Today I’m pleased to welcome Steve McHugh to the blog. Steve’s latest book in the Helliquin Chronicles series, Lies Ripped Open is out now. Steve tells us about the books that made him fall for Urban Fantasy fiction.
Choose Your Own Adventure
In the late 1980s, when I was 10 years old, Urban Fantasy wasn’t really a genre that existed, and if it had, I’m not really sure that I’d have paid attention. By the time I was 10, I was reading Sherlock Holmes, Treasure Island and The Jungle Book. I liked adventure books and mysteries.
I think I was 11 when I found a copy of a few a Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone in a charity shop. They were maybe 10p (16c) each, although I couldn’t tell you all of their names, I do remember one. The Forest of Doom. They were all good fun, but Forest of Doom was the one I re-read the most. This is primarily because it was hard and I died a bunch of times, but win or lose, I had fun. Except with Armies of Death. I remember having no fun at all with that that one very clearly, as I’m pretty certain it was impossible.
Over the next year or so, I managed to go through most of the series by finding them in libraries or using pocket money to buy them. They were my entry into the world of fantasy novels, but it was an English teacher, Mr Pearcey who got me to branch out.
In English class, we all had to keep a book diary of what we’d been reading. After several months of mine containing only Fighting Fantasy novels and superhero comic books, Mr Pearcey took me aside and told me to try something else.
I went to the school library and took out Terry Practhett’s Men at Arms. Why did I pick that book? Well, I’d like to say that I was drawn to it, but in truth the cover looked like fun. No matter the reason, one read was all I needed. That was it I was hooked. I was soon at the local library taking out Stephen King, David Gemmell, Anne Rice and reading anything else I could get my hands (note, these weren’t in the school library. I’m pretty certain parents would have complained).
I read a huge amount stuff during my school years, and college years, and still do at 36 (although not as much as I’d like these days). I still go back to Men at Arms. It’s probably my favourite book of all time and one of the very few (along with It and Legend) that made me want to be a write books.
These days Urban Fantasy is a big genre, and one that I’m more than happy to be a part of, but you can trace my current writing to the mix of genres I got through when I was at school. Mystery, action-adventure, horror and fantasy all play a big part in my writing, and if I could figure out a way to include some dice rolling and map drawing for my readers to take part in, I’d probably have done that by now too.
Steve McHugh is the author of the popular Hellequin Chronicles. The fifth book, Lies Ripped Open, is out on 25th August 2015. He lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.