Meet Harrison Hickman, Author of I Remember
HH: My name is Harrison Hickman and I was born in Oxfordshire in 1992. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I currently live in Scotland and devote my time between writing and travelling.
As a child, I read Philip Pullman, Paul Stewart and J.R.R. Tolkien. Their works helped to fire my imagination and led me to complete my first novel by the age of fifteen.
My main literary influences include Kazuo Ishiguro, Alex Garland, Philip K Dick and Iain Banks.
My writing focuses on its protagonists and tends to involve multiple narratives. I Remember is my first short story collection. I have also self-published a novel, The River of Ice, the first part in the Blood of the Surreal Stars trilogy. I hope to be releasing the second part soon.
HH: Each story in I Remember was inspired by something unique, though the common theme throughout each piece is memory.
In the title piece, the main character (whose gender and name is unknown) believes their world is about to come crashing down into boring nothingness, however things are only just beginning for them. The drive behind this was my fascination with an unfolding adventure, a truly epic story that you really don’t expect to happen. I suppose, the sense that things are beginning to wake up. In the story, what happens next is left to the reader’s imagination.
Selection was inspired by the way people can be used. The sense that these characters have spent their whole life preparing for this day. Every emotion, every lesson learnt in their lives has led to this.
Figures in Blue is about a pandemic which has destroyed civilisation. I’d read a lot about the 1918 Spanish Influenza. Looking at old photographs of entire halls filled with patients awoke a deep horror within me. I wanted to see, not how civilisation would cope, but how the individual would cope in the event of a pandemic.
The inspiration behind The Confidence Guru came in early 2012 when I was awaiting a set of exam results. When I received the letter, I was scared to open it. A crazy thought popped up in my head: what if I could take a pill that would give me a high sense of confidence?
Lipstick is very different from the other stories. I wanted to write about the criminal underworld and what happens when you get caught up in it.
The Farmhouse was the most challenging of the stories to write. It deals with the past catching up with you, something which is a recurring theme throughout my work. The story came to me over a period of several weeks in November 2013, when I was a student living in Dundee doing my Honour’s Project. I would travel out to a small village just west of the city where the research institute I was doing my project at was based. The bus stopped about two kilometres from the institute, so every morning I had a brisk walk through the cold air. Every day, the story began to fall into my head, little by little, then the main character: someone who is arrogant and believes he has it all, and then something from his past comes back to haunt him and he must try to fix it.
BBB: Tell us about your main characters.
HH: My characters are people with strong emotions. They are people who reflect and are deeply troubled. For example, in Lipstick, the protagonist is involved with the criminal underworld. He finds himself drawn into a deep web of seduction that he is powerless to escape from.
My characters, in an odd sort of way, are unable to fully understand and appreciate love. In Figures in Blue, the protagonist drifts along a road after a pandemic. They remember a love they once had as they try to salvage a future. There is a sense of regret that they never fully appreciated the love they had.
In Selection, the character Mike reflects on his life and what it has led up to. He is a rebellious individual who agrees to surrender to the enemy to save those he loves. In contrast, David in The Confidence Guru is utterly controlled by the state, right down to his emotions. He is unable to rebel. Everything is controlled by the pills he takes.
The protagonist in I Remember is in a constant state of reflection. They are looking back at the winter morning, clearly a significant day in their life. Many readers will want to know who the boy is the protagonist meets at the end. That is part of the beauty of this piece: the unknown.
Zachary in The Farmhouse is far more arrogant than any of the other characters. He is an obnoxious writer who dislikes his fans, believing them to be inferior to him. He has everything, including a beautiful fiancé. But in the blink of an eye, he has to undertake a mission to protect everything he owns, leading to a disastrous encounter with someone he long thought dead.
BBB: What are you currently working on?
HH: Currently I am in the process of editing the second part in a military science fiction adventure series. I am hopefully going to be publishing the first part either later this year or next year.
I am about three quarters of my way through a dystopian novel set in Britain decades after a pandemic. It has a similar theme to Figures in Blue, but the story is very different.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
HH: Check out my Twitter feed @HarrisonHickma1 and my Facebook page where I give regular updates on my writing, as well as commentary on books I’ve read.