The Halfling and the Spaceman

Andrew Hook, Author

July 30, 2023 Janet & Roger Carden Season 3 Episode 3
Andrew Hook, Author
The Halfling and the Spaceman
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The Halfling and the Spaceman
Andrew Hook, Author
Jul 30, 2023 Season 3 Episode 3
Janet & Roger Carden

With us today is author Andrew Hook.  He is a European writer of slipstream fiction, and he’ll tell us what that is.  He’s had short stories, novellas, and novels published

References and Links:

Show Notes Transcript

With us today is author Andrew Hook.  He is a European writer of slipstream fiction, and he’ll tell us what that is.  He’s had short stories, novellas, and novels published

References and Links:

Andrew Hook, Author

[00:00:00] Halfling: Thanks for tuning in to season three of the Halfling and Spaceman Journeys in Active fandom. We are having great conversations with people that have turned their love of fandom into something creative. We're fans talking to fans. With us today is author Andrew Hook. He is a European writer of Slipstream Fiction, and he'll tell us what that is.

[00:00:23] Halfling: He's had short stories, novellas and novels published, and recently he's collaborated with Australian author Eugen Bacon. His collection Incandescent Blooms was just shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award. Welcome, Andrew. 

[00:00:39] Andrew Hook: Hi, thanks for having me on here, on the podcast. 

[00:00:41] Andrew Hook: Thank you.

[00:00:42] Halfling: Well, it's great to have you here. We appreciate you taking the time. Uh, just to let our listeners know, he's doing this on his birthday, so shout out for happy birthday. Well, let's go ahead and get started with you just telling us a little bit about yourself and your background.

[00:01:00] Andrew Hook: Well, I've been, I've been writing for quite a long while now. I think I first started writing seriously in about 1987, which is, is longer ago than I really think it is. but didn't, didn't get really get published until about 1994. And that was mostly with short fiction. So I think predominantly I'm a short story writer, although I've had other things published and so on.

[00:01:19] Andrew Hook: But this isn't something that, you know, even after all this time, it's not something that I do full time and I've got two or three regular day jobs. I freelance for some publishers. I work in a library. You know, it's not a hobby. I mean, I consider myself to be a writer first and foremost.

[00:01:33] Andrew Hook: Effectively. I think anyone, anyone who's not really in, recogniz of the industry and, and thinks everyone who's sort of got a book published is then got a place in the Caribbean or something. I think a lot of people who don't really understand what writing is about, would probably look at it as a hobby.

[00:01:47] Andrew Hook: But for me it's, it's something. It's who I am, basically.

[00:01:51] Halfling: Oh yeah, absolutely. If, if you, I I guess writing can be a hobby, but if you are serious about it, then you have to look at it like a business. That's your career, and that's what you have to put all your attention and time and effort into.

[00:02:07] Andrew Hook: yeah. I mean, there's certainly nothing wrong with it 

[00:02:09] Andrew Hook: being a hobby, but for me, I suppose I've always just felt that is, is what I am, you know, it's an intrinsic thing, so I suppose I treat it like a business in that respect.

[00:02:19] Halfling: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, okay, so I, I got curious when I read that you write Slipstream fiction, because I have not heard that term before. So tell us what that is and how you got interested in that, or is this your own specific term?

[00:02:39] Andrew Hook: No slipstream. I think it's been around for quite some time. And for me, slipstream is a genre which blends elements of other genres. Like it might have an element of science fiction, it might be an element of horror, it might be an element of fantasy or even crime. But it tends to deal with 'em on a very mundane level.

[00:02:58] Andrew Hook: So those elements tend to be not core to the story. It's more about relationships between individuals and how maybe these exterior genre elements are impacting on them. So I, I tend to say, for example, for me it's, I, I might write science fiction, but without the spaceships fantasy, without the elves and horror, without the vampires.

[00:03:18] Andrew Hook: Although, um, even then that's not, that's not always the case. And I sort of discovered slipstream really. I was writing, short stories, which I suppose had sort of slight genre elements, you know, sort of slight weird stuff going on. We're sitting submitting them to various magazines and so on.

[00:03:35] Andrew Hook: And there's a, uh, a, a British magazine, which has literally just finished its vital issue actually. It's then bit called Black Static. I dunno if you've ever come across that, but it's a lot. It's a very long running, genre magazine in the UK that's just finished. And before that, back in 1993, it was called The Third Alternative.

[00:03:54] Andrew Hook: And I was submitting stories to one magazine and they said, Hey, there's a magazine that I think might. You might find suitable for your workforce. The third alternative has just started. So I submitted stories to there and I think after a couple of, submissions, the editor just sent me the copy of issue one.

[00:04:08] Andrew Hook: I think he thought, you know, this's, this's them actually read the damn thing and then once I read it, I wrote that everyone else was writing the type of stories that I was writing. And around about that time in the mid nineties in the uk, SL stream fiction, as it sort of became to be called, was quite at the forefront of independent publishing.

[00:04:28] Andrew Hook: Uh, and, and they were loads of magazines, around kind of publishing this sort of stuff. So it's sort of a genre that I, didn't realize that I was writing until I became aware of other people for writing it. That's probably the short answer.

[00:04:42] Halfling: Well, that's cool. I, I mean, I I think it's great that you, you know, discovered that there were other people out there writing similar, you know, similar things and, uh, and you, you know, I guess that kind of motivated you probably to say, Hey, you know, this is a thing, this is something I can, I can do.

[00:05:01] Andrew Hook: Well, I certainly think I discovered it at the right time. You know, may maybe this sort of thing that I was writing then became relatively popular, you know, within, within the genre. Which maybe if I had, I've been writing that maybe a year or two before or a year or two afterwards even, that's wouldn't have hit the same spot.

[00:05:18] Spaceman: Andrew, since you've published by yourself, but also with collaborators, do you find it easier to do it on your own or to work with a collaborator? And which one do you prefer?

[00:05:29] Andrew Hook: Well, it's a different process, I think when you're writing with a collaborator. Generally, I mean the, the vast majority of stories I've had published have been just my own stories and I'm very specific, I think, in the way that I write. Uh, and I can sort of write something in a single city where we're talk about short fiction obviously.

[00:05:46] Andrew Hook: Um, and it kind of tumble out me in one go, which if you're collaborating with someone, obviously you, whether it's a long or even shorter piece, you can't really do that. I mean, the first person I collaborated with, Chatwood, Alan Ashley again, is another UK based, slipstream writer. I think we just realized that some of our styles were quite similar.

[00:06:06] Andrew Hook: But we had stories maybe that weren't, you know, we had ideas for stories that weren't quite ready or they weren't quite us as individuals. Um, and those stories, worked well in collaboration. So, you know, we, we, he might start writing a story. He had a title perhaps, or an idea that he wasn't too sure where it would go.

