Liam Hogan Interview - Sending Nudes
Liam's short story 'The Giver’ will be published in our Sending Nudes anthology, release date 15 January 2021. For pre-orders visit: gutspublishing.com/sending-nudes
In the interview, Liam tells us about his short story, and (big bonus!) at the end we have a video reading - many thanks to Liam for this. He's a captivating reader. Enjoy.
Did you write ‘The Giver’ after you heard about the Sending Nudes call for submissions, or was it something you were thinking about before?
Sometimes it takes a couple of false turns when I'm writing for a theme on a deadline. Usually, that means a complete restart from a completely different direction. The Giver was written based on the "Sending Nudes" prompt, but there was an earlier version in which our somewhat unreliable narrator has to correct himself when he claims never to have sent out a nude picture before, and this stalled in part because he was both unreliable and a bit manipulative. This edit, with its stripped back (sic) narrative, proud but rather useless narrator and his slightly despairing ending, seemed to fit our current socially distanced existence a lot better.
Your spin on what it means to send a nude really came from a completely different perspective. Without giving too much away, what is the piece about?
We do strange things if we can come up with a justification for them. So much lies in the narrative, in the self-rationalisation. When thinking of the reasons why someone might send nudes, few of them matched what I myself could imagine (both for me, and for any character I could write). But science? What could be nobler! Though, once you've broken through the barrier... what then?
‘The Giver’ touches on lockdown, which has affected us all. How have you experienced the Covid-19 lockdown, and how has it affected your writing?
As a writer, I'm used to spending a lot of solitary time with my thoughts and ideas. But that is always a matter of choice, and when that choice, along with the alternatives - the London events that might inspire those thoughts and ideas - is taken away, it can and did leave me pretty devoid of motivation. No novels were written in this lockdown. Worse, there is a semi-paralysis with mentioning/not mentioning lockdown and Covid. What does it date, and what rings false if it isn't mentioned? In The Giver, I've used that isolation to nudge our narrator, some of the things he would normally give perhaps he hasn't been able to. So what might he give instead? But touch is very much the right word - the "new normal" is background, not foreground.
You’ve had your short stories published in a number of anthologies. Last we heard, it was over 100. Can you tell us where you’re at now?
It's creeping steadily upwards! 117 is the current tally, but with a few dark seasonal tales being rushed into festive publication, it will almost certainly be higher when this is published. Most recently, I've had a story that's taken 20 years from first line to publication, and also one of far shorter gestation in the cake-horror themed anthology, "Slashertorte". (A theme and title it was difficult NOT to try and write for!)
You’ve been published in all three of our anthologies so far. What draws you to return to Guts Publishing?
I've always been a sucker for a theme and a deadline, and though I definitely struggled initially to fit ideas to the Sending Nudes theme, I stuck with it because Guts, even though it hasn't been going very long, already feels like a community. And maybe because I'm a completist - I like to keep a run going. Being accepted for Sending Nudes is just encouragement, you realise that, don't you? (grin)
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Liam Hogan is an award-winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction 2016 & 2019, and Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press). He’s been published by Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Flame Tree Press, among others. He helps host Liars’ League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London. More details at http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk