Ginger Nuts of Horror
William Holloway was born and raised in the Great State of Texas and still resides there. His tenure as a writer began with a novel he wrote in 1999 entitled Death in Texas. It was intended to be a treatment for a screenplay, a surreal and grimily jaundiced cosmic horror view of the world preceding a zombie apocalypse. It has since vanished into the ashes of time.
He took a long, sad hiatus from writing in order to become a good corporate citizen, but took up his pen again and wrote The Immortal Body, the first novel of his harrowing Singularity Cycle, an actual Lovecraftian Epic. It was published in 2012, but has since been acquired, along with the follow up novel, Song of the Death God by British Horror Maven Graeme Reynolds' Horrific Tales Publishing.
His first novel published by Horrific Tales is to be Lucky's Girl in late 2014, followed by the re-release of The Immortal Body in early 2015 and Song of the Death God later that year.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Well, in the least amount of space, I’m a horror writer albeit of the Lovecraftian/Cosmic horror variety, but none of my writing has that as a bar to readership. If you’ve read nothing but current horror, you’ll have no conceptual struggles with my work.
But why do I write in that style? I don’t know if there’s a good answer for that. Maybe I’m just not a practical man. I’ve always been drawn towards the dark, frightening, mysterious and macabre. I suspected or feared or wished that there was another world lurking beneath the mundane, and that one day I would see it in all of its terror or majesty. Sometimes I think that this is the place where my stories originate, even if I can only see it from the corner of my eye.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m a dreamer, so I dream. Mostly I listen to music and let it take me where it may. I also play guitar rather poorly.
What’s your favourite food?
Probably Thai or Vietnamese.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
I think to understand Bill, at least to the extend that you can manage to like him, you’ve got to get really comfortable with a cacophony of sound. Music may be my greatest inspiration.
Heartbreakingly beautiful, terribly abrasive, or plain insane it’s got to move me deeply. I have no idea how people listen to “ordinary” music. But my soundtrack?
Old Metallica. Ride the Lightning/Master of Puppets.
U2. The Unforgettable Fire.
Skinny Puppy. VivisectVI
Subhumans. From the Cradle to the Grave.
Jesus and Mary Chain. Darklands.
The Dead Kennedys. Plastic Surgery Disasters.
Ministry-The Land of Rape and Honey
Voivod: Killing Technology
Rudimentary Peni - Cacophony
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Horror. Definitely horror.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Lovecraft obviously, but Clive Barker to be sure.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
All time favorite horror novel would be a toss up between The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by Lovecraft and Weaveworld by Barker.
Film would have to be Hellraiser 1 and 2. You can’t really have one without the other.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
That there is a need to humanize the antagonist. Yes, sometimes we want to know him or her better, but explanation can become tiresome rationalization. Horror stories, or at least the ones I’d want to read need real evil.
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
I think having any fictional character as a next door neighbour would be really disturbing. I have enough trouble with real people.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
I think the genre is where it’s always been. There’s good writers that don’t get recognised and there’s bad writers who do. But there’s also great writers that do get recognised. I think Graeme Reynolds is a great writer. His High Moor series is viscerally threatening in a way that I never thought werewolves could be. I think Adam Nevill might be the best horror writer putting pen to paper on either side of the pond.
All that said; it’s not the 80’s. Yes, I’d really love to see a main stream commercial re-discovery of horror fiction writing, but between the twin blades of cultural conservatism and dogmatic political correctness I don’t see it happening. The big publishers don’t do horror anymore. Barnes and Noble stores in the U.S. don’t even have horror sections anymore.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Last Great book was The Ritual by Adam Nevill and right now I’m reading Last Days by him too. I’m familiarizing myself with British Horror writers now that I’m signed with Graeme Reynolds’ Horrific Tales.
Under the Dome by Stephen King was pretty disappointing.
How would you describe your writing style?
