Interview with Paul Hughes

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Lots of things. Every day is new and I made a decision a while back to make the best of each day because you never know when it's going to be your last. Obviously, I'm inspired to get my writing out and read by as many people as possible and right now, it's my son getting me out of bed. Despite accepting the fact that I'll never have a proper nights' sleep ever again - or at least for the next eighteen years - he is my drive and inspiration to get things done, which of course means getting the writing done. Sometimes, I'm up really early which is great because I can write in silence before the rest of the world is up. It works for me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Sleeping. Oh, and reading. Though at the moment, my son does take up most of my spare time so it's mainly spent doing things with him. I like to play my guitar when I can and do all the things other people do. I love a good walk.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! The first story I wrote was about an old woman who grew lollipops in her garden instead of flowers.
What is your writing process?
It varies. Some days I can start early and write for a few hours before needing a break, other times I can't sit down until late at night. I try to aim for a minimum of 10,000 words per week, which isn't always easy. On a good day I could be flying out of the blocks, on a bad day it can take me hours to write a single sentence. I think it's important to not be distracted by the Internet, especially social networks, but then writers do need that outlet, especially if you're self publishing. As long as I write at least something every day, I'm happy. Becoming a dad has changed the way I work. My son is too young to play by himself at the moment so he needs our full attention at all times, which can be slightly annoying for a writer. I try to write around his sleep pattern, especially at night, which is when I feel I do my best stuff anyway.

My novels are quite long and I'm not really the kind of writer who makes a lot of notes. It all goes on in my head and I like working like that. I always do at least two drafts of a book, sometimes three, and a final polish. It all goes straight onto the computer. Wherever possible, I like to write to loud music.
How do you approach cover design?
Before I embarked on the self publishing route, I initially thought it would be easy enough to just design my own. Then I realised I was rubbish at it and just got a graphic designer to do the job for me. I've used James from GoOnWrite.com and I'm really pleased with what he's done. I'll probably continue to use their service though I would like my partner to paint the covers in future because she's a really good artist and her style would go really well with my crime fiction.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This could take all day.

1) IT by Stephen King. I read it when I was about thirteen and it was the first book that made me want to become a writer. It was fantastic just delving into the world he evoked in that novel on those dark, January nights.

2) Imajica by Clive Barker. The guy is just a genius with words and he has the most incredible imagination.

3) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I love anything by Steinbeck but I reckon this is his best.

4) The Crow Road by Iain Banks. The late Iain Banks was a great influence on me and my own writing. This book is a wonderfully written family saga by a writer who is sadly no longer with us. He died way before his time but left a great legacy of both Science Fiction and Literary works.

5) Danny The Champion of The World by Roald Dahl. What kid didn't grow up reading Roald Dahl? This one will always stay with me for lots of reasons but it was the first book I read when I realised you could be a writer as a job. My life changed right there.

There are too many great books in the world and this is an impossible question to answer.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything and everything. I read a lot of crime/mysteries since that is what I write myself at the moment. But if a story grabs me and I'm reeled in, no matter the genre, I'll always give it a go. I read as widely as I can.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Fire
Describe your desk
It's very small and very messy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Manchester, England. Mancunians have a very dry sense of humour that not even other English people can always understand. The industrial revolution began in Manchester, so it is a city of firsts in many ways and always has been, though it's quite a small city compared to London.

The people of Manchester have always influenced my writing because there are strong characters on almost every corner. It's also a great setting for fiction, especially crime fiction. On the plus side, it's located perfectly for the Lake District, Wales and other northern cities so I don't feel limited about where I can take my characters and my stories.

It's home and I still live here. I like to write about Manchester because I know it so well. The city is almost a character in itself.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was very young. I remember really enjoying it in primary school and I always got good feedback from my teachers so there was no stopping me from that point, really.

It wasn't until my twenties when I started taking it more seriously.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's a thriller/coming of age novel that happens to have ghosts in it. And gangsters. It would most appeal, I think, to readers of New Adult and to those who like their fiction dark but with dark humour too. It's a twisty-turny kind of story, with an ending I hope will knock readers' socks off. But then, they have to read it...

Here's the blurb:

What’s it like to go on the run?
What’s it like to go on the run…with a dead guy?
When Daniel witnesses a cold blooded murder from his bedroom window, it’s bad enough. But when the dead man is still there the next day, it’s all about to get much worse. Because Billy wants Daniel to help him get his wife and baby daughter – not to mention Tony - out of the country before they join him six feet under. Because the McCarthys and The Mad Dogs will not rest until they’re all dealt with.

But then there are secrets too that Daniel must decode before his redemption. What happened to his Mum? Just who is The Traveller? Why does his Dad want him dead? And will he ever be good enough for Mina?

It’s a race against time as Daniel discovers what it means to be a man and what it takes to survive – at a price.

He’s running with the dead. Some call it a gift. He calls it a curse.

Because it's always darkest before dawn.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently writing the second novel in my hardboiled crime series. I suppose you could call it Manchester noir. My protagonist, a Private Investigator, is an absolute joy to write. The books are written in the first person, which is a style I really like and it works with these novels. The first book in the series will be out in winter, all being well, as it's currently going through another draft and edit. I've roughly planned ten books in the series so there's a lot of writing still to do.
Published 2014-07-03.
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Books by This Author

Daniel and The Dead
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 109,810. Language: British English. Published: August 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
So what's it like to go on the run with a dead guy? I'll tell you, if you're prepared for the tale. Believe me, it's not good. It's much worse than that. I wasn't prepared for Billy or any of it. I wasn't prepared to join him six feet under. My world was turned upside down one winter night and everything changed right at that moment when the blade glimmered in the dead light. This is my story....