CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the award-winning, bestselling author of such novels as The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, Of Saints and Shadows, and (with Tim Lebbon) The Map of Moments. He has also written books for teens and young adults, including Poison Ink, Soulless, and the thriller series Body of Evidence, honored by the New York Public Library and chosen as one of YALSA’s Best Books for Young Readers. Upcoming teen novels include a new series of hardcover YA fantasy novels co-authored with Tim Lebbon and entitled The Secret Journeys of Jack London.
A lifelong fan of the “team-up,” Golden frequently collaborates with other writers on books, comics, and scripts. In addition to his recent work with Tim Lebbon, he co-wrote the lavishly illustrated novel Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire with Mike Mignola. With Thomas E. Sniegoski, he is the co-author of multiple novels, as well as comic book miniseries such as Talent and The Sisterhood, both currently in development as feature films. With Amber Benson, Golden co-created the online animated series Ghosts of Albion and co-wrote the book series of the same name.
As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies The New Dead and British Invasion, among others, and has also written and co-written comic books, video games, screenplays, the online animated series Ghosts of Albion (with Amber Benson) and a network television pilot.
The author is also known for his many media tie-in works, including novels, comics, and video games, in the worlds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, Angel, and X-Men, among others.
Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in fourteen languages in countries around the world.
1. First of all, what do new readers need to know about Christopher Golden?
I’m not sure where to start. I’m an American novelist, comic book writer, and screenwriter. I’ve also written short stories, a radio play, an animated web series, and loads of other things. I’ve edited numerous anthologies, most recently DARK CITIES. I co-host the pop culture podcast Three Guys with Beards. it’s weird to talk about awards and bestseller achievements, so I’ll leave that to Google. I’ve been published in languages and countries around the world going back to my first novel in 1994. Though I may be best known as a horror writer, I’ve also written fantasy, SF, thrillers, and mystery, for both adults and teens.
2. Your latest novel is Ararat – what was the inspiration for that book?
Like most writers, I accumulate ideas and articles and other inspirations. I’d had an article about Noah’s Ark on my desk for years and I was thinking about what to do next. I glanced at the article and thought about Arkologists who spend their lives searching for the ark on Mt. Ararat in Turkey…even though it’s been picked over for ages and there’s no way the ark could be there. It occurred to me that the area has a history of earthquake activity, and that led me down a rabbit hole of research into both the history and the biblical and other ancient stories connected to the ark, Ararat, and Noah. I thought, “what if the ark was there, but it was covered by an earthquake…and what if there was a new earthquake that revealed it again?” I don’t believe the ark is there, by the way. But I loved the idea of what would happen if you had a group of archaeologists and government representatives who come from different faiths and backgrounds, and the tensions that would arise in the presence of the ark…and the demonic-looking thing they find inside it. There are some specific influences in the mix as well, including THE EIGER SANCTION, among others.
3. Can you remember the first story you read that made you think “I want to be a writer”?
I don’t recall one moment of epiphany that made me want to write. There are specific comics, specific TV shows, specific novels that were inspirations, for sure. I started writing short stories in high school. Stephen King and THE TWILIGHT ZONE were probably my biggest influences then. But I do remember the moment I thought “i could write a novel.” I was reading John Skipp & Craig Spector’s THE LIGHT AT THE END. Something about the irreverent tone of that book gave me the push I needed to believe I could do this thin. I never looked back.
4. When you’re in the mood to read, who do you choose?
Something from my To Be Read shelf, of course. But a list of SOME of my favorite authors would include Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Jack London, Joe Lansdale, James Lee Burke, Walter Mosley, Dennis Lehane, Larry McMurtry, Charlaine Harris, John Irving, and Don Winslow.. Just to scratch the surface.
5. What attracts you to writing horror?
My mother’s been wondering that my whole life. There are so many reasons I love it. Horror has the capacity to carry any sort of story within it: romance, western, SF, thriller, historical, fantasy…virtually any story can be a horror story. I’ve always loved a story that would give me a chill or make me hold my breath, and if I can do that for someone else, that’s a wonderful thing. Horror—fear—is cathartic and exhilarating and life-affirming.
6. What was the inspiration behind the new Hellboy prose anthology, An Assortment of Horrors?
I wanted to edit an anthology that would have an Angela Slatter story in it. But aside from that, I’d done a sort-of trilogy of Hellboy anthologies years ago and it had been a long time since we’d done one. It’s such a wonderful and well-loved character and I’d been wanting to do a new one for years. Mike and I agreed early on that the one rule would be that we wouldn’t approach anyone to contribute who’d written Hellboy prose in the past. It forced us to not rely on the familiar. I’m thrilled with the results. I can’t wait till Hellboy fans get their hands on the book.
7. What was the inspiration behind your Baltimore character?
As much as I feel like I’ve made Baltimore as much mine as it is Mike’s, the original idea (and much of the plot of the novel) came from him. He’d been brewing the character and the story for years, planning it as a graphic novel, until one day he called and told me he’d realized he would never do the graphic novel. He had about 85% of the plot and he wanted to know if I’d like to turn it into a novel. Obviously I did. I loved everything about his original ideas. We share so many of the same interests in folklore and legend. As the comic book series has gone on, I’ve been guiding more and more of the story, but it all balances out. I’ve been saying for years that I know BALTIMORE is the best thing I’ll ever do in comics, but I’m doing JOE GOLEM: OCCULT DETECTIVE now, and that’s building into something really cool as well, so who knows?
8. Which five writers have been your biggest influences?
King. Clive Barker. Rod Serling. Marv Wolfman. Charles de Lint.
9. You can take five books to a desert island: which ones do you choose?
A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving. The Stand by Stephen King. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. The Sea Wolf by Jack London. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
10. What’s next for Christopher Golden?
I’ve just finished an epic fantasy novel with the great Tim Lebbon. BLOOD OF THE FOUR will be out in February from Harper. Tim and I had a blast creating this world and we hope readers will enjoy exploring it with us. I hope folks will follow me on Twitter @ChristophGolden or visit my site at www.christophergolden.com