Craig Hallam is one of my favorite new authors. I read his collection of short stories Not Before Bed while I was on vacation this year. I completely loved all the differences: some felt more horror, some were more science fiction or urban fantasy with a horror bent, so I am excited to have him on the blog this week.
What inspired you to write you in the first place?
I’ve always been an avid reader. I love anything Speculative Fiction and the worlds it creates. I think that’s where I got bitten by the bug. I wanted to create something as fantastic and exciting as my favourite authors.
What have you learned as a writer? What is the hardest part of being a writer?
I think the most important lesson to learn is that writing is a craft. While you may be able to knock out something of novel length in a relatively short time (as I’m seriously envious that soem people can do), the story still isn’t ready. It’s about the refining, the tightening, making every image and cahracter as vivid as they can be. Diggin up the ore is the easy part, making it into steel takes the time. But the hardest part of being a writer, I think, is the self-promotion. I’m pathetically modest by nature and I hate selling myself. Getting my work out on Twitter or my blog, even submitting to publications, is the hardest part for me.
I remember seeing somewhere that you are also a nurse–but now I can no longer find that bit of information–so if it is wrong then how has your day job: affected your writing? (Yes, folks, this is exactly how I asked the question.)
I think that being a nurse has certainly helped the way I see people. Everyone is just a collection of nuances and insecurities, most evident when we’re ill. I’ve become pretty good at picking apart people’s psyches for the sake of helping them get to the root of their problems and I think that comes out in my own characters. Apart from that, the anatomy is great for when I write horror hahaha
I know you have also been published in New Horizons as well as Murky Depths, how does writing a single short story compare to writing a whole collection?
My collection, Not Before Bed, has been a culmination of three years of work, really. Each story was written in isolation to the rest, from a different page in my overflowing notebook, and so they’re all very different. Compiling them into a collection with a point and a flow was incredibly hard. That mix of dark and funny, long and short, was a real challenge.
How did you decide on which short stories to put in your collection?
I essentially picked the best ones hahaha The first edition of Not Before Bed had some questionable content that wasn’t very good but was there for bulk. The newer, scarier edition has lots of new material and the chaff has been trimmed, shall we say? Those newer stories have come at the end of a three year learning curve where I’m a lot more confident int he images I’m producing and the point of my stories. While some of the earlier works were changed slightly for publications, many of the stories in NBB are undoubtedly me (which is scary, really hahaha).
What are you reading right now?
I’m working through Terry Pratchett’s Snuff I always loved Pratchett’s work and this is a return to one of my favourite characters so i couldn’t pass it up.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love Pratchett’s humour, Stephen King’s attention to detail, Nick Hornby’s ease of reading and Chuck Palahniuk’s hard-hitting and ingenious stories. My all time favourite book, however, has to be the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake.
What is your next project?
Well, my debut novel, Greaveburn, is currently going through edits, so that’s what I’m focussing on right now. My editors at Inspired Quill Publishing are really great people to work with and very supportive. The novel is a gothic fantasy with Steampunk elements. It’s been a labour of love for me for a few years now and seeing it on shelves later this year is going to be an incredible experience. Hope you get to read it!
Not Before Bed: http://www.amazon.com/Not-Before-Bed-ebook/dp/B0050O835K