Chilling Chat with Harry Husbands

chillingchat

Harry Husbands spends the majority of his day in an office. In the evening, he writes furiously all the disturbed imaginings dwelled upon while completing banal admin tasks.Harry Husbands He crafts tales with subtle terror that are dipped in humor and roasted slowly over an infectious passion for all things horror related. He also performs and records songs from his house in Peterborough, England.

Harry is an unassuming, gentleman of horror. We spoke of writing, inspirations, and influences. 

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Harry! Thank you for chatting with me today.

HH: No problem at all, Naching. Thanks for having me.

NTK: How old were you and what was the first thing that got you interested in horror?

HH: It’s hard to say exactly what age it was because I always remember being interested in horror. A very early memory is going to—what we would call—a fancy dress shop around Halloween time. I was so intrigued by the scary masks and props.

NTK: Did you like horror movies as a kid?

HH: I loved horror movies as a kid, even though they’d give me nightmares. I was scared of a lot of things, but I was equally fascinated. I watched The Exorcist when I was quite young after begging my parents. I couldn’t sleep for many nights afterward, but it was worth it.

NTK: Did this love of horror movies and horror lead to writing? Why did you start writing horror?

HH: Absolutely. I was massively into Goosebumps—as most other wee ones were at the time—and I thought the idea of being a writer was really cool which probably tells you a lot about the kind of kid I was. My Nan had an old typewriter and I got to work on my first novel. It was about being stranded at sea and surrounded by all kinds of monsters. I think it ended up being three pages long but I was hooked on the notion of being able to create my own scary stories. The fact that I could weave creepy tales from my own noggin was addictive.

NTK: You’re an accomplished musician and songwriter. How does this talent transfer to your writing?

HH: It’s all about manipulating the form to try and evoke an emotional reaction from the listener or reader. They’re completely different ways of doing it, but the basic idea is the same. In music, you can use a dissonant chord, or a slightly out of tune note; in writing, you can use a well-placed adjective or a short, punchy sentence. A lot of my songs tend to end up as stories, and two of the albums I’ve done have been concept albums. I guess storytelling is just a part of who I am.

NTK: Do you have a muse?

HH: I don’t have a muse—not in particular anyway. It sounds like a cop-out answer, but I’m inspired by so many things it’s hard to pin it on just one.

NTK: Where do your ideas come from? Do they just come to you out of the blue? Do you dream them? Or both?

HH: Everywhere and anywhere. We live in a fascinating world, in fascinating—and scary—times, so there’s plenty of places to pick ideas from. I’ll have a bunch go through my head and it’s about picking a good one then nurturing, feeding, and burping it; eventually, it will become something bigger and often completely different from the initial image or thought that entered my head.

NTK: How did your story,“Goose Meadows,” from Campfire Tales come about?

HH: Like most story ideas I’ve had, it came partly from a real-life situation and partly from the dark place in my brain where all the horror I’ve absorbed lurks and festers. Goose Meadows is a real place, not far from where I live, and I did drunkenly walk around it at night time after someone’s 18th birthday party. I didn’t come across anything eerie or supernatural, only a large amount of litter. Throw it in the dang trash, folks.

NTK: That’s amazing you came up with this story from such a mundane incident. Do you exert much control over your characters? Do they have free will?

HH: I’m definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer so I have little control. I don’t plan anything other than a very basic premise for the story; it’s up to them how it turns out.

NTK: You wrote “Goose Meadows” for the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. Did you enjoy the contest? What was your overall experience?

HH: There were elements of the contest I enjoyed very much, and other elements I didn’t enjoy so much. I had only just begun to take writing seriously when I entered so it was eye-opening, for sure. I started to realise just how many writers there were in the world all doing exactly the same thing as me, and that’s equally inspiring and kind of soul-crushing in a way. I suddenly didn’t feel like I was doing anything that was worth selling to a publisher. I have never had much confidence in myself and that made it difficult for me. After either not hearing anything about something I wrote on the podcast, or having negative comments, I started to try and tailor my later pieces so they would do well in the contest which was a big mistake. What’s so great about fiction is that every writer has something unique to bring to the table, based on their own lives, and I think I should have stuck to what makes me unique rather than trying to fit into what might get me some good feedback or better points.

NTK: What do you think makes a good Campfire Tale?

HH: It has to be scary. Simple as that. It’s the only reason people actually do the whole campfire tale thing—they want to be scared. Annoyingly, as a writer, that’s one of the hardest things to do.

NTK: What authors have influenced you?

HH: So many! As I mentioned the Goosebumps books earlier, I’d have to say R.L Stine. The obvious answer, Stephen King. There’s also Shirley Jackson, M.R James, Adam LG Nevill, and many, many more.

