Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 21: Among the Stacks with Rich Hawkins


Rich is an amazing and talented guy.  I absolutely love his work, and he's definitely an author I recommend to people asking me for suggestions on what to read next.  


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Rich!  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Rich Hawkins:
Quite a bit!  I've had several novellas, short stories, and a novel published.  Been really busy, but that's the way I prefer it!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are you outside of writing?


Rich Hawkins:
I’m a stay-at-home dad and house husband, taking care of my three year old daughter and two dogs while my wife works a day job. It’s pretty chaotic, but I manage to fit some writing in when I can. Aside from that, I’m just an average bloke who likes beer, pizza, crisps, cheese, and horror films. I’m pretty keen on zombies too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about your friends and close relatives reading your work?

Rich Hawkins:
I used to get nervous about them reading my work, but now I’m fine with it. I’ve got nothing to hide, haha!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Rich Hawkins:
I think it’s neither, to be honest. I don’t really look at writing in a ‘romantic’ sort of way, or give it any ‘special’ relevance in my life. It’s what I want to do, and I love being a writer, but at the end of the day it’s just a job and there are more important things in life.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Rich Hawkins:
I watched a lot of horror and sci-fi films when I was younger, which heavily influenced me and still do now. I grew up in the countryside, so there were always old stories and myths about haunted woods and buildings. Proper folk horror. I’ve always found the English countryside, especially in winter, very evocative.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Rich Hawkins:
The mating habits of jellyfish – and I didn’t even use the research, in the end. Waste of time…

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Rich Hawkins:
The middle part of a novel or novella is always a slog for me, especially if I’m already struggling with the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you outline?  Do you start with characters or plot?  Do you just sit down and start writing?  What works best for you?

Rich Hawkins:
I outline, mostly; I find it difficult to just start writing without a plan of where I’m going. I need some structure to the story before I write the words.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Rich Hawkins:
I go with them, if I have to.  There's not much other choice.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Rich Hawkins:
I just sit down and get on with it.  That's all you can do.  Motivation is fickle, so I have to put in the work regardless.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you an avid reader?

Rich Hawkins:
Yes, very much so.  I try to read as much as I can, when I can find the time.  I love books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Rich Hawkins:
Apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic books are my favourite.  I'm fascinated with the end of the world, in a weird way.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Rich Hawkins:
I wish there were more.  If it brings attention to the source material, it's all good.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Rich Hawkins:
Yes, a few times.  Always good to surprise the reader!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Rich Hawkins:
Yes, totally.  That's the point of horror - and *if* they survive, the suffering makes their victory all the greater.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that you've ever come up with?

Rich Hawkins:
That would be Doctor Ridings, the main antagonist in my new novella ‘Maniac Gods’. I can’t say much about him, but he’s a very… uh, interesting character. At least I hope he is…

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best piece of feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Rich Hawkins:
I’ve had good feedback from some of my literary heroes, who were gracious enough to read some of my work, and each time it made my day. It feels like literary vindication, somewhat. The worst would be the time a reviewer said they would never read my books again because I kill off too many characters.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to you?

Rich Hawkins:
I prefer to think of them as readers – ‘fans’ makes me sound like a pop star – and they’re awesome for reading my work in the first place. They’re very supportive, too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Rich Hawkins:
It would probably be Barlow, the vampire from Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot. I’d love to delve into his background and past, and see him throughout history.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Rich Hawkins:
I can't answer that - there are far too many I'd love to take a go at!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Rich Hawkins:
Damn, there are quite a few writers I’d like to work with. If I had to pick, it’d be awesome to write a post-apocalyptic novel with one of my literary heroes, David Moody.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Rich Hawkins:
My novella ‘Maniac Gods’ is released on 28th October, published by the Sinister Horror Company. Aside from that, I’m waiting to hear from a publisher to see if they’re interested in my novel ‘The Cold’. Also, I’m currently working with writer William Holloway on a pair of cosmic horror novellas. After that, we’ll see!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (STaLKeR links.)

Rich Hawkins:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview or the last?

Rich Hawkins:
Just that I really appreciate the support of my fellow writers and readers.  And thanks to the people who read my books!


About the author:
Rich Hawkins hails from deep in the West Country, where a childhood of science fiction and horror films set him on the path to writing his own stories.  He credits his love of horror and all things weird to his first viewing of John Carpenter's THE THING.  His debut novel, THE LAST PLAGUE, was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel in 2015.  The sequel, THE LAST OUTPOST, was released in the summer of 2015.  The final novel in the trilogy, THE LAST SOLDIER, was released in March 2016.

About the books:
A pestilence has fallen across the land.  Run and hide.  Seek shelter.  Do not panic.  The infected WILL find you.
            When Great Britain is hit by a devastating epidemic, four old friends must cross a chaotic, war-torn England to reach their families.  But between them and home, the country is teeming with those afflicted by the virus - cannibalistic, mutated monsters whose only desires are to infect and feed.
            THE LAST PLAGUE is here.

The sequel to the British Fantasy Award-nominated novel, THE LAST PLAGUE.  THE LAST OUTPOST continues to chronicle the events as a devastating epidemic reduces the UK to an infected wasteland.
            Great Britain has fallen to the Plague and the war is lost.  The few people left alive scavenge in the desolation of a ruined country.  A lone man wanders the ravaged land, looting houses for food and hiding from the monstrous infected.  Guilt-ridden for failing to save his family, there is nothing left for him but memories of the old world - until hope is whispered in a radio transmission promising safety and shelter from across the North Sea.  He joins a group of disparate survivors and heads for the coast in search of transport and salvation.  His last chance to make amends.  But will they survive the journey, hunted by the infected and the desperate men who stalk the land?  Will they find sanctuary at... THE LAST OUTPOST?

Her name is Florence, and she did not cry when the world ended.
            Two years after Great Britain is devastated by an alien virus, a young girl and her ex-military guardian are drawn back to the mainland for reasons only known to the dark gift inside her head.  It's a gift neither she nor the old soldier trusts entirely, and their hope is to obey its call into the wastelands.  But is it a blessing or a curse?  And will it deliver salvation or lead them to death?

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