[00:06:24] Andrew Hook: It sent me the first three, 400 words and then I'd, continue, would bat it back and forth like that. But I think for that type of writing, for that type of collaboration, we were working on pieces that we wouldn't have written otherwise. You know, half, half formed ideas, things perhaps you wouldn't have taken further, but which the found of Third Voice, when it was written, you know, between us.

[00:06:45] Andrew Hook: And I know we're gonna talk about the book with Eugen, that's (indecipherable) as well. And I suppose it's the same kind of thing. I mean, I enjoy collaboration. There is a, a sense that you have to. Do the other author Justice as well when you're writing. So you're not writing simply for yourself and you're not writing simply for the story, but you have to give the other author enough information for them to then take it further.

[00:07:09] Andrew Hook: And I think there's a responsibility there, which can be quite interesting. And there's a quite an interesting dynamic because also when you get the story back, it might have taken a different direction to the one that you would've taken if you had been writing on your own. So I don't, I mean, I prefer to write my own stuff, but I do find these little forays into collaboration really interesting, and create stories which wouldn't otherwise exist.

[00:07:35] Halfling: Well, how do you go about finding and contacting. Other, other writers to, to collaborate with? Is it, you know, have you, you know, do you read a story that somebody's written and said, to yourself, I'd like to write something with this person. Or, or how, how, how do you, do that?

[00:07:53] Andrew Hook: Well, I think with, with some writers you might read something, it'll resonate with you, you know, you can see perhaps similarities. I mean, with the case with Alan Ashley, we had, we had a book of collaborative stories that resulted from that called Slow Motion Wars that came out a few years back.

[00:08:08] Andrew Hook: And I think he actually suggested to me that, that we could collaborate. And that seemed like a good idea. So we did. With Eugen, it was slightly different. Eugen had discovered my work through, um Reviewing one of my other collections that I had published through a company called NewCom Press.

[00:08:24] Andrew Hook: The book was Frequencies of Existence. And she actually rather oddly, I felt completely fell in love with my stories and my style. It was very, very effusive, to the point I actually wasn't really sure what to, what to do with it because I don't really get that, many people so enthusiastic about the work.

[00:08:43] Andrew Hook: But then she, suggested that we collaborate on a short story. And so we did, you know, we got an idea together and it kind of worked on there. And she had that published in one of her collections and then she said about writing something longer, novella sort of novel length, which we did.

[00:08:58] Andrew Hook: So again, I suppose in both those instances, I have been approached. I mean, there have been other people I've tried to collaborate with, but it's not really come off in the same way. But, but generally it's, it's been me who's been approached.

[00:09:10] Spaceman: Andrew, we want hear about people's journeys and becoming creators. With that in mind, could you tell us what your starting point for your writing career was?

[00:09:21] Andrew Hook: Yeah, no, I think, I'm probably a little bit different from some people you normally have on here, but also my contemporaries. I mean, I was a teenager in the UK in the late, in the late seventies. Um, most writers that I've met who were also teenagers in the late seventies might mention Star Wars, for example, or, or Dr. Who, or horror novels like James Herberts, the Racks, because that, that used to get passed around at school. Or the Pan Books of Horror, the short story collections by Pan. But for me, for whatever reason, I, I, I just, I just never came into contact with this fiber material. My jumping off point were, um, initially, black and white sort of universal horror films.

[00:09:59] Andrew Hook: So, We had a, we had Three television stations back in the day. BBC two used to have, late night double bills on a, on a Friday night I think, or possibly a Saturday night. But they'll show films like The Incredible Shrinking Man or, um, you know, the Invisible Man Night of the Lepus about marauding rabbits. You know, those, those, those types of films absolutely know the original version of the fly.

[00:10:21] Andrew Hook: I mean all, all, all the black and white science fiction films you can think of, basically. And, and, and they were, I think were my, gateway into, into genre. And then la Laterally it was discovering films, which might seem a bit strange, but, um, Woody Allen, Woody Allen's films, the films of Spanish Louis Bo Well, because I think they also address the big picture that they, they address religion life, immortality, which isn't that dissimilar from a lot of the themes that will go through science fiction, horror, fantasy novels that, So my, my gateway, I think was perhaps more of a cinematic gateway, into the, those sort of themes and, and wanting to write about them, although I don't suppose I already knew that I was gonna be writing about 'em at the time, but just, just kind, you know, in your formative years when you, you pick up on certain things.

[00:11:07] Andrew Hook: Now also for me, it would've been the Hammer Horror films that were around at the time as well, so that the, the films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in, um you know, those, those sort of early drag room and vampire movies. Um, and they're kind of gaudy, kind, kind of like a, a, a mix of almost comic in the horrors because, you know, back in the seventies, things didn't look as horrific as they, as they can do now, I think.

[00:11:33] Andrew Hook: So you, you kind of had the awareness that you're kind of watching something that's fake. And I, and that's, again, that's sort of something that informs through my work and I write a lot of things, which I. Examine the boundaries between fantasy and reality and, and, and, you know, what is real, tho those sorts of themes.

[00:11:52] Andrew Hook: Funnily enough, I was thinking about this as well, because I've written some crime novels and probably the earliest writing that I did, would now be described as fan fiction. Um, I was, I was writing stories with Colombo in them and some of the other TV detectives, like, like McCloud and Ironside people.

[00:12:06] Andrew Hook: I don't, I'd forgotten about it until recently, apart from Colombo, it seems to be on every Sunday here in the uk. So another, another foothold into genre would've been writing, crime stories, which I didn't until about four or five years ago when I was writing crime novels I'd completely forgotten about. So I think it, I think, you know, it is a different foothold into that sort of thing for me than it it might have been. For some of my contemporaries. Not that makes it any different, it's just, you know, those, those things didn't affect me or I didn't come across them in the same way that. The roots I found, you know, many of the contemporaries coming through on.

[00:12:39] Spaceman: You know, Andrew, it seems to me that the only difference between fan fiction and other fiction is getting people to pay you for it. One of our one of, uh, our previous guests, Bobby Nash, writes, authorized. Let's see, green Hornet and Zoro Fiction. So, you know, I guess part of it is the, the getting the AAU author getting the authorization of the rights holder of the estate.

[00:13:07] Andrew Hook: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

[00:13:09] Halfling: Yeah, because then you can, you know, then you can potentially get paid for it.

[00:13:14] Spaceman: Yeah, potentially. There's no guarantee

[00:13:16] Andrew Hook: Yeah. I, I, I think, I think the tie in to that kind of industry is probably a little bit more made where the money is, isn't it? I do some freelance proofreading for, um (indecipherable) books and they do, they do marvel tie-ins and love Lovecraft tie-ins.

[00:13:32] Andrew Hook: And I kind of wonder, I thought, is that something that I could do? I thought prob probably not. It's just, it's, I, I just don't, I I don't think I've got the, uh, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm always battling against being commercial, to, to my own detriment. I willingly admit. Yeah, I, I seem to, uh, I, I just can't seem to, to write something that's overly commercial.

