HOLLY PHILLIPS WALKS THE PLANK
Holly Phillips, in the smoky backrooms and internet dives I hang out in, might just be the hottest name in genre fiction, based on reactions to her first short story collection. I hate to deal in hype, but at the same time, having sampled some of Holly's writing, I find it compelling and interesting. Not to mention, Holly's Canadian, which, at this particular period of time, makes her way cool.
Asked not only to walk the plank composed of the Five Questions, but to provide a short bio note and book description, Holly writes:
"Holly Phillips is a Canadian woman who just this year has had to reluctantly concede that she can no longer claim to be in her 'early' thirties." I'm not one of those Canadians who gets all defensive about the virtues of her country, except when in the presence of arrogant Americans who try to take the piss, but I would rather live here than anywhere else. The beer -- believe me -- really is better north of the line. I read manuscripts for On Spec, the Canadian SF magazine, about which I am never defensive, not even when I possibly should be. I read too many of the wrong kind of books, and try very hard to write some of the wrong kind of stories, with occasional success. In the Palace of Repose (Prime Books, 2005) must have a bunch of them, because 6 of the 9 stories are exclusive to the collection. There's just no accounting for taste. I like most of them quite a lot (or at least, I did before proofing the galleys dented my enthusiasm), for in most of them I danced the slipstream fandango. The litrachoor of the fantastic, my dear!
Walking the Plank with the Five Questions
Why should readers pick up your new book as opposed to, say, just about anybody else's book?
Oh...curiosity? Because it's got a pretty cover? Because of the slightly blood-thirsty fascination we all have when watching someone walk a tightrope? The tightrope being, for me, stretched between honest-to-god fantasy on the one hand and literary pretensions on the other. A long fall with many toothy critics at the bottom. Whee!
Does your book have any socially redeeming qualities? If so, what are they?
Lord, no. What book does? Except inasmuch as it's hard to read a book and wreak havoc on one's unsuspecting society at the same time. The moment after one puts the book down might be tricky, though. I'm certainly not going to brainwash anyone into being a saint or a bureaucrat, or even an upstanding citizen. Kick over those traces! Escape the drudgery of the real! Which come to think of it, might actually be a socially redeeming quality. Damn!
Does your book have any medicinal or mental health value to readers?
Only by virtue of contrast. As in: "Hey, my life is actually fairly sane and comfortable compared to those poor slobs'. Who knew?"
Assume your book has been filed under "Ages 8 to 12" in the children's section, perhaps by mistake, perhaps not. How horrified do you imagine a child would be after reading your book, and why? How many years of therapy would the child take to recover from the experience?
I don't know about horrified. What does it take to horrify a child these days? Though I admit, I'm fond of several of the stranger -- okay, creepier -- images in my stories, and would be moderately pleased if they showed up in some innocent child's dreams. Actually, the more I think about it, the better I like it. Mwah-hah-hah! Wake the little buggers up screaming. Parents would love me not so much. I also doubt many parents would thank me for the dubious light I shed on several parent/child relationships, but then, that light gets shed on most relationships sooner or later -- it's called adolescence. How many years of therapy does it take to get over that?
If no one buys your book and you are unable to continue publishing your fiction due to the intense vilification that occurs in the media, what line of work will you go into?
Writing reviews. Either that, or marrying a major league ballplayer. Whichever seems easier and/or more fun at the time.
"We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers -- thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams." Peter S. Beagle