Interview with Dave Higgins

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I read compulsively. I will strain to read distant notices through heavy rain. I will even read the same cereal packet I read yesterday.

So, one of the greatest joys for me is the thought that somewhere out there someone like me will have one more thing to read.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I went to a Church of England primary, so was asked to re-write Bible stories in different settings; I can remember rewriting at least one of them as a play set in space, but cannot remember which parable it was. I can remember writing my own stories too, but not what they were about.

I do remember starting a book when I was 11 or 12 (if I acknowledged a distinction between novels and short stories then, I cannot recall which I intended). It opened with the protagonist in a five-sided temple-like room, wondering how he got there, realising it was a dream, then finding evidence it might not be. I produced a first chapter before I ran out of steam. Given the similarity to Lovecraft combined with the theme of ancient knowledge bleeding across time in his work I am not sure now whether to see it as early evidence of interest in speculative fiction or of a cthonic conspiracy revealing itself only to my unconscious.
What is your writing process?
I like to set myself a new process goal every year to see what works.

My goal for 2013 was to pick two pieces of unfinished works in January, then not start a new story until I had finished one of the ones I was already working on. I did not include works that were quick to write, such as poetry or articles. I feel the balance between having something to move to if I felt really stuck and not putting existing work aside whenever I had a great new idea worked for me: I do not keep detailed figures for each year, but it was a productive year.

Underneath my yearly goals, my basic process is to write a rough outline and do initial research in parallel, then attempt to write the first draft without going back to edit anything; typos do catch my eye though, so I sometimes decide fixing an annoying error will actually let me move on faster than leaving it to fix later. I use the second and subsequent drafts to tidy up any inconsistencies, add foreshadowing, and other improvements.
Describe your desk
At the moment I am using a cheap MDF desk that I bought 15 years ago. Every time the drawer or shelves need fixing I wonder about buying a new, better desk, but there are always more important things to do.

On the right of the monitor I have a picture of my wife and a tub of "reward" biscuits for whenever I achieve one of my daily writing goals. On the left I have a large box with a cushion in the bottom so my cats have somewhere to curl up that is not in front of the monitor or on the keyboard.

I have treated myself to a high-quality ergonomic chair though; it converts between a kneeler so my posture is good for typing and a recliner for watching videos/reviewing covers.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I do not view either traditional or independent publishing as a better option: they are just different balances of cost to control. My motivation for Fauxpocalypse was mostly a fear of a missed opportunity.

I submitted two stories to Misha Burnett when he sent out a call for submissions, and was fortunate that he liked both of them. So when he needed someone to take over publishing the collection I was already invested. I took the morning to think about it, but realised that if I didn't offer then I would always wonder.
The first book you published was a multi-author compilation. Did you realise what you were getting into?
Yes and no.

Like many authors, I have a stack of short stories that have already been published somewhere. So I had been gently researching how to publish a collection for a while.

However, finding a good order for a set of stories by the same author and finding a good order for stories written by several authors turned out to be quite different. I certainly spent much longer in November 2013 assigning each story several different labels, and shuffling the order looking for a pleasing balance of themes, moods, and other criteria than I have spent on my own potential collection overall.

I had also not taken on the emotional effect of compiling a collection where the contributors are in various parts of the world. Intellectually, I knew there would be more waiting than a project where I could wander over to someone's desk to get a quick opinion, but the unavoidable wait while a contributor in Australia read my email, responded, then waited for me to read it the next day felt very long sometimes.

With hindsight, I would definitely agree to do it again. Knowing other people were relying on me helped keep me going when I might have decided to take a break, and it gave me confidence that several other people thought my typography or cover layout were good. And, knowing that I can do that, publishing my own work will not be worrying at all.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Apart from reading?

I enjoy cooking, so I sometimes decide to develop a tasty new dish, often based on something friends or family rave about: my wife went to Mexico in 2013, so I taught myself how to make Oaxacan Mole when she came back.

I have been part of a group of table-top roleplayers for over a decade, although now we are all older it is harder to play as often as before. I used to fill the gap with PC gaming; however, writing seems to fill the same need to interact with stories more effectively, so I am a very casual gamer now.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My cats. They are coincidentally really friendly just before breakfast, then go out to explore for the day. So if I do not get up, I only get a few seconds of contact as they bounce across the bedroom on their way out of the house.

