It’s raining cats and dogs in Finland but that’s alright. I’m having the time of my life whilst reading short horror stories from Doctors in Hell anthology. Today my victim…err…guest is yet another author from the hellish Doctor team. Please, welcome, R.E. Hinkle!
R.E. Hinkle has been in his time a disc jockey, short-order cook, radio newsman, advertising copywriter, psychiatric attendant, legal secretary, and film actor … all of which have given him enough material for three lifetimes worth of stories. A graduate of Purdue University, he was born in a small Indiana town and currently resides in Henderson, Nevada.
R.E., when did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ah, an easy one. That would have been all the way back in 1978 or 1979. I was in the 4th grade, and one day the school brought in a guest speaker, a woman who had written what today we would consider a Young Adult novel. As I sat on the floor listening to her talk about how she’d come up with the idea, what the process of writing it had been like, what she’d gone through shepherding it from first draft to final publication, it suddenly occurred to me on a conscious level that every story I’d ever read had been the result of some grown person sitting down at a typewriter and making it up. It was my first real understanding that stories didn’t just come out of nowhere, that they were crafted things, like chairs or houses. There wasn’t a click in my head or any kind of lightning bolt, but I remember clearly thinking, “That’s what I’m going to do.” And here I am, still at it. Sometimes you get that calling at a very early age, and sometimes that’s as much of a curse as a blessing.
True! There are days when it’s hard to tell which one is active…a curse or a blessing… Do you have any weird writing habits? Perhaps something you always have to do before starting to write or a secret vice?
Actually, I don’t. Maybe that makes me a bit of an oddball among oddballs, but the truth is that when it’s time for me to go to work, I just sit down and do it. I turn off the TV, tune my inner ear to that secret place the words are broadcast from, and type. Sometimes the words come in loud and clear, and sometimes they fade in and out, fuzzy and popping with static, but they always come. I don’t even listen to music when I work. I’ve always been good at shutting reality out when I’m dreaming with my eyes open.
Oh, I’m so jealous! I wish I could do that too…but nope…deep sigh…What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
One of the writing classes I took in college required me to submit a three-story collection as my semester project. Being the genre buff that I am, I wrote a science-fiction story, a horror story, and a fantasy. The professor gave me a D- and made it clear that he’d done so because of my choice of material – “garbage”, as he called it – and that he would have flunked me if he’d been able to get away with it. I protested the grade and got it changed, but that only eased the sting a little. It was the first real time in my life that someone sandbagged me like that, and I worked under the shadow of it for a long time – longer than I should have, probably. When someone equates things you love with trash, it’s hard not to feel a little like trash is all you’re capable of. Fortunately, I got over it. That kind of literary elitism is something you just have to live with. It may not exactly qualify as criticism, but it surely qualifies as tough.
Ouch! That sucks. I’ve had an experience quite similar as yours. Although it was another author who hit me with the sandbag. It took way too long for me to recover for her harsh words too…even when my books were selling like a little rabbit and hers wasn’t. Words…yep…so easy to hit someone with them. Anyways, thank you for being my guest today R.E.! Readers, below is a short synopsis of R.E.’s story. If you want to read more…well…you know where to run to!
19th Century confidence man Charles “Doc” Baggs so detests his fate in Hell that even non-existence is a better alternative, even if the price of oblivion requires him to become a greater monster than damnation has already made him. But what happens when he encounters a lost soul who deserves oblivion even more than he craves it? Can there be good deeds, even in Hell?
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