Literary Birthday – 4 June – Joe Hill

Happy Birthday, Joe Hill, born 4 June 1972.


  1. Here’s a thing I am always forgetting: Writing is hard. (via)
  2. Authors are always saying writing a novel is like having children. Actually, I’m pretty sure nine months of carrying a gestating creature around in your abdomen, and then ejecting it after ten hours of groaning labour, in a spray of H.R. Geiger fluids, is fucking noooooothing like playing make believe in your office for a couple hours every day. Still, maybe they are a little like pets. Sometimes they scratch, they take months to housebreak, they HATE baths (rewrites)… and some days they curl up into your lap and begin to purr and you feel awash in contentment. You can get attached to that last feeling. That can make all the hard parts worth it. (via)
  3. When I’m working on a story, the first draft is for me. (Friesen Press)
  4. The most important ingredient in any work of horror fiction is not a cleverly engineered supernatural menace. It’s your central characters. If they’re well developed, well imagined, unique and uniquely lovable, we will feel horror for them when the army of laughing, knife-wielding puppets comes for them. If they’re unexceptional ‘types’, they’ll just bore us. Instead of rooting for them, we’ll be on the side of the puppets, cheering every time one of our straw man heroes are cut down. (via)
  5. That’s kind of my job: to look around at the different facets of modern life, take it, and exaggerate it into the fantastic in a grotesque way. (via)
  6. I read a lot of historical fiction and have impulses to write stuff set in America’s past. The older I get, the more I find myself thinking about the way no one can escape history. No matter how much agency you claim for yourself, no matter how you plan, history is this tidal force that catches you up and bears you away from all your certainties. If you’re lucky, it doesn’t drown you. (via)
  7. You think you know someone. But mostly you just know what you want to know. (Horns)
  8. There’s something horribly unfair about dying in the middle of a good story, before you have a chance to see how it all comes out. Of course, I suppose everyone ALWAYS dies in the middle of a good story, in a sense. Your own story. Or the story of your grandchildren. Death is a raw deal for narrative junkies. (The Fireman)
  9. Fantasy was always only a reality waiting to be switched on. (NOS4A2)

Joe Hill, born Joseph Hillström King,  is an American writer. His work includes the novels Heart-Shaped Box, NOS4A2, and The Fireman; the short story collections 20th Century Ghosts and Strange Weather; and the comic book series Locke & Key. His parents are Stephen King and Tabitha King. Follow him on Twitter: @joe_hill

Source for image: By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 3rd June 2022