On Friday I went with the GF to Waterstones in Leeds to see popular American Author and son of Stephen King - Joe Hill.
Joe has written such modern horror classics as "Heart Shaped Box ", "Horns" (which was adapted to film with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe).
Short story anthology "20th Century Ghosts" and graphic novel series "Locke & Key".
When Joe first arrived in a packed room he took a photo of the audience for Twitter . He also admitted he was nervous speaking to an audience. Here he told a funny story about his first public reading to about ten people. He was nervous and read out some swearing and suddenly loads of kids popped up and the parents weren't pleased.
He then read an excellent extract from his new novel "The Fireman" which is a post apocalyptic where people get a disease and spontaneous combust.
Then he turned our attention to the song sheets he gave out as he came into the room. He eventually got volunteers to play Kazoos as music for the singing.
We sang Campfire Song which is in the novel and to the tune of Hey Jude which was dark and funny. We also sang Chim Chim Cheree.
After it was to the Questions and Answers from the audience.
Q - What would you rather fight - a giant duck or an Octopus.
Joe - depends on the terrain but probably the Octopus and squash it.
Q - Would you write a sequel to "Heart Shaped Box "?
Joe - "Heart Shaped Box " my first novel about a rockstar buying a ghost online which is very real. Generally don't write sequels. The end of the story should be final giving more power to the middle. Gives the reader chance to take on the story.
Q - Where do you get inspiration for stories?
Joe - Mostly jokes. Pick at whatever makes him laugh. Writes horror and suspense but similar to comedy. Comedy and Shock related. If Leatherface beats someone with an hammer you scream but if Marx brothers do the same thing you laugh. Same scene.
Q - How much of a fan of John Wyndham are you? As the camp in the novel Camp Wyndham.
Joe - A fan of John Wyndham that why camp named after him. My books full of references of things I love. The title for "The Fireman" lifted from a Ray Bradbury as it was original title of Farenheit 451.
There a lot of Harry Potter, Zombie Apocalypse and Marvel superhero films.
Especially Marvel as one woman character so book has alot of women characters.
Q - Your three favourite horror films?
Joe - Jaws, original Dawn of the Dead, Let the Right one in.
Q - One piece of advice for Writers.
Joe - Been given alot of good advice from many writers. None of it really matters. He figured out what he did himself by reading good books and comic's. Re-write some novels. Studied other writers. For his comic he counted out other comic's panel and wording to see how they worked.
Mainly for a career it's a slow drip process. Write one great scene and get to know your character and world. A good novel is great scenes connected together. A lot of people give up. No reason to write a scene about someone making breakfast. Write what people want.
Q - What happened to the Locke & Key TV Show?
Joe - Spent six years writing graphic novel Locke & Key with full beginning, middle and end. About enchanted keys in haunted house. Fox TV made 10 million pilot but it so different and lost confidence in it. Although five years ago there was no Netflix or Daredevil, Penny Dreadful ect. American Horror Story. Wasn't confident making a comic book show and Walking Dead only in first season. IDW now moved into television and now writing pilot episode for them.
Q - Horns was rewritten about four times - why was this?
Joe - Goes back to what I said about slow drip of time to make a career. Wrote it for ten years and didn't sell. A lot of writers give up as you give up alot of time to write a novel and get no where but there no wasted effort as the good parts can be used again. Wrote a fantasy called "The Fear Tree" . Took three years to write and got rejected. Another one had a guy with psychic abilities.Eventually it became Horns and some chapters in it rewritten chapters.
Stories go through an evolution of failure then success.
Q - Are you writing a re-imaging of Tales from the Dark Side?
Joe - I got hired by CBS to reboot a 1980s show. Said yes and they wrote a big cheque. Was meant to write one script but ended up writing three and a bible for the show. Connected the standalone stories.
CBS passed on it as they concentrated on Arrow and Superhero shows.
Although IDW have bought the rights to make as a comic.
Q - What favourite short stories?
Joe - Bitter Grounds by Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link stories?
I asked when getting book signed -
What are you working on next?
Joe - Working on four novellas. Look out for them.