And now the only gentleman of the lot! From the depths of England once again, please welcome L.J. Hick!
Where do you live and write from?
I live in Warwickshire in England and I write only when I am at home.
Why do you write?
I write because I love it. I have loved reading books ever since I can remember and I always wanted to write regularly, whether that comprised of a novel, short story, review or blog. Writing allows me to express myself through my stories.
When did you start writing?
I started writing back in school. Strangely, it dropped off a little when I was studying A level English. That might be because my writing time was filled up with assignments and projects from a slightly overzealous English teacher. I did not start to write an actual complete novel until 2012 when I suddenly had more time to do so.
What genre(s) do you write?
It would be easy to say science fiction and leave it at that. The truth is that I write across various genres. Sci-fi, horror, humour and mystery would probably cover most of my writing, but I like to think that I cover a much broader range than that. Some people stick with one particular genre and that is probably a wise thing to do. When people mention horror, I always think of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Fans of one genre will almost certainly look for writers specializing in that area. Despite the advantages of specialization, I find myself moving from one genre to another. For instance, Last Days began as a purely fictional reworking of history and then developed into a science fiction fantasy with comedic tones. Atom, on the other hand, is a mystery/ horror novel.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I feel that my strength as a writer is my sense of humour and understanding of history. I think that the more you write, the more you learn. I have a very good editor in Nigel Dean, who takes great delight in ripping some parts of my books to shreds and praising other parts. I think that is what you need as a writer. Someone to give an honest appraisal of your work. I also like to think I have an eye for detail, which helps when developing a plot across a series.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal is to make just enough money to spend my days writing on a laptop on a beach in the south of England. I would really like to see one of my books on the television or at the cinema as well. I have read and digested all the material about marketing I can find, and hopefully, this will help. I also try to make every book better than the last one and different to all the other works out there. I believe that the best way of improving your craft is to practice it continually and listen to the advice of people you respect.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Read your text aloud to yourself. The biggest single thing I had a problem with was editing and continuity. When you read your own work, you are somehow blind to all the silly errors and omissions you make. Read it aloud to yourself and you will pick these things up. You might feel a little strange at first, but you soon get used to it, despite the strange looks from the wife.
What is your story around the Battle of Hastings about? How did you come up with the idea?
It is about a young man called Thomas who is befriended by an older man called Kauko as they march with Harold’s army. Kauko is intent on protecting Thomas above all else and Thomas has no idea why. The story is linked to the appearance of Halley’s comet that year. At the time people would have attached great significance to the appearance of a comet, as indeed they do today. The idea that human life is mapped out and predetermined by fate or greater beings is alien to me, and so I use the story to advocate the freedom that belongs to us all.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
The third book in the series of The Last Days of Planet Earth, The Children of Raphael is finished. This is more complex that the previous two, so the editing is particularly painful. I hope to have it released in time for Christmas. I am also working on a dark romance novel called Fugue, which I am about halfway through writing.