Today my guest is horror author Vincent Hobbes, whose latest novel, Khost, is a military horror set in the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. In 2004 he founded Hobbes End Publishing, but later sold the company and now writes full time. He’s the author of The Contrived Senator, Exiles, Plight of the Warrior, and, together with 17 other authors, the anthology The Endlands. He recently finished producing the second volume of The Endlands. His latest novel, Khost, released last year, is currently being considering for production in Hollywood. He resides in North Texas with his wife and German Shorthaired Pointer.
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Thank you for this interview, Vincent. Why don’t you begin by telling us what’s inside the mind of a horror author?
Do you really want to know?
I suppose like any other horror writer, I delve into the human mind. Our inner fears, what excites us. What scares us. I’m an observer.
Your novel, Khost, can be categorized as military horror. Can you tell us about this horror subcategory and what got you into it?
Military horror is exactly what it sounds like—a horror story with military aspects. I was first introduced to the genre by author Stephen Knight who has some great novels in the genre.
As writing for writing in the genre…I began working with some guys who served their country. Proud Americans with military background or experiences. It’s been refreshing, actually.
Khost is inspired by a variety of actual events, and I spoke with some men who were involved in this. Of course it’s fictionalized, but I’d say their enthusiasm got me into this.
Tell us something compelling about your protagonist.
There are several main characters in Khost. My personal favorite is Sgt. York. He’s a Delta Force member stationed in Afghanistan, served several tours, likes to fight. The man lives for war, and for his team. He experiences something beyond the imagination while out on patrol. The man has demons, but loves his Delta brothers and will do anything for the men he fights beside. He’s a warrior.
Khost is set partly in the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. Did you have to do a lot of research about these places and the military? Do you have a military background?
My best-friend is a Marine, and I’ve spoken with dozens of Special Forces Operators to cover the military side. Even still, I had to do tons of research. I found it quite liberating, actually. I learned much about a war I didn’t have a clue about, and even more about our current conflict in Afghanistan. Luckily, I enjoy military-type things, so that helped.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing this novel?
Two things. First, I didn’t have much to work with. I knew certain facts that needed to be included, but past that, had to wing it. I suppose that’s natural with any idea turned into a book. The second was the time frame. I wrote like a madman, because I had a deadline of sorts. I’d usually take my time on such an endeavor, but I didn’t have that luxury. It was good, though. It forced me to write.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I never write outlines. I think it hinders a writer’s creativity. Most people have no clue what it’s like to put together such a word count, and Khost was like any other—a battle. I do believe a writer must simply write. I had a character list, a few highlights, and that’s about it. The rest just came as it did, and I put it to paper.
Who is the target audience for Khost?
For Khost, my target audience isn’t necessarily the literature buffs. Wasn’t intended to be. It’s for your average reader who enjoys a fun read. Nothing more, nothing less. Anyone who enjoys a militaristic novel would enjoy Khost, as will horror fans as well.
What is your writing schedule like? Are you disciplined?
I’m chaotic, unorganized disciplined. With Khost, I had to be. Catch was, I had weeks, months worth of research. I needed to be as accurate as possible, and do so without boring the reader with details. I usually try to keep a minimum word count daily. A writer needs to practice, and with Khost, I kept an absurd word count.
I hear you have a new book coming up in March. Would you like to tell us about it?
I do. Two, actually. The first is a short novella. It’s called Charms Indigo. It’s a fun read, geared again to a casual reader looking to pass the time with a fun story. It deals with plane crashes. I figured I’d touch on an innate fear most of us have. It’s due to be released in early March.
Secondly, I’ve been working on a short novel titled Seal Team 2025. It’s another military book, though not horror. More action and adventure, and it’s a fun one. I like to call it Militainment!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Never venture into Khost.