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Monday, February 27, 2017

Author Interview: John Hunt - Doll House

The man behind Doll House is no other than John Hunt.  You've seen #CJSReads2017 scream about his creepy book all over our social media.  See my 5 star review here.  

John was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule to do a Q&A with me.  For those who haven't read his book yet - go get it! NOW!  It's that perfect type of creepy without going overboard and keeps you glued to the pages.

Scroll down and take a peep 👀 at the person behind the book!!

Name: John Hunt
Age: Early 40’s
From: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Books written, blurbs: I have an author page on Amazon. It contains all the anthologies I have had short stories published in. Here is the link:

What does your writing process look like?

Most of my ideas start out as a scene in my head. I’m very visual that way. Sometimes the scene is the ending, sometimes a random moment in the middle and other times a conversation in my head. I once had a scene playing in my head about urinal etiquette. If there are three urinals, and one person is using the one furthest from you, do you use the one beside him or leave the buffer urinal in the middle. Buffer. Always leave the buffer. So, that’s how they all start out and some of them continue to live and some of them die off. 

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?

Finding the time. I usually wait for my kids to be in bed or preoccupied before I bring out the Macbook. I have no other issues. Once I start, I slip into that zone quite easily. 

How many hours a day do you write?

When I am on a tear and the story is just pouring out of me, I can write non-stop for hours. Sometimes I just refine ideas, make them useable and problem solve. I have gone weeks without writing but that would be because of work and family life not from a lack of desire. So, the answer to that is: it depends. 

Do you have any strange writing habits?

All writing habits are strange, I think. The whole process is for the purpose of creating a very large and believable lie. The only thing other people find weird is that I love to listen to music while I write. 

What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process? Favorite part?

 Editing. Once I’m done with a book I just want to let it go and move on to something else. But I can’t, because a lot is wrong with the first, second, fourth and even the final draft. The publishing part was painless for me. They did a lot of the work. The editing though, ugh!

My favourite part was when a copy of my book showed up at my house with only my name on the top. My favourite part is people enjoying what I wrote. When you write something, you think it is good, you think it is worthy to be read but you never really know. It was like throwing yourself out there for everyone to look at and hoping no one snickers behind their hands. I am overwhelmed and blown away with all the positive support. 

Is there one particular subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I don’t know. My stories haven’t taken me to that place yet. I’m sure I’ll find out at some point. 

Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?

Because I see most of the scenes in my head, I cringe all the time when I write. All the time. I know I grind my teeth because I sometimes have a headache afterwards. So the whole beginning of Doll House, when Olivia is taken, I was cringing while writing it. All of it. 

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I have no idea. You do need confidence or a belief what you wrote is good enough to share otherwise you never would get published. 

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I started reading DRAGONLANCE books when I was young. Like grade six or seven. Since then, language has always had power over me. 

How many unpublished/half-finished books do you have?

 Two. The plot is solid on both of them. It reads in a nice linear fashion and it all makes sense only they are projects I wrote at the beginning of my writing. Just reading the first paragraph makes me cringe because they don’t just need editing, they need a complete overhaul.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?

Depends. I do write quickly, or so I’ve heard. I wrote Doll House in under a month? If I count all the time I spent on the first draft then that would be accurate. The editing though…sheesh, did I mention I dislike editing?

What inspired you to write such a dark book?

 Well, like I said, most of my stories start out as scenes in my head. This one started out with Jen, in her home, dealing with a terrible incident that unmoored her from reality. That scene started it all and it all flowed from there. 

If you could cast the characters of Little Girl Lost for a movie, who would play your characters?
I wish! So, Olivia would be played by Jennifer Lawrence, Harry by David Harbour from STRANGER THINGS and the Jackal? Josh Brolin. Bam!

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?

 Yes. I read all of them. If the reviewer would like a response, I do my best to accommodate. I learn from all of it. Bad reviews, if the reviewer explains why and how I can approve, I am grateful to them. It is all a learning experience for me. If there is no explanation then I assume what I wrote didn’t resonate with them or I didn’t relay my intent effectively. Once again, I try to learn from it. I don’t take anything personally from people who don’t know me personally. Good reviews, hell, I am just excited someone liked it. 

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I actually have a full time job. Writing is something I have to do because the monotony or the lack of opportunity to be creative in my job was driving me crazy. 

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?

My sisters bought me a Netbook. It was awesome and they got it for me when I was hacking out stories on a crusty desktop so that computer they bought me was awesome. I am in a single income household so I never really had any extra money. But one time, I did and my wife was kind enough to agree to buy a Macbook and it was the best purchase for my writing ever!

Have you ever gotten reader's block?  How did you get out of it?

I’m assuming you mean writer’s block. When I have a story in mind, I don’t get writer’s block. I have times when I need to solve a plot problem but I just mull it over until it is resolved. 

Do you google yourself?
I’ve only ever googled myself after this book came out. My publisher told me to do it to see where my book would be available so I could add the links to my sites. 

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I have never thought of it. I am a huge fan of Superman, so if I wouldn’t get hit with copyright infringement, I would like to use that ‘S’. 

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I have a story in mind about a boy, a dog and a robot. And a mass murderer drawing closer to them. I haven’t started it yet but it is forming. 

What literary character is most like you?

I have no idea. 

What authors have inspired you?

My favourite authors are Stephen King and J.K Rowling. Stephen King is a god. I suspect if he had decided to write literary fiction, his desk would have collapsed from all the Pulitzer’s. I am so glad he chose horror. J.K Rowling is a master at tying together seemingly random events into a cohesive plot. Genius. My favourite book is the OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway though. Every sentence was perfect to me. As a side note, Joe Hill’s POP ART from 20th CENTURY GHOSTS blew me away. It was so unbelievable yet so well written that I believed. 

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?

I never received any advice from anyone. I read books about how to write and I took what worked for me and tried to use it. Stephen King’s ON WRITING was one of them. Elmore Leonard’s 10 RULES OF WRITING was another one. I read so many of these though. I’ve been fortunate enough to receive more than enough encouragement but most of this stuff, other than the books I read, I figured out on my own. I try to be analytical and self-aware about my faults. I’m not always successful, but really, whoever is?

You can stalk him here  😀:

Big big thank you to John for taking the time to speak with me.  I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about him.

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