Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five minutes with Stephen Hewitt, 2012 Bloody Parchment finalist

A big welcome to Stephen Hewitt, whose story Kiss the Butcher's Daughter unsettled me quite a bit, which is why I reckon it deserved to be included in this year's SA HorrorFest Bloody Parchment anthology. But I'll leave it up to him to tell us a little more. 

What planted the seed for your story?

A deep love of bacon.
That, or the needle-like abdomen of a brain-injecting, story wasp.

What are some of the themes you treated in your tale?

Those themes that affected my dimly remembered school days: of boys generally regarding girls as silly one day, and rather more interesting the next; the sudden jump in sophistication and maturity that girls seem to show in advance of boys; and the general cruelty of schoolyard rumour, naivety and youth. Damn it, yeah, I was so bullied (sob). I still have no idea what girls think of boys. Should I ever find out, I know you will have me silenced…

What are the hallmarks of a great horror/dark fantasy author and story?

An aquiline profile, a ‘tache and the ability to look good smoking a pipe on the dust jacket. And that’s just La Femme Horrotica. Failing that, a great author can write something that’s about people first, and parasitical, blood-sucking tentacle-ness, second. I love a twist on reality. I’m not interested in brains exploding – unless it’s about to be my own.

It’s not about to be my own, is it?

How do you approach your creative process? 

Firstly I partake of the black lotus, Chimerae, Lovecraftia, that grows exclusively on those tundrous and necrotic slopes of The Mountains of Madness. Or, eschewing effusive adjectiva, I start off with as random a prompt as I can come up with. Then, I try and sit beside you as you read, and write as quickly, and as much off the top of my head, as I can. If I’m lucky, I get that feeling of reading a story as I write, and I’ll finish just before you do. In essence, I’m a reader in charge of the story factory. What fun. When it clicks, it’s 10% writing and then 90% editing. When it doesn’t click it’s 90% writing and then 90% editing.  

What are you working on now?

I’ve spent a while doing flash fiction, short stories and writing for computer games. I’m now trying to plan a novel, which feels like I’m stuffing a 40lb octopus into a ukulele case. Or reconstructing a Boeing 707 from a crash site: I have all these bits and no idea what happened, with enough junk left over for four other planes...

And a combine harvester.

And a tandem bicycle.

And a small collection of fondue forks.

(Yeah, like most of my fiction, it was a weird accident.)

Planning ‘large writing’ feels about as far from writing as I can imagine. I have multiple works in the offing to prevent my reader’s soul weeping thick, black tears of printer’s ink. Or is that Kindle pixels?
Ta, da.

Enough, already, I’m off for a bacon roll.

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