'In the Spotlight' interview with Abi Hynes for Lucent Dreaming

Abi Hynes in the Spotlight

Abi Hynes, whose piece ‘The Welcoming’ is published in issue 7 of Lucent Dreaming, is a drama and fiction writer. Her short stories have been widely published in print and online, including in Litro, Interzone, minor literature[s] and Neon, and she was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction’s ‘Novella-in-flash’ Award in 2017. Her plays have been performed in venues across the UK. She graduated from Channel 4’s 4Screenwriting Course in 2018 and is currently developing original projects for TV.

So, what inspired your piece ‘The Welcoming’? Can you tell us a little more about what it’s about?

I was commissioned to write and perform a new story by the brilliant Flim Nite – a regular cabaret night in Manchester that gets creatives of all kinds to respond to cult films. The film that month was ‘NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET’, and I had the scene where Tina confronts her mother about why the adults of the town have kept the horrible story of Freddy Krueger a secret from their children all these years. It made me think about the control that adults have over you when you’re young, and how terrifying it can be to be powerless if you find yourself in the charge of an adult who you suspect you can’t really trust. 

Then I started thinking about a specific childhood memory of mine. When I was very young (maybe 7 or 8?), I was staying at my grandparents’ house, and sharing a bedroom with my cousin. My grandmother, who I didn’t know very well, and not a particularly soft and cuddly person, insisted on putting us to bed while my parents and aunts and uncles chatted and ate and drank downstairs. To make sure we went straight to sleep without talking, she settled herself on a little nursery chair at the end of our beds, in the dark, and watched us for what felt like a very long time. I couldn’t sleep at all (who could in those circumstances??) and ended up in such a state of panicked wakefulness that my dad had to rescue me. 

What are some of your favourite books and art (including shows, videos, music) – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?

Recent book discoveries include Bernardine Evaristo’s revelatory GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER, Carmen Maria Machado’s wonderful collection of short stories HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, and Lucy Atkins’ MAGPIE LANE. They’re three very different books, but they all have completely believable and compelling characters and a world you can sink into and really trust. They’re all also really compulsive reads – once I started each of them I found I did this sort of frantic sprint to the end, which is not something I’d want from every book, but it makes for a very satisfying and intense reading experience. Particularly good if you’re looking for books to get lost in and distract you from what’s going on in the world right now.

What, if anything, are you looking forward to right now and what writing/creative projects are you currently working on?

God, it’s hard to find things to look forward to right now, isn’t it?! I write a lot of drama, and the world of theatre and TV is looking a bit bleak just now, with filming on hold and all the theatres closed. That said, I’m one of those lucky people for whom lockdown has bought me a bit more time to read and write, so I’m really enjoying the headspace and looking forward to a summer of more of the same. 

One of my current writing projects that hasn’t yet disappeared because of the pandemic is also very exciting – I’m writing 4 episodes of a brand new historical audio drama for Audible, with a team of three other fantastic women. I can’t wait for people to hear it!

Can you tell us about how you got into writing and art? Is there anyone whose support or encouragement really inspired or motivated you?

I think I’ve always been a writer – my parents read to me and my sister a lot when we were growing up, and my mum used to sit and make little books with me, helping me write the stories and draw the illustrations. The drawing bit didn’t stick, unfortunately, but writing did. 

I think I really started to feel like a writer when I started getting my work out there – submitting to magazines and journals (there are so many now! And Twitter makes it so easy to find them), and staging my own plays. Manchester is also such a wonderful place to be a writer, and we have a really thriving and welcoming live literature scene and creative community.

Where can people see more of you and your work?

You can read some more of my stories over on my website: https://abihynes.wordpress.com/. I’ve also got a new horror story coming out in the next issue of Black Static (out in July), and a story in the first anthology from Fairlight Books, which is out in the autumn. 

Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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