Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Backup of the interview from Catherine Hokin's website

[This is a backup of the interview here, from Catherine Hokin's website.]

Tell me about yourself?
I love knowledge, words and communication. It shows in my career choices: librarian, educator, information literacy tutor. Oh, and author. Mustn’t forget that one. I am organised, obsessive (I spent ten years rewriting 2000 Tunes), kind to puppies, and a worrier. Especially about what we’re doing to the world. I love playing boardgames with friends. It stops me worrying.

Where are you from?
Manchester. Therefore I grew up miserable. This gradually softened to a perpetual grumpiness and a desire to create a better world through fiction. I think I was getting things out of my system with Cold Fusion 2000, and then 2000 Tunes. They were both set in the year 2000, shortly after I really had left Manchester for Wales. When you leave a place you see it in a different light, the good and the bad. And you see yourself in a different light too. A teeny bit of that will bleed between the covers.

Why did you start writing?
I was often lonely as a child. I’d climb a weeping willow with a book of horror stories, and let the creaking branches keep me company. I lived in my imagination. Whole wars took place there. Civilisations were born and died. Action Man went out with Sindy. At junior school I made up stories. When I was about nine I wrote one about a giant robot that wanted to crush everything. It seemed undefeatable. A scientist knocked a dictionary onto the floor, and it fell open on a word that gave him a clue as to how to defeat it. And thus I discovered deus ex machina eleven years before I learnt the concept while studying ancient Greek drama.

What have you written?
In terms of novels, I’ve written a survival horror called Turner, set on an isolated Welsh island; and the two “2000 books”, as I think of them (Cold Fusion 2000, and 2000 Tunes). The latter books are literary fiction rather than horror, and are both set in the same summer in the same areas of Manchester, with crossover places, themes, situations and characters that sometimes mirror each other. I love both genres (horror and literary fiction) but am not doing myself any favours, since there’s a chance that even my biggest fans will only read half my books. Still, I’d rather write what I truly love, the stuff I’m enthusiastic about at the time, than get on a conveyor belt and only churn out one type of book. When you read a novel you can sometimes tell if the author was as in love with the story as you are, or if they’re just painting by numbers.

What kind of writer are you?
A maverick. A dangerous man hell-bent on a mission of revenge against those who wronged him; instead of playing by the book he wrote the book; then he ripped it up, because he doan’ need no steenkin’ batches; then he used the pages to start a fire; and then he fanned the fire with words until – sorry. Pesky imagination.
I just love stories. In any format. They take us out of ourselves. If I wasn’t a writer I’d probably be a hermit and growl at anyone coming near.
Oh, wait ... that’s me already.

Are you as music-obsessed as your character in 2000 Tunes?
Possibly! I love music. All sorts. One day it’s New Order; the next it’s Erasure. Joy Division to Lykke Li; Queen to The Distillers; Radiohead to Sleigh Bells. All fantastic. I’m learning to play the guitar. One year in and I can strum away on my favourite chords. One of my favourite things is getting together with my friends who sing and play drums, and just making noise. Cathartic and creative. Wish I’d started years ago.

2 favourite albums, books, movies
Albums: Radiohead’s Ok Computer. Hazel O’Connor’s Breaking Glass.

Books: this is hard. Maybe Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (I picked it up in my college library, couldn’t put it down, nearly missed my bus stop on the way home). A masterclass in writing a thriller. And Night Shift by Stephen King, since it was the first thing of his I’d read, and it both fascinated and terrified me.

Movies: An Officer And A Gentleman. Richard Gere’s finest hour. And Flashdance. Welder by day, exotic dancer by night – who can resist that tagline?

Invite a) one comedian  b) one writer and c) one 'hero' to dinner. What food theme would you choose?
For the comedian Kathy Burke. Even though she’s also a serious actress, I’d beg her to come as Perry in this clip. There is a connection to 2000 Tunes.

Writer: Clive Barker. His horror work influenced me a lot as a teenager. I’d never read anything like The Hellbound Heart before.

Hero: Maybe the Vegan Police from Scott Pilgrim. They’re organised, powerful, and have cool shades.

As to the food – some mix of vegan foods from round the world (so I don’t get de-veganated and lose my powers.) That would suit us all because Kathy Burke and Clive Barker are veggies too.

What's next?
Two short story collections, one literary, one horror. I’m excited about switching to these for a bit, they should be much easier to edit than a single work of 140,000 words where everything has to connect to everything else! Oh joy.

Thanks for having me!
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