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An interview with Chris F Holm

How Stories Connect Us

“Words inspire, pages turn and what we
read can influence and inspire us.
When our literary heroes strengthen and shape
our ideas something truly beautiful happens."
Fergus McCartan

The inspiration behind this article came from wanting to appreciate how the authors I read and admire feel about regarding other author’s books and how they connected with these stories.

Trusting to luck and the old saying “if you don’t ask you can’t receive”, I produced a small assortment of what I thought to be interesting questions and contacted my favourite authors, not really expecting a reply but hoping none the same.

My ambition is to gather a variety of responses to make this a small and exciting series, providing the reader a little insight into which books helped encourage and fire the imagination of various authors.

Much to my delight the first wonderful author to reply was Chris F. Holm. Chris is the author of The Collector series, and various short fictions stories. His new book The Killing Kind will be coming soon from Mulholland Books.

Let the inquisition begin.

Which book do you own that puts a smile on your face and makes you happy just by holding it in your hand?

THE BIG SLEEP, by Raymond Chandler. It’s pure pulp poetry. I pluck it from the shelf and read a page at random when I need a dose of inspiration. A close second is my enormous hardback Oxford American Dictionary.

Which book or series do you read which makes you feel nostalgic, remembering the period in your life you first read it?

Gosh. There are so many. A WRINKLE IN TIME, which taught me what books could do. DUNE, which I reread every couple of years, and take something different from every time. THE TOMMYKNOCKERS, which isn’t anybody’s favourite King novel, but was the first adult book I ever read. Anne McCaffrey’s DRAGONFLIGHT, which I found as a kid in a box of dusty paperbacks in a cupboard under our basement stairs, and read right there by flashlight, start to finish.

Which book or series do you read that makes your blood pump and your palms sweaty?

Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE stressed me out no small amount. More recently, Marcus Sakey’s BRILLIANCE saga’s damn near turned me into a doomsday prepper. Both writers have a knack of ratcheting up the tension until you can’t take it anymore, and then delivering a climax that’s somehow even worse than you feared.

Which book or series is your guilty pleasure? The one you read when no one else is watching? Maybe it’s the Twilight Saga with the dust jacket of War and Peace?

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. Calling something a guilty pleasure insults the reader and authors both. I never apologize for my own tastes. If I like something, I’ll sing its praises from the rooftops.

But since that answer’s far from juicy and you brought up TWILIGHT, I’ll happily confess I read the first book in the series; I’m always curious about novels that capture the zeitgeist. My conclusion was that it wasn’t for me, but I understand its appeal. The first 3/4 of the book was sappy wish-fulfilment teen romance. 1/4 of the book was a fairly effective thriller. I’m not surprised people who enjoy both felt compelled to gobble up the rest of the series.

Which book or series do you think you could implant one of your own characters into e.g. Lilith? Would you want them to thrive and integrate or want them to burn it all down?

Maybe I have a twisted sense of humour, but I’d kind of like to drop Dumas or Lilith into the midpoint of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Perhaps they’d provide his characters catharsis of a different sort than that to which they’re accustomed. (I suppose that means I want them to thrive while burning it all down.)

More seriously, I’d very much like to see Sam go toe-to-toe with Donald Westlake’s Parker. It’d be one hell of a match-up, and I’m genuinely curious to find out if, in the end, he’d find a soul in there to snatch.

I am fantastically grateful to Chris for taking the time to reply and I can’t thank him enough.

Article and interview by Fergus McCartan.

Our Chris F Holm reviews

Dead Harvest by Chris F Holm

Meet Sam Thornton. He collects souls.Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before.“No.”What is pulp fiction? I’m not talking about the movie but that genre of fiction where the rules of reality are skewed off centre, where the most sensational things happen without questioning their valid [...]

8.5/10

Read our full review

The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F Holm

Meet Sam Thornton, Collector of Souls.Because of his efforts to avert the Apocalypse, Sam Thornton has been given a second chance – provided he can stick to the straight-and-narrow.Which sounds all well and good, but when the soul Sam’s sent to collect goes missing, Sam finds himself off the straight-and-narrow pretty quick.In The Wrong Goodbye we begin to add to the cocktail that is Sam’s world and life. I use the cocktail analogy carefully as they can be either sweet or sour - have too much and there is always a price. Just like the Sam’s life [...]

8.5/10

Read our full review

The Big Reap by Chris F Holm

"Being the good guy can be hell, well maybe good is a little subjective. Figure out who the Brethren are, kill them and save the world. Did we mention he works for he Devil and Adams first wife Lilith is his boss and the Brethren have been alive for 3000 years?"It’s easy to point to the things I had issue with The Big Reap but I don’t want anyone to think I didn’t enjoy this book because I really did. Sam’s world has expanded both in experience, shape and geography and we get to follow him as he hops from country to country, body to body, struggling [...]

8.0/10

Read our full review

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