[00:13:54] Andrew Hook: There's a friend of mine, the writer, Sarah Pinborough, , who you may have heard of, um again, a British writer who, um, who, who, who's works in now times bestselling books and has had some, uh, TV interest and so on. And she, she's always been telling me, you know, why don't you just write something a bit more commercial?

[00:14:11] Andrew Hook: I'm an idea that's so obscure, even, only I, only I will understand it and that's the book I'm going to write.

[00:14:20] Halfling: I, you know, I. I think that's actually actually pretty admirable because you alwa always appreciate when somebody, when somebody, you know, doesn't just give in to the latest trends and they're gonna, they're, they're going to create what they want to create. Of course the challenge is then finding that audience.

[00:14:42] Andrew Hook: Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:14:43] Halfling: yeah. But going, going back to something you said a minute ago about the seventies horror movies and having the cheese, you know, the kind of cheesy effects where you could, you know, you look at it and say, oh, that's, you know, that's a rubber mask or whatever. The Spaceman and I have been watching a lot of B Horror movies.

[00:15:03] Halfling: Um, you know, and you talk about, you talk about the, the, you know, the cheese factor.

[00:15:10] Spaceman: Yeah. From the fifties and sixties.

[00:15:13] Halfling: Uh, but they're, they're a lot of fun. So, you know, I mean, you, you, you watch 'em for what they are and, and you know, you, you, you don't look at 'em with a critical eye and you know, and think, oh, they should have done this. They should have done that. You just, just enjoy it and just realize what it is.

[00:15:31] Andrew Hook: I think also there's, there's a little bit more friction as well. If you are, um, if you're being chased or if you're watching someone being chased by a man dressed as a monster, in theory, you know, that person could have caught him up. Whereas if you're watching CGI, I think there's a disconnect when you, you know, that cgi I is never gonna catch that character up because, you know, he is running against the blue screen.

[00:15:51] Andrew Hook: But I think there's a little bit more friction for me, where if someone's actually being chased by someone, however ridiculous the costume might be, because, you know, it could have caught him.

[00:15:59] Spaceman: Yeah, Yeah I, I love the old Hammer films. Matter of fact, my favorite movie. One of my favorites, I can't say for sure, it's the absolute favor was quarter mass in the pit.

[00:16:11] Andrew Hook: Oh yeah. Yep.

[00:16:12] Spaceman: That movie, when I, I saw it on television, it scared the living daylights out of me when that giant bug had appeared above the uh, horizon.

[00:16:22] Spaceman: So I thought that was extremely well done, but that was one of the later Hammer films.

[00:16:27] Andrew Hook: Yeah. And I, and, and I think there are certain films like that which do, you know, survive the test of time as well. Don't, you know, they, they have got a greater longevity. 'cause there's, there's something more to them than, than just what you're seeing on the screen. They, they're, they're kind of subversive, I suppose.

[00:16:43] Andrew Hook: I suppose I'm drawn to things which are a bit more subversive and, and not, not quite what people were expecting, certainly at the time.

[00:16:49] Spaceman: Yeah, especially Quatermass and the Pit. It's actually talking about racism and fascism. So yeah, through the lens, through the lens of science fiction and these, um, Martian creatures. 

[00:17:03] Andrew Hook: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:17:05] Spaceman: so can you describe to our listeners the various stages or steps that you went through when becoming a successful writer?

[00:17:11] Spaceman: For Ex, for instance, how did you go from getting your first story published to where you are now and how long did that journey take?

[00:17:20] Andrew Hook: Well, I think I mentioned at the start, I, I began writing seriously in about 1987. And the reason for that is, I had been working for a couple of years after leaving school, but then went traveling around Europe for a few months, gave up a job to do that, and then came back and thinking, you know, I don't wanna go back into that kind of office job.

[00:17:40] Andrew Hook: You know, what can I do? And in the UK at the time, there was a scheme called the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, which was a government scheme where they would fund a business for a year. And that business could be anything. You know, I suppose you could be painting houses or you could be anything basic.

[00:17:56] Andrew Hook: And, and they, they were allowing people to be right as mean. I would imagine it was a way to get people off the jobless figures, so it looked good for the government. You got a little bit extra money than you would too less if you were just sort of claiming money. So for a year, I, I was a writer.

[00:18:11] Andrew Hook: Now I was very naive back then. I assumed that when you wrote a book, you sent it to someone and they'd bite your arm off to take it, and then, you know that that's what, you know, that that would be it. You know, you, you continue to do that for the rest of your life and you've want to be successful and obviously that's not the case.

[00:18:27] Andrew Hook: But in the course of that year though, I wrote two novels, I think, and a couple of short stories, n none of which will ever be published. But that one year doing that solidly kind of gave me. I suppose it gave me the opportunity to write out the stuff that you write in your first novel, and then you can put to one side, you kind of, you kind of put everything in it.

[00:18:48] Andrew Hook: You put everything you're thinking and feeling up to that point. And that generally goes into the first book and that, and it's probably best that that book is then sort of put aside. Um, and it also, and I suppose that year gave me the skills to actually realize that's how I could write and how I could develop a style as well.

[00:19:04] Andrew Hook: So that would've been back in 1987. And then I decided mostly to focus on short stories. Uh, I mean, obviously with short stories you can write them much quicker than you can a novel. I mean, I think at the end of the day, I wanted, I wanted to feel I was being productive and going somewhere rather than, rather than writing novels that actually, um, that might take ages to write.

[00:19:23] Andrew Hook: And back in the day, uh, you would send out to a publisher, you would wait three months for them to come back, and then you sent it somewhere else. You didn't simultaneously submit back in those days that we didn't. That wasn't what you're supposed to do anyway, so I was writing more short stories. My first short story, it took about seven years for me to actually crack the short story market and get, and get one published.

[00:19:46] Andrew Hook: And I didn't, didn't give up at that time. I mean, there were periods when I wasn't writing, when I was traveling again, but generally, you know, I was quite kind of committed to finding somewhere to, uh, to get published. And then from then on, you get one story published. That's your, that's your goal, isn't it?

[00:20:03] Andrew Hook: Then you get a second story published and then a third and then a fourth. You, okay, let's get 10 stories published. And then you get 10 stories published and then you think, well, where do we go from here? Well, maybe I'll get a collection of stories published. And then you get a collection of stories published and then you think, well, I'll write something else.

[00:20:18] Andrew Hook: I'll get a novel published. And it is, it's like a snowball, but it's, it's a never ending snowball. 'cause you don't actually stop and you don't say, okay, I've now I. I've done this now, you know, I've, I've, it's not like building a house, actually, I've built this house. There is always another story to write.

