Author of “Blood Feud” (High Fantasy)
How long have you been writing? Do you write genres other than speculative fiction?
I’ve been writing stories my whole life, but I started focusing on writing with an aim to publish about seven years ago. While most of my effort goes into speculative fiction, I do write in other genres occasionally.
What is your typical writing process? Outline or seat-of-the-pants? A quiet room or a lively café? Music and coffee or tea and silence?
My writing process varies depending on the project. Most often I have a general concept that gets me started, like a plot hook or a specific scene, and a sketchy outline of a character or two I’ll use to explore that concept. I’ll write on that without guidance for a bit until some of the character details start to take shape and I can see if the idea is viable enough to hold my attention through a whole piece. If it’s going to be longer like a novella or novel-length, I’ll usually then write up some world-building, character bios, and an outline to keep me focused.
When I write, I tend to prefer a quiet coffee shop with some soft instrumental music on headphones. But I have a full-time job, two young children, and lots of family obligations so in the end I take whatever I can get.
What’s on your to-be-read list right now?
My to-read list is always and forever longer than I could possibly fit into a lifetime and growing longer all the time. Some stuff I’ve put on there recently that I want to make sure to pick up soon includes more of Mary Roach’s work, N.K. Jesimin’s Broken Earth series, and Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.
What keeps you going when the writing gets hard? What bring you joy?
I get joy from telling stories. I think that’s how people are hardwired to understand the world. We tell stories to teach, we tell stories to entertain, we tell stories to ourselves to make sense of our lives. Usually when writing gets hard it’s because I’ve lost sight of that a little bit and have gotten too in the weeds with “writing”—punctuation, theme, the business of it or whatever. To get back to what matters I need to remember story. I’ll try telling a story in a different way, like in a game or out loud, off the cuff. Usually when I do that I remember it’s really no different than the games of “what if…” we used to play as kids, it puts things into perspective and I can get back to work.
What are you working on right now? And which of your stories would you recommend to someone new to your work?
Right now I’m working on some longer-form work. I spent much of the last five years focusing on short fiction and I’m trying to finish a novel and polish up a couple of novella-length pieces.
For new readers, I’d probably point them to either my short horror story “The Henson Curse” which appeared in Shock Totem magazine or my modern fantasy story “Oven Game” which was published in Metaphorosis Magazine.
You can read Paul Hamilton’s story in Metaphorosis Magazine, “Oven Game” for free online.
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