First up, you've a new book out - The Last Plague. Your debut novel, right? Can you say a little about it?
Thanks for inviting me over, Craig! Yes, it is indeed my debut novel. The Last Plague is about four old friends who, after a stag weekend, have to travel across the country and return home while Britain is ravaged by a viral epidemic, running and hiding from the infected mutations along the way. I know similar storylines have been done many times, but hopefully I’ve brought something new to it, and those infected by the mysterious plague have a very ‘The Thing’-like quality to them (the John Carpenter film, not the Fantastic Four character!). Lots of tentacles, tendrils and squirming, glistening appendages…
How long did it take you to write?
About two years overall, as I took a long break from it because of sheer laziness. My work ethic has improved since then, I’d like to think!
Can you say a bit about your writing process? Are you a planner, do you go with the flow, do you wear slippers?
I plan a little bit and try to think of some scenes and ideas. I have a notepad in which I jot down ideas, rough chapter outlines and plot-points. But if I plan too much it sort of takes away the fun of writing, I’ve found.
Do you have any advice for writers chasing that first book deal?
Just keep writing and work hard. Ignore the negative voices and the self-doubt. Write what you want to write.
What about the future? Is there a second novel in the offing?
I’ve no plans for a sequel to The Last Plague, but I have a novella titled ‘Black Star, Black Sun’ currently under consideration with some publishers, so hopefully something will come of that.
Do you have any favourite writers, or writers who have proved an inspiration for you?
Crikey, too many! Writers like David Moody, Wayne Simmons and Adam Millard have been great inspirations to me, and have given me some priceless advice and encouragement. Also, I’m a massive fan of Adam Nevill, Gary McMahon, Conrad Williams, Tim Curran, Laird Barron, MR James and HP Lovecraft. Is that enough?
People always talk about publication, and forget the actual bones beneath a good story. What, for you, is the important stuff about telling a good story?
Boobs and guns? Nah, just kidding. For me, complex, well-written characters will keep a meandering plot interesting. But there has to be some meat on a plot’s bones, too. Something for the readers to get their teeth into. It’s about finding a balance between characters and story, and if you can do that it’s a great skill.
Rich Hawkins' Blog
Back Cover Copy from Amazon for The Last Plague:
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.
***Buy at a retailer of your choice...but here's a link to Amazon US and UK, just in case... ;)***
The Last Plague on Amazon US
The Last Plague on Amazon UK
Also available direct from the source, Crowded Quarantine Publications, who produce a fine looking book...
Crowded Quarantine Publications
And, finally, thanks Rich...and love you! x