Monday, January 2, 2012

The New Death: An interview with author, James Hutchings

Today I have been given the opportunity to interview James Hutchings, author of The New Death and others. First of all James, can I ask how you become an author?

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 write stories instead, and that's how I got started. Along the way I realised that my poems were better received, so I'm concentrating on them now.

You have recently published the collection, The New Death and others. Could you tell us something about it?

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.

What inspired you to write it?

Some ideas just pop into my head, without me knowing where the idea comes from. Other ideas come from experiences in my life. For example a while ago I found three injured birds in the space of a few weeks. I took all of them to the local vet. As I was carrying one of them, I thought that the woman at reception might wonder where I was finding all these injured birds, and that was the inspiration for my story 'Lost, Feral or Stray'. I've written a lot about cats, based on having been a cat owner.

What is your favourite story, or poem in the book and could you give us an excerpt?

One of my favourites is 'The God of the Poor'. I'll give you the whole thing (like a lot of my stories it's very short).

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.

Thank you very much for that story. What a great ending! What are you working on at the moment?

The main thing I'm working on right now is a poem set in the old West, called 'Confession of a Bounty Hunter'.

What are you reading at the moment?

I'm actually not reading anything at the moment. Writing is taking up what would otherwise be my reading time.

Who is your favourite author?

I don't think I have a single favourite, but I like a lot of stories by Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard.

When you are not writing or reading, what do you like doing in your free time?

My other main hobby is coding online games. I spent several years writing an online game called Age of Fable ( I don't have any plans to do more on it, but it's still online, and you can play it for free. I'm currently working on an online 'card' game, like Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon. I've also done a few smaller projects. For example I did an online version of the computer game Oregon Trail.

Where can we buy your book?



Barnes & Noble:

Where can people find out more about you?

I don't use facebook or twitter, but I have a blog. It's at I update it every day. Often it's more background for the fantasy world where a lot of my stories are set. I also put up details of giveaways of The New Death and others whenever there's one on.

Thank you very much James for taking the time to talk to me today and for the great short story!

1 comment: