Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Rob Reed's Night Hawks for Supernatural Streets

The anthology Supernatural Streets is out and ready for debut.

And I'm not the only one in this anthology. Meet Rob Reed, as he talks about his short story, Night Hawks.

The origins of my story “Night Hawks” in the “Supernatural Streets” anthology
Rob Reed

As co-editor of the urban fantasy anthology “Supernatural Streets” I went back and forth on whether I’d include one of my own stories. I had several ideas I really wanted to write, but we had more good stories then spots available, and I didn’t want to bump someone just to run my own story.

That changed when we had a couple authors drop out close to the last minute for different personal reasons. There was no heartburn on my end. They are both pros and were upfront about their reasons and I’d work with either person again. But, that left us two stories down and we needed to fill at least one of those holes with a new story.

Enter Frank and Tiny. I had created these characters in my mind as sort of a look at the “dark underbelly” of what monster hunting might be like as a lifestyle. I wanted to explore the toll it would take on the characters and how they’d cope.

I also wanted to create a story that was fun to read. It had to have relatable characters, some well-staged action, and more than a touch of humor.

I had their world. I had their voice. All I needed now was a story. The germ of the idea started with something I’d observed in my own life. I stretched it out into a running gag that also gave me a pivotal bit of action near the climax. That first piece helped structure the rest of the plot complications.

One thing I like about this story is that I wound up using every idea I thought up along the way. Every character trait, every joke, every little bit of business I envisioned, they all made it into the final product. Some of them were changed along the way, smoothed out a bit or restructured slightly to fit the other pieces better, but they all made it in. Like a well-built bicycle on Christmas morning, there were no extra pieces left over when I was done.

The title is deliberately evocative of the masterful Edward Hopper painting, “Nighthawks.” I had that image in mind when mulling over the characters. It’s no coincidence the story opens with the two main characters at an all-night truck stop reminiscent (in my mind at least) of the diner in the painting.

What’s amazing to me is how close the final story on the page is to how I originally envisioned the story in my head. Even before I had all the details worked out I had a vision for what I wanted the story to be and the result is as true to that vision as anything I’ve ever written.

I hope you all enjoy the result.

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