Holly Black is the bestselling author of contemporary fantasy novels for teens and children. Holly collaborated with her long-time friend, Caldecott award winning artist, Tony DiTerlizzi, to create the bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles. The first two books, The Field Guide and The Seeing Stone were released together in 2003 by Simon & Schuster, with the next three, Lucinda’s Secret (2003), The Ironwood Tree (2004) and The Wrath of Mulgarath (2004), following in rapid succession. The Spiderwick Chronicles were adapted into a film by Paramount Pictures in conjunction with Nickelodeon Films. Holly kindly spoke to Fantasy Book Review’s Joshua S Hill in June 2010.

Holly Black biography/bibliography

Give us a brief description of yourself (who you are, where you’re from, what you do if you’re not writing full time).

I’m from New Jersey, by the ocean. Now I live in Western Massachusetts with my husband Theo in a house with a hairless cat and a secret library.

Have you been a fantasy fan all your life? Do you read outside the genre? (I know you mention on your site some recommended reading, so feel free to point to that. But I’m hoping to just get the ones you love the most, are most attached too, etc.)

a) Who are your favourite authors in fantasy and outside of fantasy?

b) Who are those writers that have inspired and pushed you?

I have been a fantasy fan my whole life. I read outside of the genre (lately, a lot of noir), but it’s still the place I always come back to for the stuff I love the most.

I think my earliest influences were probably Tanith Lee, Ellen Kushner and Michael Moorcock. I loved high fantasy exclusively for many years. It was discovering Terri Windling, Charles de Lint, Emma Bull and Neil Gaiman that led me to realize that what I really wanted to write was contemporary fantasy.



Source: RJ Carter at

The vampire genre is in full blossom these days, and for a number of years the trailblazer for the market has been Laurell K. Hamilton, whose Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels have consistently dominated the sales charts. With her latest adventure, Bullet, releasing this week, and preparing to jet off on a nationwide book tour, the St. Louis author spared a few moments to give us her insights on vampires and their fans, as well as a few tidbits about Anita Blake’s ever-changing world.

By definition, vampires are monsters who drink human blood. In your opinion as an author of vampire stories, what makes the vampire the object of romance to so many?

I think it goes all the way back to Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Sheridan Farnu’s Carmilla. Back in the Victorian era, you couldn’t talk about actual sex in a book without it being pornographic, so the bite of the vampire was a substitute for actual sex.

So it starts there. For the modern reader, why is the vampire such a draw for romance? I was a little puzzled with that at first, even though I do write this. I think, in talking to readers across the country, it seems that vampires are the new Prince Charming. Vampires are handsome, they’re good in bed, they seem to have money and access to things you couldn’t get if you were any normal human being, and they seem to come and sweep you off your feet in a lot of the books. They are the new Prince Charming — who just happens to be dead and never ages, and just happens to drink blood and can’t go out in the daylight for the most part.


Linda E. Bushyager’s fantasy duology back into print


Fantastic Books is bringing Linda E. Bushyager’s two fantasy novels back into print. Both novels stand alone, but are set in the same world.

In Master of Hawks, “the young man they called Hawk had always been a loner, seeking solace in the company of the hawks, eagles, and other birds that he could telepathically sense and control. When the forces of the Tarel Empire marched on the Kingdom of York, Hawk willingly became a scout, seeing the countryside through the eyes of his birds. But he didn’t realize he’d soon be thrust into the center of action, as a series of increasingly perilous adventures pitted him against another bird-telepath, soldiers, and deadly sorcerers. The key to York’s survival was an alliance with the Sylvan—forest dwellers with powers of their own. To win their friendship, Hawk found himself teamed with a beautiful, mysterious young woman and sent on a dangerous mission, where not only their survival, but the outcome of the war would depend on his avian mastery.”

Don D’Ammassa calls it “A fast-moving, entertaining story… written in a crisp, clear prose style that is all too rare in most fantasy fiction.”




Despite rain, volcano eruptions, economic uncertainty and Elizabeth Gilbert’s non-appearance, Chip Rolley’s first year as artistic director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival was a huge success.

As I reported during the week, box-office takings were 50 per cent higher than last year (at the bottom of the financial crisis) and 30 per cent higher than the previous record in 2008. While total attendance figures are still being gathered from scattered venues, full houses for William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives performance with Indian musicians at the Opera House and six events at the Sydney Town Hall, as well as the bustling Walsh Bay precinct, suggest a healthy result.


What do you think of this author news? I happened to catch the last day of the Sydney Writer’s Festival – and it was spectacularly awesome. My only complaint? A lot of authors I wanted to see were speaking at different locations at the same time! I really needed a cloning machine.

Join us in the forum to discuss!