David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate, and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly instill in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…
After discovering Richard Laymon, David set out on a path to become the best writer he could, holding a BA and MA in creative writing. He’s had several short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s also a contributor to Inked Muse Press Magazine, a new writing venture.
In 2014, his popular novel Walled In (Crowded Quarantine Publication) was released, and he’s had two short story collections, White Walls and Straitjackets (Ravenswood Publishing) and Choice Cuts (Burning Willow Press), published thus far in 2015.
I don’t need to tell you how fucking cool this dude is. On to the good stuff!
JO: Do you prefer to hand out candy on Halloween night, or run around scaring the shit out of little costumed punk-ass motherfuckers? Why?
DOH: Halloween, eh? You know they based the idea on me, right? Not a lot of people know that! Well, I guess they will after this interview goes live…Unless I kill you before that happens, of course; nothing better than interviewer’s guts for breakfast, didn’t you know that?
What was the question again? Oh yeah, candy…
Yes, I’m a giver – and you can take that any way you want, as you most probably will. There’s nothing better than getting into the spirit of things around Halloween time for me. It’s not that big a deal in the U.K, but it is catching on, thanks to our American brothers and sisters, and I for one am glad of that – it’s helping to prevent dipshits from trimming up for Christmas in fucking September!
Yes, they do it, believe me…Nothing worse than fairy lights in September or baby Jesus displays in October! Ugh, makes ya sick.
What is the most badass costume you’ve ever worn for Halloween?
Oh, man, this is an easy one! When I was much younger, 31 or 32…Ha! I kid. See what I did there? I’m only 34…Sorry, back to the question. So yes, when I was much younger, something around 8-10, my mother spent weeks tearing up bed sheets and gluing them to white clothing. At the end of the process, I was the best damn mummy ever. I also had this very expensive mask to go with it, which was made from rubber – the mask was the most terrifying fucking thing I’d ever seen! It was something I’d bought previously and my dad would always scare the crap out of me with it. If it was even in my room, I had to throw it in the wardrobe, etc. I was a gentle child.
Gentle, I tell you!!
You incorporate song lyrics and references into much of your work. In your opinion, what song best represents Halloween? Why?
Again, this is pretty easy. Even though there are loads and loads of songs that represent Halloween, such as The Monster Mash, I would have to go with Alice Cooper’s Keepin’ Halloween Alive.
Just finding it on Youtube…be right back…Hang on, saying ‘I’ll be right back’ is against the rules, isn’t it?
…Ah, that’s better. The man is a genius, no?
Anyway, on with the question. Yes, so, Keepin’ Halloween Alive by Alice is the ultimate Halloween song for me. I think it should be recognized as the holiday’s anthem. The song has everything in it, right down to the funny/spooky lyrics. So, put your mask on, turn the music up, and pray the killer lurking outside moves on!
Zombies are real, and they’ve consumed over half the human population in a matter of weeks. You have no choice but to stand and fight. What’s your favored zombie-killing weapon, and why?
I’ve always said it would be a handgun, regardless of make or model. I think they make the perfect weapon – Rick’s got it right, with that fucking hand-cannon of his! Machineguns spray too much, with shotguns being big and cumbersome. With a handgun, it’s controlled. Your shots can be measured and precise, if you know how to handle such an instrument.
Then again, nothing wrong with being in a bell tower with a Magnum rifle, either! At least you could suck down a few cold ones, as you popped the rotting bastards off.
Yeah, let’s go with getting wankered in a bell tower with a rifle. Maybe throw a stripper in, too? I hear Jonathan Ondrashek looks good in a pencil skirt and stockings…I can always stuff a pair of melons down his t-shirt.
Let’s get loopy and kill dead fucks!
Okay, I got totally wrapped up in the fantasy there! Is it bad that I leaped out of my chair and yelled ‘Kill the dead fucks’, whilst holding my dick? *Top pops off a fizzing beer bottle.*
Not at all. On with the fantasy! You become a necromancer and can resurrect any three persons. Who are they, and why did you choose to interrupt their eternal slumber (you bastard)?
Well, this is an interesting one! I think the first person I would bring back is the legendary Richard Laymon. The man inspired a generation of horror writers, which can’t be sniffed at! He’s the real reason why I’m now sitting here answering these questions and drinking tea. Well, the tea drinking is my own choice, I dare say, but it goes hand-in-hand with writing.
Don’t look at me like that! You know what I mean.
I would love to be able to spend some time with him; to pick his brain and show him some of my work – work he has helped create and inspire. It’s sad to think I will never get that opportunity.
The second person(s) I would bring back are Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. I know this is two, but they were a unit. That counts, right? Ah, sue me! On second thoughts, don’t…I only have so many tea bags and tins of beans to last me…
Comedy is a very important genre to me. It’s as important as horror, and that’s a fact. We need humour in our lives, as the world can be a dark and depressing world at times, especially with everything that’s going on at the moment – we live in dangerous times. Where would we be without laughter? It’s needed, for me, anyway.
