With the release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 004, we’d like to spotlight some of the authors involved. Drew Nick’s story “The Skull” is a weird tale told in the heart of winter, the climax certain to give you chills. Nicks had a busy year in 2017, also appearing in our Year’s Best Body Horror 2017 Anthology. We’re proud to present our interview with the author and we hope you’ll enjoy.
Drew Nicks has always been fascinated by horror. Continued viewings of Jaws and Aliens as a youth skewed his young mind. His work has been featured in Dark Corner Books, Road Maps and Life Rafts and The Lovecraft Lunatic Asylum. He resides in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
CP: Could you tell us a little about yourself? Why you find the darker side of fiction alluring?
DN: Well, I was born in Saskatchewan in the heart of the Canadian Prairies . . . sounds like the beginning to a framing tale but, I assure you, it’s not, haha. The simple fact is that I’ve always been interested in horror. I know I owe much of that interest to my mother’s influence. I remember seeing Stephen King paperbacks and horror anthologies all over the house. The tipping point for me probably began with Spielberg’s Jaws when I was around four or five, followed by a traumatizing viewing of Kubrick’s The Shining at the age of six. I recall having nightmares for two weeks following that last experience but I knew there had to be a catharsis in that.
CP: “The Skull,” is an interesting winter horror tale, rooted with weird fiction elements. Can you delve into the inspirations for the story? How it came to fruition?
DN: One of my favorite kinds of horror tales are the winter-based stories. The isolation, the loneliness, the white landscape that allows you to see for miles but, at the same time, limits your senses. Anyone who’s lived in areas that drop below -30 degrees knows the fears of freezing to death and snowblindness. That blinding luminescence of the sun on fresh white snow. These and the Algonquin legend of the Wendigo always make for a terrifying story. Plus lives in small towns and a populous who know and see each other daily suddenly turning on one another is a fascinating idea to me.
If I had to list exact influences I’d say films like Kubrick’s The Shining, Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter, Antonia Bird’s Ravenous, and Alexei Popogrebski’s How I Ended This Summer. For written influence I’ll state the obvious one being Algernon Blackwood’s “The Wendigo” but the other two were definitely Simon Strantzas’ Cold to the Touch and Tim Lebbon’s “White”.
CP: You’ve had several stories published in 2017, even one in our very own Year’s Best Body Horror 2017 Anthology. What are your aspirations as an author? What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?
DN: Honestly, I’d just like to keep writing and networking with others who enjoy the same kinds of stories as I do. I’ve found the horror/weird community to be one of the most imaginative groups the world of writing has to offer. If I make a little money, that’s great, but there is no greater joy than knowing other people will read (and hopefully enjoy) my stories. Not to repeat myself but writing is a very cathartic experience and it has helped me deal with some troubling experiences in my life.
CP: If you could meet and converse with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
DN: This is a tough one. There are so many great writers both living and dead that I would love to have the opportunity to speak with. How about I do one of each? For living, I would love to pick the brain of Thomas Ligotti. Liggoti’s fiction has been a major influence on my own work. His nightmarish tales always linger in my head long after I read them. Few writers working today create the cold, surreal and fantastic worlds that he does. I know many do not care for his ornate prose but I am a huge supporter of it. I just want to know how he can make me always feel like I need a shower after I read his work.
As for deceased, I would have really liked to have met Joseph Payne Brennan. I still marvel at the fact few people know his name. I won’t go into about why I find him so interesting, I’ll just tell the readers to read his two masterpiece short stories, “Canavan’s Back Yard” and “The Willow Platform.” Check them out! You won’t regret it.
CP: What can readers look forward to from Drew Nicks in 2018? Do you have any stories brewing?
DN:I always have stories brewing. Currently I’m working on a piece that takes inspiration from the case of Adolfo Constanzo and the murders in Matamoros in the late 80’s. I should have another story being published at some point before the summer that was part of an anthology for a local writer’s group. Beyond that, I’ll keep submitting and hoping editors and readers will be interested enough to let my stories be told. I’m always holding out that hope.
CP: Tell us something not many readers know about you.
DN: Most readers probably know very little about me, haha. I’m a huge fan of Mississippi Delta Blues and the American Primitive guitar works of John Fahey and Leo Kottke.
CP: What is your writing process?
DN:Most of the time, I have to force myself to write. When I do that, I can stay focused for hours at a time. Sometimes it’s hard to set aside the time in this workaday world, but I’ll always find the time. I will say, and this seems to shock most people, I always write out my first drafts longhand in Moleskine notebooks. I find it easier to just dump everything in my head down on the page with a pen and do my revisions when I begin to type. I feel far more constrained if I type it first.
CP: If you could give any tidbit of advice to aspiring authors, what would it be, and why?
DN:Expect rejection and get used to it. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Rejection taught me how to restructure my stories and tell them in a more cohesive manner. Write what you please and what makes you happy. Compromise is sometimes necessary but don’t let your story become something you never wanted it to be. Don’t give up and always be kind to those who gave you their opinion of your work, good or bad, feedback is always important.
Catch Drew in Hinnom 004 with his tale “The Skull,” releasing on the 31st!
Thank you so much for stopping by, as always, and make sure to pre-order Hinnom 004 and check out Drew’s other works. Follow us on social media!