Sunday, December 22, 2013

Interview with Tim Hawken.

Full Name:
My parents called me Timothy Stuart Hawken, even though when I was younger I wanted to be named Bilbo. That didn’t stick, so now it’s plain old Tim.
I can call you Bilbo… if you want me to.
Perfect, I’ll add it to my list of nicknames.

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
Being Australian I have a ridiculous about of nicknames: Bilbo, Hawk, Hawko, Hurricane, Hudson, Gumby, Moondoggy…. The list goes on. Most of the time it’s Hawk or Timmy. A lot of people yell out Timmeh like South Park when they see me. Timmeh!
Oh, you Australians!  Living in a continent where there are more deadly animals than there is fresh water seems to have given you a unique lust for life that we could do with a bit more over here in the states.  I’ve always said that England’s trash made out pretty well down under.   They probably just needed a challenge.
It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine will do for your outlook on life, that’s for sure. Sharks? Snakes? Spiders? Whatever, I’m getting a tan.

Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
That sounds like a made-up place.  But most places in Australia sound made up to me so I guess it’s par for the course.

Current hometown:
Yallingup. It’s a small town in the Southwest of Western Australia with one of the most spectacular coastlines you’ll see anywhere in the world. There is plenty of great surf, some sharks, more dolphins and a whole lot of flies during summer.
That also sounds like a made-up place.  Sometimes I think Australians named their places weird names just to get back at their British oppressors.
Yallingup means ‘place of love’ in the local Aboriginal dialect, or so I’m told. That’s actually an easy one. One of my favourite town names is Humpybong.
If I move to Australia, I’m living in Humpybong.  Case closed.

Favorite city and why?
Paris. It has great food, art, and, for people who have a bad rep for being rude, I think the French are actually incredibly friendly, as long as you try a few words in their language first. It also has some crazy catacombs under the city, replete with skulls and blind dead ends. Perfect for a dark fantasy writer. I also love Edinburgh, San Francisco and Melbourne. I guess I must like cold weather.
People say that the French in Montreal are rude too, but I had an amazing time when I visited Montreal.  All you have to do is know a little high school French and pretend like you’re trying to talk the language and they open up right up and treat you like one of their own.  Or at least as much as those assholes ever do.

Birthday / Age:
February 3rd. / 32.
That makes me a skeptic Aquarius, and in dog years 141 yrs old. So, you could say I’m a vampire dog who doesn’t believe in star signs.
That should be your author bio.   Just that.
“Tim Hawken is a vampire dog who doesn’t believe in star signs.”
I’ll see if I can work it into the back of my next book.

How would you describe yourself physically?
Ugly and cocky.

How would someone else describe you physically?
Sexy and humble (or is that the other way around?)

The first thing people notice about you is…
At the moment my heinous beard. I look like a pirate sans parrot. Luckily that comes and goes, and most of the time I can pass for a normal member of society. On the outside at least.
Well, you could always get a parrot and complete the ensemble… and an eye-patch… and a peg-leg.
Alright, on second thought, looking like a pirate is pretty high-maintenance.

You forgot the gold teeth too. I guess all that hidden treasure has to be spent somewhere.
I totally forgot the gold teeth.

Sexual orientation?
I need a compass.

Religion, if any?
Agnostic heathen.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I believe in ghosts and am scared of being called boring. I’m petrified of ignorance.

Do you smoke/drink? If so, what?
I don’t smoke. I am however partial to a Henricks Gin or a Johnny Walker Black. Gin with tonic, whiskey with ice. Both with good company.

Any bad habits?
Retweeting weirdness on Twitter.

Current occupation / Dream job:
Writer: some novels, some freelance copywriting and more. I did have a dream that I was a unicorn trainer once. I was snaring them in a rainbow and whipping them with lightning. I think I’d prefer to be a writer.
Yeah, but if the whole writing thing doesn’t pan out you could always fall back on being a unicorn trainer.
It would be a fine fall back. 

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I surf to unwind. I also enjoy reading.
Hopefully not at the same time.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
I think Iron Maiden said it best when they sung “Ruuuuunnnn to the Hiiiillllls. Run for your liiiiiiife.”  After lopping a few undead heads off, I’d move up into the mountains somewhere, or find a deserted island in the Indian Ocean full of coconuts.
I tried a coconut once.   It was definitely not worth the effort.
You just need a machete to lop the top off. Every Australian carries one, so I guess we’re a step ahead.