[00:20:35] Andrew Hook: So I think it, you know, for me, that that journey was basically just writing and writing and writing until I was good enough to get something published. Lucky enough to find this little slipstream community and the independent press. I mean, there were probably about a good 20 magazines in the UK at the time.

[00:20:51] Andrew Hook: I mean, some of which maybe didn't progress beyond the first issue, but there were, there were lots and lots of the magazines that were around and, um, you know, kind of nurtured that talent in some ways. I mean, then there were, there certainly a few people in the scene, that I'm indebted to for helping with that.

[00:21:07] Andrew Hook: Andy Cox, who ran the third alternative at Latin Black Static, a chap called Trevor Jet, who ran a magazine called Midnight Street, who had me as a featured author, for one of their issues. Even though I'd only had a couple of stories, or I think four or five stories published at that time. And run an interview with me now.

[00:21:23] Andrew Hook: There a along the way. There've been, there've been lots of people that kind of helped out within that journey. 

[00:21:29] Andrew Hook: Yeah, I think that's, I mean, those are sort of the stages and I think it is just a, it's a just a natural progression. You know, you, you're always gonna be getting better. I mean, you'll, you'll step back a couple of times. Sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back. If you persist, you're bound to get better, I think.

[00:21:46] Andrew Hook: And as, as you get better, there'll be more opportunities. Edit editors will start asking you for stories. You know, you won't have to send them out speculatively, you'll get invited to submit. And I, I imagine my journey is, is roughly similar to most people. There's a, there's a lot of luck involved. You know, both bad and good luck.

[00:22:04] Andrew Hook: but it's a, it's a matter of persistence following that dream.

[00:22:09] Halfling: Well, that's, that, that is certainly not unique to writers. I mean, that's, that's what we hear all the time is perseverance. You just have to keep at it and just keep at it. And, and you move the, move the goalpost along the way. So like you said, you know, you, you do your short stories, then you do anthologies, then you do novellas, and then you do novels.

[00:22:32] Halfling: And like you said, there's always something, something in your mind, something in the brain that, you know, you just have to have to get it out. And, uh,

[00:22:44] Spaceman: But half link. Sometimes people actually do, you know, get their first novel published. It's, you know, it's not common, but it does happen

[00:22:52] Halfling: Well, sure. I mean, I'm, I'm sure there's, there's lucky people out there.

[00:22:57] Spaceman: Does happen. Well, Andrew, a question that's kind of follow up, uh, what the Haing has said, do you ever revisit earlier stories and rework them for submission?

[00:23:08] Andrew Hook: Well, very rarely actually. I have done, yeah. Yeah. I think, um, I think that's probably only happened on about four or five occasions. But there was a story recently that I'd seen a submission call for, I can't remember the name of their anthology 'cause it is literally about 50 words long. But it's a, it's an anthology about haunted buildings.

[00:23:31] Andrew Hook: Um, and it was published, I can't remember the name of the press, but it was it, anyway, it sounded very well. And I thought, you know, I wouldn't mind writing something for this anthology, but I don't know if I've really got any ideas for it. And the deadline was looming and then just something crossed my mind.

[00:23:47] Andrew Hook: I've just had a quick look through some of the stuff. And there was a story that I'd, um, written called Where the Brokens Dreams Go. That when I finished it, I kind of felt as though I was finishing halfway through the middle. And then when I reread it, I realized I had finished it halfway through the middle.

[00:24:01] Andrew Hook: So I wrote the second half of that story and that was accepted and published. I think it's rare though, that I'll go back and look at old work. What I will do though is revisit the same themes. So I mean, I say I'm usually writing about disconnects between fantasy and reality, about the idea of immortality.

[00:24:22] Andrew Hook: What identity, you know, themes of identity, what it means to be human, you know, how we perceive things, how other people perceive us differently. That, those are the themes that I suppose that I tend to write about and explore within the fiction. So I'm recycling ideas in that respect, but not usually going back in relation to looking at books.

[00:24:43] Andrew Hook: Having said that, though, the first novel I had published, I did write that, I think I wrote it the first half and then I waited six years. Well, I didn't wait. I kind of left it for six years and then I added a paragraph, and then I went back to again about three years after that and finished it. So there have, there have been some unfinished works that, I've done that for, yeah.

[00:25:05] Halfling: Well, I wanna go back for just a second to something you mentioned earlier, because you mentioned Woody Allen as some, someone whose movies you watched and were sort of drew some inspiration for, or sort of were, you know, sort of, I guess, something you were interested in. But, uh, I, I was just gonna mention the, the movie Sleeper.

[00:25:29] Halfling: For me is, to me, that's one of, that's one of his best works. And I know, uh, I know people argue about it, but you know, I think it has a lot of those themes of, you know, humanity and, and you know, all those types of things that, that you've been talking about. so

[00:25:50] Andrew Hook: well, it's, it's, it's very funny and it's, it's very clever.

[00:25:53] Halfling: yeah. Yeah. 

[00:25:56] Andrew Hook: I think around that period, for me, love and death, I, I, it is probably my favorite Woody Allen film, which, if you've seen that, but he's a, he's a Russian basically, but there's a lot of, and he's, he's in a war and it's, it's basically trying to get out, being in that war.

[00:26:11] Andrew Hook: Again, uh, you know, there's, there's a lot of lines in there where he's sort of speculating about his death. I mean, in, in fact, at the end of the film, I don't think this is really a sport since it's probably been, you know, was in about 1972. but at the end of the film, he is, he is literally dancing with death, you know, with a figure of death with the side, at the end of the film.

[00:26:28] Andrew Hook: And I, I think I, you know, oddly enough, through that kind of comedy, there's, there is a discourse there about death. And I think that's, when you're first sort of watching these things when you're a child, death is a very, um, too bored about. It's a very, but even now, I think it's a thing you don't really come to terms with, you don't really understand 'cause it's the complete anti of, of, of life, you know, and your normal existence.

[00:26:55] Andrew Hook: And I think as a, as a, as a youngster, a teenager, to suddenly start thinking about, you know, what, is there any meaning, you know, all this kind of stuff, you know, is it gonna end at some point? I think for me, you know, writing about that is, is a way for me to, to be able to deal with it. Because I'm not, I don't have any religious beliefs, and I don't have any security blanket when it comes to what's gonna happen at the end of, it's getting very dark, isn't it?

[00:27:28] Andrew Hook: So I think, so I think for Meri writing about these things, exploring these things and kind of speculating about these things is probably a way for me to process the fact. And, and you know, the things that, that Woody Allen brought about, talked about, filmed about in Love and Death, I mean, there's the famous quote for what he is, and that I don't wanna be immortal through my work.

[00:27:47] Andrew Hook: I wanna be immortal through not dying. And, uh, 

[00:27:49] Halfling: Yeah, 

[00:27:50] Andrew Hook: but I think if I, if I can be immortal through my work in the meantime, you know, if that's all it is, then, then that'll have to, I'll have to do, won't it, yeah.

