Name Rich Hawkins
Where are you from?
Salisbury, Wiltshire, in the south of England.
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I was born and raised in a small village in Somerset, before moving to Salisbury a few years ago. I live with my wife, daughter, and pet dog. We’re moving back to Somerset very soon. I had an unremarkable education and wasn’t very good at school. I’m the youngest of three siblings. I write horror stories.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My next novel ‘The Last Soldier’ is due for release on March 19th.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing ‘seriously’ a few years ago and managed to get a few short stories published in various anthologies before I decided to write longer works like novels and novellas. I’d wanted to be a writer since school, but I never had the discipline to keep at it, but eventually my wife gave me the confidence to give it a go, and since then I haven’t looked back. Now I write every day. It’s like an addiction, in a way.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my debut novel ‘The Last Plague’ was published. That was a good moment.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had so many ideas inside my head, waiting to escape, that I didn’t have a choice. I had to write it. Also, I’m a massive fan of apocalyptic films and books, so it seemed that writing about the end of the world was a good idea.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not particularly, but I try to keep my prose succinct and not too ‘flowery’.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Sometimes a title just announces itself in my head; other times it’s not so easy, but usually something eventually pops up.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not especially. My main aim is to entertain my readers. But if they find a message of some kind in my books, that’s cool.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I’d hope that my characters’ personalities, weaknesses, strengths, and reactions to the dangers they face are realistic. The stuff about virus-infected humans mutating into mutated monsters, not so much.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Occasionally I might use a snippet of real life in a story, but I try not to, to be honest.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and his novels have influenced me a lot. Also, HP Lovecraft’s stories, with their theme of cosmic horror, have been a big inspiration to me. Of the contemporary writers in the horror community, David Moody has offered me invaluable advice, and he’s a great role-model to younger writers just starting out in this business.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. It’s very good, so far.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are so many emerging writers in the indie horror scene at the moment that I’d be here all day listing them all. So I’ll mention a few who’ve really impressed me – Duncan P Bradshaw, Daniel Marc Chant, JR Park, Benedict Jones, Paul M Feeney, Kit Power, William Holloway and Thomas Brown.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently writing a novella that’s due for release later this year. Also I’m working on a short story for an anthology.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The community of writers on Facebook has been very supportive, as it is to all writers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, definitely. Part-time, at least, as I’m a ‘house husband’ and I stay home to look after my infant daughter. Writing’s more than a hobby.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really. Not that I think it’s perfect, which it isn’t by far. I just hope it’s a good story.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I watched a lot of science fiction and horror films when I was younger (I still do), so I think they inspired me to start writing stories of my own.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
It’s a novella set several months after southern England is evacuated and becomes a ‘quarantine zone’. A meteorite shower brought an alien ‘blight’ to the south and infected the land itself, spreading the disease to animals and eventually humans, killing them. The protagonist is a father who travels back into the quarantine zone to find his son.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting started each day is my biggest hurdle. Once I do get started, the writing usually goes fine, but sometimes the motivation is lacking first thing in the morning.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My current favourite authors are David Moody, Adam Nevill and Stephen King. They’re just fantastic writers, and masters of their trade.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really. I attend a few conventions each year, but nothing outside of the UK as of yet.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Adam Millard designed the covers for the ‘Plague’ trilogy. He’s the head honcho at Crowded Quarantine Publications, who published the books. He’s one talented bloke, and a great writer too.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The ending of ‘The Last Plague’ was quite difficult to write, because I was trying to make it as ‘epic’ as possible. I hope it turned out okay for readers.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt that writing a novel is very hard work, and demands a lot of patience.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Work hard, develop a thick skin, and be stubborn. Never give up. Also, everyone gets bad reviews, so when you get one – and you will – it’s not the end of the world.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want to tell them a good story, and entertain them.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ by C.S Lewis
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Surreal comedy makes me laugh. I cry mostly when I see animals in pain or being mistreated.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Stephen King. He’s a legend. I imagine he’s a good laugh, too, and pretty humble despite being the most famous horror writer on the planet.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
‘A decent bloke. Tried his best. Messed up a few times.’
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Reading books and eating cheese. I also like going for walks with my family.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Walking Dead, The X-Files, The Office. Anything that’s well-written, really. My favourite films are The 13th Warrior, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Dawn of the Dead (2004). Great films.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favourite foods are cheese, pizza, and crisps. I don’t have a favourite colour, although black is pretty cool. My choices of music are pretty varied, from doom metal to classical.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
An artist/illustrator. But I’m not very good at painting or drawing, unfortunately…
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, it’s called WRITER IN THE DARK: The Blog of Writer Rich Hawkins.