Steven Hague Interview
Posted on 26 September 2008. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to debut author Steven Hague
A bit about Steven Hague....
Steven Hague spent ten years churning out copy for one of Europe’s largest investment companies before he finally managed to break free of his shackles and slip away under cover of darkness. Having bade a life of financial security farewell, he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an author, and the result is his exciting debut novel Justice For All.
Steven is 36 years old and lives in Norwich with his wife, editor in chief, and harshest critic Lisa, and their chocolate Labrador Murphy. He loves good crime fiction and he’s also a big fan of rock ‘n’ roll – everything from early Elvis right through to the Foo Fighters. Steven is a sucker for all things Americana, and he’s currently working hard on his next novel.
Tell us something about your background.
First of all, I’d like to thank the Writewords community for playing their part in helping me to become a published author. When I was first starting out, I received a lot of support and encouragement from your members that went some way to convince me that I might be onto something. Writewords is an excellent resource for both first time and established authors, and I wish each of your members every success in their future endeavours. Remember – dreams can come true!
My debut novel, Justice For All, was recently released on the 15th August in the UK and Eire. It’s US noir, tough as old boots, and dark as a serial killer’s soul, and if you like your crime thrillers violent, cinematic, and action packed, then this one’s for you. It features Zac Hunter, an ex L.A.P.D. detective whose just been kicked out of the department for whaling on the lead suspect in a string of child murders. When the suspect beats the case against him on a technicality, Hunter turns vigilante to take him down, but his decision ends up putting him bang in the cross hairs of a ruthless Russian assassin, and unless he can work out what he’s stumbled into, Hunter could wind up paying with his life.
How did you start writing?
Apart from writing a lot back when I at school (I was the sort of kid that would turn a two-page story assignment into a full-on novella given half the chance), I started to write professionally when my last job suddenly demanded it of me. I’d worked in the marketing arm of a large insurance company for eight years when they decided that they needed an investment writer – someone who could translate the fund manager technobabble into something that was vaguely lucid – and I’d been earmarked for the role. I then wrote stock market report after stock market report for a couple of years and along the way I rediscovered my love of writing, so when the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy came along, I grabbed it with both hands and decided to pursue my boyhood dream of becoming an author. This all occurred about seven years ago (have I really been out of an office that long?) and I’ve now reached the point where my debut novel has made it on to the high street shelves.
Who are your favourite writers and why?
Well, I’m a sucker for great American crime fiction, and I have been since I was in my early teens (it accounts for something like 80% of all the books that I read), so I have a long list of favourite authors, but for brevities sake I’ll mention just three;
First, Robert Crais, for his excellent plotting, and strong dynamic between his two principal characters, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.
Second, Andrew Vachss, for his tough protagonist, the urban survivalist, Burke, his unsurpassed knowledge of the gutter (both urban and human), and his razor sharp black humour.
And third, James Ellroy, the demon dog himself, for his refusal to compromise in anything he does, and for being the man who gave us L.A. Confidential and American Tabloid.
And I also draw inspiration from quality American cop shows – stuff like The Shield and The Wire – which I’m told has helped to give my writing a cinematic quality.
How did you get your first agent/publication?
Well first of all, I got my novel into the very best shape I could – I even hired a professional editor to take a look at it, as I wanted to give myself every chance of getting published. I then drew up a hit list of agents – ostensibly ones that specialised in crime thrillers and were actively looking for new authors – and I made sure that my submission (the opening two chapters and a synopsis) was professionally presented (typed, double spaced, no typos, etc).
Two days after sending out a handful of submissions, I got a call from Broo Doherty, of the Wade and Doherty Literary Agency, who was keen to read the rest of the novel. I duly e-mailed it over to her, steeling myself for a long wait, but she was back in contact just two days later with an offer to represent me. To say I was over the moon doesn’t do it justice - during the course of the conversation I actually started to dance around my spare room. Broo then set about finding me a publisher, and a few weeks later I’d signed a two-book deal with MIRA books.
What's the worst thing about writing?
The worst thing about being a writer is the fact that you have to stay positive – you have to constantly live in hope: hope that you’ll find an agent, hope that you’ll find a publisher, and hope that you’ll find an audience - two out of three’s a start and I’m working on the third.
And the best?
The best thing about writing is the sense of achievement I get from it. Sometimes I’ll read back a passage that I wrote a few days earlier and barely even recognise the words as my own, leaving me to wonder where on earth that they came from. And of course, being your own boss has its perks!
Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.
As my debut novel, Justice For All, has only been out a few weeks, I haven’t had a great deal of response from readers as yet, although those that have been in touch (from afar a field as California and New Zealand) have been very supportive. I take great encouragement from positive feedback such as this, as I figure that if someone has taken the trouble to get in touch with me then I must be doing something right, but I wouldn’t say that it actually influences my writing, as I firmly believe you can only write for yourself and then hope that other people enjoy it. What it does do, however, is influence my desire to write, as I’ve always responded better to the carrot than the stick.
Comments by other Members
No comments at present.
To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .