Author Interview: James Hutchings

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Hy guys,
I had my first great author interview and I’m totally excited about it and I hope you’ll enjoy it. Now I proudly want to introduce you the author of ‘The New Death and othersJames Hutchings!

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(© goodreads)

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…..“Thanks for having me on your blog.
        And hi everyone.” 

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* Brief Introduction:  James Hutchings

I’m currently in the process of enrolling in a graduate writing course. Other than writing, my main hobby is coding online games. I spent several years writing an online game called Age of Fable (www.ageoffable.net). I don’t have any plans to do more on it, but it’s still online, and you can play it for free. I’ve also done a few smaller projects. For example I did an online version of the computer game Oregon Trail.

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Martina: Let’s begin with your book, can you tell me a few things about ‘The New Death and others’?

James: It’s a collection of stories and poems, 63 pieces in all. It’s only a bit over 41,000 words in total, so most of them are quite short. Most of the stories are fantasy, but there’s some ‘general fiction’ in there as well. The style ranges from funny to very grim. I’m much more influenced by older writers like Tolkien and Robert E Howard. In fact I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter, Twilight or Game of Thrones series, or most other popular modern fantasy authors.

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Martina: Where did you get the idea for it, where did it all begin?

James: I did a Bachelor of Arts majoring in creative writing and media, but I didn’t do anything with it after graduating. Years later I created a fantasy city called Teleleli or Telelee as a background for role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Once I finished I realised there wasn’t any demand for it. My ex suggested I write stories instead, and that’s how I got started.

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Martina: How did you create your main characters in the different stories, are they based on anyone?

James: No, not at all. I think of plots first, and fit the characters into that, rather than thinking of characters and then writing what happens to them.

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Martina: What do you love the most about your novel? What was the hardest part?

James: I like the story ‘The God of the Poor’, and individual sections of some of the poems, for example

Down in the dark, down in the dark
down in the rock and slime
away from light and human sight
and sanity and time.
(which is from ‘Under the Pyramids’.)

There wasn’t anything particularly hard, although of course it requires a lot of hours, and there are minor frustrations when I wrote something that wasn’t as good as I hoped and so didn’t go in the final product. I think a lot of writers make out that writing is a lot more painful than it really is.

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Martina: Who created the cover for you? Did you have any influence on the cover?

James: I put the cover together myself. The picture is by a dead Mexican artist called Jose Posada, and is in the public domain.

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Martina: What do you think is the best and what’s the worst thing about being a writer?

James: I find writing very satisfying, especially when I finish something. The worst thing is the lack of money.

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Martina: How was your trip through writing and publishing so far? How long did it take from writing the book till the release date?

James: Since I self-published on Smashwords and Amazon, it was only a few days from when I finished writing to when it was released.
I think nowdays it isn’t so much “how do I get published?”, but “how do I make sure I don’t publish something bad?” and “how do I get anyone to notice my work among thousands of other writers?”

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Martina: Do you have any guidelines or suggestions for new writers?

James: Nowadays anyone can self-publish. If you can make a Word document, you can have an ebook on Smashwords or Amazon. However that means that if your work is no good, no one’s going to stop you. I’d recommend that people get onto Critique Circle (www.critiquecircle.com) and/or Scribophile (www.scribophile.com), put their work up, and listen to what people tell you. Don’t ‘defend’ your work against people’s ‘attacks’. They aren’t attacks, they’re helping you. I’ve found that the people who defend their work have a strong tendency to have the worst writing, I suppose because they’re not making the changes they need to make.

My next point doesn’t matter if you’re going to self-publish, but it is important if you want to be published by a regular publisher, or if you want to submit stories to magazines. Most places won’t publish work that’s already been published. And most places count putting a story on the internet as publishing it. In my opinion that’s silly, but that’s what they do. Scribophile and Critique Circle are exceptions, because google doesn’t index them and you can’t see any stories without logging on. However there are writing group websites out there where, if you put a story on the site, that counts as the story being published. That seems like a really terrible way to set things up, but they’re out there.

I’d also say that getting a book out isn’t the final step. It’s just the start of the work of self-promotion. This is true even if you’re not self-publishing: I’m told that authors are expected to pretty much arrange their own book signings and so on (if you just want to have a book out to show family and friends then this doesn’t matter, of course).

There are a lot of sharks out there, who make their money from authors and not from readers. They will make all sorts of promises about how they’re going to promote you and help you, but these are lies. Authors do not pay publishers, ever, and if they’re asking you to pay then it’s a scam. Of course if you’re self-publishing you might end up paying someone to design a cover for you, or you might pay for internet advertising, but those are different things. You might also pay a printer to print your books if you want to get physical books rather than ebooks – but in this age of the kindle and print-on-demand I don’t know why you’d want to. Preditors and Editors (www.pred-ed.com) is a good website to look at, and you can get good advice at the forums of Critique Circle.

Finally, I’d suggest learning to touch-type if you can’t already. You’re going to be doing a lot of typing, and every hour you spend getting faster at typing will save you ten in the long run.

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Martina: Do you listen to music while writing or do you prefer to write in silence? If ‘yes’ which music or bands do you hear?

James: I find music distracting when I’m writing.

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Martina: What should we expect from you in the future? Do you have any new projects under construction?

James:  The main thing I’m working on right now is a poem set in the old West, called ‘Confession of a Bounty Hunter’.

I’ve been encouraged to write a novel set in the fantasy city of Telelee, which is the setting of a few of the stories in ‘The New Death and others’. I have a lot of background for this world, because I blog every day (http://www.apolitical.info/teleleli) and most of it is setting detail. I also have a half-finished novel called ‘All-American Detectives’, which is a combination of a detective story and a story about superheroes, which I’ll probably come back to in the future.

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Martina: What do you prefer to read in your spare time? What is your favorite genre or author or book?

James: I mostly read fantasy, and it tends to short stories rather than novels and older writers. Here are some of my favourite stories:

HP Lovecraft, The Doom That Came to Sarnath
Robert E Howard, The Tower of the Elephant
Clark Ashton Smith, The Garden of Adompha
Franz Kafka, Jackals and Arabs
Ursula Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

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James – Thank you sooo much for the interview. I’m very glad that I had you on my blog and and I wish you all the best for the future!

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Visit his Website: » click here »

Go here to the German Review: »»

Go here to the English Review: »»

(© goodreads)

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……You can buy the ebook on:

……* Amazon:                 ‘click here’

……*  Smashwords:       ‘click here’

……* Barnes & Noble:   ‘click here’

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