Today I have with me author Jeff Holmes, writer in a variety of genres including paranormal, science fiction, mystery and comics.
At the end of the interview, illustrator Mark Brayer who created the cover for Jeff’s latest novel “Holy Moon” also answers a few questions. 🙂
Chrys: Hi Jeff, welcome! Can you tell us a few words about yourself?
Jeff: Sure, I’m an Army veteran, for CEO and Chairman of a former ESPN production company and FOX News Radio affiliate. I began writing in the early 1990’s and just last year after returning home from the Army, began writing full time. Right now, I’m only focusing on three series; Holy Moon, The Nordic, and the Paul Hawkinson mysteries.
Chrys: Tell us a few words about your favorite genre(s) and your influences. What genre(s) do you write and why?
Jeff: I write in three different genres; dark fantasy/horror, sci-fi, and mystery. The reason why is pretty simply – all three sell very well in today’s market, and if someone is going to take the time and effort to write a novel, they might as well make money at it. J
I think what influences me to write in these genres, beyond the money, is that I have always had an interest in werewolves in particular, when it came to monsters. I’ve always had an interest in sci-fi as well. One thing I continue to want, badly, is to help produce a sci-fi show in Vancouver where all the excitement seems to be for that genre today. I am hoping at some point with some success from the books we can do that with either Holy Moon or The Nordic. We’ll have to see. As far as mysteries, with my last name being ‘Holmes’, it’s hard to not grow up and hold an interest in none other than Sherlock Holmes, which I somewhat base my character, Paul Hawkinson, on.
Chrys: Paranormal – vampires and shifters – is all the rage right now with Twilight and its derivative works. I noticed your book “Holy Moon” is categorized as dark fantasy. So what’s different about your take on werewolves? Are they the good or the bad guys in your story (or both?)
Jeff: Well first, Holy Moon isn’t a YA book as many of those in the craze are today. Others appear to be romance novels that just happen to have a werewolf as their main character or in the story somewhere. I thought it would be nice to just go back to the basics and leave most of the romance out and focus on the monster. Granted, there is something happening romance-wise in Holy Moon, but it’s not the spotlight of the story. What’s really different about the main character, Peter Foreman, is that he continues to practice his Christian faith while being a werewolf, hoping it will cure him somehow. It may or it may not, we’ll have to see. The story really shows us his struggles though with being a werewolf while trying to hold a professional career and just live, but like all good werewolf stories there’s a bad guy, or wolf in this case, who just has to come in and stir everything up which is where the story really takes off.
I also got very tired of seeing and reading what appeared to be the same werewolf story over and over again; a man change into the werewolf, rips his shirt off, runs through the woods, and mangles people. We’ve seen it a million times. I wanted to give a more personal and insightful take on the creature and let people really in to werewolf’s life who is just t to be normal, or as normal as he can be being what he is.
Chrys: Tell us about your latest release (could include blurb, small excerpt like 200 words).
Jeff: Peter Foreman is a real estate agent who hides a secret from his neighbors; the fact that he is also a werewolf. Hoping through prayer to rid himself of the curse, he finds an ally in his pastor, Reverend Ovesen. During his struggles, he is pursued by a wolf from his past who wants to include Peter in his pack and rebuild them back to glory. Peter finds his finally normal life turned upside down by his ignored past coming back to visit him.
“He struggled to control his panting breath, looked up at the golden cross, and two silvery tears dropped from his eyes. “God…forgive me!” Peter’s body slumped forward and he dropped his head toward the altar without censoring the flow of his tears. “I am so afraid of this heathen beast I have become! I am so afraid of what I might do! I could’ve killed a man today. I was so tempted.” He sobbed with increasing despair. “There are times I know not what to do! I feel myself within the beast, I see with my own eyes. But then there are times, when I am impassioned with emotion, the wolf seems to gain power and takes control. Please give me the faith to fight this thing inside me.” He lay fully prostrate before the altar and wept. “Please.” With his last sliver of hope, he lifted himself onto his knees, and looked up. He examined the rosary, bathed with his sweat and blood, and thrust it toward the cross and implored God in anguish, “Please!””
Chrys: Are you working on anything now? What are your publishing/writing plans for the future?
Jeff: Right now I’m working on The Nordic; a sci-fi tale of an alien race returning to Earth to see how the ones they left behind are doing after 3600 years. They left a message that time ago that they would return, but it was lost to history, possibly by the churches of those days who didn’t feel the need to share that bit of info with us. The Nordic will publish October 2012. I have a rotation for all three series every month from now through next June. My creative partner, Mark Brayer, and I are also working on comic formats for all three series as well. So, we’re quite busy!
Chrys: What’s the best piece of advice you ever had on writing?
Jeff: Honestly, it was to stop listening to ‘the talkers’; the ones who always talk about writing or talk about how to be success in this business without ever having actually done anything. We all know people like that; those who will offer advice not having been there themselves or have any reason to be offering advice in the first except to come across as ‘important’. Once I did that, I was able to separate myself from the ‘talkers’ and move on to the ‘doers’. It makes a big difference who you hang with because it all rubs off.
Chrys: What are your real life plans for the future? (I heard something about Sweden?)
Jeff: Once things get established with the writing, I would like to spend time overseas in Norway, possibly England or Sweden. Depending on how things go, I would also like to entertain the idea of getting a place over there. I think the culture would be more my speed. lol
Chrys: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Jeff: Probably a Professor in a science related field. I think I would’ve really liked teaching.
Chrys: Where can people learn more about you and your writing? (links)
Chrys: Many thanks for visiting, Jeff, and good luck with everything! 🙂
The cover of your book is very interesting, has a comic feel to it, and I see it was Mark Brayer who created it.
Mark, can you tell us about your inspiration for the cover?
Mark: I think just the fact that even though this is a werewolf story, it has a different twist to it than the standard genre. The idea that the main character is a man of faith struggling with a werewolf curse was really was intriguing to me, and showing those two elements in someway on the cover was going to be exciting.
Chrys: Also, can you tell us a few words about yourself, your work and your influences?
Mark: I’ve been working professionally in the art/design business for over 25 years, creating art for corporate and business design, greeting cards, comic strips, comic books, children’s books, book covers, character design, etc.
Chrys: Where can people learn more about you and your work? (links)
Mark: The best way for people to find me and see my work, is to go to my website at http://www.lightspeedstudiosonline.com
Chrys: Thank you, Mark!