Interview with Paul Tremblay & Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Author Interviews: 
Thomas Olde Heuvelt & Paul Tremblay

First let me say a huge thank you to both Thomas and Paul for agreeing to sit down and speak with
Welcome to Vermont Guys!
July 12th 2016

me for a while about their time as writers and their awesome books! I contacted Thomas about two weeks ago asking if he would be willing to sit down and do an interview for the blog, which he agreed to do along with a YouTube interview about Hex, which will be up by Monday July 17th! Thomas was getting a ride up from the Boston area with Paul Tremblay, whom he asked if I wanted to interview as well and I obviously agreed to do. This is the interview that resulted from the author event at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier Vermont on July 12th!

Thomas Olde Heuvelt: "Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

In 2016, Olde Heuvelt's critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book." (

Paul Tremblay: "Paul Tremblay is the author of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK and the award-winning A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones). 

He is the author of the short story collections COMPOSITIONS FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD (Prime) and IN THE MEAN TIME (Chizine Publications). His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous year's best anthologies. He is the co-editor of four anthologies including CREATURES: Thirty Years of Monster Stories (with John Langan). Paul is a member of the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, has a master's degree in Mathematics, and has no uvula. You can find him online at

Paul is very truthful and declarative in his bios. He once gained three inches of height in a single twelve hour period, and he does not have a uvula. His second toe is longer than his big toe, and yes, on both feet. He has a master’s degree in mathematics, teaches AP Calculus, and once made twenty-seven three pointers in a row. He enjoys reading The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher aloud in a faux-British accent to his two children. He is also reading this bio aloud, now, with the same accent. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts and he is represented by Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management."(


Me: "When did you guys start writing and where do you guys look for your ideas?"

Thomas: "I started writing when I was a kid I was really young, um I think I was twelve, no I was seven." " I never completed anything when I was a kid, but I had a whole idea in my head for a whole novel. And then some kid would ring the bell and ask me to play soccer outside and I forgot about the story, that is how it always went."

Paul: " I was much older, I didn't start writing until I was twenty three."

Me: "Thomas, with Hex being your first English novel, was it the first one you ever wrote, or did you have stuff that you wrote before that was not published at least in English?"

Thomas: "It's actually my first book over here in America, but it is my fifth book in the Netherlands. So my first book was published when I was eighteen, and so it has been a while, it is not my first."

Me: "When you guys are looking for ideas, do they just come to you? Or do you get them from legends,or TV shows or movies."

Paul: "For me maybe a little bit of both, but definitely I get inspiration from movies, books, TV, I take ideas from anything. I try to treat writing as being like a Magpie, always building a nest always picking at different things. You know more than a handful of my short stories and novels have titles that come from songs; even A Head Full Of Ghosts that title was basically taken from a Bad Religion's song, My Head is Full of Ghosts (Bad Religion song). I got the bands permission and then quoted them in the epigraph, which is really cool."

Me: Paul"I noticed that some of your novel A Head Full of Ghosts was pulling a lot from the exorcist." 

Paul: "Oh definitely, that book was a conversation or a reaction to the exorcist and a whole bunch of other horror movies and books."
Me: "Do you guys enjoy reading suspense or horror, or do you read outside your genre that you write?" 

Thomas: "It is a bit of both. I definitely read a lot of horror that s what I am entertained by, but I also like reading outside the genre too, you know get your perspective a little wider. I am very fond of books by Jonathan Safran Foer, Yan Martel is one of my favorite authors, so those are more literary guys; but no I love Stephen King, I love Clive Barker, Paul Tremblay."

Paul: " Same. I definitely read a lot of horror, but you know I try to read as widely as possible you know fiction, occasional non-fiction. I think as a writer you have to it is important to know the history of the genre you are working in, but at the same time it is important to read many differing voices."

Me: "When you guys are writing, do you write in a linear fashion or do you jump around?"

Paul: "I work linearly in so far as I go in the order in which I think the book is going to happen. Most of my novels jump around on the timeline, but whatever is the first chapter is where I start. I wish I could jump around, but I can't."

Thomas: "I write extremely linear, I don't dare to write chapter eight if I have not finished chapter seven because I am afraid I will miss things that I can build up from. It is like building a building I guess, I mean you don't start with the roof right. You need the foundation underneath first."

Me: "What are some of your favorite books, and or movies that may have inspired your writing over the years?"

