Interview with Hugh Cave


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Interview with Hugh Cave

  1. 1. Hugh B. Cave Revisited An Interview Conducted by Tim Dill August 1999 I first came in contact with Hugh B. Cave when I conducted an interview with him in December of 1996. I was familiar with his work, but had no knowledge of his character. During the interval between that interview and this one, Hugh and I traded letters and e-mail discussing our work and lives. Today I am very honored to be presenting this interview not only because I am a fan of Hugh Cave but because I am also a friend. _________________________________________________________________________________ Tim Dill: Pumpkin Books just published first such novel. On the other hand, isIsle of the Whisperers your first novel since Martha actually the “hero” of “Whisperers?”1991 (Lucifer’ Eye, Tor Books). You’ve s What about Dan Lorimer, her young malewritten several short stories since this time; assistant? And what about little Erica,why did you choose to return to novels? when she crawls alone through the Worm Hole in the cave to carry a life-saving Hugh Cave: I guess I write novels when message to Martha? To tell the truth, I don’ think I “made up” these people. With twhat seems to be a good idea happens the story-line in place, they just came intoalong and grabs me. To stay contented, all being by themselves to work it out!I really have to do is keep on writing, andmost of what I do these days is in the short-story form for anthologies and a few Tim Dill: I thought that Isle of Whisperersmagazines, such as Cemetery Dance and would make a great film. Any chances?Weird Tales, that I always enjoy reading.“Whisperers” kept me busy for a while, and Hugh Cave: No one has approachedDavid Marshall of Pumpkin Books me yet. Actually, it hasn’ been out long t(England) liked it but wanted it to be a bit enough for such a development. Keeplonger. I liked his ideas for lengthening it, some fingers crossed, hey?and we had a book. Tim Dill: Have you had any of your workTim Dill: In Isle of the Whisperers your channeled to film or television?hero is a 64-year-old female archeologist.I’ve read quite a bit of your work but can’ t Hugh Cave: Quite a few of my shorterrecall your featuring a woman as the main works have been done on radio andcharacter before. Why did you choose television. “Danger By Night” had DavidMartha for this novel? Niven playing the lead. “The Woman at Fog Point” had Ralph Bellamy. I had aHugh Cave: I’ve written more than a few movie offer for “Murgunstrumm” but itshort stories in which women were the fizzled when the star they wanted to playmain characters, but “Whisperers” is my Murgy— I’ better not name him!— declined d _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Copyright © 1999 by Vintage New Media. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Hugh B. Cave Interview August, 1999___________________________________________________________________________________________to play the part because the old inn-keeper Doom (out in October, 1999), then awas just “too much”. My The Cross on the collection of my Shane Kelley PostalDrum almost made it onto the screen too, Inspector stories called Dig The Gravebut the man who was to have played the Deeper (also planned for October, 1999)houngan (again I’ better not name him) d to be followed by a third Justin Casejust didn’ want to make another movie at t collection called Sabali Madness due outthat time. Still another one that might have about January 2000.become a movie was the novel youmentioned above, Lucifer’ Eye. I was s Tim Dill: Several of your pulp stories havedickering with the “producer” when he been reprinted electronically by Vintagesuddenly fell silent. I never did find out why. NewMedia. How is that selection process compared to other markets?Tim Dill: Do you currently have a literaryagent? Hugh Cave: Jack Suto runs Vintage New Media and does a fine job with it. Readers Hugh Cave: No, I don’ I haven’ used an t. t who want a complete answer to thisagent for short stories in several years, and question would do well to seek outI sold my two most recent novels myself. on the web. From timeTo tell the truth, I enjoy dealing personally to time Mr. Suto has reprinted stories ofw editors and publishers. ith mine (and of other writers) from all kinds of pulp magazines. He packages them byTim Dill: Black Dog Books is republishing genre: detective, adventure, shudderseveral of your pulp tales. What is the stories, etc. The web-site also sells books,process of material selection? including my Isle of the Whisperers. Altogether it’s a fascinating web-site. Hugh Cave: I put that question to TomRoberts not long ago and he replied that he Tim Dill: In today’s current environment, itis collecting my pulp stories and wants to seems that fewer and fewer outlets arereprint those that hit him hard enough. available for short stories and novels.Black Dog has already published The What are your thoughts on today’s literaryDeath-Head’ March and Others by s marketplace.Geoffrey Cave and Hugh B. Cave, WhiteStar of Egypt by Justin Case (one of my Hugh Cave: When I was a young manpulp pen-names), and a long novelette, almost every drugstore in the land had aThe Desert Host, from Farnsworth Wright’s rack of “all-fiction” magazines on display.Magic Carpet Magazine. Wright, you’ ll (There were more than a hundred titles andremember, also edited the original Weird they weren’t called “pulps” then.) AnyTales. An accomplished artist and book would-be writer could do what I did at thedesigner, Tom does a great job with these time: read them, write the kind of storiesbooklets. Up next from Tom’s Black Dog they published, and mail the stories in. ItBooks will be a second collection of my was the same with the so-called “slicks”,Justin Case stories called Dark Doors of such as the Saturday Evening Post (which published 43 stories of mine) and Good _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ A production of Vintage New Media™ 2
  3. 3. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Hugh B. Cave Interview August, 1999___________________________________________________________________________________________Housekeeping (which published 36), afternoon, all day, and at times even allalthough the slicks paid better and were night. I kid you not. Ask my Peggy.harder to sell to. Now what is there? Thepulps are gone. Most of the slicks no Tim Dill: I recently read Conqueringlonger use fiction. There exists a mere Kilmarnie, a novel of yours from 1989handful of small-press magazines that a (Macmillan) that was billed as a children’swould-be writer can direct his work to. As book. I was shocked to find that it was justfor book publishing, there used to be many as entertaining to an adult as a child. Didsuch publishers of all shapes and sizes. you conduct much research in theNow there are just a handful of children’s book segment prior to startingconglomerates. You can still be published, this tale?of course— there are some fine “smallpresses” out there— but all in all unless you Hugh Cave: My very first book (of the 37are a very big name, it is much harder to I’ve had published to date) was Fishermenmake a living as a “writer”. Four, a boys’s book done by Dodd Mead in 1942. I had an urge to try the field againTim Dill: Since our last interview in 1988 with The Voyage (Macmillan, U.S.(December ‘ 96) a tremendous amount of & Collins, England) and again in 1989 withyour work has been republished. What is Conquering Kilmarnie (again Macmillanforthcoming? and Collins.) I’ flattered that you liked the m latter as an adult, but no one hasHugh Cave: A possible sequel to Isle of suggested I write any more such novels.the Whisperers from Pumpkin Books. A “Kilmarnie” may have had an adult feel fornew novel called The Dawning from you because it’s about the adventures of aLeisure Books. A collection of my Peter Jamaican boy and an American boy on aKane stories from Dime Detective coffee plantation in the Blue Mountains ofMagazine, called Bottled in Blonde, from Jamaica, and I owned and ran such aaward-winning Fedogan & Bremer. The plantation for 15 years.Black Dog Books items mentioned above.A new short story in Northern Frights 5, the Tim Dill: Pulp Man’ Odyssey: The Hugh sgreat Don Hutchison anthology series. A B. Cave Story by Audrey Parente wasnew short story in Cemetery Dance. And— written several years ago as a biography ofw luck— a handful of other projects now ith your writing career. A new much largerin the formative stage. biography is in development. What is the status of this project?Tim Dill: What is your writing pattern? Doyou work at a steady pace on a defined Hugh Cave: Milt Thomas, whoproject or have spurts of creative activity? accompanied me to the London World Fantasy Convention in October, 1997, is Hugh Cave: I’ve been at this wonderful writing such a biography. He’s a publishedgame long enough now to work whenever I author and a darned good one. He is alsofeel like it. Which could be all morning, all a trusted friend and my literary executor. Anyone interested in publishing his book _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ A production of Vintage New Media™ 3
  4. 4. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Hugh B. Cave Interview August, 1999___________________________________________________________________________________________about me is invited to write to me at 437 Hugh Cave: If any editor had invited meThomas Street, Sebastian , FL 32958 or e- to write a Hero Pulp tale, I probably wouldmail me at When have at least tried to do so. Pulp editorsfinished, Milt’s biog will be a whole-life seemed to be content with letting me writestory, not just a resume of my career as a my stories about The Eel and Peter Kanewriter. and Shane Kelley and Tsiang House, etc.Tim Dill: In 1997 at the World Fantasy Tim Dill: Your guest house burned manyConvention in London you received the years ago containing your collection of pulpprestigious Life Achievement Award. Can magazines that contained your tell us about the convention and then Recently, Tom Roberts of Black Dogyour return to the US? Books has led an Internet-based campaign to recover your material. Can you give usHugh Cave: Actually, the Howie they an up-date on the project and itsgave me says “Special Committee Award” background?on it, but Steve Jones did tell me it was aLifetime Achievement Award. I had an Hugh Cave: Tom and I were swappingearlier one in 1991 from the Horror Writers letters about his work and mine, and IAssociation. and have since been given a happened to mention that fire. He took itGrandmaster Award by the International on as a project. To date he has persuadedHorror Guild. But the flight home from that a dozen or more fan friends to send himLondon convention was pretty stressful, stories of mine, which stories he sends meeven with my friend Milt Thomas along, and copies of. I wrote some 800 stories for theI ended up in the hospital with a bleeding pulps under my own and several pen-ulcer. Trying to find out what brought on the names before moving on into books andulcer (which was later determined to have the slicks. Thanks to Tom, I’ been able vebeen caused by water I drank in the to replace all but about 50 of them. Theboonies of Haiti years before!) the medics fans have been simply wonderful, and mydiscovered I had a 95 per cent blockage in heart goes out to them for their caring andboth carotid arteries (which supply blood to kindness. God bless them all— and Tomthe brain). The surgeon who repaired them Roberts— and you, Tim Dill.told me I was lucky I got to the hospitalwhen I did. Had those blocked-up arteriesnot been discovered within 48 hours, Iwould have said farewell to you all. THE ENDTim Dill: During your pulp days, you hadseveral continuing characters such as TheEel. Were you ever offered a writing stintfor a continuing character in a Hero Pulp,such as Doc Savage ? If not, would youhave accepted such an offer? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ A production of Vintage New Media™ 4
  5. 5. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Hugh B. Cave Interview August, 1999___________________________________________________________________________________________ WARNING: For private home use only. Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted material. Support Vintage New Media and Internet Publishing by not supporting piracy! _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ A production of Vintage New Media™ 5