The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival is barely a fortnight away, coming to the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California from September 27-29th. Besides blood-curdling cinema, it will feature a cavalcade of acclaimed horror writers, including best-selling author Nancy Holder.
Nancy Holder's work has appeared on many bestseller lists. A five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and Romantic Times. She has written dozens of "tie-in" projects for such universes as Teen Wolf, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Saving Grace, Hulk, Hellboy, Sherlock Holmes, and many others. She has taught Lovecraft at the University of California at San Diego and the Stonecoast Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine.
Born in Los Altos, California, she went to middle school in Japan. At the age of sixteen, she dropped out of high school to become a ballet dancer in Cologne, Germany. Later, she returned to California and graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Communications. Soon after, she began to write. And the rest is history. Or horror story, if you want to get technical. She graciously agreed to be interviewed on her work.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn as a horror writer?
I started out as a horror writer in college. I turned in a manuscript to my critique group and my professor said it was the hysterically funny parody of a horror story he'd ever read. It was so over the top, he said. I was crushed. The hardest thing for me was to come up with ideas. For the first few years it took me a year to come up with something to write about. But your imagination is like an engine. Once you can get it to start running, it'll warm up and talk off.
What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?
The Call of Cthulhu. The Ur of the Mythos!
What's been your favorite creation so far?
I wrote a short story where Timothy Leary goes to hang out with Dracula. I really liked that. And I have two cannibalistic rock stars I write about from time to time. Their names are Dwight and Angelo.
What's your advice to beginning writers who want to tell a truly exceptional horror story?
Read everything you can and watch everything you can. Get in the groove and let horror storytelling permeate your soul. Be earnest. NOthing is less scary than arch, ironic storytelling that doesn't take the genre seriously.
What's a project you hope to take on in the next few years?
I want to spend an entire year reading and watching nothing but haunted house stories. My two favorite haunted house stories for far are THE HAUNTING and all the various forms of THE WOMAN IN BLACK.
What's you recommendation for first-time readers who want to read more of your work?
Novel: DEAD IN THE WATER
Short fiction: "Cannibal Cats Come Out Tonight" (The first Dwight and Angelo story) or "We Have Always Lived in the Forest"
What's your favorite music to listen to as you write?
Soundtracks. I can't get enough of them. I am recently in love with the soundtrack to the French creepy series LES REVENANTS, half of which I saw in London. It's composed by the Scottish band Mogwai. Excellent!
You can see more of Nancy's work at: http://nancyholder.com and be sure to join us all at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon this September!