The New Death and Others is an ebook of 44 short stories and 19 poems. It is mostly dark fantasy, but I also found some humor within its pages. I found the book to be full of fresh ideas and I'm honored that James asked me to read this. It's definitely one of those books that will get overlooked, but I feel it deserves a better spot than the back burner. Delightfully morbid.
I give it:
James Hutchings, author of The New Death and Others lives in Melbourne, Australia. He's had a few stories published in places like Daily Science Fiction, fiction365 among others. He was nice enough to do the following interview:
What was your inspiration as you were writing this book (or a particular story in your book that really means something to you)?
Some ideas just pop into my head, without me knowing where the idea comes from. An example of that is a recent poem I wrote, called 'Angel Square', about a square where angels take the place of pigeons. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go, and write down ideas as they occur to me. I don't think I have more or better ideas than anyone else, but people who don't write don't bother putting their idle thoughts down. Other ideas come from experiences in my life. For example a while ago I found three injured birds in the space of a few weeks. I took all of them to the local vet. As I was carrying one of them, I thought that the woman at reception might wonder where I was finding all these injured birds, and that was the inspiration for my story 'Lost, Feral or Stray'. I've written a lot about cats, based on having been a cat owner.Of course other fiction is a big inspiration. In some cases it's obvious. I've done poems directly based on stories by HP Lovecraft and other writers for example. In other cases it's more subtle: for example the city of Teleleli or Telelee is partly based on Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar, partly on Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork, and partly on Port Blacksand in the Fighting Fantasy series. the dialogue in Lord of the Rings had a big influence on how my characters talk.
Any other books or projects that you are currently undertaking?
I'm working on a verse version of 'A Princess of Mars'. This is a science fiction adventure story, now in the public domain, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who's more famous for Tarzan. Disney is also doing a movie of it, called 'John Carter', but that's not why I chose it. I generally work on several things at the same time, so I'm also in the middle of a few short stories and poems. 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.
Any advice to future authors?
Nowdays 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 (http://www.critiquecircle.com/) and/or Scribophile (http://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 (http://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.
Who is your favorite author and is you writing style similar to theirs?
At the moment it's probably Lord Dunsany. My writing style is quite similar, particularly in using abstract ideas like Fame and Justice as characters.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
And what is a better way to kick off Creepmas than with a giveaway?
I love the cover!
That's right! You have a chance to win this ebook... think of it as an early Creepmas Christmas present from yours truly. To enter, just be a Follower Minion (new minions are ok too) of this blog and leave a comment under this post. Be sure that I have some way to contact you in case you win. This giveaway will be open until December 12th and I will announce the winner on the last day of Creepmas.