Interview with Michael Hambling

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in two very different areas of Britain. Until the age of 14, I lived in Bristol in the West of England. This is a very relaxed area of the country, and I loved it. From the age of 14 I lived in Scotland, in the Glasgow area. It was here that I went to university and met my wife. We have returned to the west country to live, and I set my novels in the county of Dorset. But I also try to include one or two Scottish characters in my novels. We still have family in Scotland, and visit regularly.
When did you first start writing?
In my late teens. I wrote short stories and poetry.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I try to include several plot layers in my novels. Dark Pathway has a background of domestic violence that shows up in several parts of the story. The Two Daughters (due out later in the autumn) is truly multi-layered. It has an obvious plot based on the trafficking of women from eastern Europe into the UK to be intimidated by violence and brutality into a life of street prostitution. But there are sub-plots of deep personal loss, revenge and isolation.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There are so many talented writers who keep collecting reject letters from traditional agents. No-one in the traditional publishing world seems to know how to cope with the changing realities that new technology has bought.
I love creating scenes, personalities and conversations in my head. I then love finding the write words to describe all these things. I want to share them with the public but can't seem to do so by the accepted route. Hence e-publishing.
What are you working on next?
My next novel, Killer Blues, is about a murder that occurs at a weekend blues festival. My wife and I visit two blues festivals each year in Swanage, Dorset. The scene that opens the first chapter (as witnessed by Ed) happened in front of my eyes.
Who are your favorite authors?
Hilary Mantel, Hilary Mantel and Hilary Mantel.
Crime: Mo Hayder and Val McDiarmid. Colin Dexter. But Hilary Mantel tops everyone. We should all be glad that we are living and reading at a time when Hilary Mantel is writing. She takes my breath away with every recent book. Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies are works of almost indescribable genius.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I've never, ever had a problem getting out of bed. I love every aspect of my life. Why stay in bed when there's so much fun to be had?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Meeting friends, visiting the beach, rambling along paths, cooking and eating good food, drinking real ale. Did I say meeting friends? It's just that I have so many!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first novelette I wrote was a conspiracy thriller. I still have it, along with some agents' comments.
What is your writing process?
Keyboard, screen: sit down and start writing. Sometimes, if I don't feel particularly inspired, I start by looking back over the last section written and fiddle with the words. Something usually strikes me sooner or later.
Describe your desk
A bit cluttered. Laptop, but with full size external keypad and screen. Bits of paper and notepads spread about. All my planning is done on screen in a mind-mapping program set to represent everything as a web-diagram.
I keep a notebook handy where I jot down questions as they occur to me, such as: 'Why was a gun used rather than a knife?' 'Where did the missing umbrella go?'
Published 2013-08-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.