Tuesday, June 16, 2015

White Walls and Straitjackets - Blog Tour

Title: White Walls and Straitjackets
Author: David Owain Hughes
Genre: Horror/Splatterpunk
Length: 214 pages
Release Date: May 30, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1511575935

SYNOPSIS: Meet Crystal and Harry – lovers who work in the entertainment business: after murdering three critics for poor reviews, they decide to skip town and head for the coastline. Once there, they know things will be fine – it’ll be a chance to start fresh. A new beginning. But, before they head to the seaside, Crystal must first visit her sister at a mental hospital – after all, it’s Crystal’s fault her sibling is there…

As they start their journey, Harry discovers a book in the van’s glove compartment – White Walls & Straitjackets. The author in unknown, but whoever he is, he seems to know a lot about the deadly duo and other nutjobs who inhabit the Rhondda Valleys, south Wales.

As lives and stories collide, Crystal and Harry soon discover escaping the Valleys won’t be as easy as they think. Especially with another serial killer hot on their heels…


David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly install in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer, with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…He’s had several short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine and Horror Geeks Magazine. In February 2014, his first novel, Walled In, was published. After discovering Richard Laymon, David set out on a path to become the best writer he could, holding a BA and MA in creative writing.

Currently Available at:

About my Writing

Book/Story idea:

The idea for White Walls and Straitjackets kind of fell together, really. It was originally a piece of coursework for one of my creative writing modules at University; our files had to contain either a batch of short stories, poems or an assortment of writing that totalled the ex-amount of words the tutor was looking for – which was roughly thirty thousand words. Back then, I was heavily into my short story writing – I love them. It’s a snapshot of someone’s life, where a lot of information has to be packed in to a small-ish amount of words. In this aforementioned class, we were reading a lot of short stories. And I mean a lot!

Two short story which we were assigned to read – “Hills Like White Elephants” and “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”, both by Ernest Hemmingway, helped instil the idea behind my short story ‘Hob’s’, which is very much the centrepiece – the glue, if you have it, in White Walls and Straitjackets. If you look very carefully, you will find references to both stories mentioned, my own work, films, music as some of the other characters from White Walls and Straitjackets, as their paths collide.

Why did I do this? Because I thought it was a cool, yet funny idea; that all these psychos living in such close quarters to each other.

By the time ‘Hob’s’ had been written, most of the other stories in the collection had all ready come together. I then built ‘Hob’s’ around them – once I had done this, I added little touches to some of the other stories – such as Crystal is mentioned in ‘Stitch’, etc…

Without real intention, I had melded all these stories together. The parts written in between the stories didn’t really come about until I presented the collection to the original publishers, who suggested I do it, and that turning a few of the stories into comics would give it a Creepshow Magazine effect.

Again, pretty cool idea.

But, if you’ve read the book, you will know there’s a five year history behind the project, and it didn’t quite turn out the way it had first been planned. However, it’s looking rather sharp. Ideas for some of the other stories, such as ‘The Quiet Room’, ‘Mr. Tickles’ and ‘T.M.M’, all came from listening to too much Alice Cooper!    

Character ideas:

Again, with the characters that appear within the book, they have been born from lots of different ideas. I’ll start with Crystal and Harry – for the sake of those who have not read the book, this will be very vague. The idea for Crystal and Harry came from watching a talent show – Britain’s Got Talent. It’s a very cheesy show that boasts a lot of gleaming idiots. However, it’s hard for me to run the show down completely, because it did help me create two of my best characters.

Note: when writing the short story ‘Lips’, I almost deleted it. I thought it was a stupid idea that needed binning. As it turns out – it’s one of my most successful stories, having also been turned into a graphic story for a comic book.

Shelby, the main character from ‘T.M.M’, came from listening to the song ‘I Know Where You Live’ by Alice Cooper. I’ve always had an obsession with killers/stalkers stories for a very long time, and so I tried my hand at creating one – however, there are some many of these tales out there, that it was hard to come up with a fresh idea. But I think I managed to pull it off.

Fact: the name of the crocodile within the tale is Alice Cooper. Even though Shelby thinks Mr. AC stands for Angry Croc.

Norm, from ‘Stitch’, is a complete homage to Robert Bloch and his fantastic novel Psycho. Again, if you look closely at the text, there are tiny details that give nods to Norman Bates and the book. Bates is probably one of my all-time favourite characters, along side Jason Voorhees. Baddies are so much fun!

‘Mr. Tickles’, the clown with a bad attitude towards life, woman and himself, was born out of an Alice Cooper song – ‘Can’t Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me’ – and the film Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  I watched way too many bad horror films as a child, as you can probably tell.

These are pretty much the standout characters – the others would have been born out of my sick and twisted mind; a lot of my inspiration comes from the world of cinema and music. Books are also a good way to get inspiration, along with listening to people talk – just don’t get caught doing it!

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