Crowd of people watching author Jacqueline Holland in the Other Skies Weird Fiction bookstore.

Author Jacqueline Holland Talks Horror, Fear, & Wonder

Thanks to Clothesline Laundromat and West St. Paul Chiropractic for their support.

West Side author Jacqueline Holland appeared at Other Skies Weird Fiction in West St. Paul last night to talk about her new novel, The God of Endings.

“I’m fighting for the restoration of wonder.”

Jacqueline Holland

The event: Local author Tylor James joined Holland and Other Skies owner Josh Hames led the discussion before a standing room-only crowd. Both Holland and James signed books and talked with audience members after the event.

The novel: An NPR reviewer made the early declaration that The God of Endings is one of the best novels of the year. Holland described her debut novel as a “self help book for immortals.” The story is rooted in the very real vampire panic of the 1800s in upstate New York, caused by a tuberculosis outbreak.

The author: Jacqueline Holland holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and lives on the West Side with her partner and two children. “We’re itinerant artists,” Holland said, explaining that they moved to the neighborhood last summer.

The store: Open Skies Weird Fiction specializes in collectible and rare books in the horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres. The store opened last fall and has been recently featured on MPR, Dispatch, and an upcoming Town Square TV story.

Highlights From Author Jacqueline Holland:

  • Monster stories: “The inspiration of the book is the monstrous part of humanity. … The monster trope has a way of dialing up the internal conflicts we all deal with.”
  • Immortality: “I think eternity is quite terrifying… That’s where the book began: What would you do if you lived forever? How would that alter your perception? What would be lost?”
  • Purpose of life: “[The main character] has to realize what life is for … We come to terms with death, she has to come to terms with life. She has to find reasons to live, has to find beauty even if it’s fleeting. You get what you get and you rejoice in it or you waste it.”
  • Literary fiction: “I love realist fiction, but I can’t write it anymore. It’s boring. I need some magic. I need some blood, some fangs, something mysterious.”
  • Why horror: “Death of awe is the horror story I live in. I’m fighting for the restoration of wonder.”
  • Parenthood and horror: “Becoming a mother, I was introduced to a fear I’d never known before. I cared about something like I’d never cared before. I had this little bundle of baby and I was terrified of everything. … A parent is better equipped to write horror.”
  • Myth: The story doesn’t use the word ‘vampire,’ but it wasn’t a hard and fast rule. It was a nod to the reader—”This is not Buffy, think older. I wanted it to feel like the first example of this. I didn’t want it to feel weighed down by all the tropes. I wanted it to be free.”
  • Timing: The story takes place in several different time frames, including the 1800s, the 1980s (“the last moment you could disappear”), and World War II—”She gets to hunt some Nazis, because why the hell not?”
  • Writing challenges: “I struggle with writing normal stuff, like people walking around. … You work harder at the things you’re bad at.”
  • Writing process: “It’s all about what serves the story—’kill your darlings.’ I have a trash heap where I save my darlings. Maybe I’ll use them later.”
  • Writing in the pandemic: “We have gone through a bit of the greatest nihilism the world has experienced. People are needing to find their bearings. What are we doing here? How should we spend our time?”


  • Learn more from Holland in this in-depth interview with the Los Angeles Public Library blog.
  • Read the first chapter of The God of Endings from Nerd Daily.

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