Liam Hogan is an Oxford Physics graduate and award winning London based writer. His short story "Ana", appears in Best of British Science Fiction 2016 (NewCon Press) and his twisted fantasy collection, "Happy Ending Not Guaranteed", is published by Arachne Press. Find out more at http://
1. Congratulations on winning our contest with 'Younger'. What was the inspiration for this story?
It's always difficult to remember inspirations, especially as even this short story took around two years from initial idea to publication! The crone is a rare repeat character, she's previously given advice to a couple with an infant child they want to become a hero, ("To Be A Hero") and I suppose the opposite end of the age spectrum was a natural place to go. Couple that with a dusting of the holy grail, a elderly family member's illness, the puzzle of internet dating age differences, and I suppose "Younger" was inevitable...
2. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
See above! Usually, I come up with an idea, but that idea isn't a story, just the seed for one. So I quite often know the setup in some detail when I come to write, but I rarely know where it is going to end up. I think my best stories, though, are those where that end point, however odd, was always destined to happen.
3. How did you break into the publishing world?
I started writing for a monthly theme and deadline for Liars' League (Writers Write and Actors Read). It took a while for my first piece to be chosen for performance, but down the line, Arachne Press decided to anthologise some of the London based Liars' stories. And so I found myself in print!
4. If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would that be?
Crack on! There's an early stage when you're never quite sure if you're any good. Critique groups and writing courses help you over that hurdle, but there are other reasons writers don't write. For me, less playing of computer games might have got me started earlier.
5. What does a typical writing day look like for you?
"Full time" writer is a bit of misnomer. Doing anything creative full time involves a lot of not doing that creative activity; instead letting the brain tease apart ideas, or collect potentially useful factoids. So there's writing, sure, but there's also reading, and walking, and exploring potential new writing markets, and... oh, the internet!
6. Can you tell us what you are working on at present?
Too many things to mention. Short stories, though, almost exclusively as I mull a step into longer form. Right now a short about a lost book for a tight deadline. Lets see if I can, indeed, crack on!
I blame my father. Slunk deep into his drab, earth-toned chair. His legs bent, work boots bouncing on the balls of his feet like a prey animal ready to pounce. His chair sat in the corner, flanked by thin spindled end tables burdened with years of Popular Mechanics magazines. He was king, and this was his throne. Above his head, a sprouted runner from one of my mother’s dozen spider plants often crept as if poised to tap him on the shoulder or strangle him.
That summer was dry. Dry, and hot, and long. Relentless sweat seeped from my back and chest and hands, and wouldn’t leave. It clung like blood congealing on a wound. Sticky. But my mouth stayed dry. I didn’t say much after it happened. Not for a long time. We’d left school for good, and things had seemed ok. But there was a sort of vacancy present, now that we were out of doors. Beyond the town the miles of dust lay, as it had always lain, since the time this land...