Some Thoughts with ... Drew Huff

20 Mar 2024

The Author/s

Drew Huff

Drew Huff

Drew Huff is the author of Free Burn, coming out in 2024 from Dark Matter INK. 

An active member of the Horror Writer's Association, she enjoys writing stories that explore the intricacies of trauma, body horror, and fear. Her short fiction, “Word of Nellie,” is the closing story in Darklit Press’s “The Sacrament” anthology. Another short story was included in Hungry Shadow Press’s anthology, “It Was All a Dream,” and another short story, “Old World Birds” is being featured in Death’s Head Press’s anthology, “Hot Iron and Cold Blood.” Her short story “Same as it Ever Was” is being featured in Night Terror Novel’s charity anthology, and also a flash fiction piece, “The Bird, Frozen in Time”. She is currently editing her other novel, The Divine Flesh, and drafting another novel, The Exodontists.

The Interview

1.- Could you introduce yourself to the readers of the blog?
I’m Drew Huff, trades worker by day and horror author by night. I love to subvert horror tropes and ask tough questions of the reader; I also love making good prose and crafting paragraphs that sing.

2.- When did you start writing?
I always had little stories in my head, even as a small child. I wrote my first story when I was ten, and 40,000 words of a manuscript when I was seventeen. During November 2020, I finally decided to write a complete manuscript and finished by February 2021, at 110,000 words.

3.- How did the idea of Free Burn appeared? How did it change from its inception to the final form?
Fresh from the success of my first manuscript (even though it was awful, as all first manuscripts are), I took a few days to gather ideas. I had a lot of different elements I wanted to throw together: Lorraine herself, the idea of deconstructing serial killers, serial killer’s kid, and the idea of having the ability to paralyze someone with a single touch. Initially, the character that would later become Mallory Worner was the protagonist, not Triple-Six. When I tried writing a brief bit from Triple-Six’s point of view as a writing exercise, he just started talking…so I kept writing. I wrote the first draft of Free Burn, and ended up rewriting it entirely from scratch several times. It was a lot cheesier and less focused in the earlier iterations, more like a B-movie.

4.- What would you say it makes writing horror so attractive to you?
Horror is the most realistic genre. It imparts valuable life lessons:       
               Bad things happen to good people.       
               There are forces beyond your control that can ruin your life and you may never get any closure or revenge.       
               Dead things should be left buried.       
               What you don’t know can indeed kill you.  

5.- Could you tell us a bit about your writing process?
If I’m flustered or having trouble focusing, I scramble some word tiles around to warm up my brain. If not, I sit down and get in the zone.       
Pro tip: If you’re stuck, start with a description of the physical location your character is in. A good description is around 200-400 words, and will act as a good warmup for your brain. Plus, it allows you to set mood, tone, and even theme.       
Pro tip: Get into the habit of writing on your phone, if it has email. Write some of your project in the body of an email, then send it to yourself. What’s great is that this method is portable and nobody will know you’re writing. Use this when you’re waiting, on the bus…etc. Even 200-500 extra words a day adds up a lot over time.  

6.- How did it feel the release of Free Burn into the world?
I felt excited when Free Burn was finally released, but also a little sad—I’d improved a LOT between the final edits and writing my other novels, and there are definitely things I would do differently in Free Burn now. Some of the prose is a little jumbled and staccato, the pacing is non-stop, and I hadn’t learned the art of restraint in gore. Free Burn is noir-ish splatterpunk horror.

7.- Your next release is the Exodondists (Dark Matter Media, Halloween 2024). Could you tell more about this project? How would you comp it?
The Exodontists is a well-oiled beast of a book with literary prose and a plot like a Swiss Watch. I outdid myself on the prose. It’s a dark fairytale, very Tim Burton-esque, that asks the reader: What would you do for your family?       
Twenty-two years prior to the plot, the titular Exodontist, Red, ever the melodramatic boogeyman, accidentally creates a brood of creatures like himself, forming a tight-knit clan of Exodontists: almost-human people that dwell in abandoned lonely places, are only noticed as much as they want to be, and who lust after teeth. The family provides free dental care for all need it, but when a chain Halloween store claims their home—an abandoned warehouse—the Exodontists are forced to get creative if they’re to keep the home they’ve lived in for twenty-two years.       
And then an unstable, destructive intruder accidentally gets converted…chaos ensues, bloodshed occurs, and the whole thing culminates in a SAW-esque gauntlet through the Halloween store they once called home. Along the way, the Exodontists must also contend with their family secrets if they’re to save not only their home—but their family.  

8.- Which authors/artists would you say have been influential in your writing?
Stephen King, Joe Hill, Kelly Link, Chuck Palahnuik, John Steinbeck, John D. MacDonald, and Raymond Chandler.

9.- Would you say you are a prolific writer seeing you have between now and March 2025 three more books scheduled? What is your secret?
Sometimes I feel prolific, and then I remember that Stephen King’s writing pace is 2000 words a day.

10.- What other hobbies does Drew Huff like to practise in her free time?
I love to make art, garden, sew, and bake! I also spend a lot of time with my family.

11.- As closing question, if you would have to recommend a single horror book, which one would you choose?
The Shining and its sequel, Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King. Such raw storytelling that isn’t afraid to hit you where it hurts.