Weapon of choice:
Macbook Pro linked to a missile defense system. That way I can write stories while defending my coconuts. Back up would be my machete.

Do you have any special skills?
I can tie a mean bowline, my lentil dahl is excellent and I can beat the shit out of a boxing bag as long as it doesn’t move. My gin mixing skills are also above par.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
I did a double degree in arts and commerce majoring in journalism, literature, philosophy and marketing. I’m currently doing an honours course in philosophy as well.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Australia is a socialist paradise where the government pays for your college, keeps a tab and lets you pay it off through your tax with a minimal interest rate. I’m still adding to the bill.
I often think of moving to Australia.   The weather seems nice, the people interesting, and the animals dangerous and homicidal.   My kind of place.
There’s plenty of room. Come on over.
I’ll check out the apartment scene in Humpybong.

Any pets?  If so, what are they and what are their names?
I have a dog called Mojo. My first pet was a Mexican Walking Fish called Gollum. He used to eat bacon. I had to give him away when we moved countries when I was a kid. I’m pretty certain he’s still alive somewhere, searching for the ring of Mordor.

What is your favorite animal?

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
General dickheadedness.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Sushi and chocolate. I steer away from Maccas.
That’s fucked up that you couldn’t just have McDonald’s like every other industrialized nation.   As a nation, you were all, like, “Okay, you can set up shop, but you have to cal yourself something fucked up.”   More evidence that Australia is the most passive-aggressive place in the world when it comes to naming things.
Oh, it’s called McDonalds.  Everyone just calls it Macca’s.  Burger King is however called Hungry Jack’s.  Weird.
I rest my case.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“Writing is like pulling teeth. From my dick.” – David Rakoff

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Meeting my stunning wife.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
The day she was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I’m yet to have my heart broken, although I did stub my toe really badly once. It took quite a while to get over my trust issues of walking without shoes on.
With all of the poisonous everything you have over there I’m surprised that anyone walks bare-footed ever.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I don’t think so.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Giving birth to three novels and collaborating on a human baby with my wife.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I once sharted. That was pretty horrible.
I had that happen at work once.  Not that that’s the only time it happened, but this time was particularly memorable.  My underpants were completely unsalvageable.
That’s why incinerators where invented.

If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
I’d kill myself. Because if I could murder myself and it was consequence free it would mean I am immortal.

What do you do?
I write books about the devil, hell and generally having a badass time in the underworld.

How did you get started doing what you do?
The idea for the first book in the Hellbound series came from a writing assignment at university. The task was to ‘create a contemporary Satan’. It was the best mark I’ve ever had for anything, ever. That then snowballed into a full-blown novel and then a trilogy.
Tell us a bit about the Hellbound series.
The series begins when Michael wakes up in Hell with no knowledge of how he died or what he did to become damned.  Satan extends a friendly hand and says “I’ll show you”. It’s kind of like Dante meets Tarantino.  A modern take on sin, revenge and how to make the perfect cup of tea.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Start writing. You’d be amazed at the amount of people who, when they find out I’m a writer, say: “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” Well, do it! Don’t die wondering. Everyone has a great story to tell. Plan it out so you don’t just wander off on tangents. Figure out exactly what you want to say, break it down chapter-by-chapter and fill in the blanks. Easy, right?
That’s what I don’t do and do.
I don’t do the first part.  You want to be a writer?  Earn it like every other writer has had to earn it throughout the history of writing.  Spend hours upon hours until they build into weeks and months staring at the empty space at the end of the page like it’s a cliff that all of your hopes and dreams and creativity will fall off of into a bottomless freefall completely unobserved and unremembered.  If you come back from that standing with some of your marbles, then you’re one of us.
I do do the second part.  As I’m writing I’ll often skip ahead and type out brief narrative landmarks to steer towards and if I ever get blocked with one part of a story I just skip ahead and write the next part and then come back later and fill in the blanks.
Overall, it’s the hardest easiest thing I’ve ever done and I love doing it, but I think you have to love it or it will destroy you.

Exactly. Hence the David Rakoff quote. I reckon you’d dig this clip of his:

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past? Give us a little history if you will.
Hellbound was my first novel, I Am Satan was the sequel which came out last year and Deicide has just been released last week. I also have a couple of manuscripts sitting in the wings ready to roll out in the near future.

What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently writing a fantasy horror novel about multiples worlds linked by dreams. It’s coming along. Lots of monsters of the mind are being bled onto the laptop day by night.

What are you watching?
Game of Thrones. I’m also looking forward to Anchor Man 2, American Hustle and the next Hunger Games film.

What are you listening to?
Tool. I’ve also been listening to quite a bit of Blues recently, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Back Door Slam, Muddy Waters etc.
I had a blues phase a couple years back and I discovered this collection of CD releases called, obviously enough “The Blues Collection”.  There were a hundred CDs in the set, so there was no way I was going to be an honest consumer and actually pay for that monstrosity, but I ended up downloading about half of the collection and discovered some really great stuff checking out those downloads.
Cool, I’ll have to check it out.  Spotify is a gold mine.  I sit on that most days.

What are you reading?
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

Favorite author / book?
Ohhh, I couldn’t name one. The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey is pretty insane.  The Hobbit.  Kafka on the Shore.  Too many.

Favorite band / song?
Tool as a band. My favourite song is Lover, You Should Have Come Over by Jeff Buckley. Yes, I have an eclectic taste.

Least favorite band / song?
Most pop music makes me want to put skewers in my ears.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Dead. Fictional.

Dracula: because he’s alive, dead and fictional. Also, you could talk about all different times in history and parts of the world. It would be like meeting thousands of souls at once.
That, sir, is an amazing answer.
Why thank you.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
I used to work in a fish n’ chip shop with four of my closest friends and a boss who was an absolute champion. I have good memories of that job, even though you smelled of oil and fish when you came home. The worst thing I’ve done is cleaned out stump holes from under a house. One day was enough. Between the dust and the fear of being crushed alive it was pretty rancid.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Yes. And the answer is 42.
So now I guess we know what the answer to life, the universe and everything is and the answer is “Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?” which I actually kind of like.
Ha. It’s good to know there’s other Douglas Adams fans out there in the writing world.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
C.J. Werleman, author of God Hates You Hate Him Back is a very interesting human. I can put you in touch if you like.
Please do!  You handle the introduction and I’ll handle the follow-through.

Got any questions for me?
I have two.
If you could interview anyone, alive, dead or fictional who would it be and why?
I have a whole list of blue sky dream interviews.   And that’s only counting the living.  I honestly have no idea, given everyone alive dead and fictional who I would choose to interview.  I know that it’s going to seem like an unfair and inelegant dodge, but I think I’d like to interview all of them, although if you had an infinity to interview everyone it would probably get to be boring after a while, so maybe that’s what my own personal hell is going to be.   Satan will sidle up alongside me, an infinite line of people in front of me, or maybe I’ll have a dingy worn-down second-hand office that is always a bit too warm, and he’ll say, “So, you wanted to interview everyone, did you?  *mirthful chuckle*  Be careful what you wish for.”  And then he’d disappear in a flash of sulfur and brimstone.  And then my depressing little office that’s always too warm that has a ceiling fan that does nothing but stir the warm air, will smell like sulfur and brimstone.  On second thought, maybe I don’t want to interview all of them.
Too much of a good thing…

Who is the most interesting person you have interviewed to date?
I’d like to say that they’ve all been interesting in their own way, but that would be a lie.   Some of them have been painfully boring, but I like to follow through with what I start so I soldiered through them.   There have been some interesting ones, but I think my favorite so far was the one I did with Mike Resnick.  I had one of his books when I was a kid and I read it to shreds so being able to have a conversational correspondence with someone whose work was a big part of my formative years was a pretty cool experience to have.  Plus he’s a pretty interesting guy.   His middle name is “Diamond”.  That should give you an idea of how interesting that guy is, and that’s just his middle name.
I’ll look up the interview, cheers.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.


About the Interviewee:
Tim Hawken is dark fantasy writer from Australia.
He holds Bachelor Degrees in Arts and Commerce from Deakin University, majoring in Philosophy, Literature, Journalism and Marketing.
Tim’s first novel was born while on the road, written on aeroplanes and in hotel rooms. Titled Hellbound, the book was discovered on an online writer’s forum by Dangerous Little Books author CJ Werleman (God Hates You, Hate Him Back), who immediately recommended it to his publisher. Hellbound has since been followed by a sequel, I Am Satan.
Tim has also had work published in Surfing Life Magazine, Soggybones and In 2013 he won the Australian Horror Writer's Association 'Flash Fiction' Story of the Year for his short werewolf piece Moonlight Sonata.
He currently lives with his laptop in Western Australia.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
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Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
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Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
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Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
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