I’m pleased to be taking part in the blogtour to the publication of Andrew Hatch’s twisty debut novel, This Little Dark Place. Andrew is sharing #TenThings he’d like his readers to know about himself. Read on to find out about his writing, his literary heroes, his musical talent and his favourite books.
Ten things I’d like readers to know about me – AS Hatch
- THIS LITTLE DARK PLACE may be my debut, but it’s actually my sixth novel and seventh book overall (having also built up a collection of short stories over the years too). The first two novels I now regard as practice runs, which will (mercifully) never see the light of day. But from the third book onwards I started thinking, ‘I’m not bad at this writing malarkey.’ There’s one novel in my back catalogue called THE MOORINGS, which is still probably my favourite (so far).
- I’ve already written the follow up to TLDP. Only my agent has read it so far and I can’t reveal any more than to say I think people who like TLDP will get a real kick out of it. Watch this space.
- I have a day job and get my writing done in the morning before work. I’ve tried writing after work but often I’m just too tired to concentrate. I found switching to the early morning, when my mind is fresher, works best for me. I made a new year’s resolution ( I think it was 2011) to treat writing more like a second job, that is, to write every week day, hit a quota of 500 (quality) words every day and take weekends off. The books then seem to write themselves.
- I spend about twice as long plotting as drafting. A kernel of a plot will randomly materialise before me, often as I’m walking, and I’ll add it to a list of potential new novels I keep in my iPhone’s notes app. The idea could’ve been sparked by a film I saw last night, a street scene on my way to work, a painting, something in the news. These ideas all sort of compete for headspace and eventually one wins out. Literary Darwinism. One of them demands to be written. And so I’ll spend about a year, year and a half allowing that idea to gestate further in my mind (often while I’m writing the last book, which can be confusing) before actively starting to develop the plot. And then pretty soon I just find myself beginning to write. The first draft then takes about 6-9 months to write. The thought of winging a plot terrifies me.
- My literary heroes are probably David Foster-Wallace, Haruki Murakami and Franz Kafka. But I’m influenced by everyone I read, not just these three guys. I think it’s impossible not to be. Ali Smith is a particular favourite. Her prose is like a punch in the nose. I’m influenced by other art forms too, painting, photography, TV, film, music…I love the noirish stories in Lana Del Rey’s songs, the poetry of Ian Curtis’ lyrics. I like brutalist architecture. I like imagining brutalist buildings as the headquarters of malevolent organisations. I’d love to live at the Barbican and pretend I’m in JG Ballard’s High Rise. I’m drawn to derelict buildings. I like things to be dark. Unpack that.
- I come from The Fylde, Lancashire. I grew up playing football and rollerblading in the street and playing on my SNES (and later my N64). I had a wonderful if tempestuous childhood.
- I play the drums and sing. I haven’t been in a band for a few years (got too busy) but since I was 18 I’ve pretty much always been in bands. My first proper band, at uni, was called Thought Police. I thought I was being dead intellectual calling us that. We were amazing. Our biggest ‘hit’ was called Take Me To The Car Crash. Like I said, I like things to be dark.
- I used to teach English as a second language in Taiwan. I lived with my girlfriend (now fiancé) in Taipei from 2010 to 2012 in the Shi’da district. Such an amazing country. Such rich history. Go!
- My favourite book of recent years is probably The Overstory by Richard Powers. I was shocked it didn’t win the Booker last year, although Milkman was highly original and powerful in its own way. The Overstory is more like a manifesto for environmental action dressed up in beautiful prose, than a straightforward novel. It’s so good, it has radicalising powers. I also thought Days Without End by Sebastian Barry was beautiful and haunting, as was A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride. I have just finished The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, which was mind-blowingly good fun to read.
- My favourite books of all time are probably: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Infinite Jest by David Foster-Wallace, 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, Atomised by Michel Houellebecq, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, 1984 by Orwell, Middlemarch by George Eliot, The Trial by Kafka, Beloved by Toni Morrison…gah, there’s too many this is ridiculous.
From the back of the book
How well do you know your girlfriend?
How well do you know your lover?
How well do you know yourself?
Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.
But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.
And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.
This Little Dark Place is available now as an ebook and will be published by Serpent’s Tail in hardback this Thursday, 10th October, with the paperback to follow next April. You should be able to buy or order a copy from your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online from Hive (where every purchase supports your local High Street): The Little Dark Place