We here at GLAHW have met so many amazing and talented people out in the big wide world (you know, OFF the internets) and thought it was high-time we introduced them to you. Who knows? You may end up discovering a favorite new artist, photographer, writer, or all-around awesome human. This time around, we will be talking to Justin Holley.
GLAHW: How long have you been writing? When did you get started?
I’ve dabbled at writing since childhood. A drabble here, a poem there. Then, in 2005, I sat down and wrote my first novel. I was between jobs for a month, had always wanted to, so did. It was called Broken Mirror and was not very good, but it started things off.
GLAHW: Why did you choose the horror genre?
I cut my teeth on horror at a very young age. My mom and I watched movies like Amityville Horror, Alien, and Halloween together. Then I found books by John Coyne, Ramsey Campbell, Richard Matheson, etc. Then I gravitated to King, Ketchum, Keene, etc. So, when I decided to write, it never really occurred to me to write anything but horror.
GLAHW: Were you inspired by a person or event to begin your writing career?
Horror author Brian Keene was instrumental in me venturing into novels. I read his book, DARK HOLLOW, and it really moved me. I wanted to write emotional fiction like that, to capture human emotion in that same way.
GLAHW: Are you a Plotter or Pantser?
Kind of a combo with this. I almost always have the ending and major plot points ironed out before I sit down to write. That said, I enjoy allowing the characters to grow organically and decide for themselves some of the situations they encounter.
GLAHW: Have you ever had an encounter with the supernatural?
Well, yes. Quite a few. I’ve investigated the paranormal with a TAPS Family group for the last decade. We haven’t been very active the last couple years, but we have investigated some cool places: Palmer House (Sauk Centre, MN, William A Irvin (Duluth, MN), The old train depot (Duluth, MN), and dozens of private residences. I’ve seen 3 full-bodied apparitions in my life. The first as a kid, the other two as an adult. I’ve also gotten some amazing photos and EVPs over the years. My two coolest photos, taken with a full-spectrum camera, were both taken in Florida. In neither case did I see anything with my eyes, but when I looked at the photos, I saw the apparitions. The first photo was of a Seminole Native American at an old sugar plantation. Amazing! The second photo was of an apparition with a peg-leg taken in the basement of the caretaker’s house at the St. Augustine lighthouse. Equally amazing photo.
GLAHW: Are you superstitious? Why or why not?
Back in my baseball days, I had my pregame rituals and such. Since then, probably not so much. That said, I’m not one to test karma.
GLAHW: What do you do for a living, outside of writing?
I am an HR Manager. It’s been a challenge during these Covid times, to say the least.
GLAHW: Do you keep a journal every day?
No, I’m afraid not. Not my thing.
GLAHW: What do you prefer to write – short stories, poetry, novels, scripts, etc.?
I’m a novelist deep in my soul. I enjoy the idea of short stories, and I’ve written fifteen or so, many published in magazines and anthologies, but they’re not my strength. There is something about the long form that lights my muse.
GLAHW: What truly scares you?
Extremists of any flavor scare the hell out of me. Also, spiders…ack. Oh, and clowns. Can’t fail to mention clowns.
GLAHW: What sort of hobbies are you into?
I love playing volleyball, golf, fantasy football, and enjoy many outdoor activities. I live on the Mississippi river with access by boat to many lakes and dining/drinks opportunities…so, yeah, in the summer, the wife and I boat an awful lot.
GLAHW: Do you read outside of the horror genre? If so, what else have you read?
Sure! I enjoy a good thriller sometimes. I also read some in the Romance genre, especially holiday Romance.
GLAHW: What’s your favorite genre to write?
Definitely horror, but I co-wrote a holiday Romance with another author. We are in the midst of a second. The first is on submission. So, that’s been enjoyable.
GLAHW: Do you use a pseudonym?
Nope. My real name is Justin Holley.
GLAHW: What do you think makes a good story?
Sharp, concise writing with 3-D characters who dictate the direction of the story. Smart, realistic dialogue is equally important. I also enjoy getting to know characters over the course of a story versus information overload at the onset. Some extreme horror scenes blended in don’t hurt either 😉
GLAHW: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I either wanted to play pro baseball (I did make it as far as college ball) or umpire for pro baseball.
GLAHW: Are you spiritual?
That’s a good question. I will say this…I believe in an afterlife because I’ve seen much evidence of such in my investigations. I also have certain beliefs about higher powers, but I will keep those to myself. Everyone should believe in that which they feel compelled.
GLAHW: What are your influences?
I’m not sure about what, but “who” I can answer. My author influences are: Brian Keene, Richard Laymon, John Coyne, Michael Laimo, Brian Moreland, Jonathan Janz, Kealan Patrick Burke, Jack Ketchum…and I know I’m forgetting some, but those are solid.
GLAHW: What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading the story CHASING GHOSTS by Glenn Rolfe. I highly recommend it!
GLAHW: What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.
First off, I have 4 book releases in 3 months: THE FALL (November 11th), TETHERED TO DARKNESS (November 16th), THE CAPTURE (December 14th) and THE END GAME (January 11th). I hope you all dig reading them as much as I dug writing them.
Also, I am the lead singer for a rock band called Blood Poet. We call ourselves power-punk with a modern Ramones type sound. We have seven original songs so far and plan to play live for the first time next Spring. Stay tuned 😊