More seriously, since I have started writing full time the momentary flicker of "what would happen if I just stayed in bed?" has almost completely gone. So writing probably inspires me.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle Paperwhite.

When I started reading ebooks, I read them on my desktop computer; which was not a terrible way to read them. However, once we gained cats, I found I was rereading print books in preference to reading new ebooks so I could curl up with a cat.

The Paperwhite had the best screen-to-weight ratio and the least un-bookish appearance of the readers I looked at.

Ironically, as I can read my Kindle one-handed, I now find myself using it in preference to print for larger novels, leaving a hand free to fuss a cat.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Initially it was mostly recommendations from people with similar tastes. However, the Friday Reviews on my blog have started to attract authors (especially those looking for traction in the UK market), so I have started to receive a noticeable minority of promotional ebooks.
Published 2013-12-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Wild Frontiers: Nine Stories of the West
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 50,420. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
The Frontier: the line between civilisation and the unknown where pioneers rely on a strong will and a dead eye not big city laws. A land where your sweat makes a place yours, whatever a map says; where a badge doesn't make a sheriff better than anyone else; where the divide between legend and reality isn't where it seems. Nine tales showcasing the grit and adventure that built the frontier.
Seven Stones: The Complete Series
Series: Seven Stones, All 97 Parts. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 113,150. Language: British English. Published: March 30, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Collects every part of the swords-and-sorcery serial. Plagued by nightmares of shifting stone and ancient evil, Absolution Kobb journeys to the northern edge of civilisation. Most treat him with disdain and ill-trust, but two people see his quest as a way to better their own lives.
Origin
Series: Dragons & Magic. Price: Free! Words: 18,170. Language: British English. Published: October 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
Some are born to advantage, privilege. Edmond was born to village idiots who put his points into Luck. They knew an opportunity to win the lottery when they saw it. Edmond dreams of being a hero and scholar. Impossible goals when your Intelligence and Wisdom couldn’t be lower. Is Edmond nothing but a walking rabbit’s foot? Will his parents’ dreams of fortune come true? It’s all just a roll away.
Greenstar Season 3
Series: Josie Stein Comedies, Volume 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 99,910. Language: British English. Published: December 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
What if you really had to start again from scratch? After saving Earth for the second time, Josie thought she finally had time to deal with personal business. But a trap in the Greenstar's engines meant she really got away from it all. Trapped in a featureless void, she discovers that even being the first woman in a new universe won't protect her from having to solve everyone else's problems.
Seven Stones: Alone No More
Series: Seven Stones, Parts 1-9. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,990. Language: British English. Published: August 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Horror » General
Collects parts 1 - 9 of the serial. Plagued by nightmares of shifting stone and ancient evil, Absolution Kobb, Reverend Militant of the Order of the Maker, journeys to the northern edge of civilisation. Most treat him with disdain and ill-trust. But Anessa Tanton sees a way out of her village.
Greenstar Season 2
Series: Josie Stein Comedies, Volume 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 98,280. Language: British English. Published: May 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
Josie foiled a scheming, homicidal AI. She saved the Earth from the Kalmari. But nothing is good enough for Burger Supreme: they think a ray forcing everyone to have a conscience is a bad thing. Dispatching Vesta Hartman, a captain with two itchy trigger fingers and everything to prove, Burger Supreme want the Greenstar brought to justice at any cost. Even if it means turning it to powder first.
State: A Collection of Short Stories
Series: Bespoke Imaginings. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,710. Language: British English. Published: November 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Five short works of character-driven science-fiction, ranging from the realistic to the operatic.
Greenstar Complete Season 1: The Space Opera
Series: Josie Stein Comedies, Volume 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 101,060. Language: British English. Published: October 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
Humanity’s best hope is a wicker spaceship. Josie Stein woke up a thousand years in the future and was immediately elected captain of the U.F.S. Greenstar, a recycled spaceship on a mission to stop the aliens of the galaxy from wiping themselves out. Now homicidal aliens have set their sights on Earth. How can the ramshackle Greenstar possibly stand in their way?
An Unquiet Calm: A Collection of Short Stories
Series: Bespoke Imaginings. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,370. Language: British English. Published: May 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
A collection of five short works of character-driven speculative fiction and dark fantasy.