Sunday, 11 October 2015

Interview with Donna Maria McCarthy - author of 'The Hangman's Hitch'


Hi Donna! Thank you for taking the time to feature on my blog.  Your debut novel ‘The Hangman’s Hitch’ is now available for pre order on Amazon and due for release 8th April.Tell us a little about the story?

Hello David! The Hangman’s Hitch is a tale set in early 18th Century England in the South West Counties amidst all the bawdiness and liberal thinking this time had to offer. A story of a man’s journey from bad and reproachable to evil, though it would appear without malicious intent. About the small good you can find in people when they seem beyond this and how a truly malevolent entity can render even a damned soul innocent to a point. Given this structure, murder, manipulation and devilment are easily touched upon and accepted and with such good bones found myself often passing hours writing with no thought of time. 

‘The Hangman’s Hitch’ takes its readers down a historically dark path. What was your inspiration?

I was inspired by the classics having fallen in love with them after leaving school, I have a deep seated love for the 18th Century and believe it our most defining and beautiful time. I was also influenced by classic films such as Angel Heart and this searing insight into a character so evil that his presence could be felt throughout the film even when he was not in the scene. Menacing, I love menacing characters. People’s experience also played a huge part in this novel coming about, sometimes it is nice to think of somebody who has truly affected your life in a negative way as more than human, I have found that people find comfort in calling somebody evil. I would never, and could never name names, as they are all gone in my past but thank these people retrospectively for their frankness and candour.

And how did you go about researching the time period? Was it challenging?

I already had a good knowledge of the time period through extensive reading of fact and fiction but checked, checked and triple checked every fact as far as you can, a little artistic licence goes with the territory I think.

You’re interpretation of the Devil/temptation/Lucifer is quite compelling and a different take on a classic character. He also seems like he was fun to write! Was that the case?

I loved Joseph Black! He was my first thought for the book and all others seemed to follow to simply offset his evil. He is supposed to be a great wit and I found him so, he almost spoke to me and although it is Frederick who narrates this tale was Joseph who was my muse and the voice. You can probably tell that I love him and am not done with him yet! Or is it the other way around?

And how was getting into the mind-set of the dialect of the time? Did that pose any particular problems?

No not at all it seemed to flow, it is such a romantic time and part of our language almost sing song so has stuck with me like verse throughout the years.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

I had to make people not hate Joseph Black. He is completely evil, yes, but he carries the story and turns the pages and so had to make people want to hear more from him.
Psychologically I will say that at 44 I have met most of what life has to offer in the human race and as a writer, in my soul, have recorded their details I hope quite exactly.

What is your favourite genre to read? Is it supernatural and suspense or do you like to deviate from that path?

I will read everything and anything but my favourite genre would be historical fact there are many good tales to be had there in, as I am sure everyone is aware.

How do you create your characters? Are any of them based on real life people you know or are they completely fictional?

They are mainly taken from life and observation, I don’t think I created one without help.

I felt it was almost like a period episode of ‘Supernatural’! Was a particular impression or feeling you wanted to invoke in readers or did you write it with the intention that everyone would have their own interpretation?

Absolutely that people would come to their own conclusion, almost their own story and maybe some affiliation.

Is there a message in the novel that you want readers to grasp?

Only that regrets are what devils, if you will, play on. Live life to the full, looking back can make you resentful and bitter and affect your future in a devastating way.

’The Hangman’s Hitch’ is your first novel and currently in the crowd funding phase of its campaign. Tell us a little about the campaign?

I actually really enjoy it! I love creating different posts every day like working a muscle, I am an addict! I hope people can see from my page what it is they are buying into, that part was very difficult! I hate condensing!

What have been the high points of getting it onto the page?

Just having 1 person order and actually want me to tell them a story!

And the low points?
Getting too caught up in order numbers and losing my way, but have rectified this, there is a balance to create.

Following on from that, in regards to writing, which part (if any) was the hardest part to write?

The last scene, a man walking to his death without being forced there physically.

And the easiest?

The romance of Mary and all around her, I loved her comedy and softness even though a bit of a demon herself.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I hope I have learned to advertise! And am perhaps more open now to critique and willing to take advice. Critique always had effect but I found it an uncomfortable thing, I don’t now.

If you were going to go out of your comfort zone, what genre would you like to try?


Who are your favorite authors/books?

David McCaffrey, David McCaffrey, David McCaffrey! Haha! And also Hilary Mantel, Nigel Tranter lots and lots too many!

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

The Devil! How weird would that be!

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?

Joseph Black.

Do you have any advice for other writers who may be starting out?

There is no such thing as a right way to write, I think, critique is great but it is only an opinion and everyone has one like they do a nose!

What are you working on at the minute?

Dark again but more magical.

Do you have any special message you would like to say to your readers?

Let me tell you stories!

And to finish off…
1.    Favourite movie? Angel Heart
2.    Favourite colour? Pink
3.    Favourite song? Imagine - John Lennon
4.    Favourite food? Pasta
5.    Favourite Superhero? Cat woman
6.    Favourite Doctor? (As in Doctor Who) Tom Baker
7.    Favourite drink? Baileys
8.    Favourite TV show? Eastenders
9.    Favourite place? Bath

10.  Favourite word (swear or otherwise) Fuckerty bye

Donna's novel, 'The Hangman's Hitch' is now available for pre-order at . Make certain you check it out and prepare to be in for a haunting tale that will stay with you long after you close the book.

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