[00:27:58] Halfling: I find that writing is very therapeutic. Now, I'm, I am not a professional writer at all. I mean, everything that I have ever written has just pretty, you know, just personal, just, just for me mostly. but, I, I went through a rough period of, of time and I actually went to see a therapist and during the course of, that therapy, I started writing, and I wrote it basically.

[00:28:26] Halfling: It was, it was almost like a journal, kind of a, a journal. Writing, exercise. 'cause my mother was going through cancer. There were a lot of things going on at work. It was just personal, all, all this stuff. And so writing, writing it out and writing my feelings about these different things, you know, was, extremely therapeutic.

[00:28:48] Halfling: And I actually showed it to the therapist and she asked permission to read it. I said, sure. And she thought it was wonderful, not just from a, oh, you should get this published thing, but just the fact, you know, but just the fact that, you know, that, it was therapeutic and that it was an outlet for me and it was a way to deal with those emotions.

[00:29:10] Spaceman: Well, Halfling here in the 21st century. We call it a blog.

[00:29:14] Halfling: yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well this was before blogging. Okay.

[00:29:19] Spaceman: I don't know. You know, there used to be, APAs, amateur Press associations. There used to be fan zines. You know, you could have got this out to the wall.

[00:29:28] Halfling: Like I said, this was, this was just for me. Oh, okay. This was just for me anyway. Moving on, like we said before, the, the conversation can detour at any point. Uh, but kind of getting back on track, I, I read that you started not one, but two, publishing companies. So what, what was your motivation for starting, for starting one and then, you know, shutting that down and then starting another one? What Take, take us through that process.

[00:30:01] Andrew Hook: Sure, so the, the first one, I ran between 2002 and 2008. Um, and that was called Elastic Press. Uh, I chose the word elastic because it wasn't specific to any particular genre. You know, you wouldn't know which, which genre. By hearing that particular word. And that's because I wanted to publish in a variety of different genres.

[00:30:24] Andrew Hook: And this came about, as I said, I, I'd had a few short stories published and I was thinking, well, you know, the next stage would to be to publish a collection. But at around about that time in the early two thousands, there weren't many publishers, certainly not in the uk, who were focusing on single author short story collections.

[00:30:44] Andrew Hook: And roughly about the same time, this coincided with the advent of digital printing. So instead of traditional printing, you know, we have to set up all the letters on a printing press and it costs, a huge amount of money to do that. 'cause the upfront costs are so, so incredibly expensive.

[00:31:00] Andrew Hook: Obviously with digital printing there, they were printing off word files or pdf, d f files or whatever it might be. And the unit costs were incredibly cheaper. Now there was a friend of mine who was doing a, um An evening class, I think it was probably just in media. And he said, look, it came round. I said, I've just produced this book for the class.

[00:31:19] Andrew Hook: And I looked at it, I thought, what? This is a book? You know, and I, I know that's, this is just one copy that he's produced for this thing. And I, I just, I just realized you could actually do this. You know, I, I might sound a bit obvious really, but I thought, oh, actually the technology is there. I can do, I could do this.

[00:31:33] Andrew Hook: I thought, well actually, I've been writing these short stories and I've been thinking about getting a, publisher, uh, in my first collection. I effectively self-published through Elastic Press, but not simply with that intention. 'cause I thought, I knew there were other writers, you know, the writers that I'd been reading through these little slipstream magazines for the previous, four or five years beforehand, writers, they might not be familiar names to you, but they in the genre, Gary Cousins, Tim Lees, Chris Beckett, Franklin Andrew Humphrey, uh, Mar there's, there's quite a lot of writers at the time who I realized would've been in exactly the same position as me.

[00:32:10] Andrew Hook: They built up a body of work and they needed to do the next step. I realized, actually, I thought, well, if I do my book first, but I'll set up, I set it up as a publishing company on invite submissions from day one. If I can't sell a few hundred copies of my book, you know, I can't, I can't sell any anyone's book.

[00:32:26] Andrew Hook: I mean, you should be able to sell your own book. So that's how that came about. Basically, I published my first collect of short stories called the Virtual Menagerie. And I think out of those 19 stories, 17 had been previously published. So I felt it wasn't a vanity project, it was simply a collation.

[00:32:42] Andrew Hook: And then from then on, published 30 other authors. Now during the course of that, we won the Best Small press, British Fantasy Society Small Press Award twice.

[00:32:53] Spaceman: Congratulations. 

[00:32:54] Halfling: Congratulations.

[00:32:56] Andrew Hook: Three of our anthologies, won the British Family Society's Best Anthology Award. And, for our, the science fiction author Chris Beckett, he won a, a very prestigious, non non genre award, a short story award in the uk, called The Edgehill Prize.

[00:33:12] Andrew Hook: Uh, and he, he won that with a collection of science fiction stories, uh, beating people who had previously been on, um, book on the Booker Prize Showlist. And that basically meant he could then give up his day job, write novels. Um, and it really did launch his career. So, you know, while some, books were selling in the low hundreds, you know, some of them were, were then selling in the thousands.

[00:33:34] Andrew Hook: And I was more or less running that solo. I did have someone who helped out with, type setting and web updates and, someone else who was, doing the cover layout. But like all these things, you get to a point where it becomes a little bit of a burden. You know, I thought my own writing, I didn't have time for anymore.

[00:33:54] Andrew Hook: You know, the whole point, I suppose is setting up the press was to get my collection out and promote some other people. But six years down the line, my own fiction, you know, I wasn't, I wasn't really doing anything at all. I didn't have time for it, but I think unless we had taken on more people and more staff and, and kind of made it a proper business, it wasn't really gonna develop more.

[00:34:13] Andrew Hook: It was just become, more and more difficult for me to continue doing it on my own. And bearing in mind at that time, I was also a single parent running it, running a day job. And I'd literally would cycle back to my day job at lunchtimes, post out orders, and then go back to work again.

[00:34:28] Andrew Hook: It was, it was frantic really, but fun.

[00:34:31] Halfling: Real juggling act.

[00:34:34] Andrew Hook: Now the second press, which I began a couple of years ago, was to focus on crime fiction. So as I've mentioned, I had some crime novels published. 

[00:34:42] Andrew Hook: I've got a, PI called Mordent and I wrote four books in that series. And the first two books were picked up by a, a UK publisher called Telus Publishing, who usually sort of focus on science fiction.

[00:34:54] Andrew Hook: They've got a, they do a lot of Doctor Who and film spinoffs as well, but they were also looking to establish a crime imprint. They published the first two of those. But for various reasons, I think it didn't quite kick off the way they were hoping it would, that aspect of it. They didn't wanna continue with that series, so I, I was left with having written four books, having sold two in a two book deal and thinking what my thing, I can do these other two novels.

