The Writing Life of: Claus Holm
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Claus Holm. Claus will be sharing with us details of his writing life, telling us all about his latest book ‘Tempus Investigations – Season One’, which was released in June 2016, and be answering a few fun questions too.
So, without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Claus
I was born in 1976 in Copenhagen, Denmark. At an early age, I knew stories were my true love. When I was a kid, I would listen to books on tape, and when I grew older and learned to read, I swallowed books with an appetite that was described as “voracious” by our school librarian.
I vividly remember getting lost in fairytales, books on mythology, and – surprisingly fast – every kind of spooky story there was! Much to my parents dismay, because it kept me awake many nights…
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
My earliest memory of an actual dream job is wanting to become an actor. I think I wanted that from when I turned 10 or so.
I started acting in Community Theater and loved it. Because there were so few boys and men who wanted to act in amateur theater, I could literally always expect to have a main part, so I enjoyed the chance to shine.
As time went by, I also began to get annoyed with other actors not knowing their lines or doing the scenes the way I had envisioned them, so I branched into direction as well. I directed my first play at 16, and for years after that mixed it up by sometimes acting and sometimes directing.
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
When I was young, my favorite authors were Danish – Knud Holten, who wrote the “Alex Morningstar” books, and Dennis Jürgensen, a very prolific children and teen author, who amongst many other books published a series of books about famous monsters (Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein, amongst others) living a secret life in a waxmuseum, and befriending a 11 year old boy to help them with various things out in the “real world”.
When I was about 14, I discovered Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and King immediately took first place amongst my favorites. He still holds that spot today.
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I was 15 when I wrote my first story. It was a primitive thing, and so was the second and third. I think I knew when I turned 19 and finished my first “real” story – the novella “Uplink” which was published in Danish in 2015.
For many years I didn’t pursue the dream actively – I just wrote a little here and there, mostly fan-fiction or tiny short stories. In 2012, I lost my job and decided to go all in and create a real book.
4) How did you go about following that dream?
I started writing every day, and joined a small writer’s circle where we would read and comment on each other’s works. That didn’t last long, though – I wrote far too much for them, and they didn’t have the time or desire to read a bunch of stuff from me. So I went solo, and when the book was done, I had it edited and self-published it. That was “Dreams and Awakenings.”
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
I write 1500 words at a time. When I was unemployed, I did that every day, but now it’s only a couple of times a week I have the time to do so.
I usually write after lunch for a couple of hours. If I’m coming down home stretch on a story, sometimes I will also write at night.
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No, but I wish I had, since there’s a famous Danish chef with the same name as me – and his books come up in online searches before mine! I wanted so badly to see my own name on the book that I didn’t consider it back then.
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
I don’t know if you’d call it strange, but I listen to 1950’s music while I write. I have an internet radio tuned to an oldies station and just leave it on.
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
I write on a laptop. I actually used to use a typewriter, but it’s become so much easier for me since I got a computer. I never do longhand – my handwriting is so awful, I can barely read any notes I make.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
I’ve written five books so far. Two of them are short story collections (“Dreams and Awakenings” and “Introduction to Isolation”, the last one only as an eBook), one novella collection (“Between Above and Below”, which will be published in Danish as “De der vogter” in the spring) and two novels (“Uplink” and “Tempus Investigations – Season One”).
As for unpublished works – I’m currently working on a new short story collection, with the working title “Tucson Time Travellers”, and I’m also working on “Tempus Investigations – Season Two”.
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Somewhere in between. I usually have an idea of where the story starts, and maybe one or two things that is supposed to happen in the story somewhere – but it’s very rare that I know everything from start to finish.
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
I’ve not had very many reviews, so yes, I read them all. I fight hard for them.
I did get a very scathing review of “Uplink” by a Danish sci-fi author, and I coped with It by saying “Well – that’s his opinion. And he has the right to have his opinion.”
Publisher – CreateSpace
Pages – 268
Release Date – 23rd June 2016
ISBN-13 – 978-1534876293
Format – ebook, paperback
Jim Corrigan died in 1933… but he returned to life. Now, he can’t die. Through the first season, Jim and his friends matches wits with the supernatural side of San Francisco, making both new friends – and a few enemies.
Tempus Investigations mixes the world of TV and books, making a unique kind of story – a fan fiction so elaborate it needed to create the show itself. In this book, you’ll find the first four episodes, which form Season 1.
If you love shows like Buffy, Angel and Supernatural – tune in for Tempus Investigations!
