Name Paul S Huggins
Where are you from
Originally I hail from a small village in Cambridgeshire called Warboys. The village is famous for a particularly controversial case of witchcraft which concluded with the execution of three of the last witches in England. The rich history fueled my love of all things ethereal.
From there I moved to Cambridge, then relocated to Suffolk. Having a love of town life, I now live in a busy area of Ipswich. Rich again but in diversity and multiculturalism. All good fuel for inspiration.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have recently finished a short novel that I have tentatively entitled ‘Rabid Dawn’. Its intended to be the first of a trilogy. Normally I self-publish my work but this time I have taken the leap and submitted it to an Indie publisher.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I used to write short stories in the late nineties, back then it was a hard slog as the internet was still in its infancy for publishing, I submitted to a few magazines but was never accepted. Fast forward to about 2010 and I got into the writings of David Moody, he showed me the way so to speak.
I self-published my first novel ‘Beyond Isaiah’ back in 2012, it was a fantastic learning experience. I have since published a further 5 short story collections and a short run of a supernatural magazine.
My personal friend, Darren Barker, also approached me for help and I have been doing a lot of his technical work as well.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
At some point after the first book was out, and after my first convention, ‘Autumn: Horror in the East’. I rubbed shoulders with many other writers and realized I did finally fit in to something, it’s a tight community, particularly in the independent genre circle.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to tell my story, still do, who would have known it would be a zombie book!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to tell the story, all my stories are UK based as I use a great deal of what I know, my applied knowledge, makes it easier on the research and can concentrate on painting the picture.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Homage and Fandom really, George A Romeros ‘Dawn of the Dead’ was a big inspiration, not for the latest story, so I want the trilogy to have ‘Dawn’, ‘Day’ and ‘Night’ in the title. And ‘Rabid’ for the obvious viral subject.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No they are just stories to entertain…hopefully!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of it to a certain extent, I draw from places I know and experiences I have had, theres also inspiration from movies and tv from the early eighties.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Fireweed by Jill Paton Waslsh, as a teen it peaked my interest in the post apocalyptic. More recently The Day of the Triffids by John Wymdham and Autumn by David Moody. As for mentors I have been lucky that early on I had good relationships with Iain McKinnon and David Moody, I also became good friends with Joseph Freeman who helped me hone the craft.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t really have a firm favourite, someone I met some years ago has gone on to great things, Rich Hawkins, we met at the first ‘Autumn: Horror in the East’ His books are really enjoyable. My Bookshelf holds mostly recent authors. Many of note include all the aforementioned friends and mentors. Others include Sean Page, Adam Millard and Darren Barker. I have friends across the pond too, Matt Darst, Richard M Cochran and Dee Christensen, and man who I have met and struck up a great relationship with, his poetry is superb.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I’m a bit of a solitary person, the ‘Autumn: Horror in the East’ Convention in Lowestoft has probably been the most supportive arena.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to, I would like to have more time to fully immerse myself in my stories.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Finish it sooner! As any writer knows it is very hard to say ‘Its done’, they never feel completed.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I can be good with words, and found to keep my memories turning them into a story helped, I can look back at a story and it reminds me what was going on at the time of its writing. I feel memory is a finite resource.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
In a small Easy Anglian village, during a storm of the century, a virus is unleashed. Its carriers could be on your street, in your garden, even in your living room.
The best way to undermine any society is from the inside. This was the cold war ethos, one that went on to remanufacture a virus previously wiped out of the UK. Its aim was to infect the animal life of the enemy, so turning it on its own masters. A strain of Rabies with 100% infection rate and 100% mortality. Mothballed for decades the deadly secret has finally emerged with speed and virulence.
One man is able to tackle the virus head on. A man whose fitness, knowledge and previous military experience would be tested to the full.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Trying not to repeat myself, and finding names. One draft I did had a family of three, John, Jo and Justin, I have a habit of picking ‘J’ names initially, God bless ‘Remove and Replace’
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Sadly no, because I work from memories its mostly where I have travelled. I would like to because all experiences add to inspiration.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Early on I did it myself with the use of photoshop and createspace designed ones, later books were designed by a talented artist called Dave Mickolas of Universal Book Covers, he did a great job.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time, always.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Always learning and honing.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
An English Clint Eastwood would be great for the latest work. A middle aged gamekeeper, with previous military experience.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write! Simple as that, people ask me how do you start, take it to basics and just write.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope they enjoy my stories, I appreciate each and every person that purchases and reads one of my books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jamaica Inn by Du Maurier, I like to try other styles.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was Robin Hood and his merry men, the original copy from turn of the century, it’s a fantastic story that is really an epic that follows his entire life as opposed to the exciting parts they use in the movies.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Loneliness makes me cry, bit ironic as I write better alone. Now you all have this image of me bawling while I type. My daughter staying over is always my happiest time, a time when I am most likely to laugh.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
John Wymdham, love to spend hours sitting in a quintessensual English garden discussing his inspiration for books such as day of the triffids and the midwych cuckoos.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Full name, all dates, all children. Just to make it easier in the future when my ascendants are researching their family tree!!!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Back to the previous question, my family tree which is always growing with some streams back to the 1500’s. I still watch lots of movies, love the countryside.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Horror, always Horror, I also like 80s sit coms.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
When it comes to music I’m eclectic depending on my mood, lots of rock, anarco punk, punk, so many. Green is my colour of the moment but it changes. As for food I love a good old fully loaded English fry up.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Librarian, I love books.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I’m terrible at keeping it up to date, http://paulshuggins.weebly.com/
Amazon Authors Page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-S.-Huggins/e/B0079MRWFI/?tag=smarturl-gb-21