Today I am interviewing James Hutchings. His book, The New Death and others is a collection of fantasy short stories and poems and was released on September 27th, 2011.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
It's a collection of stories and poems, 63 pieces in all. It's only a bit over 41,000 words in total, so most of them are quite short. Most of the stories are fantasy, but there's some 'general fiction' in there as well. The style ranges from funny to very grim. I'm much more influenced by older writers like Tolkien and Robert E Howard. In fact, I've never read any of the Harry Potter, Twilight or Game of Thrones series, or most other popular modern fantasy authors.
I do not think I have ever met anyone who has not read Harry Potter! When did you start writing toward publication?
I did a Bachelor of Arts majoring in creative writing and media, but I didn't do anything with it after graduating. Years later I created a fantasy city called Teleleli or Telelee as a background for role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Once I finished I realised there wasn't any demand for it. My ex suggested I use it as a setting for stories instead, and that's how I got started. I wrote the pieces in The New Death and others over about a year, from September 2010 to September 2011.
Many people have no idea how long it takes to create a work of fiction. On that note, do you have any rejection stories to share?
I got a rejection email for one of my poems which said that "There were several amusing parts in this poem, but it’s not consistently funny throughout, which is what I’d be looking for in a humour poem. I think the problem (as I see it) is that you’re often vague or allusive; specific details tend to be funniest." This would have been a lot more encouraging if the poem was meant to be funny.
Oh, no! How funny…or not. I hate rejection letters unless they are filled with constructive criticism. The show must go on. What is your writing routine like?
I make myself write every day. I think if I tried to write, say, three times a week, that would actually be harder, because it would be too easy to put it off and say I'll do it later. If it's every day I 'have' to write now. I usually write at the end of the day before I go to bed (actually early in the morning).
I used to work 3rd shift and found writing before sleeping through the day was relaxing, knowing I accomplished ‘something’. Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
Self-publishing through Amazon and Smashwords has become much more common, and much more potentially rewarding, to the point where it's likely to be the 'default option' for writers in a few years.
I have written for two small publishers, but I ‘took the plunge’ recently with DRAGON IN THE MIST and SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON, both self-published. What’s next for you?
The main thing I'm working on right now is a poem set in the old West, called 'Confession of a Bounty Hunter'. 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 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.
Death gets a roommate...
An electronic Pope faces a difficult theological question...
A wicked vizier makes a terrible bargain...
44 stories. 19 poems. No sparkly vampires. There's a thin line between genius and insanity, and James Hutchings has just crossed it - but from which direction?
A little bit about the author
James Hutchings lives in
. He fights crime as Poetic Justice, but his day job is acting. You might know him by his stage-name 'Brad Pitt.' He specializes in short fantasy fiction. His work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, fiction365 and Enchanted Conversation among other markets. Melbourne, Australia
Excerpt from THE GOD OF THE POOR
In the beginning of the world the gods considered all those things which did not have their own gods, to decide who would have responsibility and rulership.
"I will rule all flowers that are sky-blue in colour," said the Sky-Father.
"I will listen to the prayers of migratory birds, and you all other birds," the goddess Travel said to him. And so it went.
At last all had been divided, save for one thing.
"Who," asked the Sky-Father, "shall have dominion over the poor?"
There was an awkward silence, until the Sky-Father said,
"Come - someone must. Those with no gods will grow restless and cunning, and in time will cast us down, and we shall be gods no more."
"Not I," said blind Justice, and her stony face flashed a momentary smirk at the thought. "Why not Fame or Fortune?"
"Darling I don't think so," said the sister goddesses together.
There was a long pause. The gods shuffled their feet and avoided one another's gaze. At last a voice broke the silence.
"I will," said Death.
How can my readers buy your book?
You can find more information about James Hutchings and The New Death and others by
visiting his blog at http://www.apolitical.info/teleleli.
The New Death and others is available on
Thanks for visiting with me today, James.