Today we have the pleasure to interview KEVIN HOLTON, an exciting new discovery for The Bold Mom. Witty, intelligent and very passionate about his work, Kevin was a joy to talk to.
With his stories inspired by kaiju influences and his love for cyberpunk, Holton will bring the most pleasant nightmares, courtesy of apocalyptic monstrosities.
With his unstoppable positive energy, he really lights up the party, and this is not the last time you will hear his name.
What are your inspirations? Or what helps you to write?
I’ll answer in reverse, more or less: One thing that helps is writing first thing in the morning. I thrive off momentum, so if I roll out of bed, get coffee, then hit the keyboard, I can hit my daily 2k word count before the sun rises. One day, I even hit 10k! It was for a 30k novella, too, so I literally wrote a third of the whole book in one day.
It’s the same to me. Sometimes I like waking up even at 5am so I can just… work. I’m a night person also, so I would completely reverse my schedules. Maybe it’s the silence, it works perfectly for me. Have you noticed a difference of “vibe” in what you write, depending on the moment you do it? I can’t draw my most disturbing demon with a flash of sunlight on my face.
Ambiance is definitely important. I have heavy curtains because my eyes are naturally a bit sensitive to light anyway, so—aside from saving on my electricity bills by walking around in the dark—I generally don’t have a problem writing during the day. Sometimes I’ll put on a rain sound generator for that extra oomph. But! I do have to be wearing real pants. Pyjamas make me feel sleepy, and sweats will make me want to work out. Gotta have at least jeans on. Preferably ripped.
As for inspirations, it depends on what genre. I have a neo-noir character/franchise about a near-future paranormal detective named E. C. H. O. That draws from a mix of The Joker, the Hellblazer Comics, and my love of cyberpunk fiction. Cyberpunk-wise, I’m a cyborg (insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor), so the connection there’s pretty clear.
Horror-wise, I’m not sure. I just sit for a second, brainstorm, and go.'I have a neo-noir character/franchise about a near-future paranormal detective named E. C. H. O. That draws from a mix of The Joker, the Hellblazer Comics, and my love of cyberpunk fiction.' @TheHoltoning Click To Tweet
If you had to choose “The Book”, which would it be?
Hm… Of “The Book” I’ve read so far, I feel Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story was criminally underrated. Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts was great. Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas had, perhaps, the longest lasting impact on me (RE: the detective I write about, mentioned above).
Of those I’ve written, tough to say. The three I’ve had accepted for publication are all so different that it’s like comparing apples to onions.
Are all of them horror?
Pretty much. Tremblay’s was a Stoker winner, so definitely for him. King’s was a horror mixed with a bit of a love story, more or less (actually, a ‘loss of love’ story, since it’s about a woman going through her deceased husband’s life), but Koontz’s Odd Thomas might be classified more as a supernatural mystery with horror elements thrown in. Hard to write about ghosts and shadow monsters without being horror.
I actually meant your three stories, but great answer lol
Whoops, yes, all my books were horror.
What brought you into writing?
I’ve always been a bit precocious. When I was in fourth grade, for instance, I was reading Robert Heinlein’s Puppet Masters during class (after finishing my work, of course), and the teacher was all, “WTF is this kid reading?” So she took a look and said, “Don’t bring this to school anymore.”
I ignored her. I’ve also always been a bit of a rebel.
LOL yes, me too. “What’s wrong with this kid??!” Ah… ol’ times. I deeply believe, rebels do the best artistic work, because their mind won’t “fit” in any canon or betray themselves. I think that, is always present in your work, or in you as a person.
I knew I’d be a writer when I was nine—not in the “I want to write” way, but I just knew I’d be a writer. My rebellious side is what’s kept me going in the face of rejection and criticism. The more I get shut down, the harder I work. There’s no better revenge than your own success.'I knew I’d be a writer when I was nine—not in the “I want to write” way, but I just knew I’d be a writer.' @TheHoltoning #horror #writer #author Click To Tweet
Amen. When was your first work accepted for publication?
First work was a short story titled “Heartbreaker” for one of the first issues of “The Siren’s Call” ezine, by Siren’s Call Publications, about six years ago. First book-length was The Nightmare King, accepted by the same company, at the end of last July. The ‘full circle’ element there inspired a little bit of These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream.
When or how was your book born, the seed?
At the Hands of Madness came about while I was working in the PR department of a federal investigative agency. I was living on my own for the first time, bored out of my mind with nothing to do, trapped inside by the Virginia heat, and just had The Nightmare King accepted by Siren’s Call Publications. So, I thought to myself, “Cool, I have a novel coming out! Let’s go write another one.”
Another writer I talk to a good bit, Christofer Nigro, specializes in kaiju fiction, and I’d just reviewed his Dargolla: A Kaiju Nightmare by Severed Press. Since I knew what the press liked now, I decided to write a kaiju story with my own mind-bending Lovecraftian elements. Bam! Contract! Took about a month from concept to submission, so that was a wild ride.
Can you tell us what “kaiju” is for you? Just for the readers that are not familiarized with the genre.
