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Interview with Chris F. Holm and Giveaway - March 1, 2012

Please welcome Chris F. Holm to The Qwillery. Dead Harvest (The Collector 1), Chris' fantastic debut, was published on February 28 (US/Canada). You can read my 5 Qwill review here.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Chris:  You know, I was so stumped on this one, I asked my wife. She claimed to come up blank as well, though I can't rule out the possibility she was just being polite. I mean, everybody wears a feather boa while writing, right? It's great for de-linting laptop screens.

In all seriousness, if I had to come up with one, it's that when I write myself into a corner, I have to move around to get myself back out of it. As a consequence, many a long walk or run wind up with me right back at the keyboard, trying desperately to get a few miles' worth of thoughts down before they disappear.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Chris:  Oh, boy. This could take a while.

First off, I'd imagine it's pretty obvious to anyone who picks up DEAD HARVEST I'm quite fond of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Ditto James Cain, Ross Macdonald, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, and Charles Ardai. On the fantasy end of the spectrum, I'm wild about Tim Powers, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. I'm a lifelong devotee to the works of Poe, Wells, and Doyle. Michael McDowell's written some of the most wonderfully creepy stuff I've ever read. Frank Herbert's DUNE is
one of my all-time favorite books. Folks like Aaron Sorkin, Steven Moffat, and Joss Whedon have probably taught me as much about dialogue and structure as any author. I'm on a pretty serious Le Carré kick right now. And I could happily spend a decade reading nothing but P.G. Wodehouse.

If I'm very lucky, my list of likes and influences hew closely to one another. But there's an even chance I'm just as influenced by crappy late-night horror movies, cheesy punk rock songs, and the occasional obscure commercial jingle I can't get out of my head.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Chris:  Both. Neither. Is there something in between?  (TQ:  Plotser?)

The truth is, for me, every project's different. Some, like DEAD HARVEST, I wing. Others, like my current work in progress, I outline. I'm not sure why. I guess the story tells me what I need to do to get it right.

TQ:  Describe Dead Harvest in 140 characters or less.

Chris:  DEAD HARVEST is the first in a series of supernatural thrillers that recast the battle between heaven and hell as Golden Era crime pulp. (Ha! Four characters to spare.)

TQ:  What inspired you to write Dead Harvest?

Chris:  A lifelong love of crime fic, fantasy, and horror. A fascination with the darker aspects of the faith in which I was raised. And most of all, a scene that popped unbidden into my head as I was dozing off one night and wouldn't leave. A scene in which a man of some renown stumbles out of a pub late one night, unaware he's being followed. As he staggers toward home, he realizes he has to pee, so he ducks into
an alley to relieve himself. His pursuer rather politely gives him a minute, and then ducks in after him. When they meet, that pursuer plunges his hand into the drunk man's chest and tears free his soul. As the man's wide-eyed, twitching corpse hits the pavement, his pursuer says to it, not unkindly, "Sorry -- it's nothing personal."

I'll tell you, I had no idea at the time what that scene was all about, or where it came from, but I knew I had to use it somehow. And I did: it's the opening to DEAD HARVEST.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Dead Harvest?

Chris:  The bulk of my research for DEAD HARVEST was focused on crafting my mythology. I had this notion of all the world's religions essentially being the result of a grand game of telephone, stories passed down the millennia by folks trying desperately to make sense of this vast half-glimpsed and largely inscrutable world that existed all around them. We're wired for survival, after all, not understanding. So I drew as much of my mythology and as many of my characters as possible from a wide variety of religious texts. I borrowed elements not just from the canonical texts of Judaism and Christianity with which I was already somewhat familiar, but also from Eastern and Middle-Eastern religions as well as folk tales, Mesoamerican mythology, and the Apocrypha.

