David Owain Hughes is a writer of horror fiction who has recently started dabbling in horror journalism. He’s an editor/writer for Blood Magazine and has a few short stories in print. His first novel, Walled In, was release in February, alongside his short story collection, White Walls and Straitjackets. After discovering the novel One Rainy Night by Richard Laymon many moons ago, he set out on a path to become the best writer he could. He holds a BA and MA in Creative Writing, and hopes one day to write full-time. He also has a disgusting love for 80s metal/rock, and a raging thirst for Hobgoblin.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
VHS. It’s all their fault! Well, VHS and my older brother, who shall remain unnamed. The attraction for horror started way back in the early 80s, when I was just five-years-old. My brother would look after me on a Saturday night for our parents to go out, and would rent horror, pirate and ninja films every weekend from the local video shop. I’d watched most of the biggies by the time I was seven, and couldn’t get enough of it. This, in turn, developed in me an urge to write my own disgusting tales, which raised some serious eyebrows among my school teachers. I was extremely proud of the big red Fs I had stamped all over my Friday the 13th-esque stories. Who wouldn’t be?
Probably my first novel, Walled In. I wrote it as part of my university coursework five years ago. It’s nice to finally see it in print. I say it’s notable because, like my first answer, it raised some eyebrows. I guess when you’re writing about perverts, sex fiends, zombies, serial killers and oodles of blood’n’guts, it tends to draw some attention. Especially around creative writing academics, who like the traditional written word. Fuck that. I like my writing hot, hard and strong. I like something that’s going to keep readers arses pinned to the seat without letting them up for air. I don’t do snooze fests.
Also, I think my short story ‘Lips’ deserves a mention. A lot of good things have been said about it, which was one of my first big successes. It’s also the only short story of mine which has been printed in written and comic format. Plus the protagonist, Crystal, is probably one of the best characters I have ever developed.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my third novel, The Rack and Cue, along with other bits and pieces. It’s hard finding the time at the moment to sit and write for long periods, as I’m juggling a full-time job, along with other commitments here and there. But the novel is almost halfway there, which I’m pleased about. With The Rack and Cue, I’m trying to achieve something totally different. Something I’m not sure has been attempted yet, or certainly something I haven’t seen. The novel will comprise of two totally different tales, brought together by just a handful of threads. I wanted to try and create a type of ‘double-bill, drive-in-cinema’ sort of story, which I hope works.
Richard Laymon. I’ve bought and read pretty much everything the guy ever produced. I admire the way in which he told his stories. How gripping and fierce his yarns were. I marvel at the ability he had to create the most weird and wonderful characters. His novels and stories excited, chilled, and shocked me. Even to this day when I revisit his work.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
I like both, but I think out-and-out gore and cut-me-up-stuff wins every single time. It depends on what type of mood I’m in, I guess. On occasions, I like nothing more than to sit down with something I can get my teeth stuck right into. A slow burning and deep read. Something which will scary the living bejesus out of me and stay with me for a very long time.
Why should people read your work?
If they don’t read my work, they are in for a very slow and agonising death.
Recommend a book.
This is a seriously hard question. Okay, I think anything by Richard Laymon is a winner, so if you haven’t read any of his books, then do so. I recently read Plastic Jesus by Wayne Simmons, and was instantly taken by it. The novel is set in a very colourful and vivid America, which has a noir/sci-fi feel to it.
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