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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Thommy Hutson on his new novel “WRITE CHRISTMAS”

Friday, December 23, 2022 | Books, Interviews


From Hallmark screenplays to films including Truth or Dare and Animal (and even Scooby-Doo!) and the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy: The Making of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, author and screenwriter Thommy Hutson is known for blending the holidays and horror. Recently, Hutson took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with RUE MORGUE and share more about his new dark holiday fantasy, Write Christmas. 

You have such an interesting background, writing everything from sweet romance to horror nonfiction. How do you balance writing horror with the holidays – what appeal do these two very different genres hold for you as a creator? 

Author and screenwriter Thommy Hutson.

I have always been a fan of horror stories, and Christmas is my favorite holiday. I adore A Christmas Carol. It’s a tale that has heroes and villains and ghosts and death and the fear of realizing if we don’t understand who we are (and who we can and should be), that lack of self-awareness may destroy us. It’s scary stuff – and heavy for Christmas – but that’s what makes it so special and effective. It touches readers deep down. 

As a writer, I look at how Christmas appeals to people in so many different ways—just like the horror genre does. So it felt natural to combine them and find a way to tap into what the holiday means and why it has such an effect (positive or negative) on so many. I also believe that looking at stories, no matter the genre, through the lens of character allows one to write almost anything. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean it can’t be scary, thrilling or even a little sad. And just because something is horror doesn’t preclude it from taking place at “the most wonderful time of the year,” as we have seen many, many times. In fact, the combination of Christmas and horror almost feels more immediately compelling and fantastical. It’s why I wanted to craft something that pulls at the heart of the holiday but still has a hint of darkness. 

Your newest novel is Write Christmas, billed as a contemporary, holiday fantasy with a new twist on A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life. Can you tell us what it’s about? 

Write Christmas is about what happens when a woman loses her belief in what the (Christmas) holiday was and can be, both for herself and everyone around her. She is myopic in thinking that because of tragedy occurring during the holiday, that if she ignores Christmas and what it meant for her and her family, somehow everything will be okay. In fact, by abandoning the holiday she once loved the most, she has done the opposite: When Christmas disappears, she sees that everything and everyone has changed for the worst. It becomes clear she must embrace the things she was running from and bring back the spirit and magic of the holiday – or her family, friends and the town will never be the same. 

It’s a story about redemption as much as it is about understanding why people are the way they are – that running from the past and thinking that will solve everything is the ghost that can follow you forever. I wanted to create something that hints at the idea that it’s never too late to put a little holiday in your heart … even when there are people who’d rather see your hopes and dreams destroyed. 

Based on that description, Write Christmas sounds like it takes Dickensian holiday hauntings and puts them through a modern lens! Why do you think readers need a little bit of a chill during the holidays? 

Christmas is billed as the most wonderful time of the year. And it really can be. But to quote “Darkness” from Legend, “What is light without dark?” The Christmas holiday is a time for joy and light and love, but to truly appreciate those things, you must understand that a hint of darkness may be just around the corner. Maybe the shadows on the wall in between the red and green glow of Christmas lights have an agenda all their own. It’s fun to look at something we think we all know and turn it on its ear, and that’s why horror and darker stories at Christmas are so effective. The juxtaposition of anything other than perfect and happy at the holidays is striking and a wonderful playground to be on as a writer. 

At the end of the day, it’s understanding that shadows and darkness at Christmas might be coming from within, so it’s about finding our way back to the light, whether that be by ourselves or with friends and family. (Note: a good cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows helps!) 

What are you currently working on? What’s next for Thommy Hutson? 

Currently, I’m wrapping up the sequel to my first novel, Jinxed, which will have a sort of revival in 2023 as the sequel gears up for release. I’m excited to continue that story in bloody, thrilling and fun sequel fashion and have readers wondering who is behind the mask! I’m also wrapping up interviews and gearing up to begin post-production on another multi-hour, behind-the-scenes horror documentary that has been a really fun project so far. Aside from those two projects, I’m writing a story for an upcoming anthology that will allow me to once again combine two things I love – horror and Christmas! It’s a fantastic lineup of authors, and I am proud to be included with them. Lastly, I’m also writing the screenplay for a remake of the classic ’80s horror film Happy Birthday to Me. Having grown up with the film, being able to revisit it in new and exciting ways is both challenging and exciting. Aside from that, lots of reading, watching Christmas movies, horror movies and wrapping presents! 

Write Christmas is now available wherever books are sold!

Lindy Ryan
An award-winning author, editor, professor, and short-film director, Lindy Ryan was recently named one of horror’s six most masterful anthology curators, alongside Ellen Datlow and Christopher Golden, for her work in UNDER HER SKIN, a women-in-horror poetry showcase, and INTO THE FOREST: TALES OF THE BABA YAGA, a forthcoming women-in-horror anthology from Black Spot Books and Blackstone Audio. A 2020 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree and previous board member for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Lindy is a long-time advocate for women-in-horror and an active member of the HWA and ITW. She is the current chair of the Horror Writers Association’s Women in Horror Month. The author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, Lindy’s work has been adapted for film. Her debut horror-thriller novel, BLESS YOUR HEART, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books.