November 19, 2014

The Horror Near to His Heart: an interview with Christopher Golden, author of "Snowblind"

When Christopher Golden isn't collaborating with Mike Mignola on Hellboy or Baltimore tales, he's writing tie-in novels for celebrated franchises like Sons of Anarchy and Uncharted and others, and when he's not doing all that he's writing his own celebrated novels, the most recent of which is a return to the horror genre with Snowblind. I had the chance to ask him some questions in the lead-up to the book's paperback release. Enjoy.


Once upon a time, Coventry weathered a horrific blizzard, one that left many people dead—and others mysteriously lost. Twelve years later, the town is still haunted by the snow that fell that one fateful night…and now a new storm is on the way.

Photographer Jake Schapiro mourns the little brother he lost in the storm and, this time, he will see another boy go missing. Mechanic and part-time thief Doug Manning, whose wife was never found after she wandered into the whiteout, is starting over with another woman—and more ambitious crimes. Police detective Joe Keenan has never been the same since that night, when he failed to save the life of a young boy…and the boy’s father vanished in the storm only feet away. And all the way on the other side of the country, Miri Ristani receives a phone call—from a man who died twelve years ago. Old ghosts are trickling back to life as a new threat rolls in. Could it be that this storm will be even more terrifying than the last?

Gef: Where did you get the inspiration for Snowblind, since it's been about a decade since you last put out something resembling an outright horror novel?

Christopher:  I was talking to my editor at St. Martin's and he told me that what he wanted was the novel I would write if I could write anything, the one that would be nearest to my heart.  I'd had several of the ideas in SNOWBLIND percolating for years and they really just gelled together when I started thinking about this sort of small town New England tapestry of people. People recognize the Stephen King influence, obviously, but there's a big early Dennis Lehane influence in there, too.

Gef: What kind of a gear shift is it when writing a stand-alone novel as opposed to a series--or comic books for that matter?

Christopher:  I always find it hard to answer those questions.  I'd say it's easier writing a standalone for the obvious reason--you know you need to bring it all to a close.  But at the same time, there are always threads that you could continue following into future novels.  Right now I have no such plans for SNOWBLIND, and I don't think I've ever written a sequel to anything that wasn't intended to have one.  But never say never.

Gef: How intensive was the research process for you? What little tricks have you picked up with approaching the research phase of writing?

Christopher:  It wasn't really a research heavy book.  I did a little poking around in folklore books, but that stuff is my bread and butter, so I knew where to look to refresh my memory.  I have a friend who's a local cop here in town and he was hugely helpful with that sort of thing. The character of Detective Keenan is named after him.

Gef: What do you consider to be the strength or saving grace of the horror genre?

Christopher:  Horror, as Doug Winter famously said, is an emotion.  But within the confines of what is considered the horror genre, you can really write about anything.  There's more room in horror to talk about the human condition than in most genres, and because characters are in extreme circumstances, you can really unravel them and see what's going on inside.

Gef: What's the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Christopher:  Early on, certain people told me I'd destroy my career by doing media tie-ins. They're certainly not my primary work, but I don't regret them (well, most of them).  And, obviously, those people were wrong.  During the lean times, some of that work--Buffy, in particular--kept me working.

Gef: What kind of guilty pleasures do you have when it comes to books or movies or whatnot?

Christopher:  I rarely feel guilty about that stuff, but if you're asking what kind of crap do I like in spite of it being crap...shit, I still don't know.  I could muster a defense for pretty much anything I enjoy.  I mean, who's going to tell me Matango and War of the Gargantuas are bad movies?  I've been really enjoying the new Taylor Swift album.  I bought it for my daughter, but I think it's a terrific call back to different era of pop--and I listen to almost zero modern "pop."  I guess some of the Marvel comics I read are guilty pleasures, but some of them are still great.  No guilt.  Just enjoy the things you enjoy and to hell with anyone who wants you to be embarrassed about it.

Gef: We're coming up to the end of the year, which means everyone and their mama is writing a year-end lists. So what book, movie, game, show, song, or dirty limerick has found its way to the tippy-top of your favorites this year?

Christopher:  SO MANY GREAT BOOKS, many of which I've read as advanced copies, so the actual books won't be out until next year.  THE SILENCE by Tim Lebbon.  GOLDEN SON by Pierce Brown.  UPROOTED by Naomi Novik.  THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey.  STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel.  Musically, it's HOZIER's two EPs and Glen Hansard's EP DRIVE ALL NIGHT.  Movie-wise, I haven't seen any of the big fall dramas yet, but come on...what was more fun than GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY?  Nothing.  On TV, of course, we're getting to the end of SONS OF ANARCHY and it's such a twisted ride.

Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?

Christopher:  My next novel, TIN MEN, is due out in June.  Later in the year, look for DEAD RINGERS, a new horror novel from St. Martin's.  I've edited a new anthology called SEIZE THE NIGHT--more on that soon.  I'm at and on both FB and Twitter (@ChristophGolden)


You're quite welcome, Christopher. As for the rest of you, you can find the new mass market paperback edition of Snowblind is available for pre-order right now and due to be released on November 25th.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, Gef! I liked the author's description of this book as a mixture of influences from Stephen King and Dennis Lehane. Sounds interesting!