Interview with Hughie Gibson

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Honestly I don't, I've been writing or telling stories for as long as I can remember. When was a young boy growing up in Southeast Missouri I would play like every young boy does but I always seemed focused on the story and the characters I created. My mother says because of that she always knew I would be a writer.

I do remember my first poem though, it was titled "The Roads in Heaven". I wrote it soon after my Grandpa passed away suddenly in 1987, I was 10 years old. It wasn't good.
What is your writing process?
I definitely start as a planner. I have to know where the story will end up. This is a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because I have a road map and don't wander aimlessly, but it's a curse because sometimes the characters surprise me. I may be half way through a story when suddenly a plot point will be on the horizon and I know that the character that has came to life would not handle the situation the way I had planned. Sometimes that's an easy fix and sometimes it means the story may not end the way I had planned. The story is its own and I am only it's vessel in which to deliver it.
How do you approach cover design?
I think cover design is very important. The old saying "don't judge a book by its cover" sadly isn't true. We do, we are visual creatures and the cover art is what catches our eye. I want the art to speak something about the book, the tone, setting, the characters. Nothing is more off-putting than seeing a Disneyland cover and opening it up to find a Tarantino story inside. Chances are the reader will never pick up another one of your books.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
Oh wow, I love Elmore Leonard, Cormac McCarthy, Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, Daniel Woodrell, and Larry Brown to name a few. I love the noir and neo-noir elements of their writings. The dark elements of human nature is something that has always appealed to me. Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone introduced me to something I was already writing. I didn't know that people would be interested in stories set in the rural Ozark areas of Missouri.
So you think they effected your writing style?
Oh for sure, if anything they helped hone a style I was already well on my to having. Once I read Hemingway and Leonard I knew that minimalist writing was okay, I have a tendency to write dialogue heavy scenes. I write with a gritty realism that comes off as brash and tough, my characters are strong and most times stubborn, most heavily flawed. I find these same types of characters in the works of my idols.
Where did you grow up, and did it effect your style as well?
I grew up in small town in Southeast Missouri and still live there. I absolutely think it effected my writing style, and the themes of my writing. I think writers would be dishonest if they said it hadn't effected them. Leonard has been called the Dickens of Detroit because of his portrait of the lives of the people who live there, he responded by saying, "If I lived in Buffalo I'd write about the people of Buffalo", I think this is true.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well I love to write, I write because I love it, if I didn't I wouldn't write. So it's art to me. I can't draw or paint or make make music but I can tell stories. As artists, like musicians or painters, I think we all have an indie bone in us. Our focus is telling a story the best way we can and having that story reach as many people as possible. For me I write about what I want to write about, I want to be in total control of my art, from pricing to reach to content. Being an indie artist gives me that control.
What do you read for pleasure?
Like I said, I really enjoy noir writers, those that tell stories about the dark side of human nature and especially those stories that take place in a country or rural area. I write what I enjoy to read.
What are you working on next?
I currently am working on the follow-up to my first in the Jacob Mallory P.I. series, A New Man, which is available everywhere, and a collection of short stories set in the world of Pine Bluff Missouri, the town which Jacob Mallory has made his home. I am working with an artist writing a graphic novel also set in Pine Bluff. Also I am writing a novel about a man who has an unhealthy addiction to adrenaline rushes and becomes a vigilante who tries to make his city safe again after a mob boss begins to gain power.
Published 2015-12-30.
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