Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Robert Holt. I write mostly in the horror genre with a style that varies from classical to splatterpunk. I live in St. Louis where I am a grocery store manager when I’m not writing. Writing is kind of a newly rediscovered joy for me. I was writing a ton about five years ago. Then I had a daughter born, and I focused all my attention there. About a year ago, the little angel discovered that not having daddy around could be fun too. So I slinked off back to my computer chair and took out my frustrations on figments of my imagination. She and my wife have both been great though. Both have been very supportive and patient as I make a run at this.
What first inspired you to start writing?
Well, I think while writers are made, storytellers are naturally born. I have always been a storyteller. As a child when the neighborhood kids would all bring out their G.I.Joe and Star Wars toys and we would act out storylines, my storylines were always the most complex and in-depth. And as the other kids began to drift off with new found interest in sports or cars or girls, I stayed sitting on the floor acting out my stories. And those interests of mine were injected into my stories.
At some point during high school, I fell in love with paper writing and would often negotiate my way out of taking tests by writing papers instead. I became a master of bullshitting at a fairly young age. The storytelling seemed to slide right in there. I imagine if I had been asked to make a film before I was asked to write a paper, I would be an aspiring filmmaker today.
And what attracted you to horror?
The fun of it. When I was in high school, I would watch movies with friends like the Evil Dead trilogy and the first few Hellraiser films. While some of my friends would be terrified by the films, I would be rolling on the floor laughing. It was the scary scenes that would humor me the most too. The Shining is the funniest movie I’ve ever seen, partly because I rank it as the scariest also. I have always put myself in the seat of the storyteller (writer or director), and when you see or read a truly scary scene from that perspective, they become funny. You see what they are doing, how they are doing it, the reaction they are going for, and the end result. Let’s face it, scaring people is funny. And if you can do that on a mass scale, then it is hysterical.
What do you bring to the horror genre?
I think that horror is great fun, and that should be reflected to the reader as well. While I believe my stories succeed in scaring people, I also believe that my stories are not the type that leaves scarring imagery in people’s minds. My stories are fun jaunts into a dark world. They may have you looking under the bed at night but they won’t have you feeling sick to your stomach the next time you order the meatloaf, unless you already felt that way about meatloaf.
What was the last book you read?
This might seem odd, but I don’t read a lot of horror. Only about one of every ten books is a genre piece. The last book I read was Brain Bugs: How the Brains Flaws Shape Our Lives by Dean Buonomano. It was a fun book about how evolution has shaped our thought patterns to work in ways that are faulty. Very interesting book. I think before that I read David Sedaris, Kurt Vonnegut, and a biography on Einstein. To get to the last horror book, or horror book that I didn’t have a story included in, you would have to go back to the beginning of the summer when I read a horrible little paperback that I picked up used by an author I had never heard of and will likely never hear again.
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Probably Hitler. An opportunity like this shouldn’t be wasted on hero worship or good times. I would want to come away with a lesson for all humanity. I would want to learn things that could forever shape the world for the better and help to spot pure evil before they have a chance to kill the world. So yeah, it wouldn’t be fun, but I would take that hit.
If it was just for fun, probably Sam Clemens. The guy was just class.
What is your favourite song lyric?
From Rush’s Dreamline
“We are young
Wandering the face of the Earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that we're only immortal
For a limited time”
What are you working on at the moment?
I am actually working on a sci-fi horror right now. The working title is Space Madness. It is a story about a guy that is surgically altered to be able to survive interstellar travel, and his cargo is unaltered and cryogenically frozen people. Let’s just say he goes bonkers there all alone for several years with nobody to talk to but the computers.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
The Murderer at the Cabin was included in the anthology All Hallows Evil. This story is true to my nature, and is equal parts funny and terrifying, or maybe only I find it funny, I don’t know. It is a story about a psychotic axe murderer that shows up to a cabin during a murder mystery dinner theater. Yeah, no, I am pretty sure it was funny. At least most of it was…parts of it…maybe.
Books by Robert Holt