Thomas: "Well the book that inspired me when I was eleven years old was Stephen King's Pet Cemetery I was way to young for that and it was by far his darkest book, and I guess it set the track for what I was going to do later on. Before that even Roald Dahl's The Witches it was turned into a great children's movie back in the 1990's Angelica Hudson as the Witch and the moment she grabs the mask and pulls it off her face and reveals the hideous witch face underneath, that traumatized me. Made me very afraid of women for a long time."

Paul: "Okay, I am not gonna touch that. Joyce Carol Oates Where Are You Going Where Have You Been? its a short story, and Stephen King's The Stand were really the two stories and books that turned me into a reader. I didn't really start writing until I was twenty three, I was actually at The University of Vermont struggling to get my masters in Math, at the same time I inexplicably fell in love with reading. The movie that scarred me the most was Jaws, I still cannot watch SPOILER getting bit in half, but it remains one of my favorite moves I have watched it over fifty times. Every time I watch it I still cover my eyes at that moment or change the channel, that includes watching it on July 4th which was not even two weeks ago."

Some bantering about Joyce Carol Oates and how amazing she is as a writer...

Paul: "I think all authors are just Joyce Carol Oates we just put different names on them. I gave away the secret, sorry Joyce."

Me: "Do you have any vivid memories from touring, or fan reactions when they first meet you guys?"

Thomas: "Definitely, the best reaction I get on Hex all the time is that people email me or Tweet me or actually come to me when I am on tour and they tell me 'You Bastard, I had to sleep with the lights on' I am normally like 'Yeah, it worked!'. But that is what I like best. The other reaction I get a lot in the Netherlands where I am from is 'So who is the guy who actually wrote it?' because they never believe that I wrote it because I look so young."

Paul: "I get similar reactions. I feel like we get more feedback online now with the tons of social media. I do get messages telling me how much the book scared them and it is really cool to hear. Last night I got to do one of the coolest readings, with Thomas, Joe Hill, and Kat Howard. Four people I really respect and admire as writers and a woman showed up with a t-shirt that was a mashup of a story of Joe Hill's and my book, which was pretty cool and I wish I had one."

Me: "Thomas, What is your plan for your next book that will be out in English? I do not know if you normally write in Dutch or English, or how you work when writing."

Thomas: "I write in Dutch, at least my first version is in Dutch. I have a terrific translator, she is called Nancy Forest-Flier. I mean I studied the English Language so what I did is like going over translations and adding my voice, which the translator corrects my mistakes because I am not perfect with English. But actually the ending of this book I changed from the Dutch version to the English version, that was the first time I actually wrote fiction in English. It was quite fun, I was so deep into it because of all the edits we were doing together with the translator. So I might actually do it more often because it might make things easier. I am writing a new book now, over halfway through it and I am sure that will be out in America as well."

Me: "Paul, What was your inspiration behind A Head Full Of Ghosts?"

Paul: "For this book I actually feel I got kinda lucky, it was one of those eureka moments that as a writer you hardly ever get. I was actually a hundred pages into another book that I was sorta struggling with so I was looking for as many distractions as possible I was "researching" but really I was just kind of procrastinating. I was reading this book of essays published by Centipede press that was called The Exorcist: Studies in the Night Film they have a series of these books, and there are all these essays about The Exorcist and its political ramifications. There is this wonderful essay describing this journalist who went back to research this supposed real case that inspired the Blady novel and they found out that it was all buck. I put those essays  down and thought that there have been a lot of literary updates of the zombie, werewolf, but never one about the exorcisms; though Hollywood keep pumping the films out but no one did a novel, so I was like how would I do an exorcism book. Right off the bat I had the two sisters and the reality show and I knew what the ending would be, so I gave up on the other book which is kinda hard to do when you are a hundred pages into it, and just dove right into A Head Full Of Ghosts
Me: "Paul, as far as The Disappearance at Devils Rock, what was the inspiration there?"

Paul: "So I didn't have the luxury of sitting around wondering what could my next book be, you know it was contracted so I was frantically looking for an idea. So I started with as a parent what is one of my greatest fears, and you know it is to have a child go missing. I started with that and then one of my favorite places in the world is Borderlands State Park which is ten miles from my house, I hike and bike and walk there, so it is only natural to turn my favorite place into something creepy so those were the two places that I started with."

The End...

I would like to once again thank Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Paul Tremblay for joining me for a quick chat about their awesome books and how they write in general. You guys all should go and check out there books if you are in the mood for something spine tingling and creepy!


Hex Book Trailer!


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