Of course, research-wise, those are just the broad strokes. I'm also constantly peppering my mom, a nurse, with medical questions that I wouldn't dare ask of a stranger for fear of getting the cops called on me. And I research obsessively as I write, constantly checking facts online or tracing the path of my story's action on Google Maps. And there's a scene in DEAD HARVEST involving a helicopter that was one of the most research-intensive things I've ever written. I can't claim I for-sure nailed it, but I will say this: if I didn't, it wasn't for lack of trying.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Chris:  The easiest was by far my main character, Sam. His voice rang loud and clear in my head right from the start. Sam's not me by any means -- he's a little coarser than I, less educated, and decidedly more badass -- but we're enough alike that writing from his perspective is second nature.

The hardest for me was Anders. Anders is a diagnosed schizophrenic, though in reality he simply lacks the filter most folks have that allows them to tune out the crazy shit that happens all around them every day. Writing Anders was all about finding the sweet spot where he read off-kilter enough for his character to work, yet not so off-kilter that it was distracting within the broader narrative. Lucky
for me, I got some good advice early on from my agent, Jennifer Jackson, that set me on the right path.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Dead Harvest?

Chris:  The aforementioned helicopter scene was a blast to write, because it was pure action-movie cotton candy. Hopefully it reads that way as well. And there's a scene that takes place in the subway in which Sam finds an unlikely ally I quite like, largely because when I was writing it, I had no idea that was going to happen. There's something thrilling about your characters going off the reservation.

TQ:  What's next?

Chris:  Well, the second book in the Collector series, THE WRONG GOODBYE, will be out in November. (You can read the first chapter of it at the end of DEAD HARVEST.) I've been fortunate enough to get some decent press for DEAD HARVEST, but truth be told, I think THE WRONG GOODBYE is even better.

Also, I'm planning on hitting as many cons as I can manage this year to promote DEAD HARVEST, so if any of your readers would like to stalk me, they can pop by my website for the whens and wheres. Aside of that, my day job, and working on my new as-yet-super-secret work-in-progress, I expect I'll mostly just be finding an odd hour or two to get some sleep.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chris:  Thanks so much for having me!


About Dead Harvest

Dead Harvest
The Collector 1
Angry Robot (February 28, 2012 US/Canada; March 1, 2012 UK/RoW)
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages

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.”

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Souled Out | Damned If You Don't | Collector Mania | On The Run ]

Read an excerpt




About Chris

Chris F. Holm was born in Syracuse, New York, the grandson of a cop with a penchant for crime fiction. 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, Needle Magazine, Beat to a Pulp, and Thuglit.

He’s been a Derringer Award finalist and a Spinetingler Award winner, and he’s also written a novel or two. He lives on the coast of Maine with his lovely wife and a noisy, noisy cat.

Chris' Links

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  Two commenters will each win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Dead Harvest (The Collector 1) generously provided by Angry Robot!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Favorite mystery writer? or Favorite myth?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, March 8, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

The View From Monday - February 27, 2012

Happy Last Monday in February. Don't fret. We get a bonus day in February this year.  It's going to be yet another busy week at The Qwillery.

Monday -  Authors After Dark Author Spotlight Interview with Cat Johnson.

Tuesday -  2012 Debut Author Challenge Interview with Elspeth Cooper. Songs of the Earth (The Wild Hunt 1) will be published on February 28, 2012.

Wednesday -  Interview with Tobias S. Buckell. Arctic Rising will be published on February 28, 2012.

Thursday -  2012 Debut Author Challenge Interview with Chris F. Holm. Dead Harvest (The Collector 1) will be published on February 28, 2012.

Friday -  2012 Debut Author Challenge Interview with Benedict Jacka. Fated (Alex Verus 1) will be published on February 28, 2012.

Saturday -  Authors After Dark Author Spotlight Interview with Judi Fennell.

Sunday -  Authors After Dark Author Spotlight Interview with BA Tortuga.


There are a lot of books out this week! A book shopping list in PDF format may be found by clicking HERE. Click "File" on the left and then "Print (PDF)."