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
That’s quite a long story. “Tempus Investigations – Season One” started life as a role-playing game between me and some friends. We were all fans of Buffy, Angel and that sort of TV shows, and we decided to create our own TV show in our role-play, combining various aspects and elements of that genre.
So we had Slayers, Highlanders, wizards and were-cats all in a big mix. While we played, we began writing our own fan-fiction about the characters. The campaign went for a couple of years, and then we ended it.
Afterwards, I read some of the fan-fiction stories and I got the idea to re-make the idea so other people could read the stories too. That meant removing all the copyrighted bits and reboot everything from the ground up. So I took several stabs at writing a “pilot” for the new Tempus, and finally I wrote a story called “How Like a Fallen Angel”. I thought it worked really well, and it was originally going to be included as a novella in the book “Between Above and Below” as a sort of test run to see if people liked it.
After finishing the story, I had a couple of other ideas, and I decided to keep the pilot back and write a whole season of stories. So I finished three other stories and combined them all into the book “Tempus Investigations – Season One.” So it’s a whole season arc between two covers.
So the whole process took over ten years, but writing the book itself took about 15 months.
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
Several of the characters were already named from our original stories. My hero, Jim Corrigan, is actually named after an old comic character called “The Spectre” who was also an immortal detective. It was the fanboy in me that wanted to honor one of my favorite characters.
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
Jim Corrigan is an immortal, and he’s been immortal since the 1930’s. Living all the way up through the 20th and now 21st Century has made him sort of cynical, and he’s been afraid of making friends with anyone, since – obviously – he would outlive them. But through the first season, he learns that it’s okay to connect to people again, to make friends and even feel romantic emotions again.
When we meet him on the first page, he’s preoccupied with death and really wants to bring an end to everything, if only he could… but a lot of things happen to change that.
His assistant, Mercedes Perez, is a young, spunky Mexican woman, who becomes Jim’s link to the modern world. She starts working for him as a secretary, but quickly makes herself indispensable and proves that she is capable of much more. What makes her tick is the thrill of helping others, and being a part of something bigger.
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
Actually, none of them were very hard to write. I’ve known these guys so long, that their voices are very clear in my head. If I get stuck somewhere, I just let them talk to each other in dialogue, and eventually, they’ll tell me what should happen 🙂
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
The series was always supposed to me called “Tempus Investigations” (Tempus, for short). But I found out I had to put “Season One” on the front page as well – so people would know that this isn’t your normal novel, but a TV show in book form.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
Sadly, my family and friends rarely read my stuff. This is because I write in English, and my family doesn’t really read English. I do send my stories to various beta readers and have them comment on it, and I have two editors that help me with spelling and grammar.
Some of my friends and family do buy the books when they are published, though. I appreciate that.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
The English ones I’ve published myself – through Amazon’s Createspace imprint. That way, I can do the books the way I want. I’ve got a good friend who does the layout and covers for the books, so he makes them look amazing before we print the book.
The Danish ones have gotten more feedback from the publisher. Here, I actually worked with an professional editor and got feedback to change things she didn’t care for.
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
I press “save”, and then I leave it for a couple of weeks, before I read it through, change a few things and send it off to the editor. I don’t really celebrate nor do any kind of ritual.
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
The next project is “Tucson Time Travellers”. I’ve got several really good short stories done, and I’m going to do a few more before it goes into beta reading. And I have to work on Season Two of Tempus.
1) What’s your favourite food?
Hamburgers, with beef, lettuce and fresh cucumber. No dressing, cheese or onions.
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
Hmm… well, I’m not really a drawing pictures kind of person. I’d probably chose a sky blue, which is my favorite color.
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
The movie I’ve seen the most times is probably “Back to the Future” (I consider it all one movie, even though it’s a trilogy – it’s one continuous story, after all.) It’s pretty much the perfect movie, with a wonderful pacing, humor, and my favorite actor in the lead.
But if it can’t be a trilogy, I would say “Avengers” (or “Avengers Assemble”, if you’re in the UK). That’s probably the best superhero movie ever made.
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
According to my iPod, my most played song is “We built this city” by Starship. Interestingly enough, I’ve always thought of that song as a sort of unofficial Tempus song.
5) If you won millions on the lottery, what would be your first purchase?
A house in Tucson, Arizona – preferably in the north/east part of town. My second would be a plane ticket. It’s my spiritual home, and it would be my dream to live there.
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
“So… we meet at last. But this time, the advantage is mine!” (I can’t take credit for this line, though – it’s from my favorite Gary Larson comic.)
You can find out more about Claus by visiting his website/social media sites below.