I met Rich on Facebook, probably because we're both writers and Horror dudes. He's always humble, funny, and kind, three words that do not apply to most authors. His repertoire is impressive, so I'm going to pass that off to his Facebook About Me.
Rich Hawkins hails from deep in the West Country, where a childhood of science fiction and horror films set him on the path to writing his own stories. He credits his love of horror and all things weird to his first viewing of John Carpenter’s THE THING when, aged twelve, he crept downstairs late one night to watch it on ITV. He has a few short stories in various anthologies, and has written one novella, BLACK STAR, BLACK SUN. His debut novel THE LAST PLAGUE was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel. Its sequel, THE LAST OUTPOST, was released in September 2015.
He currently lives in Salisbury, Wiltshire, with his wife, their daughter and their pet dog Molly. They keep him sane. Mostly.
The first thing I noticed when looking at your Amazon page was "Holy fuck, this guy's been busy." What's the best starting point in your bibliography?
I’d say probably one of my novellas – either King Carrion, Black Star Black Sun or Scavengers – as I think they best capture what my writing is about and they don’t take too long to read!
How does it feel being included in an anthology with Jack Ketchum?
Pretty fucking cool, to be honest! It’s something I never thought would happen. Thank God for reprints.
On that note, when it comes to US Vs UK Extreme Horror, who do you think won?
In my totally biased view the UK won. Rule Britannia and all that stuff. But, seriously, I think it was a closely-run contest and if there was a winner it was by fine margins. A lot of excellent writers in that anthology.
How does it feel being an extreme Horror writer with the hypersensitivity going around today, particularly in the literary community?
With all respect, I wouldn’t call myself an extreme horror writer – but, yeah, there’s always the slight worry that a writer will be seen to go ‘too far’ and face backlash from easily offended types. Luckily the horror fiction community is remarkably tolerant of extreme content, which is great. But as with the greater literary/online community in general, there is an element of internet mob culture that froths itself up into a rage against any perceived injustice. Some people just like drama, don’t they?
Do you ever feel like something won't get published because it goes too far? Do you care?
That might happen in ‘big time’ publishing, but I can’t see it happening in the indie community. At least I hope not.
You've been included in a George Romero tribute anthology. What's your favorite Romero movie (doesn't have to be one of his Dead films)?
Day of the Dead. It’s just a stone-cold classic. The opening scene is one of my all-time favourites.
You've published with a few different publishers now (April Moon Books and Crowded Quarantine, to name a few). Are there any red flags when it comes to publishers when you submit to them? What is it that lets you know such a collaboration will work out?
I’ve had no massive problems with the publishers I’ve worked with. I won’t submit to a publisher if I’ve heard that they don’t pay their writers on time or put out books with shitty front covers. Luckily, once you’ve been around the indie horror fiction community for a while, you find out which publishers to avoid. Reputation is everything.
Are you more of a Mulder or a Scully?
Do you prefer to read digital or physical books?
I like digital books for their convenience and cheaper price, but physical books are best, even if it’s just for the traditional aspect.
Do you have a favorite entry in your trilogy, The Last Plague?
At the moment it’s The Last Outpost. But that could just be because I’ve spent the last few weeks rewriting The Last Plague and it was starting to drive me a little mad.
You credit your love of horror to John Carpenter's The Thing. Who’s your favorite horror author?
I can’t name just one, to be fair! But I will name several – Adam Nevill, David Moody, Gary McMahon, HP Lovecraft, Conrad Williams. All great writers, in my opinion. But the horror fiction scene is full of superb writers at the moment. I can’t even name them all.
One month ago, you made your return to Youtube. How necessary do you think it is today for authors to put themselves out there in such ways?
Very necessary. Writers need to utilise every avenue of exposure these days. It’s immensely difficult to get noticed, even with straight white male privilege…
Has your interest in the horror genre shaped your musical taste at all? How do you feel about horror-themed music?
Not particularly, although I used to be a big fan of Cradle of Filth and Avenged Sevenfold. Yeah, I tend to like horror-themed music, as long as it’s not too over-the-top. Does Slipknot count?
Last question: You've interviewed David Moody, whose book, Hater, you've included among your favorite apocalyptic novels. How does it feel asking the questions as opposed to answering them.
I prefer to answer them, to be honest. It’s difficult to think of interesting questions that haven’t been asked by every interviewer since the dawn of the internet!
Rich's favorite website:
Thanks again to Rich for this interview and his patience as we experienced many road bumps on the path to its publication (most of which I probably swerved to hit in a fit of reckless endangerment). Please buy his books, like his pages, and ask him about his membership in the Ginger Nuts of Horror.