Hello, GOODBYE by Chris F. Holm

I’m very pleased to welcome Chris F. Holm to the blog today to talk about The Wrong Goodbye (September 25th from Angry Robot), the second book in his Collector trilogy following lauded series debut Dead Harvest.

Chris HolmNot to get all writerly nuts-and-bolts on you, but when I sit down to write a Collector novel, there are two key ingredients I decide upon straightaway: the flavor (by which I mean the specific genre elements on the menu for that book) and the overarching theme or relationship I’m interested in examining. For DEAD HARVEST, the flavor was straight-up old-school pulp with a dash of wrong-man conspiracy and a healthy dose of fantasy; the theme I wanted to explore was the tragic consequences of romantic love. Hence the hard-bitten undead protagonist with a heart-wrenching back story working his damndest (pun, sadly, intended) to prove the mother of all frame-ups while being chased across Manhattan by a cadre of pissed off angels and demons both (not to mention half the freakin’ NYPD.)

Much to my delight, folks seemed to really dig it. So I suppose I could’ve gone the easy route, and used the same blueprint for book two. Plenty of writers – even ones I really like – put out entire series in which each book is a subtle variation on a theme. But I kind of felt like I’d already left it all out on the field, so to speak. That DEAD HARVEST was as lean and mean as I was gonna muster. And that to be successful with book two, I couldn’t just iterate – I had to blow the doors out, and really expand the size and scope of Sam’s world, as well as better contextualize his place in it.

To do that, I was gonna need some new ingredients.

I don’t mean to say I tossed out everything that worked about DEAD HARVEST. Old-fashioned pulp fiction is part of the Collector series’ DNA. But since the series is already a freaky patchwork mutant of crime and fantasy, I figured why not glom on some more stuff that I love? So as a consequence, THE WRONG GOODBYE keeps all the pulp and folds in some buddy action-comedy, road movies, Greek myth, Lovecraftian horror, and even a tiny dose of steampunk (er, dieselpunk, but still). This time, it’s friendship that takes center stage, which affords me the opportunity to introduce some of Sam’s oldest friends – fellow Collectors Ana and Danny – and to watch him make some new ones – like Gio, two-bit mob-thug-turned-accidental-sidekick, or Theresa, Gio’s blind transgendered showgirl girlfriend. Oh, and lest you think all’s rosy for our fair Collector this outing, he also tangles with a massive, child-eating demon, all beak and tentacles; a giant, pissed-off bug-monster; and a one-eyed dog-beast with sharpened iron spikes for teeth, just to name a few. And did I mention he’s forced to infiltrate the demon equivalent of a crack house?

The result, I hope, is every bit as thrilling as DEAD HARVEST, but in an entirely different way. I also think THE WRONG GOODBYE’s one heck of a lot funnier. Whatever it is, I hope my readers come along for the ride.

Because come book three, I fold in classic movie monsters…

Chris wrote his first story at the age of six; it got him sent to the principal’s office. He likes to think right then was when he decided to become a writer. Since then Chris’ stories have appeared in publications including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Beat to a Pulp, and Thuglit. He’s also been a Derringer Award finalist and a Spinetingler Award winner. His collection 8 Pounds made numerous best of the year lists, including mine. Dead Harvest is the first book in The Collector series. Book Two, The Wrong Goodbye, will be released on September 25th. Chris lives on the coast of Maine with his lovely wife and a noisy, noisy cat. To learn more about Chris, visit his website.
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1 Comment

  • sabrina ogden

    September 26, 2012 - 4:10 pm

    Oh dear… looking forward to the read. Can’t wait for the classic movie monsters in book three!

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