Featured Author John Holt

It’s that day of the week again. Featured author of the day today is the great John Holt.

Hello John, the stage is yours. That is to say, after you’ve answered some of my questions. 🙂

Can you give me your best Whoop? Unless you have another one which works better for you?

Not quite sure what you mean with this.  If you mean what gives me a good feeling, then there are many things.  A nice review is one thing.  It’s good to see when someone actually enjoyed what you had written.  Successfully published something also gives me a good feeling.  Even though I’m self-published it still gives me a buzz to see it available on Amazon. I also get a good feeling by the support I get from other authors (many of whom I consider to be friends even though the chances of meeting with them is pretty remote).

Right, sounds like you are on the right track there. Let’s do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Well it’s another of my private detective novels, entitled Epidemic.  It is due for issue on 12 March

Epidemic wraparound

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

This one was the easiest ever, because although it is a murder mystery it all happens whilst a viral Epidemic spreads relentlessly throughout the world.

If you would have to change the genre, what would it be then?

That’s difficult.  I don’t like Horror, I’m not into vampires and zombies, and I wouldn’t know where to start with fantasy.  I suppose it would be action and adventure.  My first book, “The Kammersee Affair” falls into that category.  I am about a third of the way through another in that genre, but I keep putting it to one side because I’m busy writing the crime novels.

Just to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.

What don’t you like about writing, or whatever you need to do marketing wise?

The biggest thing I hate about writing is people telling me my grammar is wrong, or there’s a problem with my sentences; or my dialogue isn’t correct. Or my characters smile too much, or shake their head, or shrug their shoulders.  In real life people don’t always speak 100% correctly, so why should they in a novel. In real life people do shake their heads, or nod, or smile; so why not in a novel. I also hate being told that what I’ve written couldn’t really happen.  It’s fiction for crying out loud, anything is possible in fiction.  It’s not possible that a guy wearing his underpants on the outside, and who has x-ray vision, could fly, but Superman has done pretty good for his creators.

You know John, I completely agree with you on that one, but unfortunately there are those grammarly folks (I mean, people who insist on proper language in the written word, and tighten things up. So, out with over description.) and us writers just have to comply or risk bad reviews.

But let’s not go there right now, okay? Tell me, when your muse is visiting and you’re on a roll, what would seriously drive her/him away?

I don’t actually have a muse, or a lucky charm, or any other similar inspirational item.  Like many others I suspect I struggle for hours trying to find some kind of inspiration. What should happen next? What should my characters do or say? When I get like that I just leave it to one side.  At present I have four novels in progress, all at different stages.  There is an adventure novel (mentioned above) about 30% done; another Tom Kendall (my private detective) approximately 50%; a second Kendall, barely started at about 10%; and a fictional novel about the assassination of Lincoln, also about 50% complete. So if I get stuck on one, maybe I’ll be able to progress one of the others.

Quite often I’ll wake in the middle of the night with a scene, or a whole chapter, buzzing around in my head.  I have to get up and write a quick note, otherwise I know that it will be gone by the morning.

Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?

I have the odd conversation, try to put them on the right track, but sometimes they just take over and before you know it a chunk of novel has been created.

Can you name the food and drink that will surely get you started?

Food has to be chocolate.  Drink? Well I don’t drink alcohol, so I suppose it has to be coffee.  Pretty boring really.

What is it with chocolate? I haven’t spoken to any one single writer who doesn’t crave the brown/black stuff. Myself included.

Would you be able to come up with an excuse on why you haven’t written a whole day, and have me believe it too?

Apart from writing there are many mundane activities that take up my time – shopping for one; helping with the house work for number two; and things like that. Life goes on, and until I am a rich and famous author I’ll have to manage with household staff.  Another little factor at present is my daily visits to hospital for radiotherapy.  There is another six weeks to go on that one.  At least I’m handing out a lot of business cards giving details of my books, so it has benefits, apart from trying to cure me.  I’m also getting ideas for a possible Kendall novel featuring a murder, or murders, in a hospital.

I hope you’ll get well soon and get to write that next one soon.

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Although I enjoy writing I don’t think I would ever want to become a slave to the keyboard.  In fact once Spielberg comes a knockin’ with a huge offer for the film rights of my novels I might consider retiring.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Firstly let me thank you Lucy for featuring me on your blog.

You are very welcome. It has been a pleasure having you John!

I live in Essex with my wife, daughter and cat (sorry no cats or dogs – slip of the tongue). I was a Chartered Surveyor until my retirement a few years ago. I ran my own practice for a little over twenty years. Prior to that I was a Senior Project Manager with the Greater London Council, until it was closed down twenty six years ago.

I came late into writing.  I had always wanted to write a novel, as I’m sure did many others.  What do the say? Something about we all have a novel inside up struggling to get out.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but I certainly wanted to write.  Problem was I could never think of anything that was (a) original; (b) interesting; and (c) that I could make a story out of.

In 2005 we went to Austria, and stayed at Grundlsee, in the lake district. Grundlsee was the first of three lakes.  The second lake, Toplitz, was used by the German Navy to test rockets, and missiles, in the second world war.  As the war came to an end many items were hidden in the lake – weapons; jewellery; counterfeit money.  There were rumours that gold bullion was also placed in the lake.  Extensive searches were carried out after the war, but no gold was ever found.

However, in the first of my books “The Kammersee Affair”, gold was found, only in the third lake Kammersee.  I soon realised that the traditional publishers weren’t interested – I was a sports personality, or an A lister.  A number of publishers were interested though, the only problem was I had to pay for the privilege.  The first of these publishers, Dorrance, thought the story was great and they couldn’t wait to publish.  All I had to do was hand over $10000 (that’s right ten thousand). Needless to say that was a little out of my reach.  Other publishers wanted £2400 (Macauley), £700 (Authorhouse).


Eventually the book was published by Raider Publishing International, in New York.  They went on to publish my subsequent books.  In all they published four novels.  A fifth novel “A Killing In The City” was published in 2012 by Night.  All four novels with Raider are now out of contract. I have also parted from Night.

In August 2012 I set up my own publishing banner “Phoenix”.


Four of my books have been re-issued, and are doing pretty well on Amazon.com.  As I said the fifth book “Epidemic” will be issued on 12 March.

Well, you’ve given us quite an insight in who you are and what drives you to write those great books. Now tell us where to find you and your books.

I am on Facebook and have an Amazon page.

Links to my books.


A Killing In The City

The Marinski Affair

The Kammersee Affair

The Mackenzie Dossier


A Killing In The City

The Marinski Affair

The Kammersee Affair

The Mackenzie Dossier

Again, thank you very much John. I do hope this helps in getting more attention to your books and increases the sales. Good luck and see you around on the book of faces.


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