NTK: You have a very dry wit and sense of humor. Do you enjoy comedic horror?

HH: I do, very much so. They’re my two favourite genres combined. I love when I find comedic horror done right because I think it’s so hard to do. Being funny is tough, being scary is tough, being funny and scary is extremely difficult and rarely done right. It’s such a treat when it is, though.

NTK: Which horror/comedy movie is your favorite?

HH: It’s tough,campfiretalesfinal but I’d have to go with Shaun of the Dead.

NTK: Is that your favorite horror movie? What is your favorite?

HH: I’d say The Exorcist is my favourite. For me, it has yet to be beaten in terms of sheer terror.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror TV show?

HH: I really loved the Masters of Horror series because I enjoyed seeing all of the director’s different styles.

NTK: Harry, what does the future hold for you? What do Addicts have to look forward to?

HH: I really have no idea what the future holds for me. I’m just gonna carry on creating in whatever capacity feels good to me. At the moment, I’m mostly into writing and recording music and might have some new songs uploaded soon. I should have a story coming out in a new anthology, hopefully early next year, that’s admittedly more bizarre than horror. I dunno, we’ll see!

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me today, Harry. It was fun.

HH: No need to thank me, Naching. It’s been fun for me too.

Addicts, you can find Harry on Twitter.

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Terror Trax: Harry Husbands

Late on a dark and stormy Friday evening, when I should have been at home cuddled up eating curds and whey and watching Tales from the Darkside, I was kidnapped from my hovel and taken to an undisclosed, grimy yet pleasantly scented location, where I was told that one Harry Husbands, international bearded man of minor notoriety, would be joining me shortly, at which time I would conduct an exhaustive yet informative interview to be submitted to the esteemed HorrorAddicts.net website. My blindfold was removed and I was given pen, personalized stationary, and a triple espresso. As is apparently his custom, Mr. Husbands arrived by helicopter three minutes early. I was delighted by his friendly demeanor and earthy charm, and he smelled like blueberry muffins, which are my favorite. After our conversation was concluded, I was knocked unconscious with a fossilized luffa and returned to my home. Two days later I discovered this transcription sitting on my desk. According to a note I wrote to myself in Pig Latin, it was typed while I was in a trance. My hopes are that you enjoy it as much as I hope I did! 


Dear Mr. Husbands, let me begin by saying what an inspiration you are to all of us here on planet Earth! Your music captures the yearning of the angels, lost amongst the cosmos, afraid to stop at the intergalactic Pump-n-Go to ask for directions, heading directly into an asteroid belt, then getting tangled in spider webs and waking up and realizing it was all just a terrible dream but still feeling relieved and hopeful that one day we can soar through the dark galaxy just like when we are safe inside the sonic bubble of your music!

– Bless you.

In your bio you state that you are a “full-time imbecile”. I myself once had aspirations of a career in the imbecilic arts but, after years of struggle, even with my Doctorate in Imbecilism, I was unable to find steady work and was forced to move into the much less prestigious field of puppet colonics. Please tell us; in such a highly competitive and cut-throat occupation, what is the secret to your success?

I didn’t have a choice. My Mum once told me, while ironing, not to put my hand on said iron because it would burn me, but I high-fived that steaming lump of metal like it had just won gold in the Olympics of removing difficult creases. And guess what? Correct, I got burnt. From that moment on, I knew I was destined to be an imbecile.

The instrumental track, “Bring This Hex”, is vastly different from the folky “Hey God!” Is there a certain style that you prefer?

It depends when you ask me. My wife calls me a ‘music slut’ because I have this tendency to become obsessed with a different band, artist, or style of music every month or so. There’s too much great stuff out there—in every genre—and it’s all more accessible than ever. So when I was really into comedy folk songs, I penned “Hey God!”, and when I couldn’t stop listening to horror soundtracks, I recorded “Bring This Hex”.

Does the writing of music support the writing of fiction and vice versa?

In the writing of lyrics, absolutely. Stories are everywhere in song (especially those smash hits from olden times when people would strum lutes and poop in the street) and many of my own favourite tunes tell a tale. The first scrappy and out-of-time collection of recordings I put together, in fact, was “Barry the Spider”—a concept album based on folklore from my insect upbringing. It tells the woes of Barry (May he rest in peace), the radioactive spider who once bit Peter Parker and subsequently created Spiderman. The newest album soon to drop from my head and onto the internet is also a story. It’s called “An Ant’s Dream” and details the hopes, love and loss of an ordinary worker ant. “An Ant’s Dream”, by the way, like all of my music, is free to listen to and download.

What attracts you to the macabre?

– Same as most other HorrorAddicts regulars, I suppose. As a child, I was intrigued by what frightened me; the fascination grew from there.

