– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Community’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Group Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Joe Hakim lives and works in Hull.
As a performance poet, he’s performed at venues and festivals around the UK, including Latitude, Big Chill and Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
He was co-host and organiser of Write to Speak, a series of spoken word events and workshops that took in place at Hull Truck Theatre from 2009 to 2013.
In 2016 he toured and performed with LIFE, a Hull-based punk band, performing on the UK leg of the Slaves European tour.
In January 2017 he travelled to Trinidad with The Roundhouse and Wrecking Ball Press as part of the Talking Doorsteps project, assisting in the delivery of workshops and helping to forge international links between spoken word organisations and projects. This culminated in a performance at the BBC’s Contains Strong Language festival in September 2017, which featured young people from Trinidad’s 2 Cents Movement working alongside young people from Hull’s Warren Youth Project and Goodwin Community Centre.
Theatre work includes co-writing and developing Omni-Science with Brick by Brick, performed at Assemble Fest 2017, and Come to Where I’m From, developed in association with Paines Plough performed at Hull Truck in May 2017.
He is currently working with schools in Hull as part of First Story. The album ‘The Science of Disconent’, his second with musician Ashley Reaks, was released in 2018.
A northern coastal city. A sinister, extra-dimensional intelligence is taking hold …
Joe Hakim draws the reader into the heart of a disenfranchised community impacted by strange forces beyond its control. A group of friends: separated by time, choices, and circumstance are reunited by their shared encounters with an uncanny presence that looms over their lives. The seeds were sewn in their childhoods, now they must try and understand what is happening, before it is too late.
Raw and uncompromising, The Community fuses social commentary with a dose of sci-fi horror, to cast a light on an existence spent in the Void.
Publisher’s note: this book contains strong language and explicit sexual references.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Hello, I’m Joe Hakim. Nice to meet you (virtually). I’m a writer, broadcaster, and all-round arts blagger, and I live and work in Hull.
I’ve dabbled in various forms of writing for a number of years now, with varying degrees of success.
The Community, a scifi/horror story set on the streets of Hull, is my first attempt at writing a novel. In many ways, I am still trying to become an author.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I was an avid reader from an early age. When I was really little, I loved Roald Dahl, Usborne illustrated guides, and things like Gumdrop by Val Biro.
At school I liked books like The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler and Gary Corby Plays Chicken by Gene Kemp, and I when I was about eight or nine, ‘The Day of the Triffids’ blew my tiny mind.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Kurt Vonnegut. There’s a video of one his lectures, ‘The Shape of Stories’, on YouTube, which is absolutely inspired. I just think his humour and matter-of-factness about storytelling would have been a great thing to have been around.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I’ve said this before, but I think any prolonged, sustained act is analogous to an occult ritual. This is going to sound incredibly pretentious, but bearing that in mind, I try and let the things that I’m working on define their own rituals. Sometimes I’m neat, sometimes I’m messy; sometimes I write at night, sometimes I get up early in the morning; sometimes I require wine, sometimes I require coffee; sometimes I’m alone in a room at a computer, sometimes I’m our and about with a notebook. Etc.
I suppose this all masks a great fear that if I subscribe too closely to any one way of working, the minute those conditions aren’t met, I’ll stop writing.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ideas are floating around in the air (or the collective subconscious, depending on your favoured worldview) so I reach up and try and grab them. When I do, I stick them in a box in the back of my head (a notebook) and then I periodically return to them to see if they’ve grown. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I tend to flip-flop between them. I sometimes write for theatre, and you very much have to have some kind of outline in place before you start on the script, otherwise no one will commit to developing it.
With prose, I tend to start with the seed of an idea and then once I’m into it, start flying by the seat of pants and see how it goes. Sometimes there’s a vague endpoint, but very often that gets chucked out because something else more interesting has popped up as a result of working on it.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I’m really wary of giving out advice. Thanks to social media, there’s loads of advice out there, and very often, some of it is contradictory. The actual business of writing is slow, boring, and very often frustrating. Everyone has different ways of working, and comparing the way you work with the way other people work can be really destructive, especially if the writer you’re trying to emulate works in a way that doesn’t work for you personally. Like I was saying earlier, it’s a case of finding and constructing your own ritual.
I’d even go so far as to say that I think some of the most basic writing tips can be incredibly destructive when you’re starting out. A prime example is: ‘To be a writer, you must write every day.’ I mean, what if you’re a single parent, working twelve-hour shifts just to make ends meet and pay the bills? There are going to be days when you’ll be physically unable to sit down and hit your word count. And what, does that mean you can’t be a ‘real’ or ‘serious’ writer? Bollocks. Write when you can, and as often as realistically possible in your own set of circumstances.
What are your future plans as an author?
To get better at writing the kinds of stories that people find entertaining to read.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
They will fill the void within you all.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Joe Hakim.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!