CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the New York Times bestselling author of such novels as Of Saints and Shadows and The Boys Are Back in Town, among many others. His current work-in-progress is Cemetery Girl, a graphic novel trilogy collaboration with Charlaine Harris. He has co-written three lavishly illustrated novels with Mike Mignola, the first of which, Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, was the launching pad for the Eisner-nominated, New York Times bestselling comic book series, Baltimore. As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies The New Dead, The Monster’s Corner, and 21st Century Dead, among others, and has also written and co-written video games, screenplays, and a network television pilot. His original novels have been published in more than fourteen languages in countries around the world. Visit his site here.
Let the conversation begin!
What is your worst scar? How did you get it? (Mentally or physically)
We don’t talk about the mental ones. Physically, the worst one is from a small surgery but it’s the least interesting one. The others are more interesting. One is a small scar on the web between thumb and index finger on my right hand, which I got at the age of six or so while walking through the Massachusetts State House with a friend of my father’s. My dad was a State Representative and so was this friend of his, Bobby Donovan. You could smoke anywhere in those days and Bobby was walking me back to my father’s office, cigarette dangling in his hand. You can see where this is going. The ash stuck to my flesh and the burn was tiny but nasty enough that it’s still there now, almost forty years later.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write in several, but I didn’t choose them. They chose me. Silly, I know, but true. When I was a kid, my mother asked me why I didn’t write something “good,” by which she meant something normal. I explained that I’d written western stories and romantic stories and science-fiction stories, but that somebody always died. I’m a very upbeat guy, but that dark streak is there, deep down.
How do you recharge your creative batteries?
Time with my wife and kids. You know what does it for me, more than anything? The ocean. I hate the sun because I burn in a heartbeat, but I love being by the ocean, walking on the beach or reading a book under an umbrella or body surfing with my kids.
Is any material in your books based on real life experiences or purely imagination?
There are bits and pieces of my life woven into nearly everything I’ve written, but usually not in any obvious way. THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN taps into my high school memories quite a bit. WILDWOOD ROAD has some autobiographical stuff in it. The BODY OF EVIDENCE series has a ton of characters and observations taken from my college days and the university in the books is based on my alma mater, Tufts University. But STRAIGHT ON ‘TIL MORNING is the most autobiographical. The first half of the book is 90% true stories, just reworked to serve the larger story.
Are you a person who makes the bed in the morning?
Every morning? Gosh, no.
What is your very favorite part of the day?
I usually really hit my writing stride in mid-afternoon. When my consciousness kind of checks out and it’s just brain to computer communication, it’s like painting. But the best time of day when dinner is eaten and the dishes are done and there’s a little time to watch TV with my family or go for a walk. Time to breathe.
How did you celebrate your first book being published? Has the excitement worn off with each book you publish?
It’s the twentieth anniversary this year of the publication of my first book (a non-fiction project), the sale of my first novel, and the day I quit working a real job. I’ve written and published dozens of books since then, so the novelty has certainty worn off. Still, I love receiving a new book of mine in the mail and I do take a little time to admire it before I put it on the shelf.
Are there certain characters you’d like to return to?
Jenna Blake, the protagonist of my BODY OF EVIDENCE series, and the characters from my series with Thomas E. Sniegoski, THE MENAGERIE. Someday.
Any advice to share with aspiring writers?
More than ever, in the chaos and unknown territory that is modern publishing, you just have to get your work out there. Get known. Start a writing blog, post your work for free, get attention. Then start posting stories for sale as ebooks and try to bring that audience with you.
Would you rather plan a party or attend one?
I’d rather just have a nice dinner out with my wife.