Chris F. Holm’s noir/urban fantasy mash-up novel Dead Harvest: The Collector Book One has just been released by Angry Robot Books. To say that this book is utterly fantastic would be an understatement. With raving reviews from New York Journal of Books and BookFetish (both written by yours truly) I figured the only thing left to do was to speak to the man himself:
So, Chris, we already know that you can seriously write. Do you have any hidden talents?
Not unless you need someone to sequence your DNA, cook you some penne alla vodka, or mangle a mid-nineties indie song on acoustic guitar.
Those are fairly impressive. It has been a while since my DNA was sequenced, so maybe we’ll talk. My job requires me to have an e-reader. Despite the convenience of my Kindle I still much prefer a printed book. What about you, paper or plastic?
It never occurred to me until just this moment the book world might now delineate along these lines; and, for me, a bit of both. I love a print book, and always will. But I have an e-reader as well, and I like it fine. I use it as much for writing as for reading. It costs a ton to print a draft for editing these days. I feel like the drug cartels must've branched out into toner, because the cost of printing out a manuscript has gone through the roof of late. I think I've spent more on my own books than on any other single author in my collection, and that's saying something.
Ok, Dead Harvest has just come out—I’m not going to make you tell us about it, that’s what my review is for—however, the back cover has been damaged and the plot summary is gone. Write another… in Haiku.
Wow. You’re evil. I mean, it took me 80, 000 words to tell that story; what the hell would make you think I could do it in (consults Wikipedia) seventeen syllables? Still. I can’t not try. So here goes:
An innocent damned
Her would-be killer defies
Hell to save her soul.
Gold Star! Or did your wife write it... be honest.
I wrote it all by my lonesome. I just wrote about fifteen others that sucked before it.
Do you write full time or do you have a day job?
I'm a research associate at a biotech company. AKA a scientist without a PhD. (I dropped out of a PhD program in infectious disease research to make up silly stories in my pajamas.)
Nice. Feet or no feet? (the pajamas)
Ha! Without. As far as YOU know. What about you? What do you do when not making writers' days?
I thought I was asking the questions…But, if you must know, I spend my days reclined on a burgundy velvet chaise, while super hot, muscle-bound men feed me grapes and fan me with palm fronds, thanks for asking. Can we get back to your book now? If you could be like your protagonist (Sam) whose body would you jump into and why?
Well, first off, Sam mostly only possesses the dead. Which, you know, yick. But since he’s perfectly capable of possessing the living, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that’s what you mean.
That said, every time I attempt to answer this question, I’m reminded of Steve Martin in L.A. Story: “I could never be a woman, ‘cause I’d just stay home and play with my breasts all day.” Which is to say, I plead the Fifth.
Seriously, that sounds like a mind-numbingly boring day. I would totally jump Bradley Cooper. I’m just sayin… So, when you write, do you envision your characters? Cast three of them.
Some writers, I know, like to conjure images of certain people, be they actors or acquaintances, when writing for a given character. I am not one of those writers. In fact, I’m particularly lousy at the game of casting my own characters, because they exist, fully fleshed, in my head, and look like no one but themselves.
Do you have a favorite part of the writing process?
Hmm. To be honest, I don’t have much of a process. Every project’s a bit different for me. Sometimes, I outline. Sometimes, as with Dead Harvest, I just sit down and let it fly. But, if I was forced to pick a favorite part of what we’ll charitably call my process, it’s that last ten thousand words, when everything clicks, and there’s nothing left for you to do but take your feet off the pedals and feel the wind in your hair as you barrel toward the finish line.
What inspires you?
Oh, you know. Sunsets. Sonnets. The occasional piano ballad.
Interesting. I totally had you pegged for a long-walks-on-the-beach kind of guy. What scares you?
People. And not just other people; I scare me, too. There’s not a boogeyman I could dream up that could hold a candle to the horrors we’re capable of. Except you, of course. I’m sure you’re quite lovely.
Lovely isn’t usually one of the words used to describe me, but I’ll take it—although those who know me will probably stroke out from laughing after they read this. If you could change the ending of a book, which book would that be and how would it end?
I’m not much for anybody tinkering with finished works, even the person who created them. (You hear that, George Lucas? Seriously: just stop.) That said, I’d scribble out the end of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal in a fucking heartbeat. The way he sold out Clarice Starling was reprehensible.
You know, I have to agree with you on that. Thanks again for taking the time Chris. Is there anything else you want to discuss or mention?
Well, I’m offended you failed to ask me what it’s like being so devastatingly handsome, but now I’m so put off, I likely wouldn’t answer anyway.
I apologize, I didn’t mean to offend. It’s just that your rugged manliness has rendered me useless. Hopefully I’ll regain my senses by the time we talk about your sequel to Dead Harvest: The Wrong Goodbye.
I’m sure I speak for myself, as well as your legion of fans, when I say November can’t come soon enough.