[00:35:20] Andrew Hook: I mean, very difficult to try and sell half a series to another publisher. But I didn't want them not to be read. So when, when the rights to the first two books came back to me, I thought, well, actually, I've done this before. You know, here we go again. Let's set up a crime imprint. You know, there are some other people that I would like to bring on board into that.

[00:35:37] Andrew Hook: I can publish my, republish, my first two crime and others put the other two out there. And in the meantime also, publish another people. So I've published another crime writer called Andrew Humphrey, published a crime writer called John Travis, who was looking for a home for his third novel in a series which, the previous publisher had gone bust.

[00:35:56] Andrew Hook: So they couldn't have done it. And I published a chap called Bofski, who has been until recently the head of the British Crime Writers Association, who was attracted by the production values of the press. So that's, that's what we're doing at the moment, together with some anthologies and so on. So, again, it's, been built out of a, a very specific need, I suppose, or to get some of my work out there, but not only to do it in that sort of vanity sense.

[00:36:20] Andrew Hook: I, you know, I wanted to do it. 'cause I knew there were other people that wanted to publish as well, so that's why I dipped my toe back into those waters. Quite Ben, the answer I wanna think.

[00:36:32] Spaceman: Well, Publishing is a difficult road a hoe because you've got all the logistics involved with it. You've got to coordinate with the auditors, the authors deal with the manuscripts. It's, you know, we, we used to run an online zine, called Crimson Streets and just doing that was keeping us busy all the time.

[00:36:52] Andrew Hook: yeah. There's a lot of work involved and I think once you get into the rhythm of certain, once you've got the basics there, like maybe the website or, you know, mailing list and all that kind of stuff, it becomes a little bit easier. But you're always thinking about it. 'cause you, you've got a, a responsibility to those authors.

[00:37:09] Andrew Hook: It's, you know, when you're writing or, or trying to sell your own stories, your responsibility is only to yourself. But as soon as you. Take on other writers, you've got a responsibility to do justice to how the book looks, how it's set out, and to how it's selling. And, and you don't, you don't stop thinking about it.

[00:37:26] Andrew Hook: You, and you always think you could do more and do better. So it, it does get very tiring.

[00:37:31] Halfling: Yeah, , you're right. Um, it can be very, very consuming overall. You know, , I was fortunate that I really enjoyed all of the stories that I got to read. I. As editor, so it did expose me to, a lot of different writers that I would've never heard from otherwise, or, or read, you know, read anything by otherwise.

[00:37:54] Halfling: The point of our online Z was to provide a venue for up and coming writers who had either not been published or who had, you know, had very small successes. And, we we, we got many thank yous for providing that, venue because, we were sort of unique.

[00:38:16] Halfling: It was sort of a niche, that we filled 

[00:38:19] Andrew Hook: it's, it's it's great, isn't it? To, to have, to be able to promote new work. I mean, like, I just think it's a, it's a really vital thing to do. So that's, that's, that's great that you're doing that. I mean, when I was doing press, I was publishing collections and part of my remit was, it was, it was to be an author's first collection.

[00:38:38] Andrew Hook: I didn't, I'm not saying, again, that's the sort of saying about shooting yourself in the book business wise, but I didn't wanna establish names. You know, I didn't wanna be fixed to a particular genre. You know, but the books we put out there were, were, were, you know, were all good and, and made a big difference in some respects to, to sort Oh, those author as well, to get their, uh, their first book out there.

[00:39:00] Spaceman: Andrew, What challenges have you faced along the way and how are you able to overcome them?

[00:39:05] Andrew Hook: If we're talking about writing, I think it's a bit of an odd one because I think I would always be a writer without necessarily getting anything published. I think that's very easy thing to say from the perspective of having had things published. 

[00:39:21] Halfling: Yeah.

[00:39:22] Andrew Hook: I, I think, I think I would still probably have been doing it, so I don't know if it's necessarily an obstacle.

[00:39:28] Andrew Hook: I think for me , it's good to get some kind of recognition and I think sometimes there's an obstacle in getting that recognition. I don't think it's an obstacle that, that is specific to me, or I think it's simply the fact that there is so much product out there, you know, if you send a book off to be reviewed, that reviewer has got, 15, 20 books coming in every month, from, from many established writers and, and everything else.

[00:39:53] Andrew Hook: So I think the obstacles for me are, getting some kind of feedback sometimes on what you've done, 

[00:39:59] Andrew Hook: I don't think that's necessarily,

[00:40:01] Andrew Hook: it's not, it's not going to put me off. But I tink it's nice just to get a pat on the back sometimes and get some kind of confirmation that what you're doing is fine. Um, and I think not to get that can be detrimental and, you know, and you, you can get hung up over it and it can sort of prevent you from doing stuff, from continuing. And, and there have been moments in the last, that's coming up to 30 years now, which seems very odd.

[00:40:28] Andrew Hook: But, um, there, there've definitely been moments where I've thought this is dreadful. Yeah. You know, what, what, what on earth am I doing? You know, I think we all do get that imposter syndrome, you know, all, all of us doubt ourselves, from time to time. And I think that would be lessened if you were in a position where you were getting more feedback or you were getting more reviews, even if they were bad reviews.

[00:40:50] Andrew Hook: Sometimes I think again, a review is kind of useful. So, I don't see myself having obstacles in the sense of I needed to, I think I've kind of achieved the kind of goals that I want in relation to how I'm satisfied with my work. Yes, I'd like it to be reaching a far wider audience. Yes, I'd like some kind of TV show options, you know?

[00:41:13] Andrew Hook: Yes, I'd like to be able to write and do that for a living only without doing four or five other things as well. But I've never had the obstacle of time. I mean, I've, I've spoken to other writers, it generally people who aren't published and they say, well, I don't have time to write. And I thought, well, I've, I mean, this morning it's my birthday.

[00:41:31] Andrew Hook: I got up at six 30 and I wrote a thousand word short story before everyone else had woken up. And you can make time. Um, I really, I really do think that, I think you can, you can make that time, and sometimes the obstacles, which other people might believe are obstacles. Excuses. And it's very easy to make an excuse and there's nothing wrong with that.

[00:41:54] Andrew Hook: I've not made the excuses yet.

[00:41:56] Spaceman: Andrew, circling back to reviews for a second. One of the things that has bothered me because I used to do reviews, is that publishers no longer are sending out pre-release review copies for the most part. Do you think that's affected other writers or is it a problem you're having with UK publishers as well?

[00:42:18] Andrew Hook: We get some, I mean, I do do some reviews myself. Actually. There's a, an online or subscription only digital magazine actually called Pass Magazine through a company called PS Publishing. They're quite big in the uk. Uh, and we, we do get advanced copies, but I don't think they're that much in advance. You know, might, might literally be a month or so.

