We continue our series of An Comhrá / The Chat with Christopher Golden, who sat down with us to discuss all things Dublin 2019, as well as to talk about his recent work. Christopher is is the New York Times bestselling author of SNOWBLIND, TIN MEN, DEAD RINGERS, and many other novels. A comic book writer, screenwriter, and editor, he is also the co-creator (with Mike Mignola) of the long-running Dark Horse Comics series BALTIMORE. He was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family.
How would you describe your work to people who may be unfamiliar with you?
CG: I’m a storyteller first and a genre writer second. I love horror, fantasy, SF, mystery, thriller, westerns, classics, mainstream fiction…and I’ve written in many different genres for both adults and teens. I write comics and screenplays and I’ve written video games and radio plays and an online animated series. Sometimes varying genres has been a boon to my career, and sometimes it’s been the bane. Growing up I had a particular passion for horror (I still do, though my interest are more diverse), so I understand and connect with readers of horror and supernatural fiction on a fundamental level. But I find that most genre fiction has roots that have spread into other genres’ gardens, and we have more in common than we once thought.
Do you have a mentor or another writer who helped to guide you through your writing process or with developing your career? Who do you turn to for advice?
CG: When I was quite young, I had a meaningful phone call from Charles L. Grant, who was rejecting a couple of stories I had submitted for his SHADOWS anthology series, but who was very kind. I think I was a high school senior or a freshman in college at that point. Other writers who were very kind and who took an interest or extended themselves on my behalf – even if just for a few hours – included Craig Shaw Gardner, Philip Nutman, Clive Barker, Harlan Ellison, Rex Miller, Ray Garton, Peter Straub, John Skipp, Craig Spector, Matthew Costello, Joe Lansdale, Stephen King (later on), and most importantly, the late Rick Hautala. Rick had been one of the writers I looked up to in high school and college. Over time, we became very close friends. Even though half the time it was me counseling him rather than the other way around, his knowledge and experience and wisdom were indispensable to me.
I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of writers I can bounce ideas or concerns off of these days, including Thomas Sniegoski, Tim Lebbon, James A. Moore, Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Maberry, Cherie Priest, Amber Benson, Mike Mignola, and people who will be irritated that I forgot to include them. When talking about mentors, though, I’d be remiss not to mention the wonderful editors I’ve had over the past couple of decades, including Anne Groell, GInjer Buchanan, Laura Anne Gilman, Michael Homler, Mark Tavani, Ed Schlesinger, Jennifer Heddle, Diana Gill, Lisa Clancy, Liesa Abrams, Scott Allie, Michelle Nagler…and again, I’ll get in trouble here. I’m grateful to all of them, and to both Lori Perkins, who was my first agent, and Howard Morhaim, who I hope will be my last. I should also say, let’s be clear, there are plenty of people out there who are the opposite – who would rather undermine you and see you fail – but those folks are vastly outnumbered by the ones who want friendship and alliance and who want to succeed together.
What are you working on now? Any new projects, novels, or stories that will be out soon?
CG: My SF thriller TIN MEN came out from Ballantine in June. In October, my horror anthology SEIZE THE NIGHT will be out from Gallery and the second graphic novel in my CEMETERY GIRL trilogy with Charlaine Harris from Penguin. In November, St. Martin’s will pub my new horror thriller, DEAD RINGERS. In January, Dark Horse will publish the hardcover of BALTIMORE: THE CULT OF THE RED KING, which is the sixth volume of that series. After that…nothing for a long stretch of months. It’s a lot at once, but much of that work has been done for a long time and just happens to be arriving in close proximity. I’m working on a new novel called ARARAT and a screenplay for a film franchise that I can’t reveal.
As an author or creator, why is attending conventions important, and what do you love most about them?
CG: It’s probably clear that I love meeting other writers, as well as editors and artists, and of course readers! Conventions are where and how we do that. Yes, it’s important for your career as a writer, but more importantly, it’s how we become part of the fabric of each other’s careers and lives. Meeting someone new with whom you really click is so valuable in life. If it’s a writer whose work you’ve admired, even better. And if it’s someone you’ve never read and whom you then discover is a brilliant writer…that’s the best of all. (Of course, if you discover they’re not, that can be awkward.) Going to a convention at this level is important to your career, yes. But it’s also about that feeling you only ever get when you’re surrounded by people who share your passions – that feeling that says “these are my people.” And then you’re home.
Why do you support the Dublin 2019 Worldcon bid?
CG: The simplest, most selfish reason is that I’m half Irish. I spent three days in Ireland once, at the age of twenty-one, and I’ve longed to return ever since. But heritage is only one part of it. Worldcon in Dublin means writers, editors, and other professionals from Ireland, the UK, and continental Europe will find it easier to attend, and the opportunity to meet them — especially in a place as beautiful as Dublin — is a huge draw.