Q: Tell us about yourself. What got you into writing?
HC: I’ve always been a big reader but my very first love was poetry. I wrote my first poem in middle school and used to carry around a sheet of poems from one of my English classes in high
school. In fact, I think I still have it somewhere. It had poems by Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and E.E. Cummings, and I just fell in love with the lyricism of it. Poetry was where I first learned how to make people feel things.
Q: Tell us about the premise of A Man in Pieces: An American Nightmare.
HC: More than anything else, A Man in Pieces is about the American Dream. How it drives us, fools us, breaks us, and convinces us that we can’t turn away from our own worst selves. I
wanted to take all of the mundane little horrors that keep us up at night and showcase them. Shine a light on how malevolent they can be, whether we notice them or not.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
HC: I couldn’t sleep. Seriously. I was having nightmares every other night but it felt like I couldn’t talk about them because they were about things that everybody worries about. Bills,
paychecks, my job, my insurance, the sense that I was getting ground under little by little every day. I started writing the book to try and get a handle on it, and it helped me better understand
what I was dealing with.
Q: Do you agree with the statement write what you know? Why or why not?
HC: Yes, absolutely. Writing what you know gives you a good basis for any story. I think what confuses people (writers and readers) is the idea that you only have to write what you know,
which isn’t true. Very few of us know what it’s like to travel through space and I don’t know of anyone who’s actually capable of throwing fireballs, but I do know someone who would totally hurl fireballs if she could. Writing what you know could be something as simple as a character trait. Something you possess or something belonging to a friend, which gives you a good
foundation to start building your imagination on. Just because you start with something you know, doesn’t mean you can’t start flying to places you don’t.
Q: Do you think creative writing classes are beneficial? Why or why not?
HC: I actually wish I’d taken more creative writing classes when I was in school. Unfortunately, I listened to my guidance counselor and spent my school years looking for something I could do in case becoming an author didn’t work out. I wish I could go back and get a master’s in fine arts.
Lord knows, I probably would have been struggling to find a job but at least it would have been in the field I wanted instead of me trying to cram myself into some other career.
Q: Do you enjoy editing?
HC: Yes and no. I enjoy it because it means I’m that much closer to being done with my book, but it’s also the most frustrating part of the process. It means months of agonizing over word choices and inconsistencies and learning when to step away from the book entirely because you’re too
wrapped up to see it clearly. Editing is necessary, and it can be a good way for you to grow as a writer, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it drives me up a wall.
Q: Do you write in other genres? Have you ever written in different mediums?
HC: I write in every genre actually. I write poetry, plays, songs, articles, screenplays, my list of stories and interests is endless and sometimes, I worry that not specializing will come back to bite me. There’s a lot of advice online about finding your niche but I don’t want to pigeonhole myself. I keep coming back to stories I learned from some of the greats. Like how Stephen King, early in his career, tried to branch out into epic fantasy but got lambasted by critics and hardcore fans alike. Kurt Vonnegut hated being considered a science fiction writer because back then, critics likened science fiction to the toilet. I’d like to think things are better now. Crossing genres
is not as taboo as it used to be, but staying in your lane still remains the conventional wisdom. So, maybe it’s not wise, but I still don’t want to listen.
Q: If you could invite a fictional character for lunch (from your own book(s) or another writer’s), who would you invite and why?
HC: I would invite Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Odds are she’d scare the ever loving crap out of me, but I have a feeling she’d be much less of a downer than her brother Dream.
Q: What are your future plans as an author? Are you working on another project?
HC: I am always working on something, but as of right now I have, (deep breath) the first book in
a new sci-fi series, two children’s books, one play, one horror novella, one sci-fi novella and a handful of other short stories. My dream is to walk away from my day job and focus on my
writing full-time, but I’m not there yet. Hopefully, I’ll get there soon. Full time writer town or bust!