Today my guest is horror author Vincent Hobbes, whose latest novel, KHOST, is a military horror set in the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. In 2004 he founded Hobbes End Publishing, but later sold the company and now writes full time. Heâ€™s the author of The Contrived Senator, Exiles, Plight of the Warrior, and, together with 17 other authors, of the anthology The Endlands. He recently finished producing the second volume of The Endlands. His latest novel, KHOST, released last year, is currently being considering for production in Hollywood. He resides in North Texas with his wife and German short-haired pointer.
Find Vincent Hobbes on the Web:
Watch the trailer!
Were you an avid reader as a child?
Most definitely. My parents encouraged it. I read non-stop as a child, and even in my high school years I kept the practice. I love books. Theyâ€™ve been a great help to my life. In high school, I had two wonderful English teachers. They were outside the box, and motivated me to pursue my creative mind.
Did you have any favorite authors or books back then or when you were a teen?
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (my dad used to read to me over and over again as a child).
The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King.
The Great Brain John D. Fitzgerald.
When did your fascination with horror fiction begin?Â
I suppose at a young age. I read a lot of horror growing up. Stephen King mostly. I also loved horror movies. To top it off, I always enjoyed scaring people. This usually turned into pranks. Ask my sister, I absolutely loved scaring her the most while growing up. I suppose she was my test subject. Horror has always come natural to me.
Tell us about your military horror novel, KHOST. What was your inspiration for it? Do you have a military background?
Khost is inspired by a variety of actual events, and I spoke with some men who were involved in this. Of course itâ€™s fictionalized, but Iâ€™d say their enthusiasm got me into this. Itâ€™s the story of a group of Special Operators in Afghanistan who are sent on a mission to killâ€¦somethingâ€¦in a cave. Youâ€™ll have to read the book to know more!
For those who are new to this subgenre, how do you define military horror?
I call it Militainmentâ€”military entertainment. This can cross into the horror genre, action and adventure, and thrillers.
Did you have a mentor or supportive parent or teacher who encouraged your writing?
My parents always pushed me to be creative. They allowed me to harness that side, something I believe few parents do. I read a lot, and always enjoyed reading and writing. In high school, I had two English teachers that urged me on. They made the subject interesting, and sparked a wild ride where I eventually became a writer.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
Iâ€™m not sure if there was any one defining moment. I suppose I always knew Iâ€™d write. As I got older, I began to take it more seriously.
Do you have another job besides writing?
My job consists of two things. Writing, and producing other books for writers. Iâ€™m one of the lucky onesâ€”I get to do this full time.
Today, what do you read for fun?
Iâ€™m currently reading Banished, by author Billie Sue Mosiman. Sheâ€™s an Edgar and Stoker nominated writer, and quite talented. I enjoy Stephen Hunter books and ,of course, Stephen King.
What authors or books have influenced your writing?
Overall, a mesh of many. Everything I read influences me. I try to not read while Iâ€™m writing, so as I can have my own style. Stephen King, Ray Bradbury and George Orwell have been a great influence. I also love Steinbeck.
Do you keep a disciplined writing schedule?
I try to. I set daily word count goals. Mostly, this is to stay in practice. To exercise those creative muscles. I believe thatâ€™s what defines a professional writer and one who likes to write. I do stray from it at times, and usually work best while under pressure of a deadline.
Describe your working environment.
Unorganized madness. I couldnâ€™t have it any other way.
Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?
Ideas usually come to me randomly. It can be anything that sparks it. Road trips do help, and my best friend and I chat about odd things that usually inspire me to write something. Overall, good ideas flow all the time, and I struggle to keep track of them.
As an author, how do you define success?
Thatâ€™s a tough one. Getting paid helps. But as I grow older, I think less and less of this. Sure, I have to pay the bills like the next man, but my success also comes with my work being exposed to a wider audience. If I can have readers enjoy some down time with one of my books, I feel Iâ€™ve been successful. And if I continue to grow as a writer, and get better as time passes, I feel thatâ€™s successful too.
Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?
I never edit as I go. Iâ€™ve tried and failed miserably. I believe a story must be put on paper first. I try to write as fast as I can, and my only goal is to get it on paper. A break after this, then an edit and Iâ€™ll catch the holes. In my opinion, you lose momentum if you try to perfect your work before finishing. Editing can wait.
They say authors have immensely fragile egosâ€¦ How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
We all know what opinions are like, and for the most part, a negative review doesnâ€™t bother me. I hardly look any more. If I do receive criticism, I rather enjoy it actually. It allows me to know what a reader does and doesnâ€™t like. It wonâ€™t necessarily change what I write, or how I write, but it does help. Either way, Iâ€™ve gotten to the point where negative reviews donâ€™t bother me any. Itâ€™s part of the game. They can actually be pretty entertaining.
As a writer, what scares you the most?
Clowns too, but mostly spiders.
I understand you also review books on your blog. Can authors contact you with review requests?
Of course. I love reviewing books and movies, and usually do a write-up about them. My time can be rather limited, but I enjoy a good read and Iâ€™m open to authors contacting me.
What advice would you give aspiring horror authors?
Two things. Write and write what you want. Going outside the box is more important than following a certain mold. To do this, a writer must write.
What is the best writing advice youâ€™ve ever received?
There was a movie I watched long ago, and I canâ€™t even remember the name. But an older writer was working with a younger writer, helping mold him into something amazing. In one scene, the young writer stared at an empty piece of paper in the typewriter. He had been asked to write, though he wasnâ€™t certain as to what to write about. He asked, â€œWhat do you want me to write?â€. The older writer yelled out, â€œJust write!â€
I completely understand this, and took it as advice.
Heinleinâ€™s five rules on writing are taped on the wall above my desk. I tend to agree with them, and remind myself often to follow them.
Whatâ€™s on the horizon for Vincent Hobbes?
Some new and exciting projects. Iâ€™m enjoying the Militainment sub-genre, and I have two up-coming releases. First, at the end of this month, my novella Charms Indigo will be released. Itâ€™s a bumpy ride of a story about an airplane and a â€˜what-ifâ€™ scenario. In March, I have the release of my short novel, Seal Team 2025. Itâ€™s about a Seal Team in the future that descends upon a remote island to combat ungodly creatures. They must use the most current technology to fight them. The research for that book has been fun and rather interesting!