I used to watch this duo every day growing up, and still do. And, just like Laymon, they helped inspire present day comics – some of Stan and Ollies’ antics and mannerisms can be seen in routines and sketches, if you know what you’re looking for.
They were ahead of their time.
And the third–or fourth–person (you pedantic bastard) would have to be Alfred Hitchcock. The man was a cinematic sorcerer – try saying that pissed! The reason I would bring him back would be to discuss Psycho, Norman Bates, Anthony Perkins and the pervy way he had with his leading ladies…I joke about the last bit.
Before we talk about writing, I have to get this important question off my chest: Can you smell my desperation? If so, what does it smell like?
Like ham and eggs, baby. Does my erection not show you my appreciation, damn it?!
Ah, yes. I now see your one-eyed salute. Quite impressive. So, traditional publishing, self-pub, or hybrid? Why?
For me, traditional. It’s only because I’m slightly old-fashioned, and I like to do things by the books.
Yeah, sad, I know. Tell me something I don’t know.
I know I’m a pervert too – get over it!
Is there a particular author whose work you must buy regardless of reviews? If so, what draws you to them?
After discovering his books, I fell in love with his words, characters and stories. I’d never been a reader until I found his works – I bought everything I could! His words have inspired me so much over the years. Whenever I get down about my work, I always turn back to his work, as though seeking refuge; there’s a metaphor in there somewhere…In the words of Rolf Harris, who liked nothing better than playing with his Didgeridoo, ‘Can you guess what it is yet?’
In WHITE WALLS AND STRAITJACKETS, you created some downright mind-fuckable psychotic characters. This was also evident in CHOICE CUTS: DELETICASSEN. Where do you draw character inspiration from?
Everyday life and my dark, humoristic side – it is a word, I checked! I always try to think of ways in which to fuck with life and people within my stories. Let’s face it, the bad guy doesn’t always lurk in your wardrobe – well, he does if he’s me, but that’s because I have nothing better to do!
The bad guy, or girl, can be found everywhere, especially in modern times. How often do we hear about ordinary people doing unordinary things in their place of work? It doesn’t necessarily have to be an evil or perverted act they are doing, just something odd.
And so, that’s where a lot of my ideas come from. I went through a spell of thinking about various occupations where a creepy individual would be a cool idea, and I think most of those stories appear in Choice Cuts and White Walls and Straitjackets.
I’m not sure who said it, but the monster truly does reside inside us – it’s not under the bed or outside our window, but deep inside our guts, inside our heart and soul. And if you look at some people close enough, you might just catch it looking back!
A vast majority of writers still live off Ramen noodles and bread after publication. Do you think the world will ever change its view on written art and place a bigger price tag on it (along with a larger cut to the creator)? Why or why not?
In time, I’d like to think it will change. A lot of people have no idea what a writer goes through, just to get a book ‘out there’. It’s nice being with independent publishers, as they do tend to look after you – they themselves know how hard it is to establish yourself. I’m not saying all independent publishers are great, as I’ve had trouble with a couple in the past.
At the onset of 2015, you decided to forgo a traditional day job to write full-time. Based on your experience thus far, do you think the genre fiction market overall is booming or still in a supposed slump?
Honestly, I think it’s in a slump. When I decided to give up work at the end of 2014, knowing I had a few titles coming out this year and next, I thought I’d be fine. To be fair, I have been, but it has been an uphill battle! I’ve managed to stay afloat on small sales and some paid journalistic work within the horror genre. I gave myself one year to see what I could do – so far, I’m pretty happy with how I’ve managed to push my writing forward, but I fear it’s going to take a lot longer to ‘get there’ or ‘somewhere near there’ before I can relax about things. Who knows, maybe I’ll win the lottery?!
If you could do it all over again, would you still pursue a writing career?
Most definitely. As much as I get frustrated, and throw my toys out of my pram, I always find myself back at my desk, turning stuff out. I’m a writer, it’s what I do, write? Ha! See what I did there?
And the most important question of all: Do these yoga pants make my big butt look big?
If you don’t stop it with this sexual harassment, you are going to have a sore ring, my friend! Lube is for pussies, just remember that, when you’re crying and biting down on your fist.
Are we done here?
Good. I’m off to drink some engine oil and poke the dead tramp outside my house with a large stick – he’s rolled into the gutter and shit himself, the poor bastard. I can see the crows tearing his eyeballs out as we speak.
Got to go, or I’ll miss all the fun!
Hey, just be sure to save a little fun for me. I love poking dead tramps too! Er, well….
If you want a peek into David’s twisted mind and writing style, head on over to his website.
And don’t forget to grab copies of his books while you’re there!