Monday, 2 May 2016

INTERVIEW: Dwight Holing

Flurries Unlimited (FU) sat down for a one on one chat with award-winning non-fiction and fiction writer, Dwight Holing.  This is what we talked about:

FU:  You've written an amazing number of non-fiction books centered on nature. How did you get started in that?

I grew up in a California beach town with the ocean as my front yard so nature was all around—in the waves I surfed and the kelp forests I snorkeled. I witnessed what happens to fragile ecosystems when rapacious development and unchecked oil drilling are allowed to run amok. This inspired me to take up a career as an environmental journalist. Reporting on natural areas, wildlife, and ecological issues provided a ticket to world adventure and discovery of exotic and endangered places, animals, and indigenous cultures struggling to survive.

FU:  What was the inspiration behind the transition from non-fiction to fiction? Why mysteries?

DH: It’s a surprisingly straight path from nonfiction to fiction. Characters, conflicts, and even humor inhabited the nonfiction subjects I wrote about and I find the natural world a source and inspiration for fiction; it helps keep dialogue and settings real. Place, time, weather—all play an integral role in a narrative’s arc and protagonist’s journey, providing action, motivation, and revelation. Since I’ve always been drawn to stories where the defenseless are at the mercy of the powerful and corrupt, writing a mystery series featuring a con artist who takes on the bad guys provides a creative vehicle that can carry my readers on a fast and rollicking ride.

FU: You've written so many books and stories as well as received many awards. of all of these, which is your favourite and why?

DH: My favorite piece of writing is always what I’m working on right now but there is a short story that provides the strongest memory. It’s called “Gallopers” and is included in my collection, “California Works: Stories.” It won the Arts & Letters Prize for short fiction. The awards ceremony was held at Flannery O’Connor’s home in Georgia, Andalusia Farm, where her spirit is still palpable. Reading my story out loud to an audience there? Priceless.

FU:  They say that every character has some of the author in him/her. Which of your fictional characters is most like you? In what way?

DH:  In my case, the old line of “writing is easy, just open a vein and bleed” is more along the lines of spilling DNA. I hope there is a piece of me in every character I write—heroes and villains, men and women, children and adults—all of their flaws and qualities alike.

FU: So what is on the horizon? What are your new projects? When is your next new release?

DH:  I still juggle multiple projects, no doubt a legacy from my freelance journalist days; I find it keeps me fresh and the creative juices bubbling. Top of the list is my latest installment in the Jack McCoul Caper series, “Baby Blue.” Readers will find Jack, Katie, and Hark up to their necks in a water swindle. A summer release is planned. I’m also working on a new collection of short fiction; some of the pieces are already finding their way into literary journals and online publications. And, finally, I remain active in the nonfiction world, the most recent resulting in the publication of a coffee-table book of photographs and essays on marine protected areas entitled “Our Ocean’s Edge.” Writing, like life, really is full circle.

FU:  Excellent point.  Thank you for chatting with us. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your insights about your writing style Dwight.