I’m thrilled to have Hugh Roberts here today. Hugh is a compassionate and helpful soul and a great sharer of his experience in anything he comes across which may prove helpful for his fellow writers and bloggers. Hugh has a special style of writing, and knows precisely how to captivate his readers.
Many of you may know Hugh from his blog, HughsViewsandNews, where he’s become an eclectic blogger. Hugh’s blog is a rich blend of short stories, helpful posts about WordPress functions and issues and fixes, blogger participation posts, such as his infamous photo challenges, sentimental stories, humorous stories, and so much more! But I’m almost willing to bet that the positive interest and reaction he received from his short story writing was what inspired him to write his debut book, Glimpses.
Hugh, frightened by his own stories.
Hugh W. Roberts is a brand new first time published author who lives in Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.
Hugh gets his inspiration for writing from various avenues including writing prompts, photos, eavesdropping and while out walking his dog, Toby. Although he was born in Wales he has lived around various parts of the UK, including London where he lived for 27 years.
Hugh suffers from a mild form of dyslexia but, after discover Blogging, decided not to allow the condition to stop his passion for writing. Since creating his blog ‘Hugh’s Views & News’ back in February 2014, he has built up a strong following and now writes everyday. Always keen to promote other bloggers, authors and writers, Hugh enjoys the interaction Blogging brings and has built up a group of on-line friends he considers as an everyday essential.
Hugh has now built up his first volume of short stories and is now working on the next volume. A keen photographer, he also enjoys cycling, walking, reading, watching television, and enjoys relaxing most evenings with a glass of red wine.
Hugh shares his life with John, his civil-partner, and Toby, their Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.
‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.
If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh.
Dare you take a glimpse into the lives of these unsuspecting characters?
Now, let’s discover more about Hugh, his writing, and about his new book!
Can you please tell us about how the concept of this book came about? Did writing short stories on your blog and gaining fans from those stories help your decision to publish?
The idea for ‘Glimpses’ came about from my love of stories that take the reader down a path that twists and turns and ends up in a completely different place to where the reader thought the path was going to take them. I’ve always admired writers who can take their reader’s breath away by delivering an unexpected twist that nobody was expecting, even though the clues are strewn throughout the story. It’s extremely clever writing and something which I always wanted to try and achieve myself.
When I started blogging, back in February 2014, I wasn’t intending to publish my short stories on the blog, but then I found myself competing in fictional writing challenges set by other bloggers and I soon became hooked. The first short story I published on my blog ‘Last Train To Aldwych’ wasn’t written as part of a challenge, but people loved it and the comments I got were overwhelming. I soon found myself with over 30 short stories on the blog and people not only enjoying reading them, but asking me to publish them in a book.
When did you become a writer? Did you ever think you may like to publish a book, prior to when you began blogging?
I started writing short stories at an early age. Unfortunately, I am dyslexic and, back then, the condition was not recognised. My parents were always told that I was just very slow. However, I continued to write but never showed most of my work because of all the mistakes I knew would be littering the stories. People would laugh at the mistakes and think there was something seriously wrong with me. By the time I left school I’d stopped writing altogether because I was not able to handle the sometimes-hurtful feedback I’d get because dyslexia was considered a myth. However, my dream of one day publishing a book stayed with me. Fast forward 40 years and I discovered WordPress and blogging. The dream was still with me and, from the moment I published that first post, news doors opened for me and my writing.
You have such a unique style of writing your short stories, always containing an unexpected twist to keep your readers wondering till the end. What inspires you to create these stories?
Two TV shows are responsible for that. I always loved watching ‘The Twilight Zone’ and, in the UK, we also had a similar show called ‘Tales Of The Unexpected.’ I would ensure I never missed an episode. I would come away from watching those shows hoping and wishing that I could write episodes like those one day. In my late teens I loved watching Horror Movies, Sci-Fi and anything with a dark twist. I’m not so big a fan of Horror moves anymore, but anything that looks scary and looks as if it will get the hairs on my arms standing, will usually get my attention.
As a first time self-published author, did you find the process of the making of a book, challenging? From first draft to re-writes and edits, creating a cover and formatting, which part did you find the most overwhelming?
I didn’t find it a challenge, even though I was rather scared of going the self-publishing route. However, there was so much support and information on the blogs of other authors and I was overwhelmed with the offers of help. Without a doubt, it was writing the synopsis for the book that I found the most difficult to write. It was the toughest thing I’d ever written. I must have had over 20 versions at one stage and even when I managed to whittle them down to just the one, I still wasn’t happy with it. I went back to the drawing board and tried again and again. Then, one day, it just all seemed to click into place.
Can we expect more books from you in the future? And if so, do you think you’ll remain writing short stories, or perhaps consider writing one full length story?
