Greetings from the Ether,
With the release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 007, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the authors involved in the project. Timothy G. Huguenin’s weird tale “The Station Agent’s Wife, 1927” is an atmospheric, strange piece with a shocker of an ending. Join us as we dive into the making of the piece, and what the future has in store for the author.
CP: For the readers who may not have read your first spotlight with us, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you came to write horror fiction?
TG: My whole family reads all the time, and when I was little I wanted to make books of my own. After Mom scolded me one evening for illegally copying a library edition of Nate the Great with our church’s Xerox machine, I learned that I would have to make up my own stories, too! I’ve always been writing, though my earliest stories were scifi/fantasy. One Christmas—well past Nate the Great reading level, but I can’t remember exactly when—my parents bought me Tales of Mystery & Imagination, which could also be subtitled, The Edgar Allan Poe Starter Kit. Something clicked. I could hazard some half-baked guesses, but honestly I’m not all that sure why I liked it so much. I had not written in a while, but then in high school, my English teacher, Mrs. Orr, had us all write stories based on some abstract pictures she assigned to us. I remember the picture I got being very dark and monochrome, and my story just naturally came out with a heavy handed Poe influence. So I guess that’s when I started writing horror—though I hope that nobody ever reads that story today; I’m sure it’s awful. West Virginia (which, as many have forgotten, is its own state, not just the western part of Virginia) is my home and an important part of who I am—I mention this because it comes out in almost everything I write.
CP: “The Station Agent’s Wife, 1927” is a period piece with all the authenticity one could ask for. It’s quite the departure from the fast-paced horror thrill ride that was “Fischer’s Mouth” in Hinnom 004. Can you tell us how it came to fruition? What inspired the story?
TG: You know, I find the term “period piece” so amusing. Like, everything is set in some time period, right? My wife and her friends used to watch a lot of Downton Abbey (okay okay, I watched it, too) and whenever they would try to make a new convert to the show, they would say, “Oh, it’s this great British period piece.” Actually if you google the term, a picture of Downton Abbey comes up as one of the first results! Anyways, I would just shake my head and think, “Guys, can we just like, drop the act that we love history and admit we’re all watching a soap opera here that just happens to be set in the past?” I’m mostly kidding—actually my wife and her friends really do like British history. But anyways. Back to my story.
So yeah, I actually find West Virginia history quite fascinating. And since I’ve discovered Augustus Valley, this forgotten little town in southern WV that nobody except me seems to know anything about, I wanted to explore a little bit more about that history. These days, some might describe Augustus Valley as an insignificant, dying small town—but in the 1920s, it was a massive, bustling hub for the coal industry. While I was only able to experience this era from the perspective of an unfortunately cloistered housewife, I’m sure I’ll be back again someday.
As to the different pacing, I have been reading a lot more quiet horror lately, and in some of my stories I have been trying to go back to those Poe roots. Poe really was a master at establishing a spark of dread in the reader and blowing on it, soft and steady, until it became a glowing hot coal. He was all about atmosphere and epiphany, and I’m trying to become better at those things.
I don’t really know how the story’s concept originated; it just kind of popped into my head I guess. Or maybe it grew into my mind slowly, like… Well, maybe after you read it, you can finish that sentence yourself.
CP: What all has happened since your last encounter with G&H? Any new stories or publications? Works in progress?
TG: I’m still looking for an agent for the novel I had finished when we talked last. And that Bigfoot book I also mentioned is still in progress. I have been writing more short fiction than usual, though, so the novel hasn’t been coming along as quickly as I had hoped. In April, one of my short stories was published in the Things in the Well anthology, Beneath the Waves: Tales from the Deep. The story is called “The Unknown Thing”, and it is another Augustus Valley story. That anthology is a beautiful book and has some really good stuff in it; I would encourage everyone to get a copy.
CP: Do you have plans to, or have you already, branched out into other genres? If so, which ones?
TG: I might write some romance novels down the line, but I doubt that will happen any time soon. I would like to learn how to write screenplays, and I keep telling my wife I want to write a Hallmark Christmas Movie. My mom loves those things. Oh, for a little while I was trying to break into the greeting card market, but I gave up on that pretty quickly. It was just kind of a fun experiment, not something I really had any passion for. And nobody wanted my greeting card verse, so… Know your limitations, I guess.
CP: What do you think is the most important aspect of writing short fiction? What makes or breaks a story?
TG: Short fiction is hard because you don’t have a lot of space to establish and flesh out a character. But it’s also good way to play with an idea and experiment without committing to something longer. It is great practice at economy. If you want to write a story that most magazines will consider, you’ll need to keep it to a word count that forces you to write only what is important. As to what is the most important thing, or makes or breaks it—I think I’m still trying to figure that out myself.
CP: What has been your favorite moment thus far, as a writer?
TG: Probably every time I finish a new story or novel is my new favorite moment. Then when it gets published and I get to hold it in my hand as something that I didn’t print from Microsoft Word—that feels pretty great, too. I’m not sure I could pick out just one time over everything else quite yet. I’m sure I will eventually, though. I am very happy to be in Hinnom Magazine twice now.
CP: We always like to end our interviews with a little tidbit of advice for the many readers who are writers themselves. Do you have any new advice for budding authors out there?
TG: Same as always, I guess: read a lot, write a lot, and let rejection toughen you, not cripple you. I would tell you to never give up, but I’m starting to think that most writers only do this because they can’t give up. They probably would if they could.
Timothy G. Huguenin writes horror from the dark Appalachian hollers of West Virginia. He is the author of the novels Little One and When the Watcher Shakes. You can find out more about him and his writing at http://tghuguenin.com/.
Thank you so much for stopping by. Make sure to order your copy of Hinnom Magazine Issue 007 and read Timothy G. Huguenin’s dark tale, “The Station Agent’s Wife, 1927.” Check out our Patreon as well for some awesome rewards.