[00:42:37] Andrew Hook: I, I, I just think there are more books being published than probably ever before, part partly due to digital printing, partly due to authors, also self-publishing, which is perfectly fine. And I think there is just more product, and I think it's harder for those people, or perhaps mid list or less, to actually get your, book, you know, your head over the power and say, I'm here to, you know, review me to, obviously, you know, when I was first starting out, things were getting reviewed in magazines and now predominantly they're getting reviewed online.

[00:43:08] Andrew Hook: And I suppose, for any site, even for a, for print magazine, in order for people to buy that magazine, I would imagine they won't be publishing reviews of people that the read, you know, the region of their magazine will also know or have be readers of those books as well. So again, I think, you know, you're more likely to get Stephen King reviewed, for example.

[00:43:30] Andrew Hook: 'cause there's so many more people reading it and they're gonna be attracted to the magazine. If there's a Stephen King review, if there's someone who's someone has never heard of, you know, will they read the review? Will they then read the book? It's very difficult to know for certain why that is.

[00:43:46] Spaceman: And, One of the problems we have is that it's also with the quality of online reviews. Most authors, most creators want to get useful feedback, not necessarily good feedback. They wanna know if there's something they can change, something they can do better, something they can enhance. But getting feedback that you're just a big dooty head doesn't help anybody.

[00:44:11] Andrew Hook: No, exactly. I think, uh, I've said this before, but I think I've had, um, I've had more feedback sometimes on stories that were rejected by multiple editors than on those that were accepted straight away. Because you do with, with, with a lot of editors. I mean, perhaps they do that less now, but there's usually at least one line or two lines.

[00:44:27] Andrew Hook: I like this bit or that bit or you know, keep trying or whatever. And sometimes you send a story out and it gets published and you, you don't ever see a review of it Bit of an irony there.

[00:44:40] Halfling: Well, that's one thing as an as, as an editor for the online scene that we were doing, is that when I did have to reject a story, I would at least provide a little feedback so that that person, you know, rather than just, you know, I'm sorry, we can't accept this. Trying to give them a little bit of feedback.

[00:45:01] Halfling: And I've had situations where I've asked them to tweak the story a little bit and what I think needed to be changed. And they would do that and send it back, and then we'd end up putting out there. So, um, feedback is vital. It really is.

[00:45:18] Andrew Hook: Yeah, I agree. Yeah. I mean, I've, I've sometimes thought, well, this isn't for me, but I know, you know, if you try this magazine, they might take it. And that, that's been successful. I think it's always, it's always nice just to be pleasant, isn't it?

[00:45:32] Andrew Hook: It's always nice to bring just things that, it's just a common decency, really.

[00:45:36] Halfling: Right.

[00:45:38] Halfling: Spaceman? 

[00:45:38] Spaceman: Oh, it's time for the spaceman. So Andrew, who is the one person you would say has inspired you the most? Who do you look for as your like literary hero?

[00:45:52] Andrew Hook: Right. This might be a little bit left field because they've only influenced one of my novel, my first novel, but the writer, Tom Robbins, so Tom Robbins, He wrote books, like Jitterbug Perfume, and Frog Pajamas, Even Cowgirl Get the Blues, Skinny Legs and all. I mean, sort of a, a comic metaphysical writer, I suppose. I mean his book Jitterbug Perfume, which is definitely about immortality. I dunno if either of you have read it, but I would highly recommend it, was an absolute life changer for me in terms of how I thought about things.

[00:46:23] Andrew Hook: And my first novel, moon Beaver is obviously a, uh a Tom Robbins ripoff, a poor cousin. , but I think for him, it, was, there's this, there's a real quality of his language. There's a real love and affection for word play. You know, words aren't just simply telling a story. They are the, you know, they are, they're an intrinsic part in how you tell the story is just important as the story itself, I think's what I'm trying to say.

[00:46:50] Andrew Hook: And I think it was, it was reading him that, that made me reignited a, a love for reading, which had fallen a little bit by the wayside because I've been traveling a lot, wasn't already picking books up. And as I said, you know, kind of forced me to kind of forced forces the wrong word, but kind of influenced me in, in writing that first novel of mine.

[00:47:10] Andrew Hook: And, and although, you know, most of my other work is nothing like that first book that was, that was really important. He had a, a biography out relatively recently, an autobiography, I think called Tibet Peach Pie, within which he invites you to write to him for a recipe. But Tibet Peach Pie, which has nothing to do with Tibetan peach pies, but it's more like a, a way of, of viewing the world.

[00:47:32] Andrew Hook: So I did, I did drop, I did a drop line to the address there. I think he must be in his eighties now, 84, I would think, and got a personalized reply, which, which I, you know, was a big fan boy moment for me.

[00:47:46] Halfling: That's cool. Uh, that's really cool. Well, so do you have any advice for listeners out there thinking about their own writing careers, and are there things that you know now that you wish you had known early on?

[00:48:02] Andrew Hook: Well, I think I said before that when I first started out, I was quite naive. I thought, you know, you would write a novel, you would send it somewhere. They would accept it, you know, and you would continue doing that. And I think it's, it's awkward, isn't it? You know, if, I'd have known it wasn't quite like that, for most writers right at the start, would that have put me off?

[00:48:22] Andrew Hook: I, I dunno whether or not it's actually important to remain naive at the beginning and gradually have that chipped away, but still have that resoluteness, you know, to continue. So I, I was thinking about this. I thought I. Letting people know right from the start that it's not gonna be an easy ride. Maybe they don't need to know that.

[00:48:41] Andrew Hook: Maybe they need to find out for themselves. I think what I normally say is though, is, um, I don't, you, you often see whether that people say that, that they think you should write every day. And I, I don't think you need to write every day. I, there might be, might be weeks go by when I don't write. I think you actually have to be a writer every day and think like a writer every day.

[00:49:02] Andrew Hook: And everything that you come across in each individual day has potential to go into a story. So I think that's, that's what I would tell your writers actually. Just be a writer. You know, think of yourself as a writer, even if you've not written anything.

[00:49:17] Halfling: Well, that makes perfect sense. We had another writer tell us something similar that, you know, he could, he carries a notepad with him everywhere he goes because he knows that at any minute, you know, he's gonna see something like when he is on a walk. You know, he might see something that is a nugget of a story and write it, write it down even if he doesn't do anything with it for, you know, for months, you know? So, 

[00:49:45] Andrew Hook: And it could be the most basic thing. I mean, for short stories, I have to have a title. I can't write a short story without a title. And I've got, I've got a file with, with lists and lists of titles in there that no doubt will be used at some point. So, yep. Write it down. So don't, and don't think actually you'll remember it later

[00:50:02] Halfling: oh. No, no,

[00:50:03] Andrew Hook: ('cause) you won't No,

[00:50:05] Halfling: no.