Yes, I’ve already got six new short stories lined up for the second book. Some of the stories in Glimpses are very short, so I’m intending on making most of the stories for book two much longer. I’m planning on publishing my second volume of short stories in December 2017. Meanwhile, I do have a full-length story on the go. I started writing it way back in 2012, but it’s been laying untouched in a file on my computer for the last two years. The story is set in London in the 1980s and is based on my life over the 27 years I lived in the city. However, there is also a lot of fiction mixed in with it. The main character is based on me and I don’t think it will be long before he demands more of my attention again. I’ve already written the first twelve chapters of the book and am intending in there being another six books in the series. I know, what big dreams, yeah? Inspiration for the book came from my love of ‘Tales Of The City’, by Armistead Maupin. I’ve read that book several times and absolutely love it.
Did you choose to use professional help to create your book, ie: editor, cover artist, formatter?
Yes. I hired both an editor and a cover artist. My editor also proof read the book for me as did some of my followers on the blog who left comments about what they liked and disliked. I wanted a cover that would be both eye-catching and colourful. I know people say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you have to try all you can to persuade people to pick up your book and look inside, otherwise, the chances of them buying it are probably almost non-existent. I fell in love with the cover as soon as I saw it and, with a few tweaks here and there, it became something I am very proud to have my name on.
I got help with the formatting from fellow author Christoph Fischer and his partner. I sat down with them for a few hours and came away with a lot more confidence about doing the formatting. Before then, I saw formatting as a big bad monster.
I’ve been following your fascinating blog for a few years now, and I know your story, The Truth App, was a smash success with your reader’s interest. Do you think it was that story that became the pivotal point where you knew you had to keep writing short stories?
I remember the day I published the ‘The Truth App’ on my blog and how gobsmacked I became because of all the attention it got. It got a lot of re-blogs and people were saying things like ‘OMG! You’ve got to read this!”. I also published the story on ReadWaves (that sadly no longer exists) and that is how the story went viral. However, it wasn’t the story that was the pivotal point for writing more short stories. I’d already written several short stories before ‘The Truth App’ and although they did not get anywhere near as much exposure as ‘The Truth App’, they had already done very well on my blog and brought me in a lot of new followers. When I joined the Committee of the Bloggers Bash, I had an idea to write another nine parts of “The Truth App’ and to include ‘The Bloggers Bash’ and ‘Bloggers’ in the story. Those further nine parts went on to bring me in even more followers and some people have already told me that the story is what they think got me noticed and what I’ll be famous for. I do love ‘The Truth App’ but it’s not my favourite story that I have written. However, I owe it a lot and will always look at it as getting me off the ground and onto that publishing road.
Now, please tell us a little about what types of stories we can expect to read in your book, and please share an excerpt with us.
There are 28 stories across a good cross-section of genres in the book. Many of the stories do fall on the dark side of my writing, but I’ve also included a four-part murder mystery, some comedy, a divine character who gets herself two stories (and somebody I hope everybody will love to hate), and an LGBT story with a wicked twist that came to me in the middle of the night. All the stories contain twists and turns towards their endings I hope very few people will guess what is coming as they read the stories. I love to see the pure shock of ‘not expecting that ending’ on people’s faces. It makes me smile and tells me that I’ve written it exactly how I wanted.
The extract I’d like to share with you today is from my story “The Fence.’ It’s a Sci-Fi story about a man who has been asked, by his wife, to fix a hole in the garden fence. Sounds a simple enough task, but what Neil, the main character, discovers is that what appears on the other side of the fence when looking through the hole is not the same as when he peers over fence when standing on a chair.
He rushed towards the hole in the fence again and peered through it. There she was, exactly in the same spot as she had been the last time he had peered through the hole. Neil wondered why he couldn’t see her when looking over the fence.
Grabbing the biggest hammer he could find, Neil started knocking away some of the wood around the hole. Seconds later, he dropped the hammer and tore at the remaining part of the fence. When the hole was big enough, he pushed himself through while Tara continued to scream.
A shot of pain went straight through his body as a rusty nail tore into the skin of his right leg. He let out a roar as the nail dug deep and the first drop of blood dribbled across his leg. Had he not been wearing shorts then his jeans may well have done something to stop the rusty nail entering his body, but his mind was now focused on getting to Tara. As the last part of his body squeezed through the hole, Tara gave the biggest scream of all.
“They’re here!” she screamed, pointing a finger towards the Samuels’ house.
When Neil collapsed in front of her he didn’t waste a second in lifting himself off the ground and looked over to where she was pointing. His eyes darted from left to right several times, but he saw nothing other than the house. However, it wasn’t the Samuels’ house he could see. This house was a different shape, with more glass at the front, and the roof was flat, not raised.
He rubbed his eyes thinking that what was happening was all a dream, but it didn’t matter how many times he rubbed his eyes or looked away from the house, this was not the same house he had lived next to for the last ten years. In fact, this was not even the garden he had seen when he had looked over the fence. What on earth was going on?
Lovely way to leave us hanging Hugh! I have no doubt that your book will be a huge success and readers who enjoy a twist making us hang on till the very end of your stories, should be lining up for this book. It was a pleasure having you here today Hugh, and wishing you much success. Welcome to authordom!
BONUS ALERT!!! – Hugh is running a great promotion NOW to win $100 Amazon gift certificate and 5 other runner up prizes in the GLIMPSES COMPETION. Please visit his promotional post here to find out how to win!