Writer interviews continue with Sean Haughton, who talks us through his writing process…
Tell me about yourself – when did you begin writing and what current projects do you have?
I suppose I began writing, in the loose sense, back at Uni a few years ago. Writing essays allowed me to tap into my “inner author” so to speak, and it was in my 2nd year that I started messing around with little ideas that I kept to one side with the intent of returning to them one day. It wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I just decided, pretty much on the spot one day, that it was time to write properly. People had mentioned it to me occasionally, “why not write?”, and so it was time that I did. I dived into researching self-publishing, etc., and writing has been the focal point of my life since.
As for current projects, I’ve just published my 4th book, “Second Wave”. Its the smallest book I’ve done so far, and contains mostly poetry with the occasional anecdote and 3 short stories. The short stories were originally meant to be alongside numerous others in a collection, but I decided to include modified, shorter versions in this book instead. I’ve done this to mix the book up as opposed to it simply being a poetry collection, but also because I want to focus my efforts on writing my first novel, which would be the 3rd installment of ‘The George & Sally Series’.
How many hours a week do you spend writing?
It varies. Some days I don’t write at all, other days I really get into the groove. It depends if I’m working on a project, and where my head is.
What was the first book you can remember having an effect on you that nothing had hit you with previously?
For a while I mainly read biographies & autobiographies, so I rarely dived into a good story. While I can definitely appreciate a good story, something that can also impact me is how a story is written and how it can shape your imagination of the scenery. Being a Star Wars fan, you’ll know how a variety of the books, particularly the old-EU books, have that ability, and books like Drew Karpyshyn’s “Revan” & James Luceno’s “Darth Plagueis” epitomised that ability.
What inspires your writing? Other pieces of literature? Film? TV?
Life & philosophical meaning are certainly two influential factors. Music is undoubtedly a huge influence on me, and I try and incorporate my tastes into my writing in little ways, as I do with other artful influences like film & ideology. The desire to write certain kinds of books is in itself all an influencing factor, but the problem with that is that you can hit a creative brick wall trying to create something purely out of a desire to dip your toes into a certain field without any real context.
What was the strangest situation you were in when you got an idea or a solution for a story?
Probably out in public, inspired by my surroundings, usually by the obscenity of humanity. Or in therapy, having a eureka moment…
How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
It’s my job to both challenge the reader whilst ensuring they enjoy what I write. It’s not my responsibility to take care of them, but I am wary of alienating them. Ultimately, however, the stories I write are of my own creation and it’s up to the reader whether they want to come along for the ride. Numerous people have done so, so far, and that acts as motivation for me, especially knowing how some readers have become emotionally engaged with my works and what will become of them and the stories.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I try and be creative in some cases. With others, I blend names I like with names that have meanings behind them. Occasionally, I’ll pay tribute to certain people. Elsewhere, I use the names of people I’d rather not have met…
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Oh, yes! And it’ll continue with the novel!
Finally, what are you writing aims for 2020 and beyond?
Write the novel and get it out there! There are people in my ear asking me, “what happens next with George & Sally?!?”, and I can’t wait to see how they react to where that story goes. Beyond that, I just want more people to take a punt on the works I’ve created so far. It’s one of the constant struggles of any writer, let alone an independent writer, to get people to buy your books, but hopefully more and more people do so. Even further beyond that, we’ll see what happens with “The George & Sally Series”, and whether I decide to return to the short story collections or other ideas I have for novels.