[00:50:06] Andrew Hook: However strong that idea is, you will not remember it later. That's actually, that's probably another piece of advice I'd give. Yeah. Remember, you won't remember it.

[00:50:14] Spaceman: It's always interesting to hear from different authors about their methods. Some people start with the idea and they wait till the very end of the story to come up with the title, and some people start with the title and some people start with kind of a hybrid. So it's interesting and unique and it speaks to their kind of method.

[00:50:37] Andrew Hook: Yeah. And I've only, I say I always start with a title. I've only ever changed the title I think twice, on publication. So, you know, one, once that started, that, that title is there, it's set in stone for me, and it, it's the, I, I kind of describe it as the coat hanger upon which the story rests, you know, the, I don't tend to have titles that are fairly generic, like the Hunt or, you know, or, or, you know, some kind of thing, which my titles generally have a double meaning within them.

[00:51:07] Andrew Hook: I then explore within the, the story itself.

[00:51:10] Halfling: Speaking of that, can you tell us about any up and coming stories that you may have coming out and talk to us a little bit about the work that you've done with, Eugen, and how did y'all end up working together?

[00:51:23] Andrew Hook: I've just had a story out, as I said in the, in the final issue of Black Static, the magazine that started in the third alternative, called The Enard. So that's, that's literally come out recently in print. I've got a story coming out, the anthology of Stories inspired by JG Ballard. My story's called The Natural Environment, and that's coming out from Titan Books, with some other very, very big names, in the autumn.

[00:51:49] Andrew Hook: And I've got another story called Keepers, which is coming in an anthology called At the Lighthouse, which is, or Lighthouse Themes, stories. That's out from, , a UK Ivan LL Press, I think also in the Autumn. So those are the, forthcoming pieces, the novel with, with Eugen Bacon, as I said, she did approach me basically and said, you know, shall we write a book together?

[00:52:11] Andrew Hook: And I thought, okay. You know, it's, it's quite a, it's quite a big, big ask, isn't it really, I suppose. And then, uh, the title of this novel, by the way, is called, secondhand Daylight. And it's a science fiction novel. It's a time travel novel. And I, uh, I was doing some recreational cycling one morning and I was just sort of cycling through a wooded area and sort of saw this light, this little patch of light come down through the trees.

[00:52:34] Andrew Hook: It's quite early in the morning. Remember the title as I had, secondhand Daylight and then just thought of someone Involuntary Truck Time traveling. I mean, it's not original. Um, if you've read the book, the Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Inger, Her character, involuntary time travels backwards and forwards.

[00:52:53] Andrew Hook: And I think there's a similar vibe there, but I just thought if someone could not stop themselves by time traveling into the future, how, how would that affect them? Basically, how would that affect their relationships? And if it was initially maybe just an hour or two or maybe a day or it setting gets longer and longer, you know, what are the consequences of that?

[00:53:12] Andrew Hook: You know, how far in the future you go and can you stop? And then I thought, well, actually I could write that bit. And then Chen could write a bit about someone in the future who's actually time trapping back into the past to meet up with my character. So the actual nature of the story itself is almost a collaboration as well as between us as writers, but also the characters.

[00:53:35] Andrew Hook: Initially I thought I'd write the male character and going forwards and she'd write the female one going back, but it, it didn't really work like that. 'cause we'd realized we'd have to write. We'd almost be writing two separate stories in isolation. So we could just, you know, I, I think I wrote the opening and then she wrote us some more, you know, had another 500 words.

[00:53:51] Andrew Hook: Then I had another 500 words. We, when we, and then we finished one character, then we kind of worked backwards with the other character. So that was the process with that. But that, that, that was it. Basically, I had this idea and I floated it to her and she, I think she thought, you, what is this idea?

[00:54:07] Andrew Hook: How complex is this gonna be? And, and then we wrote it, yeah, lost, about, remember only about two, three months, I think about 50,000 words. Quite pleased with it coming out from all good bookstores.

[00:54:20] Halfling: Oh, okay. Cool. well, I mean, it, it's always interesting to hear the background of, writers collaborating, how they, how they come together and what the process is. Some writers are very, I guess territorial when it comes to their characters and, you know, and, and they don't want anybody to touch their characters or anything like that.

[00:54:44] Halfling: Um, and then, then you have other writers that seem to be pretty open to, to anybody kind of joining in their, you know, their, their work. And, um, you, as long 

[00:54:55] Halfling: as you 

[00:54:56] Andrew Hook: it's a matter of,

[00:54:57] Halfling: I'm

[00:54:58] Andrew Hook: yeah, I think it's a matter. Sorry. I think it's a matter of doing justice to the story isn't, and thinking the heart of this is, is the story progressing? You know, not, and not being precious over, you know, there's certain things my character did in Eugen's hands that they wouldn't necessarily done in mine, but it fit the story.

[00:55:16] Andrew Hook: And, you know, I think you've, you've just gotta, I think when entering into the spirit of collaboration, you've, you've gotta realize that you can't be too precious over things. You know, there's, there's, there's give and take. And that's actually what then makes that piece interesting. You know, it's a third voice, a third voice comes through to write the story rather than, rather than us as individuals.

[00:55:35] Andrew Hook: But having said that, in, in that kind of relationship, I generally, I'm a more comedian, like I generally do mold my, my style to the other person rather than the other way around. So I do tend to find that I, I lose perhaps the element that's distinctly me.

[00:55:52] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:55:53] Andrew Hook: But that's fine because it suits the story and it's, it serves the story.

[00:55:57] Halfling: Oh, okay. Well, so tell us where people can find out more about you and about, your various works where they're available.

[00:56:07] Andrew Hook: I, I think the website's probably the easiest place to start, which is just Um, on Instagram, I'm on Twitter. I'm on threads because I'm probably not too sure what's happening with Twitter. , I haven't really, haven't really expanded that yet. I, I think, I think, you know, the website and, and of course, you know, the, most of the books are on Amazon and, um, and, and, and other good retailers.

[00:56:33] Andrew Hook: Well, and good. Well actually, we'll skip the bit about, Amazon is a very useful resource, but yeah, if you can, if you can seek the works out and buy them directly from the independent presses, that's always gonna be better.

[00:56:45] Halfling: Okay. Alright, well cool. We'll make sure we get that in the show notes. That's great.

[00:56:51] Spaceman: Well, Andrew, I'd like to thank you for joining us all the way from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the uk and we've really enjoyed talking to you today. And, glad to hear about your journey in active fandom. 

[00:57:04] Andrew Hook: Thank you. It just been brilliant. I've really enjoyed, discussion with the two of you. Thank you.

[00:57:08] Spaceman: And we wanna thank our listeners for tuning in today. We hope that you've enjoyed and perhaps become inspired by today's guest, Andrew Hook. We want to give Andrew a huge thank you for joining us today and this is the spaceman of the Halfling and the Spaceman over and out.

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