“Bring This Hex” sounds like it could be from the incidental score of a horror film. Do you have a favorite original horror film score?

– There are too many to name but I was heavily into Goblin’s “Suspiria” soundtrack when I put together “Bring This Hex”.

Who are your favorite composers and/or songwriters?

As per my ‘music slut’ tendencies, there’s an endless list, but Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Alex Turner would be up there.

Do you have an all-time favorite horror book, and, if so, why is it your favorite?

– “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty is my favourite horror book because it’s still the scariest I’ve read. I was in my early teens when I first devoured it under the duvet with wide eyes. I’m still trying to find another novel that can keep me awake like “The Exorcist” did.

What are your goals as a horror writer and as a musician?

My intention is only to keep writing and keep playing/recording music. I do it for the joy and immediate satisfaction it gives me; anything that comes as a result is only a bonus.

Is it true that if your beard is fed after 7:32 p.m., it will turn into a bloodthirsty Justin Bieber fan and go on an all-night killing spree?

No, that’s absurd, it’s after 7:30 p.m., and any atrocities carried out in my beard’s name are pure rumour. It does nothing more than keep entirely to itself and listen to Bieber’s discography while crying into chocolate ice-cream and repeatedly refreshing his Twitter page.

How do you respond to the rumor that there are clones of you impersonating government agents in several undisclosed locations and that said clones are on top secret missions of grave national importance and that there are also clones of clones in case the original clones are discovered?

– If there are clones of me out there, I doubt very much they would be trusted with anything of any importance whatsoever. I imagine instead they would be fulfilling their full potential as no good layabouts. And also, where’s my clone? I mean, I’m here mowing my own damn lawn and washing my own dishes like a sucker.

Do the clones also play guitar?

– It would be nice to think there are other versions of me out there irritating everyone in the surrounding area with bad versions of Jimmy Page solos.

Does that last question validate the rumor of the existence of the clones?

– No, it has only served in making me ponder this whole clone situation for longer than I should have.

Who is the real Harry Husbands?

– Go to your town/city centre. Find a spot where a pigeon has defecated on top of an older, drier piece of pigeon shit. That is the real Harry Husbands.

Please provide a general response to the statement, “Hey, that doesn’t go there.”

– Then why does it taste like it should?

The people of planet Earth, and me, thank you for your bravery and for your time to answer these few questions!

– You’re most welcome. Thank you for this awesome interview.

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant: Harry Husbands

Get to know the contestants of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest!

What do you love about horror?

I’ve always been fascinated with what frightens me, in any form that happens to take, real or supernatural. My love of horror is simply an extension of that fascination and I’m constantly seeking books, movies, TV shows, documentaries, anything that causes my hair to stand up on end. I’m just chasing that dragon like everyone else at Horroraddicts.net.

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?

It was a movie that I now find hilarious because it’s so terrible. An adaptation of The Worst Witch that features the always wonderful Tim Curry, who even does a cheesy musical number that I still remember the lyrics to. I was terrified of the two ‘bad’ witches as a four year old and religiously rented the VHS from our local library. I think that movie formed the basis for my love of horror.

Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?

I try to write stories that are subtle in terror and creep into half-conscious thoughts while falling asleep. There’s always humor and often a touch of the bizarre but they’re mostly about people. It’s my aim to write characters so human that when awful things happen, you suffer alongside them.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

I can’t listen to anything with lyrics because I get too drawn in by them and it scrambles my thought process. I do occasionally put on something atmospheric and dark. Horror soundtracks, classical music compilations, something creepy to get me in the mood.

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

I adore music across all genres and spend a lot of time listening to it, as well as writing and recording songs. I play instruments to relax. The banjo has been highly therapeutic for me recently. I’m a guitar man at heart though and there’s little else that brings me peace like improvising over some twelve-bar blues.

What is your favorite part about writing?

There’s not much I don’t enjoy about the whole process. From spilling my guts onto the page initially to the editing process where I refine my words into something more coherent. That said, if I had to pick a favorite part it would definitely be the first draft because it’s just raw creativity and I get so excited with what I’m doing.

What is your favorite word?

Currently, gadzookery (thanks to Merriam-Webster for their Word of the Day feature), which refers to the overuse of archaic language.

What is your least favourite word?

I’m not a big fan of the word necessary.

What turns you on in a book?

In horror, I want to be scared out of my skin. Otherwise I like believable characters, gripping plots and a writer whose style is distinctive but doesn’t take themselves too seriously. The usual stuff.

Why should people be on team Harry?

I’m not sure. I’m barely on team Harry myself. If someone was to read what I have to offer though and deem me worth following that would be a dream come true in itself.

Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!