What are you working on right now?
At the moment I'm writing poetry, which I do to give my mind a rest from fiction, and some fantasy stories. I'm participating in Write 1 Sub 1 this year, so I need to write at least a short story or a couple of flash stories each month.
What's your pre-writing ritual?
There has to be a cup of coffee ready for when I start, and I have to know where my fingerless gloves are in case it gets cold. If I'm writing by hand, my notebooks have to be attractive, and at the moment I've got a thing for sunny-coloured inks.
What is one of the most surprising/interesting things you've discovered while doing research for a story?
Some of my stories have involved historical research, which I always find interesting. But the most bizarre thing was when I looked into numbers stations for "The Noise" - the trigger at Kazka Press was the Russian station UZB-76. They broadcast seemingly random things like numbers and strings of words, and are very odd indeed.
Tell me about your favorite story that you've published. What inspired it, and what does it mean to you?
It would probably have to be "The Reflection of Memory", which was published in Writers of the Future Volume 25. Not only was it my first major sale, but two of the characters, Yaphen and Kestrin, had been waiting for years to be written. I don't remember where they came from, but the story came from the moment I realised they actually belonged in the same story. I had Kestrin find a stranger in the snow and waited to see what happened.
You can have lunch with any writer, living or dead. Who would it be, and why?
Probably Tim Powers. I had lunch with him once at Writers of the Future, but I was so overwhelmed and jetlagged that I don't really remember much. Plus he knows where to get the best hamburgers in Hollywood.
What's one of the best novels and/or short stories you've read recently?
The best novel I've read recently is Patricia McKillip's The Bards of Bone Plain. I love the worlds she creates, the language she uses, and the way she doesn't feel the need to explain every little thing. Sometimes things just are, but they always make sense within the rules of the novel.
The best short story was "Blue Lace Agate" by Sarah Monette, at Lightspeed magazine. I loved her previous stories about Jamie Keller and Mick Sharpton at the Bureau of Paranormal Investigation, so to get something new about them was a fantastic surprise.
Writing is a sedentary endeavor. What do you do to stay healthy and active?
I have an office job four days a week, and I try to fit in a walk at lunchtimes if the weather's not too bad. Since we get 260 days of rain a year it's sometimes difficult to fit in.
C.L. Holland is a British fantasy writer and sometimes poet. She was a winner of Writers of the Future in 2008 and her story "The Reflection of Memory" is now available as an eBook. Many of her works can be found online: a full bibliography and links can be found on her website Conversations with Dragons. When she is finally able to give up the day job she intends to dye her hair purple to celebrate.