Writer’s Spotlight Episode 16: Harry Novak

For this sixteenth episode of Writer’s Spotlight (and 100th blog post on my site), we have Harry Novak – a newer member of the Scribes’ Circle whom I have gotten to know over the past few months. Harry’s writing is sure to give you goosebumps, especially when read alone, in the dark of night.

Bamburgh Castle Hall


What names do you write by?
Harry Novak

Give us a short introduction to you.
I’m  a 32-year-old nurse working in psychiatry and living in Yorkshire with my wife and children.  I grew up in the West Midlands are of England but I have lived in Yorkshire for nearly thirteen years.   As well as writing I love music, rugby, and films, as well as a thirst for real ale!

How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
I started in my early teens but then stopped until after the birth of our first child over five years ago. I had been meaning to do it for some years and, after a visit to the stunning Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire, I decided it was about time.

In what genre(s) do you write?
Primarily supernatural/horror, trying to dabble in sci-fi and thriller.

Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I let it grow, each to their own, but outlining feels unnatural to me.

Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
Dozens, but if I had to pick I’d say Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, MR James, James Herbert, Henning Mankell and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I have written poetry and an article for a nursing magazine, as well as co-authoring a chapter for a nursing text book.

How has your life experiences affected your writing?
Heavily, both positive and negative as well as downright odd.

What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
The penultimate scene for my short story Missed.  It’s supernatural but revolves around male suicide, something I feel very strongly about.

Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Yes, they’re absolutely essential.

What inspires your story ideas?
Life experiences, history and folklore.

Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
Fiction Writing, The Scribes Circle and Writing Without Drama.

Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
I’m currently writing a novel about a British psychiatric nurse living in self-imposed exile in Salem MA.  He’s partly based on me but also on a book and tv character called Inspector Morse.  I’m also writing a dystopian sci-fi novel set in a future where the genetically enhanced rich rule with terror over a subjugated working class.  A favourite part of my novel so far is when my MC reflects (but not in too much detail) on the reasons that drove him to flee the UK and hide in his own loneliness in the USA.

Have you been published?
My short story, An Unfortunate Lift, was published in A Journey of Words.

How can readers follow you?
I have a facebook page named Harry Novak Due to work and home pressures, it hasn’t been updated in a while!

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
Just that I write from the heart and I hope they enjoy what they read.

Thanks, Harry, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!

Author Confessions, Day Thirty-One

Pitch Only the Dead Go Free!

This is the last Author Confession – it’s been fun!

Only the Dead Go Free is about Wendy Sigler, an alcoholic, heroin-addicted woman who is trying to clean herself up for her daughter, Fiona. After her Hell’s Angel boyfriend Earl beats up Fiona, Wendy takes her to her late father’s cabin in the woods. What was supposed to be their sanctuary becomes Hell on Earth, when Earl arrives and wakes up what was already living there. Wendy fights ferociously to save her child and ends up discovering the mystery behind the cabin.

OTDGF has been submitted to a publisher. I will update on this blog once one has picked it up.




Author Confessions, Day Twenty-Nine

Who do you most admire?

In terms of writing, that is a tough call. I have so many influences. Shakespeare, Chaucer, Poe, Wells, Tolkien, Auel, King, Crichton, and Martin are all favorite authors of mine for various reasons. Each has left a considerable footprint on either my writing or storytelling styles.

Outside of the writing sphere, it would most likely be Mahatma Ghandi.




Author Confessions, Day Twenty-Eight

Who do you ‘channel’ when you write?

Usually, it is me – either something from my past or just one or more of the facets of my personality. Other times I think inspiration hits based on either what I am going through at that moment, or by a song, or sometimes even just seeing an Open Submissions call for a themed anthology. We all have had different life experiences. Most of us have been in love, have been hurt, have hurt others. These experiences are what I channel most.

The Last Ride is straight from my past – so much that I consider that story to be Creative Nonfiction – all the events are nonfiction (to the best of my recollection), but the canine POV is clearly fictional.Thankful is also based on my past working in retail decades ago. Waves is based on my late Grandfather’s past.

Only the Dead Go Free and Endless Skies are both inspired by songs. Only the Dead Go Free was further spurred by an Open Submission Call for an anthology called A Haunting of Words, and Endless Skies by an Open Submissions Call for a writing contest with parameters which met the theme I already had planned for it.




Author Confessions, Day Twenty-Seven

Where do you write?

I have a dedicated office in my house. I use this for my day job, my writing, and managing household bills and such. That is where I write into manuscripts and handle the managerial aspects of writing (I am sitting in here right now, listening to the rain outside as I type this up).

That being said, I have a journal I take with me when traveling. I don’t write full stories in it, but rather take notes. It might be a resolution to a problem that has come to me, a new story idea, or an interesting character I have met that needs to make it into a future story. Sometimes I will dictate these notes into my phone, too. Either way, once home these notes get typed up and go into my writing folder in my computer.



Author Confessions, Day Twenty-Six

When do you write?

Whenever I can. Unfortunately, there is never enough time for it. I work very long hours with the day job and have two children to raise as well. I write a few weeknights a week, but usually not for more than an hour. I spend about six hours writing every weekend. Unfortunately, that is all I have time for at the moment, and it kills me.

I am constantly thinking about my stories, though – how to get around an issue I am having, or developing a character or subplot. My mind is always on it. This at least makes the very little writing time I have quite productive, as I have it all outlined in my head by the time I sit down to do it. This is also why I have so many story ideas I’ve yet to write – the stories come to me and I develop them fairly thoroughly before I even have a chance to put a single word down.



Author Confessions, Day Twenty-Four

What is one thing you wish people knew about you?

I can’t really think of anything that I would like for people to know about me that isn’t already out there. I’m a pretty open book myself. I find secrets and deception exhausting.

I guess one thing that I don’t talk about much is the fact that although I hadn’t started to take it seriously until 13 months ago, I’ve been writing in some form or another since I was eight or so. Short stories, poetry, song lyrics. Most of it was just for me, I shared very little of it. It’s only been in the past year so that I’ve taken it upon myself to learn the craft, and try to get a few things published before working on Destiny Reborn.