Here’s Mr Macabre, himself.
How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?
That’s quite a tough one. Essentially I write stories that I enjoy writing! Up until the last couple of books I never really considered whether people would actually want to read them. I was just pretty pleased to have finally completed them!
However when I started getting sales and then reviews, it was such an incredible feeling I wanted more! And in order to get more I needed to write stories that people would actually want to read.
At the moment I’m still writing stories I enjoy and fortunately some people have enjoyed them so I haven’t had to make any compromises, yet!
What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.
I’ve mixed up my genres a fair bit really, but I think that’s one of the beauties of being an indie. At the moment I’m enjoying my trip down the dark and twisted path of horror. I ‘m not one for masses of blood and gore, although they can be used constructively and powerfully if done right. I prefer to read, creepy, unsettling stories where you feel uneasy with what’s happening. I’m trying to capture some of that feeling with my current stories but obviously I’m still learning. They say humour is a very personal thing and difficult to write well. I think to a similar extent, horror is the same.
Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?
Absolutely! I have a little Nexus7 and it’s on most of the time. So when I’m watching tv or trying to go to sleep, if an idea pops up I just type it quickly onto a document. The problem is now, there are so many documents with just a line or two on, I’m not sure where anything specific is.
How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?
I'm lucky because generally I don't suffer that affliction and I can manage to stay focused on one thing at a time. I hear about writers having multiple projects running simultaneously and I admire how they can do it
How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with?
I don’t want to think about being anywhere near some of my most recent creations!
I really enjoyed all the characters from The Boy Who Kissed the Sky. The violent, drunken magician, Filipe Feret was probably the one who I’d most like to go to the pub with. Although I think we’d get in a few scrapes!
The Boy, George Roberts was probably like me in a lot of ways. I’ve been on a couple of really long road trips where I’ve tried to find something that was never there for finding!
Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?
Quite frequently! I tend to wake up very early, before anyone else in the house. In the first few minutes when I’m still waking up I’ll be thinking about my current book and the characters in it. When Mrs H finally wakes up, after I’ve coughed, nudged and sighed enough, I’ll immediately say, “Now, I’ve been thinking about (name of character) do you think he would day this (insert line) or do this (insert horrendous act of terror)” She loves to be woken up like that.
What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?
I read anything, absolutely anything! I’m writing old school horror stories at the moment but I’m not reading any currently. I’ve read an awful lot of the classic horror and ghost stories from the Victorian era and they were my inspiration for the macabre stories. I always try to read a Stephen King book once a year too. They’re not what I’d call horror though, just good stories.
My favourite writer is John Irving, who doesn’t write horror at all. They tend to be epics but also the characters tend to be slightly odd or don’t always think the way considered mainstream. One of the inspirations for The Boy Who Kissed the Sky was John Irving’s stories.
What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?
Making a book stand out from the crowd, when the crowd is already pretty damn good is as I’ve found out, extremely difficult. With my current set of books I set out with a deliberate theme – the Victorian Penny Dreadful. I wanted to get the language to be sympathetic to the era and also get the artwork on the cover to fit with that theme. Getting the language right was a case of reading literature from that period (as recommended by Alex Roddie) and doing research about the Victorians obsessions with death, through the internet. Immersing myself in Victoriana was and continues to be, fascinating.
I was pretty pleased with the overall result.
How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?
That’s fine by me. Obviously I’d prefer not to have any but if you find one, please let me know.
What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?
As a writer, the forums are invaluable. There's always someone who can give you advice when you ask for it, particularly on the aspects of publishing which I never knew existed until a few months ago.
The forums are also invaluable for interacting with readers. To be able to join in conversations where readers and writers are discussing something is fantastic. We're coming at things from different angles but wanting the same thing - a great book to read.
What is on your near horizon?
I'm working on another horror story although it's also got some mystery/thriller aspects to it too. I suppose most books slip across several genres.
It's set in the late 19th and early 20th century, in Paris. The whole of Europe seem to have been obsessed with things we would find creepy nowadays. Finding inspiration and conducting research has been interesting and occasionally outright disturbing!
Where can we find you for more information?
I have a blog which I set up recently – http://macabrecollection.blogspot.co.uk/
And a more general web page. http://davidhaynesfiction.weebly.com/
But I’m also regularly on both Kindle Users Forum and Goodreads.