February 28, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Know No Fear
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Dan Abnett F - Horus Heresy 19
Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Poul Anderson SF - Omnibus
Into the Darkness
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
V.C. Andrews H
How to be Death
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Amber Benson UF - Calliope Reaper-Jones 4
Burn Me Deadly (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Alex Bledsoe EF/M - Eddie LaCrosse 2
The Ruined City
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Paula Brandon F - Veiled Isles Trilogy 2
Arctic Rising
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Tobias S. Buckell SF
The Gravity Pilot (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
M.M. Buckner SF
Overkill
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Robert Buettner SF - Orphan's Legacy 1
Path of the Renegade
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Andy Chambers SF - Warhammer
Spellbound Falls
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Janet Chapman R w/ PE - Spellbound Falls 1
Songs of the Earth (d)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Elspeth Cooper F - The Wild Hunt 1
The Helios Conspiracy
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Jim DeFelice Th/SF
The Flood
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
William C. Dietz SF - Halo
Singularity
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Ian Douglas SF - Star Carrier 3
The Scar
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Sergey Dyachenko
Marina Dyachenko
F
By a Thread
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Jennifer Estep UF - Elemental Assassin 6
A Kingdom Besieged (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Raymond E. Feist EF - Chaoswar Saga 1
Carpathia
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Matt Forbeck F/AH
Jane Vows Vengeance
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Michael Thomas Ford PNR - Jane Bites 3
Joe Golem and the Copper Girl: A Short Story (e)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Mike Mignola
Christopher Golden
SF
Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Molly Harper PNR - Jane Jameson 4
Black Howl
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Christina Henry UF - Black Wings 3
Dead Harvest (d)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Chris F. Holm UFN - Collector 1
The Hunger Games and Philosophy: A Critique of Pure Treason
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
William Irwin Philosophy
My Lord Vampire
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Alexandra Ivy PNR - Immortal Rogues 1
Fated (d)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Benedict Jacka UF - Alex Verus 1
Night Games
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Crystal Jordan PS
Curses! A F**ked-Up Fairy Tale (d)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
J.A. Kazimer F/Humor
Kings of Morning
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Paul Kearney EF - Macht 3
The Amazon Legion (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Tom Kratman SF - Desert Called Peace 4
Witchful Thinking
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
H. P. Mallory PNR - Jolie Wilkins 3
The Medusa Amulet (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Robert Masello Th w/ PE
Iron Warriors: The Omnibus
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Graham McNeill SF- Warhammer 40,000: Ultramarines
A Sliver of Shadow
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Allison Pang UF - Abby Sinclair 2
Shadow Chaser (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Alexey Pehov EF - Chronicles of Siala 2
Touchstone
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Melanie Rawn F - Glass Thorns 1
The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Andy Remic EF - Clockwork Vampire Omnibus
Don't Kill the Messenger (tp2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Eileen Rendahl PNR - Messenger 1
The Man from Primrose Lane (d)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
James Renner H
Knight of the Blazing Sun
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Josh Reynolds EF - Warhammer
Red Harvest (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Joe Schreiber SF - Star Wars
The Darkest Seduction
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Gena Showalter PNR - Lords of the Underworld 11
Angels' Flight
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Nalini Singh PNR - Guild Hunter Novellas
A Distant Tomorrow
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Bertrice Small HFR - World of Hetar 2
Hybrids (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Whitley Strieber SF
Fever (d)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Joan Swan RS w/ PE - Phoenix Rising 1
Dream Castles: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Two
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Jack Vance SF
That Which Divides
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Dayton Ward SF - Star Trek
Vortex (h2mm)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Robert Charles Wilson SF - Spin 3



March 1, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Ivey and the Airship
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Cheryl Ammeter F/PNR - Aether's Edge 1
Darkness Bound
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Stella Cameron PNR - Chimney Rock1
Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Grace L Dillon (ed) SF - Anthology Sun Tracks 69
The Kingdoms of Dust
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Amanda Downum F - Necromancer Chronicles3
Exogene
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
T.C. McCarthy SF - Subterrene War 2
The Ruby Kiss
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Helen Scott Taylor PNR - Magic Knot Fairies 3
A Light on the Veranda (ri)
The View From Monday - February 27, 2012
Ciji Ware TTR



d - Debut
e - Ebook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - Reissue
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback

