'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 27 December 2016

12 Curly Questions with author Fred Holmes

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I always wanted to be an astronaut. I even applied to NASA, but was told I didn’t have the 'right stuff'. My problem was that I didn’t have a science or pilot background. Bummer! However, I made up for it by doing several films with NASA and got to know and work with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. I also got to attend two shuttle launches (amazing).

2. What is your nickname? 
The only nickname I ever had was Fast Freddy, given to me by my football coach in middle school, and so named because I was quick on my feet. I had to be. I was an undersized running back and if those big linemen ever caught me, I was dead.

3. What is your greatest fear?
Heights, which is weird because I once directed a TV movie called The Climb. It was about a mountain-climbing school and I spent three weeks suspended on the side of a 1200-foot cliff. My toes are still curled in a permanent fright-locked position.

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Relaxed, unpredictable, conversational, humorous, fast paced, quirky, a tad sarcastic.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Kind, witty, empathetic, encouraging, happy.

6. What book character would you be, and why? 
Luna (Loony) Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. Yes, I know, wrong gender, but she is one of my all-time favourite characters. I love that she marched to her own drum and (as JK Rowling put it) “would believe 10 impossible things before breakfast”.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
2014, the year my mother died, so I could tell her I love her one more time.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
Dang, I was hoping for an improvement!

9. Who is your greatest influence?
As a writer, Ray Bradbury. His novel, Dandelion Wine, is my favourite book. And the weird thing is, I don’t know why. It was written about a time I didn’t live through and about a place I’ve never been. And, yet, it touched my heart like no other book. A part of its appeal (for me at least) is Ray’s use of language. His words are as close to poetry as one can get. And his writing style is very fluid.

10. What/who made you start writing?
I started writing because I had to. I had all of these thoughts and feelings and ideas bottled up inside me and I had to let them out. I also love the immortality of writing. Hopefully, long after I’m gone, people will still be reading my words and, through them, we will connect. That’s one of the aspects of books that I love. I love stepping into other people’s lives for a while and getting to know them. Is it egotistical to think others care about what I’ve written? Perhaps so, but I don’t think that way about other writers. I just appreciate their willingness to put themselves out there.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Hope, because we all hope for so many things — health, happiness, peace, love. Hope is what gets us out of bed each morning.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury. Interestingly enough, years ago a friend of mine, Jerry Molen, was telling me about working with Ray on a film and I told Jerry how I adored Dandelion Wine. I went on and on and on, so the next morning, when I showed up in Jerry’s office, he handed me a copy of Dandelion Wine, autographed by Ray. Ray had drawn a picture of a dandelion on the inside of the front cover and had written, 'Fred, this dandelion is for you'. To this day, it remains one of my most prized possessions.

The Ugly Teapot is Fred Holmes' first novel and the first book in a new series. Known primarily as a writer/director of television shows, he has been nominated for five Emmy awards and won twice. He has also directed three feature films, including Dakota, (starring Lou Diamond Phillips) for Miramax; Harley, for Lionsgate; and Heart Land, a Bollywood feature film that he directed in India. Find out more at www.flholmes.com. Fred's book is available at www.amazon.com.