Friday, December 28, 2012

Author Interview: Steve McHugh


      The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Give me a quick run down of what’s happening in your writing world these days.

Well, I’ve just finished my second book, Born of Hatred, which was launched on the 16th Dec. And now I’m writing my third book, With Silent Screams. Basically, if I’m not currently writing, I’m thinking about writing. I’ll take a few days over Christmas off, although if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about being a writer, it’s that you’re never truly ‘off work’.

What kind of writer are you? Do you plot your stories out? Do you have a particular routine? What does your writing “day” look like?

I tend to know what’s going to happen at the beginning and end of each chapter, and I have an idea about what I want to happen in the chapter. But the small details just happen. It’s nice to be surprised. If I plotted everything out in depth, I’d only get annoyed when I changed everything.

My routine is that I sit down at my desk and just start writing. Because I have a full-time job at the moment, my writing day is always changing. Evening and weekends are when I’m allowed to get some work done. But if I didn’t have to work too, I’d be at that desk for 8am every day. One can dream, I guess.

 How long have you been writing for?

I’ve always written, and always wanted to be a writer, but never actually finished anything. When my first daughter was born, 8 years ago, I started to take my writing seriously.

What’s your opinion on agents? Traditional Publishing? Self publishing? Etc. Where do you think we’re going in this crazy publishing world?

Ohhh, this may take a while. Agents are very good at their jobs, and their jobs is to make their agency money. It’s the same with the big publishers, they’re out to make money. You can hardly blame them for it. But over the years, it’s seemed that they’re less willing to take chances on new authors and those who are offered a contact don’t always get the support they should have.

These are probably isolated incidents, and I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are very happy with their publisher/agent. But it seems like more and more people aren’t. Maybe it’s a sign that more people are using the net to vent their frustrations, or maybe it’s a sign that publishing isn’t taking care of their clients as much as they used to. I don’t know, but it’s certainly something I hear more of.

The other problem with the big publishers, is that they don’t seem to know how to deal with ebooks and the advent of authors publishing their own work. If they’re not careful, they’ll end up like the music or film industry and no one wants that.

It seems like there are also more people who indie/self publish and then get picked up by agents/publishers after proving that they’re a saleable commodity. That may well be where the industry is going. That you have to prove yourself before you get noticed. But by that point, those indie writers who are successful, why bother going with an agent/publisher?

As for that whole self publishing revolution, it’s fantastic that people can get their work read, and make money, without having to jump through the usual hoops. Sometimes it’s not easy to spot those who take the time and effort to make their book excellent and professional before publishing it, and that’s a problem that will always exist.

I doubt I’d ever have been published if not for the ability to sell my book alone. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten the recognition or sales I had without Amazon being available to put my work on. So, from my point of view, indie publishing is a wonderful thing. Something I can recommend to anyone who is just not getting anywhere with your book via traditional methods, or for those who just want to control their own work. It’s a lot of work, and it’s very much a life of highs and lows. But surely if it were easy to do, everyone would be doing it. And when you get success, it’s pretty damn good.

What is the best way to sell books?  To get your name out there?

Write something good is probably the best way. If it’s good, people will pick it up (maybe not millions of people, but still, it’ll find an audience). Using FB/Twitter and the like are incredibly helpful too. As are all of the amazing people out there who will lend you their blog.

There’s no single way to get your book sold. Get a very good cover, have a good story and make sure it’s well written. That’s all you can ever really do. All the blog tours/FB status in the world won’t matter an inch, if your work sucks.

And whatever you do, don’t be an asshole. It will come back and bite you on the ass.

What are your goals for the future? Where do you want your writing to take you?

To be rich and beloved by all.
Okay, on a more serious note. I’d love to write full-time. That’s my goal. To make enough money that I can work from home and write. One day, I hope that comes true.

At the moment, I have notes for about two dozen Nate books and then a steampunk mini series (which would make a great comic if I ever get the time), a YA series set in the same world as Nate’s and an historical series set in the same world too. Lots of ideas, lots of notes, only so many hours in the day.





There was a time when Nathan Garrett was feared. When the mention of his name was enough to stop his enemies in their tracks. That time has long since passed.
When Nathan’s friend asks for help investigating a pattern of horrific crimes, he reluctantly agrees. But his investigation leads to a serial killer who is something more, or less, than human, a creature of pure malevolence and hatred.
There are some things that even a 1600-year-old sorcerer hesitates to challenge. But when evil targets those Nathan cares about, his enemies will discover exactly who Nathan used to be. And why they will learn to fear him once more.
Born of Hatred is an action-packed, Urban Fantasy set in modern-day England with historical flashbacks to late nineteenth century Montana. It’s the second book of the Hellequin Chronicles, following the widely praised Crimes Against Magic, which introduced sorcerer Nathan Garrett.


2 comments:

Anne Michaud said...

Great interview, guys:)

I'm SO with you about the agents/publishers situation. It's a case by case thing and thank the dark heavens indie exist or we'd miss out on great books...LIKE YOURS ♥

Steve J McHugh said...

Thanks, Anne. I think indies have done a lot of great things to get work into the hands of people who never would have read it 5 or 10 years ago. It's surreal to think that people are buying and enjoying my work. Surreal, but really, really cool.

And thanks, Angie for allowing me to take over your blog. It's much appreciated.

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