Author Interview: Craig Hallam
Hi, Craig. Welcome to my blog. Thank you for allowing me to interview you. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us.
Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to us?
Certainly. I’m a writer of Speculative Fiction from the Doncaster in the UK. While I write anything that pops into my head, really, my horror stories have been most successful in getting published. Pill Hill Press, Misanthrope Press and the British Fantasy Society have been among those nice enough to harbor my stories so far.
How long have you been writing?
Properly, for about four years. I wrote a couple of novels before that, just tinkering, but they were terrible. It was writing my latest novel, Greaveburn, that sparked the true writing era. And writing short stories, which I’d never done before. They were what got me published first and the bug bit me properly after seeing my first story in print.
Would you mind telling my readers a little more about Not Before Bed?
Not Before Bed is a culmination of the last three years’ short stories in one place. Some have been printed before, some are new. I released the ebook a year ago, but it wasn’t really polished, so this paperback is the newer, darker, slicker version of its old self. I’ve recently completed two years of Creative Writing at University, too, so hopefully they’re better written. But I’ll let you decide that.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
Well, I hated to see those stories sat around doing nothing, so I decided to make them work for their rent on my hard drive. It seemed such a waste to just have them sitting there after their brief courting with publication. I think I felt sorry for them.
Was there any research involved with each of the short stories that you’ve shared in the anthology?
Every single one. I love the research. It’s my excuse to learn about random things I’d never get to otherwise. Albert had me researching tides and the English coastline, for example. For Laughter on the Landing it was maps of London (Something useful in my current WIP, a steampunk epic based in Victorian London). And for Lovecraft, I got to watch Evil Dead 2 again! Any excuse…
Which of the stories in this anthology is your favorite?
Oh man, that’s a horrible question. If they hear me picking favourites, I might get shot. So far, I’ve heard others say Daisy Chained is the most intriguing and Lovecraft seems to be a regular favourite, too.
Is Speculative Fiction the only genre that you’ve written of? Or have you experimented with others, such as Romance, Young Adult, or even Poetry?
I tinkered with poetry while studying Creative Writing, but it isn’t something I’m particularly good at. The mood strikes every now and again but not recently. I’m working on a short story at the minute which will be my first foray into Romance (although with a fantastical element just to be safe). I love the freedom of Spec Fic and I love making new combinations. My novel, Greaveburn, for instance is a Gothic Fantasy with elements of Steampunk. A strange combination on paper but I swear, it works!
Do you have any upcoming projects? If so, are you able to tell us a little more about it/them?
Well, I briefly mentioned my next novel. The working title is The Adventures of Alan Shaw. It’s the life story of the eponymous character; a street urchin in Victorian London, growing up in the Steampunk era. It’s a set of short stories, each one an adventure from is life as he grows up with a B-movie title such as Alan Shaw and the Clockwork Tentacle. I’m absolutely loving writing the swashbuckling, rip-roaring adventure stuff. I’m currently 30k words in and only on the third adventure, so it’s going to be EPIC.
And then there’s another novel, too. I tend to always have two on the go and flit between them. It’s my cure for writer’s block. The second novel is a Zombie Fairy Story. Less said there, the better hahaha
How do you find inspiration when writing your stories?
Everywhere! Movies, books, walking down the street. I love looking at Spec Fic artwork on the net, too. I draw a little myself so I often doodle a character or setting to clarify the image before describing it on paper. I find it helps. I also love listening to music before I write. Something that evokes a particular emotion that I can then write about. A little weird, but I find it works. I think a writer should utilize any stimulation possible in order to make their work more vivid.
What’s influenced you the most?
Probably movies. I tend to write in a very theatrical way. The scenes in my head play out like film scenes. I have the camera angle and lighting fixed in my head; where the character is going, or their movements as they interact with their world. Then I write it as I see it.
What’s your favorite book?
Ouch. You’re killing me here. I don’t think I can make such a decision. I loved Terry Pratchett as a teenager, then I read a lot of Stephen King. But books by Anthony Burgess, Jeffrey Eugenedes, M. R. James, Edgar Alan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft have all had a talon in my literary upbringing. The latter you’ll see the most in the story Albert, my little ode to the Cthulu Mythos.
Who’s your favorite author?
Again, ouch. Hard to decide. And it shifts around a lot. At the minute, I’m inhaling everything Jim Butcher set down on the Dresden Files series. I think I’ve read the first four books in a month. I need to practice restraint or I’ll soon run out.
Do you have any recommendations for books that you think the blog’s readers may enjoy?
The aforementioned Dresden Files are, I think, a good use of your time. They’re very easy to read and stylistically impressive. The character is easy to relate to. And it has magic in it! What more do you people want?!
How do you spend your free time?
Reading, watching movies, playing guitar (badly). But mostly writing, thinking about writing and dreaming about writing.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Hahaha I think I’m a plotter. I always know where I want to go with something, but don’t let myself be bogged down by the plot. If the story starts shifting in a new direction, it tends to need it and so I’ll let it go. But I’m terrible for not writing things down. All my plotting happens in my head until the story is so real and the characters so vivid to me that actually writing seems more like setting them free than shackling them to the page.
Do you have any tips, or thoughts, that you would like to offer to the blog’s readers?
Read more! I don’t think there’s any better way of stretching your imagination and developing the grey matter. Every genius the world has ever known has been a reader of some form or another. It can’t be a coincidence!
I hope you’ve all enjoyed a wonderful interview with the author of Not Before Bed, Craig Hallam. I hope you’ve all enjoyed learning more about him. Thank you so much for the interview. I look forward to more of your work and wish you the best of success always.
Book Blurb: A collection of dark tales to tingle your spine and goose your bumps. While reading, you’ll encounter tentacle pods, bogeymen, dark gods; vamps, zombies, werewolves and Things with No Name.
Barricade your door. Say goodbye to your loved ones. Check behind the curtains and in the wardrobe. But don’t read it alone, and definitely Not Before Bed.
Book Reviews: “I read the opening section IN BED! Thanks for that sleepless night!” – Michelle Green
“I love the twisted little stories of [Craig Hallam’s] imaginings. Whether the tale is deliciously creepy or falls into the realm of the downright wierd, each one will leave you turning page after page into the wee hours of the morning.” D.H. Nevins
About The Author: By day Craig is a mild mannered Nurse from Doncaster, UK. By night (or any time he gets a few minutes to himself) he writes fiction. While he loves to write anything that pops into his head, his horror stories and darker material have gained him the most accolade. He’s been tackling short stories since late 2008. Since then his credits have included New Horizons (The British Fantasy Society), Murky Depths and the anthologies of Misanthrope Press and Pill Hill Press. Not Before Bed is a collection of his horror stories with some old favourites and newer work thrown together. His first novel, a Gothic Fantasy called Greaveburn, is finally finished, and he’s waiting patiently for someone to take it on. While all this is happening, he’s working on his next novel which is a zombie fairy story about a little dead girl wandering the world after our own.
Connect With Him Online:
Purchase info: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Not-Before-Bed-Craig-Hallam/dp/1466420235