Christopher Hayes Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Christopher Hayes: 63-year-old Lecturer in Management and Organisational Behaviour, self-employed Accountant, worked in Education for over 30 years, taught at many levels up to Masters. Have had a lot of poetry published in anthologies, have been writing since my teens but wanted to find a unique voice. Writing was and still is only a hobby, enjoy writing odd, quirky stories.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
CH: A Jack the Ripper story with no Jack the Ripper. Read it and you might just believe this is how it was
IBB: Where do you like to write?
CH: I handwrite most of my stuff first, using source materials to drive the narrative. In summer I sit outside and idly doodle, in winter I use my living room. I can only work with music on
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
CH: Music, sometimes Opera, other times Progressive Rock, Jazz Rock or obscure 70’s bands
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
CH: My first experience of Sci-fi was Cyril Kornbluth’s The Explorers. I believe you can only write well if you read well, and so my extensive book collection includes Asimov, Clarke, Tim Powers, Philip K Dick along with Pratchett, classics, Margaret Attwood, Dorothy K Broster, Tom Sharpe, Bill Bryson, Albert Camus. My most influential poet is Alexander Pope and Samuel Coleridge.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
CH: Reading, practicing, not writing for any market or copying any style, trying to find an original voice and mixing in social topics and observations in stories.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
CH: Oh, no idea. If I was truthful I’d like a review in the Guardian Books
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
CH: I’ve only sent prose out to someone once, the only observation he could make was that the title, which was Through a Glass Darkly had been overused, so I gave it some thought and changed the title. I have plenty of poetry rejections as well as acceptances. Usually, the rejections are all the same, “It’s not for our publication”. I must admit my poetry can be quite aserbic, here’s an example: this is called Carolingle
Listen, while the frosty air congeals to turgid white,
And mystery intensifies the keenness of this magical night;
Where expectant faces peer wide-eyed at the stars,
Hoping for the slightest glimpse of reindeer driven fairy travellers;
I sing, of conjoured myths that now bedeck each gilded home,
And lips that speak of holly, and ivy and mistletoe.
This only feast, this opportunity for excess,
Comes once a year with such dire disingenousness
That what it represents has long since been forgotten,
And replaced with something altogether more morally rotten.
Yearly, the Yuletide Feast raises a cornucopia of images,
An imago frozen in time, of Hunts and Horsedrawn Carriages.
Snowy Streets and frosted glass and rosy cherubim faces
Peer expectantly over notched windows singing Carols down the ages.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
CH: Trying to shoehorn the known facts surrounding the Ripper murders into a unique story – I’ve read Philip Sugden’s Complete History of Jack the Ripper more times than I care to remember. It’s my Instruction Manual for the Ripper murders, with lots of facts and events I’m trying to incude in the narrative, together with researches around the London of 1888, notable criminals, odd characters such as Robert Lees, a spiritualist medium who claimed to know the identity of the Ripper, and of course Frederick Abberline, the noted Detective who was made famous as the lead detective on the case. So far I think I’ve got a decent narrative, though I am strugging with a last chapter that covers the double event of Eddows and Stride. I have not attempted to submit this story yet.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
CH: Been writing handouts, course materials and handbooks for years, it kinda improves your writing all the time. In addition, I’ve set up private colleges and written policies and procedures. I consider myself to know the difference between you’re and your and that it is “would have” rather than “would of”
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
CH: Co-operative and mutual respect
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
CH: Thanks for liking it, and no problem if you hate it, I can’t please everyone
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
CH: Read widely, get a feel for the creative process, find an original voice, the world may not want more Elves, Orcs and Dragons
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
CH: Ha ha, no idea, it’s a competitive environment, and I may get no interest in the book at all, in which case it remains a hobby. But at least I can say I did it
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
CH: I read every day, currently ploughing through George Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, but also have other books on the go. I’m also currently reading Umberto Eco The Prague Cemetery, other books which I have read range from Sci-Fi, Satire (Tom Sharpe), Margaret Attwood, Biographies (Errol Flynn, Rick Wakeman), Bill Bryson….. this could turn into a substantial list
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
CH: One of my Clients is Steve Mera, a paranormal investigator, UFO researcher and Editor of Pheomena E-zine. I’m currently reading his UITC manual (UFO Investigator’s Training Course)
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.