Featured Author: Mike Hultquist – A World Unimagined

Mike Hultquist

Featured Author: Mike Hultquist
Featured Author: Mike Hultquist

Featured Author: Mike Hultquist is a screenwriter, author, and total chilihead. His stories are typically dark and lean in the direction of horror, though he prefers atmospheric, psychological horror over the splatter type, which you’ll see in most of his work.
As a screenwriter, he is represented by Zero Gravity Management. His produced films include Victim, Arena (starring Kellan Lutz and Samuel L. Jackson), and 12 Feet Deep (starring Tobin Bell, Alexandra Park, Nora-Jane Noone, Diane Farr). Check him out on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2478416/.
As an author, he has published a number of stories in magazines and anthologies, co-edited the Halloween anthology Harvest Hill, and is the author of the novel, Off Track. See his writing credits at www.michaelhultquist.com.
As a chilihead, Mike operates a popular spicy food blog at Chili Pepper Madness (www.chilipeppermadness.com), where he cooks with big and bold flavors. He loves it all, all the way up to the hottest of the superhots. His latest work will be published in January 2018 by Page Street Publishing, called The Spicy Dehydrator Cookbook, which features ninety-five recipes you can create with your dehydrator, such as homemade spice rubs from scratch and zesty jerkies with plenty of heat.
Bring on the heat! And the horror …

Mike’s Chili Pepper Madness Food Blog Links:

Featured Author: Mike Hultquist Interview

LHP: How long have you been writing?

Mike Hultquist: I got the writing bug in grade school when I won a “Young Authors” contest in fifth grade. I’ve been writing ever since! Professionally, though, about 20 years in different areas.
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LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?

Mike Hultquist: I have a few different areas where I focus. First is in the darker thriller/horror area with my screenwriting. I love lower budget films that focus on story, so I tend to lean that way. My latest is a movie called “12 Feet Deep”, about 2 girls trapped under the cover of an Olympic sized pool. Tobin Bell (Jigsaw himself!) plays a cameo role.
I write a great deal about spicy food, which I do at my food blog frequently – Chili Pepper Madness (www.chilipeppermadness.com). I’ve written several chili pepper-themed books and spicy food cookbooks, with a new one coming out this October called “The Spicy Food Lovers’ Cookbook”.
I also greatly enjoy writing short fiction with a darker spin, more in the area of psychological horror.

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LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?

A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers
A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers

Mike Hultquist: I was initially inspired by all the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I fell in love with the “John Carter of Mars” series and read them over and over. Such powerful inspiration. This led me into reading and writing more completely.
At the time, I looked at her as if she were crazy. As I said, I never believed I was any good. However, her words wouldn’t leave my mind. A little while later, I shoved the notebook with the first few chapters of a story under her nose and told her to read it.
I have dozens of notebooks filled with finished and unfinished stories, all of them with little side notes from my sister about what she thought of them.
Of course, there are dozens of authors who inspire me—Tolkien and Robert Jordan made me fall in love with fantasy—but the reason why I started was my sister.
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LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?

Mike Hultquist: I outline everything. I feel it is very important for story to have a solid structure, otherwise I sometimes end up meandering too much, and the story suffers. A story needs to be tight, with everything working together, especially in screenwriting.
Story ideas strike in different ways for me. I could be reading an article where something strikes me, or meet a person that inspires something. Almost any situation can inspire a story idea. Once I have an idea, I start to outline it to see if it is worth pursuing.
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LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?

Mike Hultquist: I write every single day on one project or another. I work from home and a big part of the job is writing, so it’s easy for me to crank along. I post 3 recipes a week on my food blog, plus work on my latest screenplay project. I’m also outlining a new novel idea and working on a new short story. There is always something to write about!
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LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?

Mike Hultquist: I may find certain bits of information by Googling things, but I don’t use anything specific on a regular basis. I write everything in Word or Final Draft for screenplays. I use WordPress and a number of associated plugins for my blog, which help optimize for search engines.
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LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?

A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers
A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers

Mike Hultquist: For me it’s been getting my foot in the door and keeping it there. It took me years to get a screenplay noticed, but I finally got signed on with a management company and have since had 3 movies made, but it is still tough to get a project filmed. It also took me a while to get in with my cookbook publisher, but they took a chance on me and now they love my work! I’ve completed 2 books for them.
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LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?

Mike Hultquist: When I work on novels, I shoot for at least 500 words/day, though I push for 2,000. I don’t write novels regularly, though. With cookbooks, I shoot for having a number of recipes done each week, which need to fit into my regular blogging workload.
I find it’s very important to set goals and deadlines for yourself so you can finish your projects, whether those goals are word counts, chapter counts, or whatever else works for you. Challenge yourself. Once you start earning a living as a writer, the deadlines set themselves. Just do your best to not skip days if you can help it.
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LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?

Mike Hultquist: I love writing story stories, though they can be difficult. You have to strip everything to the bone. They’re so satisfying, though, when the stories come together. The same goes for screenplays, which is definitely my preferred format. I’ve written so many screenplays, my mind automatically breaks every story idea down into that specific structure.
I’ve written a few novels, and while I greatly enjoy them, they take a long time for me to write, so when I commit to one, I have to have a REALLY solid outline to start.
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LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?

Mike Hultquist: I used to spend a LOT more time writing queries, seeking agents or managers, sending out spec stories. I still do a lot of spec script writing, though there is now an agency involved with trying to get the scripts out there.
With my cookbooks, there is a lot of legwork outside of writing the book. You need to contact others in the industry for blurbs, promotional materials, marketing channels and opportunities, etc. Writing, regardless of your field of expertise, is so much more than just putting words down on paper. Your words are your commodity. They need to be promoted appropriately.
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LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?

Mike Hultquist: My story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the Earth has been overtaken by ravenous giant bats. There is no explanation of how this happened, other than the fact that they were ‘transformed suddenly’. The story is about a group of survivors in the early days traveling from an unsafe school to a more secured location along the coastline. Can they survive the hunting bats? Can they survive each other?
The novel I’m outlining is set in this particular world. I’d love to write it.
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LHP: What advice can you give other writers?

Mike Hultquist: Read, study, learn in whatever format you’re shooting for. If you want to write novels, read as many of them as you can, not only in your primary genre, but others as well. If you want to write a screenplay, read what is selling right now. You have to read so much that it starts to bleed through your pores. Let it spill onto a few blank sheets of paper.
Then edit away!
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Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths Vol. I & A World Unimagined

Mike Hultquist recently authored “Sickly Sweet” for A World Unimagined and “The Half-Dead Man” for Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths for Left Haan Publishers, both on sale now.