Reading in bed just got a little hotter.

Monday, December 12, 2011

An Interview with Christopher Hivner

Join me in welcoming Christopher Hivner as he tells us a little about his writing and his obsessions. I must warn him though, he and my hubby might have a throw down over Kate Beckinsale!

1) Links to website and list of books with purchase links.
Chapbook of poems “Edged in Blue”
Collection of short horror stories “The Spaces between Your Screams”
*free read*

2) How long have you been writing? What got you in to writing?
I started taking it seriously around 1992, but I’ve written stories since I was 5 or 6 years old. I love words and even as a kid loved to learn new ones. The first thing I would do after learning a new word was write a story based on being able to use the new vocabulary somewhere in it. Reaching my late 20’s is when I decided I needed to take it seriously and see what happened.

3) What was your first published book? Looking back, is there anything you’d change about it?
My first collection published was a chapbook of poems called Edged in Blue in 2004. When I re-read it now I still think a few of the poems are really good while the others have solid ideas but my use of language to convey those ideas is a little naïve. The Spaces Between Your Screams in 2008 is my first collection of short stories and there are hundreds of things I would change. Word choice, sentence structure, even plot lines, but I think that’s a natural reaction. No writer is ever completely satisfied with anything they write.

4) What or Who has influenced your writing?
This is a cliché considering how many people probably say it, but I started writing horror stories after reading my first Stephen King book. I was in 7th grade when I read Salem’s Lot and it filled my head with all sorts of ideas none of which, you could argue, really belonged there. I didn’t start writing poetry until well after high school. Influences would be Emily Dickinson and Charles Simic. I’ve been writing a lot more humor the last ten years, my blog, Cosmic Overdrive, is very influenced by Dave Barry’s style in his syndicated column. Some of my more absurd work comes from my love of Monty Python.

5) Where do you get your ideas?
Almost anything can trigger a “what if” thought: A news story, a conversation with a friend. etc. I think paying attention to people and how they act and speak can spark ideas as well. Many times just creating an interesting character first can give me an idea later. I’ve also come up with a title first and wrote a story around it.

6) What hinders your writing? (distractions? noise?)
If I sit down to write it either has to be silent or I have to play certain styles of music. Rock music or anything with too much going on lyrically breaks my concentration. Some people I like to listen to are Dead Can Dance, Vas, Steve Roach, R. Carlos Nakai, and Delerium. I also do better if I’m in a small room. If the space is too wide open there are too many things to grab my attention. I like to sit on my porch and write during the summer but there’s so much going on between the neighbors, the squirrels, the bugs, etc., it doesn’t usually turn out well.

7) What genre are you most comfortable with? What would you like to explore?
I’ve been writing horror the longest and I enjoy it, but it can still be a chore to get what’s in my head down on paper. I’m probably most comfortable with humor. When I’m trying to make the reader laugh it flows out of me easier than anything else I’ve tried. I’d like to write more science fiction. I’ve written a handful of short stories in the sci fi vein. My hindrance is not understanding the complexities of the hard science well enough to write anything too complicated and ambitious.

8) Are you a by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer, or do you have to use an outline to put your collective thoughts into some semblance of common sense?
Definitely seat-of-my-pants. I’ve tried making outlines or plans but I never end up following them. Somehow the story always veers off in another direction that I like better and the plan is out the window. Some of my favorite short stories I’ve written I didn’t have an idea when I’ve started. I wrote a sentence and went stream-of-consciousness from there until an idea presented itself.

9) Which of your books is your favorite? Why?
“The Spaces between Your Screams” because it contains 39 short stories and I know how much work I put into each story.

10) Do you incorporate some of yourself into your characters? Personality traits? Likes? Dislikes?
I use a lot of likes or dislikes, especially the music a character may be listening to, book they may be reading or food choice. Any other personality traits would be subtle, nothing overt.

11) What do you think is the perfect hero/heroine? Why?
My taste generally runs on the dark side of life so I lean to the anti-hero. I was never a fan of the super hero comic books as a kid. I read Conan. Conan would help someone but there usually had to be a reward involved or he might intervene if someone angered him. This isn’t the model to follow for real life, but I find it more entertaining when the hero has plenty of visible flaws.

12) What is your latest release? Please share the blurb and purchase info with us.
A collection of short horror stories “The Spaces between Your Screams” eTreasures Publishing: $11.95 paperback, $5 ebook
Amazon: $11.95 paperback, $4.99 kindle

Don't scream. It only entices them, and when you stop, the real terror begins. In the moments between your cries, the monsters are released, profane and insatiable. Werewolves, witches, vampires and creatures never named prowl from the darkness. Soul collectors knock on your door while animals you won't find at the zoo slither through the yard around the dead bodies. Angels hover over your house, just in case. Behind them, in the bushes, demons wait for the same reason. A storm brews in the distance, ready to sweep you up and take you away, but to where? And would it be better than here where you're afraid to stop screaming and machinery hidden in the clouds has covered the sky?

13) What do you have in the works?
I have two other short story collections partially done and a first draft of a novel about a third completed. I just need to figure out how to make a day 32 hours long so I can find the proper time to work on them.

14) Do you have any suggestions/comments for prospective authors?
Read everything: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comic books, the backs of cereal boxes. It will give you ideas you didn’t know you had and expose you to different styles of writing. Exposure to other people’s writing will help you discover what you like and are comfortable with.

1) What is the sexiest or most erotic thing someone has said to you?
I’m going to keep that to myself but I will relate that the most erotic song I’ve heard is Beth Hart’s “Am I the One”. The first time I heard it was on a local radio station on my way to work one morning and I almost drove off the road.

2) Is there anywhere you’d like to visit? Why?
Germany and the UK. Those are my family’s ancestral homes so I’d like to see where we came from.

3) Do you have any obsessions? What are they?
First would be music. I have a few thousand CDs and listen to a broad spectrum of styles. It’s easiest to say I don’t listen to rap/hip hop, jazz or Latin. Anything else I probably have at least a few songs of. Second would be reading. My home is filled with books. I’m out of shelf space so they are currently in piles wherever I can fit them. I’m also going to go with a good rack of baby back ribs. Heaven on earth.

4) Do you have a crush on any actor/actress? Who?
Kate Beckinsale. The best thing about the movie Underworld was Kate in black leather.

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