AH - Alternate History
EF - Epic Fantasy
F - Fantasy
H - Horror
HFR - Historical Fantasy Romance
M - Mystery
PE - Paranormal Elements
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PS - Paranormal Suspense
SF - Science Fiction
Th - Thriller
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy
UFN - Urban Fantasy Noir

Review - Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm - 5 Qwills

Dead Harvest
AuthorChris F. Holm
Series:  The Collector
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
PublisherAngry Robot (February 28, 2012)
Price:  $7.99
Language:  English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  9780857662187
Review Copy:  eArc provided by Angry Robot

Review - Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm - 5 Qwills
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.”

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Souled Out | Damned If You Don't | Collector Mania | On The Run ]

My thoughts:

Dead Harvest is a noirish urban fantasy with a surprisingly different and likable main character - Sam Thornton. Sam is a Collector. He's part of the careful balance between Heaven and Hell. He gets his orders and off he goes to collect a damned soul and send it off to Hell. You might say he works for the bad guys, but it's not quite that simple. In Dead Harvest, Sam is assigned the job of collecting the soul of a young woman (Kate) who has brutally murdered her family. It should be an easy job. Find her, collect her soul, go on to next job. Unfortunately for Sam, things are not as they seem. He decides something is not right about this collection and decides to figure out what is going on.

Sam is an amazingly likable character despite what he does. Through a series of well placed flashbacks we learn how Sam became a Collector. He did not have an easy life. 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions' could probably be Sam's motto. Which is not to say that he did everything on the up and up when he was alive. Nonetheless, I was on his side. I wanted him to be right and to figure out what was really going on. I did not want him to have to collect Kate's soul.

In addition to Sam there is a well fleshed out supporting cast. Kate is terrific even though she's not sure what she did or didn't do. She may actually be guilty. In addition we meet some angels, demons, seemingly crazy people, and Sam's remarkably chilling co-worker, The Bishop, who is out to collect Kate's soul because Sam has not.

Dead Harvest does not feel like a debut. Chris F. Holm's writing is assured and the world building is outstanding. The story is fast-paced with several well-done action scenes. The mystery kept me guessing - did she or didn't she and if she didn't what is really going on? I completely enjoyed reading Dead Harvest with its unlikely anti-hero and world painted in shades of gray. The Collector series is on my must buy list.

File Under: Great writing | Excellent World Building | Intriguing Mystery | Terrific Characters

I give Dead Harvest 5 Qwills.

Review - Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm - 5 Qwills



Next up in The Collector series in September 2012:

Review - Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm - 5 Qwills

2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2012 Winner

The results are in and the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars winner for February is Chris F. Holm's Dead Harvest (The Collector 1) with 78 votes equaling 30% of the votes cast. The winning cover was created by Amazing15.


2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2012 Winner


The final results:

2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2012 Winner

2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2012 Winner


Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue in March with voting on the March debut covers. 

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Covers - Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm

The covers for the first two books in The Collector series by Chris F. Holm were recently revealed. The covers were created by Amazing15.


Dead Harvest
Author:  Chris F. Holm
Series:  The Collector
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Publisher:  Angry Robot Books (February 28, 2012)
Price:  $7.99
Language:  English
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  978-0-85766-218-7

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.”

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Souled Out | Damned If You Don’t | Collector Mania | On The Run ]


The cover for the second book in The Collector series, The Wrong Goodbye:

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Covers - Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm


Chris' Links

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter


Keep up to date with the 2012 Debut Author Challenge at the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Page.
Interview with Chris F. Holm and Giveaway - March 1, 2012The View From Monday - February 27, 2012Review - Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm - 5 Qwills2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2012 Winner2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - Covers - Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm

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