Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Interview: Chris F Holm (author of THE COLLECTOR series)

Chris F. Holm was born in Syracuse, New York to a mother from a cop family and a father from a long line of fantasy and sci-fi geeks. He wrote his first story at the age of six. It got him sent to the principal's office.

Since then, his work has fared better, appearing in such publications as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2011. Chris has been longlisted for a Stoker Award and nominated for a pair each of Anthony, Derringer, and Spinetingler Awards, as well as Killer Nashville's Silver Falchion Award and a few House of Crime and Mystery Readers' Choice Awards. He's even racked up a couple wins along the way.

Chris'
Collector trilogy recasts the battle between heaven and hell as old-fashioned crime pulp. His forthcoming thriller THE KILLING KIND is about a man who makes his living hitting hitmen, only to wind up a target himself. He and his wife, writer/reviewer Katrina Niidas Holm, live in Portland, Maine. No, she hasn't reviewed his books.

*Bio and pic from Chris's website

I love The Collector books and was wrapped to be able to interview Chris on the blog after having some contact with Angry Robot (publisher of The Collector series). You can read my reviews of the books below:

- DEAD HARVEST [GR]

- THE WRONG GOODBYE

- THE BIG REAP

The interview:

(Josh) First up – are there any plans to expand upon the three books in the Collector series?

(Chris) This question's a difficult one to answer, because publishing is a strange and untamed beast, residing at the intersection of art and commerce. Which is to say that, at present, there are no new Collector books in the works, but I can't rule out the idea of revisiting the series in the future. To my mind, Sam still has plenty of story left to tell.

Noir and supernatural tones are rife throughout your books with a touch of horror added to spice things up a little – is this something you wanted to incorporate into the series from day one?

Yes and no. When I conceived of the Collector series, my goal was to tell a story that was equal parts fantasy and crime-fic, and I knew the brand of fantasy I wanted to include would be derived from folklore, myth, and religion. What I didn't anticipate is expanding the universe book by book until it included Lovecraftian horror, Shane Black buddy-comedy, Powers-ian secret history, and Universal movie monster homages, to name but a few of the geeky obsessions I folded in.

Who are the authors that influenced your writing style?

I think authors are all unreliable narrators when it comes to answering this question. The best I can do is list the people I hope influenced me. For this series, which has roots in the masculine pulp of the '30s-'60s, Chandler and Hammett loom large, as do Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake. On the fantastical/sf side of the fence, Tim Powers and William Gibson are huge influences on this series. (I keep specifying "this series" because these guys -- and it hasn't escaped my attention that they're all guys -- are but a small subset of writers I claim as influences. But these books don't owe as much a debt to Donna Tartt, Patricia Highsmith, or Susanna Clarke as some other things I've written, and to pretend otherwise would be disingenuous.)

I love the covers – the noir/pulpy-feel really compliments the books, did you have much input into the design?

Thanks! I love them as well. Angry Robot is rare in including their authors in the design process, so I did get some say in how they looked. But ultimately, credit for my covers is largely due to Marc Gascoigne, who came up with the concept, and Amazing 15 Design, who knocked said concept out of the park.

If you could sell The Collector books to prospective readers unfamiliar with your work, what would the tag line be?

My go-to line is this: "The Collector series recasts the battle between heaven and hell as old-fashioned crime pulp." If that sounds like your cup of tea, you'll probably dig my books. If not... uh... buy them anyway -- their covers sure are pretty.

***

View The Angry Robot author page for The Collector books. 

Dead Harvest (The Collector, #1)  The Wrong Goodbye (The Collector, #2)  The Big Reap (The Collector, #3)

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