Friday's 5 with Rick Hautala

I was saddened to learn of Rick Hautala's recent passing. While I never met the man face to face, I had read much of his work. He was one of those successful writers you could approach, and who would treat you as an equal as I learned when I sent him a friend request on Facebook, and he responded with a yes. I was further stunned when he agreed to take a look at my first book, and readily responded to my request for a brief interview. He made me, as an old, new writer (if that makes any sense) feel welcome in the fold. In honor of his memory I'm re-posting his interview that first appeared on July 7, 2012. May he rest in peace.

1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A.)  That's a tough one because while I always had what I'd call an "artistic sensibility" (i.e. I didn't fit very well into normal life). At first, I wanted to be a painter--an artist--an illustrator. Then I realized I could do with words what I struggled to do with paints. I think by the time my tenth novel was published, I figured I was a real writer and it wasn't a fluke.

2.) What is the hardest part of writing?
A.)  Ideas are easy for me. And writing is a struggle, but a fun one. Revision is always fun. And editing is tedious but necessary. But the absolute hardest part of writing for me is developing the ideas once I get them. That's where you have to fill in the blanks and piece the story together to get an outline or, at least, a clear idea of where you're going. That is the worst and hardest. After that, it's easier ... but never easy.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?
A.)  I was thrilled, of course, but I was also nervous. I felt like I was an imposter. It was like standing in the middle of a shopping mall with no clothes on. I was insecure enough about my work (and still am) to not allow myself to enjoy ... to savor the moment.

4.) In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?
A.)  Reading, of course. You can't be a writer and not read--good books, bad books, indifferent books ... every kind of book to see and learn what the craft is all about. Other than reading and writing--my family and politics. My friend Tom Monteleone calls me a "leftie, liberal, tree-hugging, granola-crunching, long-haired hippie." That works for me ... and my politics reflect that.

5.) If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?
A.)  I'd ask Shakespeare not where he got his ideas, but how he developed them ... or I'd ask Hawthorne why he seemed to be depressed all the time ...

Under his own name, Rick Hautala has written nearly thirty novels, including the million-copy bestseller Nightstone, as well as Winter Wake, The Mountain King, and Little Brothers. He has published two short story collections: Bedbugs and Occasional Demons. A new collection, The Back of Beyond, is due soon. He has had over sixty short stories published in a variety of national and international anthologies and magazines.

Writing as A. J. Matthews, his novels include the bestsellers The White Room, Looking Glass, Follow, and Unbroken, all of which will be reprinted by Dark Regions Press. His forthcoming books from Cemetery Dance Publications include Indian Summer, a new “Little Brothers” novella, as well as two novels, Chills and Waiting. He recently sold The Star Road, a science fiction novel co-written with Matthew Costello, to Brendan Deneen at Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s. All of his books and stories will soon be available in major e-book formats from a variety of epublishers.

Born and raised in Rockport, Massachusetts, Hautala is a graduate of the University of Maine in Orono with a Master of Arts in English Literature. He lives in southern Maine with author Holly Newstein, and together, they have five grown sons.

On March 31, 2012, Rick Hautala received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association (HWA). 

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