Sporadic. I write with a fanatical intensity, then I stop completely, then I write with fanatical intensity, then I stop again.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
Yes. Absolutely. When someone says that I’ve caused them nightmares, I know that I have succeeded in my task.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Starting writing after a hiatus is always tough. All of the questions and self doubt comes back to the fore. I wonder if I’ve somehow lost the ability to write, that the writing I’ve done was just a temporary gift that has been revoked.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I don’t think there’s anything I couldn’t write about.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
Harry Potter? Dysentery?
What do you think makes a good story?
In supernatural horror at least - the degree to which the impossible is rendered believable and real.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names are not that important. The only one that I’ve ever written with any meaning was Menard in The Immortal Body. He was named after Dr. Menard in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Would it be inappropriate to say that I haven’t evolved creatively? I’ve evolved as a practitioner of writing, but that’s about it.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
As impossible as it sound, I think you’ve got to write without prejudice. You can’t sit around judging the story if you haven’t finished. You can’t self censor, especially in horror. You can’t worry about the judgement you can and will receive for writing something called horror.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
To keep dialogue attribution minimal.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
The most important discovery I’ve made is the Lovecraft eZine. I know that might not be much help for other genre writers, but it made me realize that the most important think you can do to get the word out is to locate your people. Where are your readers? You’ve got to find the dark alleys where they congregate, and you’ve got to make yourself known.
That said, I’ve signed on with Graeme Reynolds’ Horrific Tales. This is a man who knows how to sell books. In a blog post he talked about that imperative of not trying to sell to other authors. And yeah, it’s very cool to be the guy a bunch of other authors like, but that’s the proverbial big fish in a little pond. You need to get out of the pond and into the ocean – you need to get to the readers.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
In Lucky’s Girl, it’s obviously going to be Mason James, AKA Lucky. He’s a bad, bad guy.
But I think his appeal as a character is that everyone has been taken by a hyper charismatic person. Everyone has experienced the unique shame and guilt of having been used and manipulated, and puzzled about their own absolute willingness to be used.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
In Lucky’s Girl it’s clearly Christie. I think everyone has met one of her sometime in life as well.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Fortune. You can buy fame and respect.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
It’s gotta be the abandoned school scene in The Immortal Body. That tied everything together to work as launching pad for the second half of the book.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
If you haven’t read anything by me, I’d say start with Lucky’s Girl. It gives you an idea of my style, lets you know where I will actually go with my writing, shows some key elements of my cosmology, and it’s not part of a series. The Immortal Body and Song of the Death God (my next releases on Horrific Tales) are part of a series. I think some readers are more comfortable with a stand alone novel as their first outing with a new writer.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last book was Lucky’s Girl. It’s very much the classic American Horror tale, set in a blighted little town in the middle of nowhere. Two childhood best friends have returned after a twenty year absence. One came to try to recover from the loss of his wife. His name is Kenny. The other was drawn by a supernatural force that gave him a precognitive ability as a child that he’s used for the last years to set up brainwashing cults in California. His name is Lucky.
The supernatural force allows Lucky to take over the town church, and to begin a systematic program of brainwashing and dehumanization which fits hand in glove with the hatred the entity has for humanity.
It’s an ugly, dark story that glosses over a thin line between gritty and surreal. And yes, I’ve been told by more than one person that it caused nightmares.
Right now I’m working on volume two of the Immortal Body. If you’d hope to understand this book, you’ll just have to read the first one. But consider this: how many Lovecraftian Epics are there?
I’m also working on anther standalone novel tentatively called Blackwood Estates. It’s my take on the From Beyond/The Mist/Darkness on the Edge of Town theme: people trapped, their environment sucked into a different dimension. The clock is ticking, things are appearing, and no one trusts each other. I’m very happy to say there’s no hallmark ending to this one.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
Q.)What author do you aspire to be most like?
Something has awakened on Grove Island. Something that, even in sleep, has held Elton Township in its black embrace. Something old, wise and patient. Something that walked the ancient forests and howled beneath black skies.
Kenny McCord had a good life - his own slice of the American Dream. But all of that is over, so he is heading home to the small town he left behind so many years ago. However Kenny is not the only son that has returned to Elton Township. His childhood friend, and worst enemy, has come back to settle old scores and, quite literally, raise a little hell.