"GOOD TIDINGS AND TRIMMINGS" CHRISTMAS INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, DAMIEN KELLY

Thank you again for donating a book for our 1st annual "Good Tidings & Trimmings" e-book Giveaway! What book or books did you donate, tell us more about them.

The Christmas Gifts is my anthology of short horror stories. They're more macabre than gory; real sting-in-the-tail types of tales. Some are paranormal, others entirely human in their creepiness. There is a 'gift' at the heart of each—sometimes literally, other times just notionally—and the idea of 'giving' and what it really means to us ties all the stories together thematically. As generous as it is meant to be, as selfless, sometimes giving is as much about our selfishness, about our need for reciprocity and our ideas of sacrifice, and it was these impulses I wanted to explore. And I think they're blackly funny as well, which is always a big plus for me.

What is your favorite thing about the holiday season and what does Christmas mean to you?

I was a Scrooge, largely because I was raised by Scrooges, but I eventually married a beautiful woman entirely in love with everything Christmas and that has led to me really looking at what I like or dislike about the holiday and having to embrace all that glitters or comes frosted or mulled. Probably the best part of the holidays now is having my two kids, because the excitement and wonder is infectious, but also the fear and trepidation comes back to you. I'd forgotten just how much Christmas is a time of trial when you're a child, and it's little bits of darkness like this that sowed the first seeds of The Christmas Gifts.

Christmas still means all things joyful to me because my family have so much spirit, but rather than seeing its darker side in the commercialism, I think there are more primal, pagan shadows to the festival that make it a truly rich time for the soul.

What is your favorite holiday memory?

My eldest child's first Christmas was really special, but more for us than him as you might expect. So my favorite holiday was the first one he really knew what was happening, and the morning he came down to the first feat of Santa 'magic' he could get his head around. Father Christmas left a kid-sized motorized car in the living room in direct contradiction to all the laws of physics. The look on my son's face as he boggled this miracle is a picture I'll take to my grave.

Do you still have any of the toys you got when you were a kid?

I was a breaker. Toys came into my hands knowing their time on Earth was limited and they were loved to utter destruction. Which is how I think it should be. I still have lots of the books, which is also telling.

How do you celebrate the holidays?

Traditionally. Ireland is still very religious and we go through the motions for our folks' sakes. Holidays are celebrated at home with large family gatherings and neck deep in all our kids. And meat: we eat all the meat in the world.

Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

He's still a major figure in my life, that's for sure. And I'm heavily involved in empirically substantiating his existence as my kids enter those border years between blind belief and bleak skepticism.

A lot of people get that warm, fuzzy feeling around this time of year, are you one of those people?

I am. I'm quite happy to indulge the tinsel and the schmaltz as well as the deeper symbolism and pagan spiritualism. It's hard not to look forward to a thing if it's making everyone around you smile, regardless of its faults. And I'm a horror fan, so creepy things make me happy too: you've seen The Polar Express, right? That's seriously screwed up.

Have you ever gone caroling or wanted to?

I was a choirboy. I went to Catholic school. I'm Irish. You might as well ask if I've dabbled in breathing or ever wanted to try not setting myself on fire.

If you had a choice of the perfect weather for Christmas would it be cold and snowy, or warm and sunny?

I totally want the sun. We live out in the country and when the snows come in it's like being trapped in Ice Station Alpha. There's a fantastic Australian musician and comedian called Tim Minchin who has a Christmas song called "White wine in the sun" and it's my absolute favorite holiday track ever; funny and poignant and life affirming and heart-breaking. Everyone should discover it and him and get over their issues with Christmas once and for all.

Give us your links! Tell us where to find your books and more information about you!

You can find The Christmas Gifts on Amazon athttp://amzn.to/o3MhAXand there are links to both the paperback and Kindle editions to be found if you follow the links there.

You can also get it from Barnes and Noble, the iBookstore, lulu.com and DriveThruFiction.com in a variety of formats and the links to all of these, plus extra stories, audio readings, a free picture book of snap horror stories and videos from my YouTube channel are all to be found on my own site:http://christmasmacabre.com

A scary Christmas to all, and to all a good fright.

Damien Kelly
damien@christmasmacabre.com


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