Interview with John Calvin Hughes, Author of “Killing Rush”

Killing RushWhat is your book about?

Killing Rush is about two brothers on a road trip down the peninsula of Florida. Samuel has come down from Mississippi to look after his brother Adam, who has had a breakdown following the deaths of his wife and son. Adam believes he is on a mission from God to kill Rush Limbaugh, and Samuel agrees to drive him to south Florida to look for the man, but is really trying to stall him and talk some sense into him. It’s a character study, really, not a thriller.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Killing Rush started as a different novel, but then my brother, whom I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time, got sick, and I started wondering about estranged brothers and what might bring them together one more time.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

The most difficult part of writing anything to me is finding the time. Like most folks, I’m busy with job and family and friends, and time is a scarce commodity. I need time to get oriented to the work, to get back into it every day. I can’t just drop into the chair and take up where I started yesterday. I need a reasonable block of time to devote to writing, four or five hours anyway. That’s hard to come by every day.

Do you keep a pen and notepad on your bedside table?

Not anymore. I use my smart phone now. I can use the Memos function, which I’m beginning to be able to type on with some thumb speed now. I also use the Voice Memos function, especially when I’m driving. I get a lot of my ideas driving.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

The late writer Donald Barthelme said in a writing seminar that the best way to create realistic, well-rounded characters was to give them contradictions. I’ve used that more than any other writing advice.

What was the first story you remember writing?

I asked my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Wiltshire, if I could write stories with the spelling words instead of just writing sentences. She happily agreed, and promptly made me read the stories to the class every week.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Adam and Samuel have an uncle named Jessie. I like him very much. He’s not really in the novel: the brothers talk about him on their road trip. Samuel tells Adam a funny story about Jessie in an attempt to talk him down from a panic attack. But in the little bit that we get about Jessie, he’s an interesting guy, a country boy living in town, with his hunting dogs and his Civil War books.

Who designed your cover?

The cover was designed by the novelist Frederick Barthelme, who is a great visual artist as well as fine writer.

Have you written any other books?

I wrote a scholarly book and a chapbook of poetry. My other novel is called Twilight of the Lesser Gods, which is about a young man in the Army who gets stationed at a military stockade in Germany.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My website, johncalvinhughes.com, is a good source, as well as the Second Wind Publishing site.

2 Responses to “Interview with John Calvin Hughes, Author of “Killing Rush””

  1. Glenda Bailey-Mershon Says:

    Good interview. I think it was the spelling list story that convinced me!

  2. Sash Leigh Says:

    John makes up for what history seems to have lost. He is spooky-scary-wonderfully southern. Amen! One can not help wanting MORE poetry and books from JCH! Whippin’ good stuff.


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