Author Spotlight – G. Scott Huggins (ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS)
G. Scott Huggins, Very Nearly Award-Winning Author, grew up in the American Midwest and has lived there all his life, except for interludes in Germany and Russia. He is responsible for securing America’s future by teaching its past to high school students, many of whom learn things before going to college. He loves to read high fantasy, space opera, and parodies of the same. He wants to be a hybrid of G.K. Chesterton and Terry Pratchett when he counteracts the effects of having grown up. You can read his ramblings and rants at The Logoccentric Orbit and you can follow him on Facebook.
Welcome to the Hive, G. Scott Huggins. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I very much enjoyed CICI AND THE CURATOR, by S.J. Wynde. Both her novel and mine, ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS, were in the latest SFWA StoryBundle, themed FANTASTIC BEASTS. The novel was fast-paced and entertaining: a good old science-fantasy adventure.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
Oh, I’m the sorcerer who stays at the back of the party hurling direct damage spells at clusters of orcs. Icy spheres and Flame strikes by preference.
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?) Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
I really prefer silence. Classical music is okay, but anything with lyrics is terribly distracting. Typing is best because my handwriting is beyond awful and halfway to the scrawls of Dread Cthulhu. I’m a plotter, because if I try pantsing I end up forgetting what I was writing toward. I generally prefer to write in clothes.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
Terry Pratchett and Lois McMaster Bujold, I think, have got to be my greatest fantasy influences: I love what Bujold did with the theology of The Curse of Chalion, and Pratchett was almost a god of humor.
Pratchett is a great shout!
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
I have very much enjoyed an early-release game called Empyrion: Galactic Survival, which I might characterize as “Skyrim In Space,” but it has a lot of crafting elements like No Man’s Sky and Minecraft do. It’s pretty early to say, but so far I’m enjoying it a lot, and I’ve created a replica of one of my favorite fictional starfighters, the Babylon 5 Star Fury.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Depends on my mood. I might spend the time just indulging in the aforementioned Empyrion. But if I felt I needed a quieter time, I might just spend the day enjoying some good food and exploring some new books.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
Right now I’m working on a sort of alternate-fantasy-history in which Joan of Arc shows up as a fearsome half-gorgon assassin who makes a deal to protect the embattled King of Armorica. In our timeline, Armorica, better known as Brittany, was absorbed by France in the 12th and 13th centuries. But in my world, the Norman Conquest failed, so France is much more fragmented.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I think the greatest lesson that I ever did absorb was that you cannot let distractions deter you from writing. From about 2009 to 2013, I pretty much stopped writing. Not coincidentally, that was also when my three children were born, and I was the sole wage-earner. That’s a hell of a distraction, but those distractions didn’t just stop in 2014. What changed was my determination to start writing with whatever time I had.
The least helpful piece of advice I ever got? People keep telling me to “find my tribe” as though that’s something you can just go out and “do.” I think they don’t understand the inherent barriers that the socially awkward and disconnected face in this regard. It’s a bit like telling a depressive to “just cheer up.”
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
It’s not a matter of motivation. It’s a decision to do it anyway. And what I have found is that once you start, the motivation builds and grows. It’s like momentum, or building a fore with bold fuel. Once the motion is forward and the heat builds, it’s much easier.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Well, as I hinted before, I’m very interested in pre-Norman England. I’d really have liked to visit Harold’s court before 1066 and see the possibilities of that vanished world.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I’ll have to go with Poul Anderson’s ORION SHALL RISE. Few have read it, but it’s the most beautiful post-apocalyptic novel I’ve ever read, full of horror and hope for the future. The sexual/gender attitudes come off as a bit old-fashioned, but the eternal themes of good and evil and courage and betrayal are wonderful.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
Well, I think I can say that I’m the only author currently writing humorous veterinary dark fantasy out there. Who hasn’t wanted to know what people bring dragons, basilisks and chimeras into the office for?
In other news, I’m hoping that the aforementioned quasi-historical fantasy will be out late this year, so if you like femmes fatale monster assassins, you’ll like this.
That’s brilliant, thank you so much Scott!
All Things Huge and Hideous re-releases on 5th September. It’s currently available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk