Darla Hogan was born in Southampton, England. For 25 years, he worked as a Physics teacher in the UK, before realising a dream and starting his own business. He currently owns and runs Hogan’s, a sandwich shop in Blackpool (an obvious connection?). Darla has always been passionate about reading and amongst many genres, enjoys short stories and science fiction. In 2011 Darla began writing a novel, titled ‘First Awakening’. This is the first book of a quartet, which will become available on most e-book platforms in 2015. During the editing process of this book, Darla has written and published a book of 17 short horror stories titled, Sc@re E-stories 17 #internet #Horrors. This book is currently available on Kindle and is free to borrow for UK kindle prime members. A second book of short horror stories, entitled Cradle to Grave is now published and available on the Kindle platform.
Currently Darla is working on the completion of his Science fiction/fantasy epic and has plans for future book releases over the next few years.
For further information please visit his website at this link. http://www.darlahoganauthor.com/
Q. How has being an ‘Ex-Physics teacher’ aided your storytelling? (Please give examples from your work)
A. My Physics background does have a huge impact on my work, as I often find I myself trying to ‘scientifically explain’ a phenomenon or event in some of the horror stories I write. A prime example is “Message me tomorrow” in The SC@RE E-STORIES collection. My initial idea was to base a story around the paradox that would occur if we could receive information from the future. The thinking processes I used started with the idea of there being particles that travel faster than the speed of light. These particles would travel back in time and for this story they were detectable by a quantum computer which had the processing power to analyse patterns from the particles, hence enabling it to see limited aspects of the future. The paradox that occurs at the end of the story might only affect the main character, but it may be affecting the whole universe. The reader can make the choice in their own mind.
In the novel “First Awakening”, there is a huge amount of science and at every stage, I have researched as far as possible to ensure the Science is plausible, I consider this story to be a fantasy epic, but backed with sound science.
In the collection of horror stories featured in Cradle to Grave, ‘Eternity’ is the most scientifically structured of all the stories, detailing the darker aspects of trying to maintain life forever.
Q. Please tell readers what reads they’ll be able to find at your Weebly site.
A. My website is in an evolving process and it is my intention to expand the content over time. Besides links to my work, I will post new stories and at intervals, change sample stories relating to published works.
Q. How many hours a day do you spend on social media?
A. Because of my commitments to running a busy business and finding the time to write the answer to this is simple, less than one hour each day. I am not a fan of Facebook, see next answer, but I have found twitter to be a good place to form links with other authors and readers. Essentially, I prefer direct email contact with authors and readers because discussions can evolve to a deeper level.
Q. What are your thoughts about those who engage in trolling?
A. I think it is such a shame that human nature is polluted by feelings of jealousy and spite. I have no time for those who try to gain their thrills at the expense of others.
Q. Me, either. Great answer! Now, do you favour any of your characters in “First Awakening?” In your short stories?
A. I have interpreted this question as favouring characters from any of my books. To deal with “First Awakening” first. There are several complex characters in this novel and due to direction the plot is heading, the main character, Leonardo, has flaws in the first novel. His character will evolve through the next three books however. The character of Calopius is very complex, as he has been damaged through his youth because of the extreme size of his penis. In some respects, this is partly metaphorical, in that there are many individuals who suffer because they have some aspect of their physical form or personality, which is outside the norm. Calopius is a character who has compensated for this by rising to power, but the established politics of Theoden is constraining his true feelings. Towards the end of the first book, I involve the reader with the turmoil that is taking place in Calopius’s mind, as he rediscovers that he can feel affection and love for another individual.
At the current time, I have unpublished ‘First Awakening’ as I feel the opening chapters need restricting and rewriting. I have received some very encouraging feedback from readers about this novel, mainly that it is an amazing plot with very powerful characters and totally unique. It is a complex story and in its current form, the opening chapters deviate from the main storyline due to excessive background content. I have planned how I will change this and will be working on the rewrite over the next few weeks.
In the short stories there are a variety of characters, some are purely evil, while others are innocent victims. During the process of writing any story, I try to place myself into the mind of the character, either as the perpetrator committing dark deeds, or the victim of the perpetrator. Some of my characters are very old people; I think this is a neglected aspect in some of the recent trends of horror writing. I find that building an outline sketch of an elderly character who is possibly suffering from dementia, produces a sinister aspect to a storyline. Agnes, the sweet old lady in “Waiting for Albert” being one example. The character of Neil, featured in “Through the eyes of a psychopath” is based on a real person. One of my ex-pupils was diagnosed as a sociopath after he decapitated several ducks. In his mind he carried out an experiment to see how long their bodies would continue to twitch for, after he ripped their heads from their bodies. As he grew older, he was constantly fighting a battle with himself, knowing that if he did hurt or kill someone in a moment of rage, he would feel nothing for them. I am not sure if continued to lead a ‘normal’ life as I lost contact with him twelve years ago.
Q. That’s awful! Real life horror, as many of my fellow animal lovers will agree. Switching gears, thankfully, though you’re mostly known for writing in the great genre of adult horror, you’re also versatile enough to be working on a YA novel now which is a departure from the darker side, correct? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced writing in this new arena?
A. This is not such a big departure as there is a dark side in this novel. The reason I want to write in this genre, is because of my background as a teacher. Some of the characters in this novel are based on real people and real events that occurred during my time in teaching. My main challenge is to ensure I use a suitable vocabulary, alongside providing an entertaining and exciting story for my readers.
Q. Switching gears, you own a sandwich shop aptly named Hogan’s. Do you offer vegetarian/vegan fare there, too?
A. The shop offers a wide range of options for most tastes. We have a large number of vegetarian customers but only one or two vegans. As far as possible we try to offer bespoke sandwiches/snacks that our customers demand.
Q. Will you be at any book signing events and/or conventions the remainder of 2014? In 2015?
A. As yet, I have no plans in this direction, future plans will depend on how successful I am in marketing and promoting my work. I intend to take my writing career a step at a time and adjust my commitments as I deem necessary.
Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your work? (social networking sites, et cetera)
A. I mainly use twitter for making contacts and blogging at the current time. I have recently placed a few pieces on Wattpad and I am now working on building my website.
The link to my website is http://www.darlahoganauthor.com/