The easiest way to introduce people to this is to simply say “Godzilla,” and follow that up with “Pacific Rim,” but really, “kaiju” is any sort of giant monster. The word is Japanese for “Strange Beast,” and usually focuses on creatures that represent abstract fears. Godzilla came from Japan’s fear of the atomic bomb—and that America would bomb them again. Strange to think a genre America loves so much arose from America devastating another country with radioactive weaponry.'“kaiju” is any sort of giant monster. The word is Japanese for “Strange Beast,” and usually focuses on creatures that represent abstract fears.' @TheHoltoning #horror #author #kaiju Click To Tweet
Kaiju, for me specifically, represents the looming threat of future tech corrupted by the government. Now more than ever, governments have thrived off of creating threats where none exist in order to keep their people focused on fear, so these ‘leaders’ can do as they please under the guise of fighting the enemy. What if we made Antimatter weaponry cost effective? Or if the particle accelerator(s) really could open wormholes? How long would it take for some politician to say, “We have to use this technology, because we’re under attack!”
Do you have a fave author, a hero?
I’m inspired by every single writer who continues their craft despite all obstacles. Anyone who does the best, most sincere and genuine work they can earns Hero status to me. Writing is hard. Crafting a book, or even one short story, can be difficult, lonely work, and writing a great book is far harder. I know how much love, how much of your soul, goes onto each page, so how could I not adore and admire every writer?'Anyone who does the best, most sincere and genuine work they can earns Hero status to me.' @TheHoltoning #horror #author #quote #book Click To Tweet
Very true. Any kind of work which is susceptible to be “rejected” is always an emotional rollercoaster, and only those who can keep control of their “depressions” are the ones who succeed. It’s difficult, because we all have a little heart (well, some of us) and rejection hurts, but using defeat to stand right up again is the only way of learning from our own mistakes and slowly become the best version of ourselves. I’m pretty sure you could run a blog to emotionally push others or give your own advice/thoughts, because they’re so interesting. Have you thought about that?
I have, and I do have a blog portion of my website, I just don’t update it regularly enough. Right now, I do a Cyborg Sunday, which is mostly personal updates, and occasionally repost interviews or articles I’ve put up elsewhere. I might start doing more routine stuff though… It’s a good thought.
That said, those who plagiarize, or seek to tear down other writers, earn the reverse. I don’t trouble myself with hate, but were I in command of Hell, I’d reserve a place for them in the deepest, unimaginable agony.
Yes… I have a Black List too.'That said, those who plagiarize, or seek to tear down other writers, earn the reverse. I don’t trouble myself with hate, but were I in command of Hell, I’d reserve a place for them in the deepest, unimaginable agony.' @TheHoltoning… Click To Tweet
What would be your advice for people who dream to become a published author?
Work it. Look at the most successful people in any field. CEOs, start-up founders, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos—you think they got there by accident? Well, King, Koontz, Heinlein, Bradbury, Orwell, and all the other giants weren’t accidents either.
Inspiration is nice, and it’ll lead to some of your best stories, but actually getting published is about determination. It’s about sitting down at the computer every single day and putting in the effort, even when you don’t feel motivated. ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel motivated. If you can grind through your worst days, you’ll do far better on the good ones.
Good things come to those who go out and f***ing hustle, so get to work.
Picasso said “Inspiration will catch you while you work” and I think it’s one of my favorites quotes ever. Do you have any classic that has become an inspiration for you? Beyond the modern novels. Like, to me, J. Cesar.
Hm… Favorite quotes include Gustave Flaubert’s saying, “Poetry is as precise a thing as geometry.” I love that. People who don’t write tend to assume it’s just hurling words at a page to see what happens, but a well-crafted story pays attention to every single little element. In one story, I drop a hint at a major bombshell revelation with the word ‘purgatory’ throw directly into the center, but never actually reveal why, leaving people to figure it out for themselves.
I’m also a fan of saying, “On a scale of one to ten? I don’t care.” Or “I’m too sober for this.” I don’t drink, but it’s a fun thing to say when someone’s bugging you.
Classic books, though: I’ve always loved Frankenstein and Dracula. Hard not to, even if they can be a bit dry by today’s standards. They’re not that old, but I grew up on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Stephen King’s Carrie was great too, though I’ve oddly never read It or The Shining or his other major earlier works.
Frankenstein and Dracula are my classics too! They had a great impact on me when I was a kid, and my mind was still in a bubble. You know, with dreams. Do you have “a” dream? Something you would love to accomplish in life?
A few dreams, I think! I’d love to live off my writing, as many novelists would, I think. But I’d also love to work in video game design. I don’t have coding skills, but contributing to the narrative would be amazing, especially considering recent big story-based games like Life is Strange. I also have little fun dreams, like appearing on an episode of Brooklyn 99, seeing ‘the Halo of the Sun’ (a weather phenomena, nothing sinister), or getting an honorary Ph. D so I can call myself a doctor without going deeply into debt. They’re not life goals so much as “things that would make life a lot more fun than it already is.” A lifetime achievement award would be nice too, or a MacArthur Genius Grant. All good stuff.
Very well said. Being happy day by day is what really matters, because you never know what might happen tomorrow. And make others happy along the way, in your case, writing amazing books. A good story stays in your mind forever, so your work and the love you put into it will stay with all your readers all their lives.
You can also find him at:
Find his latest book “At the Hands of Madness” on Amazon