 2023. I write about Victorian crime, sensation, and spiritualism; the Gothic in its manifold forms; and the intersection of myth, spiritual practice, and the creative process.
Before graduate school, I studied anthropology with a focus in archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin; I adored my major, which allowed me to participate in a Central Texas archaeological dig, sit in the dark observing the nocturnal behavior of mouse lemurs (the world’s smallest primates!), and work with fossils and human skeletons. After graduation, I moved across the country to enter the PhD program in English at Stanford. I hold an MA in English from Stanford, and I’m currently in the final stages of writing my doctoral dissertation, which is about women, crime, and forensics in three genres of Victorian popular fiction: the gothic novel, sensation fiction, and the detective story. As a researcher, I’m most in my element digging through Victorian newspapers and perusing accounts of centuries-old mysteries and scandals.
Once I set aside my research for the day, I write fiction and poetry. I particularly enjoy fantasy, historical fiction, and gothic horror, but I’m a deeply omnivorous writer and I’ll try any genre once. As a visual artist, I work with both digital and traditional mediums. I have a particular taste for fantasy illustration, worldbuilding, and creature and character design.
My research, my creative writing, and my visual arts practice are intertwined throughout my work. The research that I do for my dissertation doubles as inspiration for my historical fiction. The characters I weave into my stories also appear on the pages of my sketchbooks. Much of my work, across mediums, springs from my fascination with mythology, folklore, and the modern goddess and neopagan movements. To write Spirits, Seers, and Séances, I drew on years of research into 19th century spiritualism and the Victorian gothic.
Spirits, Seers, and Séances will be released on September 8, 2023, and it is available for preorder now. You can find it at many independent bookstores and all major retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, and Llewellyn.
I’m also available by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org