The List on Will
One early career working in the UK film industry on high-profile films and also as coffee-fetcher
One stint as Indie music video producer/director
Two books: One novel, ‘Shoot the Runner’ - One collection of excellent Short Stories, ‘Life & Other Problems’
Illustrator of naughty bear
One broken nose
Eleven or so great recipes in ‘Macho Cooking’ by Will Haynes
One rapid-fire sense of humour
Several dangerous missions to faraway lands
Known incidents of shameless self-promotion
A master of foreign languages (aka: pointing and smiling)
And a good haircut
As an author, Mr. Haynes blends satire, wit and left-of-centre vision to create a unique and exceptionally creative style of writing. His story, ‘The People’s Republic’ won The Diamond Award and was published in this year’s 'Gem Street' anthology.
1. What brilliant bit of scribble are you working on now?
I’m supposed to be drafting my next novel but this week I seem to be finishing the world’s longest short story … Can’t say if it’s brilliant but it’s a brilliant distraction.
2. Any interesting, odd or captivating writing rituals?
The “reverse Hemingway”: write sober, edit drunk.
3. Any subjects taboo for you?
None that I’ve come across yet.
4. What does your writing process look like?
Like the bastard lovechild of a tortoise and a hare, smiling guiltily, after a thirty-six hour session.
5. Writing schedule: whip-cracker or easy-does-it?
Both have their advantages (as per my tortoise-hare hybrid chum…)
6. If you were producing a movie based on one of your stories, who would be your runner?
Don’t think I can answer that yet, but most probably somebody’s niece or nephew.
7. Are you a conscious or unconscious plotter?
For longer pieces I tend to have a vague outline that I more often than not disregard in favour of what comes alive in the process. For most shorts I know the end and the rest just happens, but sometimes I start with a blank canvas and it spills entirely from head to page. I think I’m still working out my methods through trial and error. Lots of error.
8. I know you own a white board. What do you use it for?
For pinning up lots of post-it notes and index cards and then wilfully disregarding the lot.
9. What’s more important to you, character or plot?
I started with plot and then it became character but hopefully some day I’ll broker that perfect marriage between the two.
10. What’s the toughest criticism you ever received?
Two occasions spring to mind. Not sure if I should repeat either (for very different reasons) but if I had my time again I wouldn’t be without them.
11. Three words you love.
“Truly exceptional, Will!”
12. Three words you overuse.
“Read it yet???”
13. The cliché goes: we all have a book inside us. How many books do you have inside you?
What was the Hemingway quote? ‘Any man’s life, told truly, is a novel’. So I hope I’ve got at least nine.
14. Do you plan to write them all?
I think that could be a dangerous question to answer… I’m a believer in not tempting fate, wherever possible.
15. When did you start writing?
I always enjoyed writing stories at school (though didn’t realise this until quite recently), then started writing the odd thing or two (short film, scripts, etc.) at university, then travel diatribes after uni, and more bits and pieces from there on… but I started to become possessed by the idea in 2010 and then went hell for leather with it in 2012.
16. I know you abscond to travel and write. Which country/place/beach/mountain top proved to be the
most inspiring for your work?
Every place leaves its unique mark on you, good and bad, but if I had to pick one I’d probably say Hampi in India. There’s a magic in India I’ve rarely encountered elsewhere, and Hampi exemplifies this. But India’s not necessarily the best place to get the end-product down on paper. (My “publicist” is advising not going into detail…)
17. Is Kimmy an inspiration? Is so, how so?
My “publicist” is now flailing their arms wildly and telling me to keep my mouth firmly shut!
18. Cryogenically frozen heads, eternal life, greasy chips and political mayhem. Your story ‘The People’s Republic’, published in this year’s ‘Gem Street: Collector’s Edition’ has it all - why, where, how did you decide to write that?
Thank you! (Do you mind if I steal that? Frame it, perhaps?!) I have a running list of ideas that I jot down and add to as I go along. I’d been travelling around Southeast Asia and India getting lots of experience and inspiration but doing very little actual writing and so I went to a very remote log cabin in Scotland that friends of mine kindly let me stay at to write and redraft my novel 'Shoot The Runner'. The day before I left for Scotland, another friend proposed that I write a short story for a collection of shorts by local writers. I wasn’t keen on the idea and said so (as I feared it would be a distraction from the novel), but on the drive up I decided that I’d give myself the first week to write a couple of shorts. I got to the cabin, took a look at my idea sheet, saw three one-line ideas, the concepts fused together in my brain, opened my laptop and two days later I had the first draft. That was my first short story.
19. I know that you wrote a macho little cookbook. Do culinary pursuits soothe your mind after a tough day at the keyboard?
Not every day but I love to cook for friends and family at the weekends. Leisurely Keith Floyd-style cooking… inexact measures, plenty of time, and liberal quantities of wine…
20. It’s a few years down the road, what will you be doing?
Hopefully still writing, being productive, creative and (*very hopefully*) being successful at it. Failing that, perhaps some kind of Ponzi scheme or politics or cult leadership (or combination of all three) may be in order… we’ll see.
You can find out more about Will here: www.WillHaynes.net