Tag Archives: France

In which the Author takes part in the Creative Process Blog Tour…

The Creative Process Blog Tour

My thanks to Hilary McGrath for nominating me for this round of the Creative Process Blog Tour, where writers get to answer four questions and whitter on about their innermost creative processes.

Note: every word below is the absolute unvarnished truth.

Except for the lies.

What am I working on?

1) VAMPIRES. 

I’m sending my completed iconoclastic vampire novel Palefaces out to literary agents. The tagline:

Cops – vampires – vampire cops.

There will, almost certainly, be some blood.

 

There will, almost certainly, be some rejections.

the vampire

2) CRIME. 

I’m half way through the writing of Sex, Lies and Croissants, a softboiled crime novel set in southwest France,

featuring a handsome but irredeemably grumpy British detective mixed up with porn stars, religious maniacs and

drunk Frenchmen with guns. First in a series, if the gods be kind.

3796019-gun-and-blood-splatter-murder-scene 5875090-fresh-croissants

3) BLOODY HISTORY. 

I’m working through the proofs for The Bloody History of Britain, which will be published by The History Press in September. This will be my 31st non-fiction book. Expect:

Cannibals from the Dawn of Time

Anarchy in the UK (12th century style)

Pirate Monks

The Six Executions of Henry VIII

Plus Norman genocide, Nazis, Zeppelins, Jacobites, and a surfeit of lampreys.

All this and murders, torture, massacres, punishments, castrations and executions galore. You’ve got to laugh,

haven’t you?

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4) SEX.

 I’m using allure, coquetry and a packet of powerful pheromones in the hope of attracting agents or publishers to a non-fiction book on some of the stranger but universal aspects of sex and sexual culture.

 

5) SHERBERT LEMONS.

Notes are being made and ideas corralled for a YA fantasy involving cryptozoology, time travel and sherbert

lemons. There may also be a fantasy/high-tech film screenplay incarcerated in the oubliette.

Book Collage for Site

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My natural tendency when I am writing is to upset the apple cart of expectations.

When writing about vampires, I want to destroy the entire accepted vampiric mythology and create a completely

new take on their origins, behaviour and sexuality.

If I’m setting a crime novel in rural Gascony – beloved by Terry Wogan and other Brits – my hero has to loathe

other expats and everything they stand for.

In The Bloody History of Britain I avoid the clichés of history and tell stories from the shadows: how Scotland

invented the concentration camp, the reason the Wars of the Roses were like a football match, and why King John was marginally better than that narcissistic psychopath Richard the Lionheart.

My ghost books are sceptical about ghosts. My paranormal books interrogate the paranormal rather than just

going ‘Woooh!’ Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, it is my pleasure to tamper with accepted ideas and default genre preoccupations. Punk iconoclasm, that’s what we need.

 Zombie-Geoff_MONOThe Guide to Mysterious PerthshirePoltergeist Over Scotland

Why do I write what I do?

I wrote my very first book, The Guide to Mysterious Perthshire, because I was living in Perthshire and it was

something I wanted to read – but there was simply nothing like it on the market. I write non-fiction on the weird and the strange because of a longstanding conviction that the world is weirder and stranger than most people think,

and that some of the data gathered may actually lead, one day, to a paradigm change.

And I write fiction because it is a socially acceptable way to kill people.

Zombie workshop the Arches Glasgow 30 Jan 2012 18-61

How does my writing process work?

I don’t actually have any ideas myself. I pay a subscription to an ideas-generating company based in the Cayman

Islands and they send me ten creative suggestions a month.

 

Who I nominate next…

I now pass the baton to those fine individuals and writers Kirstie Swain and Moore & Reppion. Good luck, chaps.

In which the Author gives a creative writing class…

The third in the ongoing monthly series of creative writing classes here in SW France will take place on Saturday

24 May, at Nogaro in the département of the Gers.

The full-day course will be on the subject of ‘writing the plot’ and is aimed at all writers and novelists, whether

you’re just starting out or have almost finished your novel.

We have people coming from the neighbouring départements of the Landes and Haute-Garonne, as well as from

various other parts of the Gers/Gascony. There are still a few places available.

The details: 10am-4pm with a break for lunch. The fee is €20. To book or to enquire further send me a message

via the electric internet on geoffholder1@mac.com.

I’ve just finished a vampire novel, where you can solve all kinds of plot problems with a bit of biting and

bloodsucking: I’m conscious, however, that this may not entirely work for writers of chicklit or police procedurals,

so I’ll have to rein myself in. Oh well.

WRITING CLASS 3

In which the Author gives a writing class in SW France…

WRITING CLASS 2.1Calling all hopeful novelists living within a reasonable distance of the Gers, SW France (so  that means you,

Landes, Haute-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne and Haute-Pyrénées). On Saturday 12th April I’ve giving another full-day writing class. The previous class was a blast – thanks to all those who came – and by popular demand the next

class will focus on writing fiction, specifically, creating memorable characters.

We’ll be looking at character physique, names, motivation, personality and what I like to call character

archaeology – the effect of the past on the present.

All are welcome, no matter your level or experience of writing fiction.

The class will be in Nogaro, Gers, from 10am-4pm. Cost is only €20. Many of the students from the previous class have already signed up.

To book, email me at geoffholder1@mac.com or call 05 62 09 81 19.

In which the Author gives a Writing Course in France…

On Saturday 8th March I’m giving a full-day writing course in Nogaro, a town in the southwestern French

department of the Gers, in the Midi-Pyrenees Region. It’s aimed at English-speakers who want to write either

fiction (novels, short stories) or non-fiction. The cost is €20. If you live in SW France and you see yourself writing a novel or a work of non-fiction, this is for you.

Here’s the details:

The day will cover: Being a writer – writing fiction – writing non-fiction – tips towards publication

       **No previous writing experience necessary**

The course will be in English only.

                             Venue: Communauté de Communes du Bas-Armagnac,

77 Rue Nationale, NOGARO (behind the Tourist Office).

10am-4pm. Fee: 20€

Places are limited – please book early. Free parking nearby. Tea & coffee provided. Wheelchair accessible. Cafés and boulangeries nearby for lunch.

To book, please call 06 48 00 03 06/05 62 09 81 19 or email geoffholder1@mac.com.

In which the Author rants about French driving in The Local…

Like many ex-pats living in France, I am often amazed at the inattentive and selfish driving seen on the roads on a daily basis. I’ve now focused my road rage into a snarky article for the English-language publication

The Local in France. My own version of Le Highway Code for the French  – everything from how to run a

wheelchair user off the road to a philosophical digression on the invisibility of zebra crossings, complete with a

Napoleonic subtext – can be found here.

The Local

 

Thanks to Ben McPartland of The Local.

In which the author appears in Le Canard Gascon…

Canard Gascon p
Le Canard Gascon
is a monthly magazine that covers food, culture, business, politics, history and events in this

part of southwest France (Gascony). Edition 54, January-February 2014, has a full page feature on me and my

work, under the title of ‘British Zombies’.

 

Described as ‘Le spécialiste de l’étrange’ (specialist in the strange) who writes about the paranormal, witchcraft,

ghosts and zombies, I am credited with including in my work a ‘certain British humour’ that ‘our neighbours across the Channel practice with such excellence.’ Merci.  The article also claims that the Holder household is ‘a veritable

chaos of books’. Oh, such lies – the other day I managed to find the sofa without having to move more than fifty

volumes. Pfff!

 

You can read the article online (in French, of course) here. My thanks to Monsieur Jean-Louis le Breton, leading

light of Le Canard Gascon.