Man, I wish I was writing full time! I’ve currently just started a full time job working for Public Health England at Porton Down. I see the genesis of a zombie story taking shape!
Luke Allen is the author of several horror short stories, published on Amazon. After working in government and telecom sectors, he finally gave writing a try.
I met him on Twitter, where I asked him about this interview, and he agreed.
Me: I like to start simple. Tell us, when did you began writing?
Luke: I didn’t write my first short story until I was 18. I remember enjoying writing exercises during English lessons at school but 18 was when I first seriously gave thought to seriously putting pen to paper.
Me: I have heard a lot of grumblings about writers encountering trouble while trying to get published for the first time. How was your experience getting published ?
Luke: I’ve personally gone the self-publishing route, mainly due to my first books being a collection of shorts. Not many publishers want to sell those. I’m currently writing a novel and have contacted publishers. As I write horror, many tend to come back saying they’re not interested but a couple have advised getting it completed, edited, and beta read. It’s not a definite but it’s encouraging!
Me: You used to have a job before you began writing. Do you still work outside of writing? Or are you living off your writing full-time?
Luke: Man, I wish I was writing full time! I’ve currently just started a full time job working for Public Health England at Porton Down. I see the genesis of a zombie story taking shape!
Me: What do you think about the “Starving artist” trope? Basically, people thinking it is hard to live off things like writing or drawing?
Luke: I believe you should always have something to fall back on. If you can make it in the arts, be it writing, theatre, etc, then I have the upmost admiration for you, but it’s definitely difficult. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Absolutely follow your dreams but be sensible.
Me: Do you write daily? Or prefer to write when inspiration strikes you?
Luke: I try to write daily but sometimes it’s not possible. I tend to write in the week and take the weekends off but that’s not set in stone. I do feel it’s important to instil some discipline in the process, even if it’s just banging out a couple hundred words on your lunch break. It’s why the novel I’m working on has taken so damn long to write!
Me: What do you do when an idea occurs to you? You note it down or something? (On a personal note, my idea file is getting larger and larger.)
Luke: Sometimes inspiration strikes at the most inconvenient time, like just before going to sleep or right in the middle of an important meeting. I do try to note it down but sometimes that’s not an option. There’s a good few stories that have been inspired by nightmares. A Loving Husband in Among Other Things is an example, and I have a novel outlined titled The Eyeless that also stemmed from midnight brain misbehaviours. Much like yourself, the idea file is substantial, it’s just finding a way to make them work within a story.
Me: Do you have a word limit which you try to reach every day?
Luke: I used to try to write 1,000 words a day, but there would be days where that was just not possible. And trying to catch-up the following day by writing, say 1,500 words, would be a losing battle. The aim to write 1,000 a day is still there, but I don’t kick myself if that gets missed.
Me: What do you do for the rest and recovery? Since writing can be an exhausting activity mentally.
Luke: I read, my friend! I’m trying to learn more about how to write suspense as it’s essential to horror novels, so I will devour the competition when I can. I tend to get through 30 – 40 books a year. I also exercise. I’m hitting my late 30s this year so keeping healthy is something that’s very much on my mind.
Me: Any works which you plan to release in the future? Can you tell us a little about them?
Luke: I’m currently near the end of draft one of my first novel. It’s a throwback to the slasher genre titled Summerside Lake Massacre. I hope to get this released late spring to early summer this year. It’s been great fun writing it. I also have some left over shorts that I intend to finish and release as a compilation. This is tentatively titled The Depraved Ones but that’s likely to change. After that it’ll probably be a non-fiction piece about my love of horror in general.
Me: Do you have a routine which you use while writing?
Luke: The only thing that’s consistent is listening to white noise while I write. I get distracted easily – another reason why the novel’s taking so long – so I have a white noise for concentration track that I loop on repeat. Works a treat!
Me: Well, thanks for giving us your valuable time. I wish you every success in the future.
Luke: Thank you for the questions! It’s been fun! Thank you for your time and good luck with your own writing!