Stephen Hargadon’s writing has appeared in various places, online and in print, including Black Static, Tales from the Shadow Booth, Crimewave, Confingo, Structo, Popshot, Litro, Thresholds and LossLit. He was a runner-up in the 2018 Dinesh Allirajah prize for short fiction (his story was published in the Comma Press competition anthology, Café Stories). In 2017 he was shortlisted for the Observer / Anthony Burgess prize for arts journalism. He was second in the 2016 Irish Post short story competition.
Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?
A: I don’t remember being read to at all. But I recall struggling with Janet and John at school and the horror of weekly spelling tests. Later on, I adored the dank and dreary underworld of Fungus the Bogeyman. I used to get the Dandy every week, too: Bully Beef and Chips, Brassneck, Winker Watson. Then it was Roy of the Rovers.
Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?
A: No. A cup of tea will do. Strong, no sugar.
Q: What is the least interesting part of writing for you?
A: Working everything out beforehand rather kills the magic. But it’s not going to happen without some sort of a plan.
Q: If you could teleport yourself anywhere, real or fictional, where would it be and why?
A: Too much choice. I would like to be a witness (while invisible, of course) at some momentous or mysterious event, just to find out what really happened. It could, of course, turn out to be a grand disappointment. Failing that, I rather like the rackety glamour of Soho as described in Memoirs of the Forties by Julian Maclaren-Ross. But I’m quite happy here at my desk with a cup of tea and a view of the darkening sky.
‘You don’t look like your voice,’ he said. This was by the photocopier, next to Learning and Development. Eleanor looked up from her phone. ‘Sorry?’ she said. ‘You don’t look like your voice.’ He looked at her briefly, an awkward smile on his face, and returned his attention to the copier. ‘And what,’ asked Eleanor, …