The hangover has cleared after last week’s 40th birthday celebrations, and The One Book Interview is back with what counts – the authors.
This week, I’m very happy to have with us a British author who is rapidly carving out a name for himself in the UK horror scene.
Not literally, you understand.
Good people of the Internet, writing out of Tipton*, UK – Matt Hickman
Name one book:
1 – everyone should read
Since a young age, I’ve been a massive fan of the work by Roald Dahl. The man had an imagination that was out of this world, I can still picture him scribbling his crazy ideas in his notebooks in the hut where he wrote at the bottom of his garden. His writing manages to cross any boundaries of age or sex; they’re as much loved today as they were when I was a boy, and the joy between those pages has been passed down to my two children. I would find it difficult to pick a certain title as a favourite, so as a book that everyone should read, I would choose Tales of the Unexpected, his eclectic short story collection which really showcases his diverse literary talents.
2 – you would take with you if you were going to be marooned on Mars
Damn, I knew there would be one of these types of questions. If you were stranded on Mars, aside from playing volleyball against little green men, you would need something fairly substantial to keep the boredom at bay, a book where you could get immersed into its pages again and again. For my choice, it would be The Stand by Stephen King. Weighing in at over 1000 pages, it’s a massive read, and also one of the best takes on an apocalyptic pandemic, threatening to wipe out humanity that you’ll find.
3 – you took a chance on and were pleasantly surprised by
Back when I was living at home, my dad was studying for an Open University course in the classics, and I picked up a battered, dog eared copy of The Iliad (a poem) by Homer that he had left on the kitchen table. Oblivious to the theme of the book, and it being a modern version of the translated text, I started to browse the contents and found myself blown away. I’d never seen such a cocktail of sex, violence, deceit and revenge. Those Greeks really knew how to do a number on each other.
4 – you’ve written that is your favourite
That would be one of two, but I think I’ll go with my novel, Amnesia. I awoke suddenly one morning in a hotel while working away in Crawley, with an intensely violent and disturbing scene running through my mind. I’m not sure whether I dreamt it, and it etched itself into my psyche. That scene was the only thing I knew I wanted to write. Without any other ideas for plot or the story, I went to work, blind. A few months later, the novel was complete. A slow burn and build in tension until it erupts into hell. I have recently received the digital rights back from the original publisher, so I will be writing the prequel, Flashbacks, and releasing them together. The paperback is still available.
5 – that has influenced you most as a person
I think that would have to be Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. I read a copy of the book when I was about fourteen years old and it scared the living shit out of me. It was the first time I’d really looked at any depth into the depravity of humanity, and the way that realism can, in some ways be more horrific than monsters or the supernatural. In addition, the book introduced me to a character that was to become a lifelong obsession, Hannibal Lecter.
6 – that has influenced you most as a professional
That’s a really difficult one to answer, as I don’t really consider myself anything like professional. I’ve certainly never studied any books on writing techniques or taken any creative writing classes. I kinda just fell into this after years of being an avid reader with an astute eye. I haven’t dodged around the question properly have I? Okay, I’ll pick a book from a writer that I would say is one of the biggest influences on my style of storytelling, Endless Night by Richard Laymon. When I first read this book, I knew immediately that I would be pursuing more of his work. The story is an intense, harrowing, and adrenaline fueled piece of fiction. For me, it was all about the characters, good and bad, an equation that ultimately works for me.
7 – of yours that prospective readers should start with if they want to get to know your work and where they can get it.
As with most authors, my work varies in content and style. I think the best place to start would be with my short story collection, Sinister Scribblings. There are thirteen of my own stories ranging from seasonal horror, to extreme, nasty shorts, to tales underpinned with dark humour. The book also contains additional stories from other emerging authors within the indie market.
You can find Matt at : www.matthickman.co.uk
Matt is an avid fan of horror fiction. He spends a majority of his free time reading books from both established and independent authors. With a diverse knowledge of the genre, and an astute mind for the macabre, he has taken to writing his own brand of horror – dark, relentlessly violent and blood-soaked, and often peppered with dark humour. With the support of his peers, some of which are established writers themselves, he has taken on a new career, one that has seen him take the genre by storm. He currently resides in Tipton, a small town in the West Midlands with his partner and two children. He travels the width breadth of the UK on a regular basis as a Sales Manager for a construction company.
Since his debut eighteen months ago, he has been featured in numerous short story collections, including anthologies for charity, as well as releasing numerous novels and novella’s and collaborations with Stuart Keane, Andrew Lennon, and Matt Shaw including his first solo collection of short stories – Sinister Scribblings.
*Not to be confused with this place. (Sorry, Matt. It’s lame, but I couldn’t resist.)
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