Monday, April 18, 2011

Q&A with James Hutchings

I'd like to welcome author James Hutchings to P.S. I Love Books today!

James Hutchings live in Melbourne, Australia. He mostly writes very short fantasy fiction. His work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, fiction365, and Enchanted Conversation among other markets.

Welcome James! I appreciate you taking the time out to visit P.S. I Love Books.

No worries.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book Two-Fisted Tweets?

Two-Fisted Tweets is a collection of thirty short stories. Each is less than 140 characters (the length of a Twitter tweet).

What is Flash Fiction and what inspired you work with that specific genre?

Flash fiction is very short short stories. The usual definition is 1000 words or less. Obviously the ones in Two-Fisted Tweets are towards the small end of that scale - an average of about 15-20 words each.

I never really decided to write flash fiction. I just found that most of my stories were very short. However I was partly inspired by Lord Dunsany, one of the early names in fantasy fiction, who wrote of lot of stories of a few hundred words length.

What was one of your favorite and least favorite things about writing Two-Fisted Tweets?
One frustrating thing about writing in this length is that you don't make a lot of progress in terms of word count. I might have four good ideas for stories, and that could be fifty words. Whereas when you're writing a longer story you can spend two hundred words on a throwaway description.

However on the other hand, it's obviously quicker to write a 15 word story than a 1000 word one. So once you start a story, you usually finish it the same day. There's none of the frustration of writing four hundred words and then running out of ideas or not knowing how to end it.

If you had the chance to do it all over again would you change anything in Two-Fisted Tweets?

Since it was finished I've written new stories that, had I written them in time, would have gone in there. Every time I look at writing I did a while ago I want to change a word here or there. But on the whole I think it was the best collection I could do.

What do you think of the cover?

I really like the cover. I made it myself, so maybe I'm biased. I put together images from a few different comic covers, did the cover layout from scratch, then added the 'aging' effect by superimposing a picture of some very old paper.

When did you first realize that you wanted to write?

I actually wrote a very long story in primary school, which is now long-lost. It was partly inspired by a book of mythology I was reading at the time, but I'm pretty sure it was also supposed to be funny.

If you could write a book about absolutely anything with any other author (dead or alive) what would it be about and who would you choose?

I actually read a story called The Challenge From Beyond, which was written in 1935 by a group of fantasy writers. The idea was that one author wrote the first few paragraphs, then another took over to continue the story, and so on.

The result was surprisingly good, and so I'd like to write some stories using this principle, perhaps with the authors mentioned below.

Speaking of other authors: do you have any favorites?

My favourites change frequently, but here are some influences: Lord Dunsany, James Thurber (particularly a series of parodies of Aesop's fables that he did for the New Yorker), Terry Pratchett, Robert E. Howard (among other things the creator of Conan), JRR Tolkien (some would say the opposite of flash fiction), Ursula K. Le Guin, and Clark Ashton Smith.

I’m always looking for books to add to my ginormous TBR (to be read) pile. What books are you currently reading or have read recently? Any good recommendations?

I recently read the free preview to The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones. It looked very good.

What are some of your favorite things to do when given a break from the writing life and other work-related things?

I play and run Dungeons & Dragons. For many years I created a 'choose your own adventure' style website as a hobby. I've stopped adding to it, but it's still there. The address is for anyone who's interested. A fair few of the ideas in my stories came from the world of the game.

Are you currently working on any projects that we may see from you in the future?

I write every day, and I always announce on my blog (see below) when I've had a new story published. I'm planning to put out a novel-length collection of my stories in September. These stories will be longer than in Two-Fisted Tweets: 100 or so words up to about 1500. The title will be Once Upon A Time: Fairy Tales for Cynical Adults.

I'm also working on a novella called All-American Detectives. This has a similar premise to the comic and film Watchmen: a detective story where the detectives are superheroes (the plot and characters aren't particularly similar though). This should be coming out later this year.

Thank you so much for stopping by James! Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

Two-Fisted Tweets is sold at
My blog is

Be sure to stop by the next couple of days for my review of Two-Fisted Tweets & a giveaway!



Lisa R/alterlisa said...

Is there a market for this type of fiction?

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