Skip to content

Interview with John Holt

Hello, John – please tell us a little about yourself …

I am a retired Chartered Surveyor. I live in Essex, in the UK, with my wife, and daughter.
I came into writing novels quite late in life. I had always wanted to write but could never think of a decent plot. In 2005 we went for a holiday in Austria. We stayed in a place called Grundlsee. This was the first of three lakes. The next lake, Toplitz, was used by the Germans during the war to test torpedoes, and missiles. As the war came to an end many items were hidden in the lake, including millions of counterfeit pounds, and dollars. There was also jewellery, weapons, and documents. There were rumours that gold bullion was also placed in to the lake. Several searches were made, but no gold was discovered. In my first novel, The Kammersee Affair (available on Amazon), gold is found, only in the third lake, Kammersee.

How many books have you written?

My lastest was made available towards the end of March.  That was my fifth book.  However, two of my earlier books are to be re-published shortly.

Briefly, give us the lowdown on what they’re about, including genre and titles.

My first book, “The Kammersee Affair” is currently un-available, but it will be re-issued shortly.  It is a story about the search for Nazi Gold.  But it is also the story of two men, an American GI, and an SS Major.  It is the story of blackmail, murder, and revenge.

The other four books – “The Mackenzie File”; “The Marinski Affair”; “Epidemic” and “A Killing In The City” are all private detective novels.

Where can we find your book/s?

As I said two of the books – “Kammersee” and “The Mackenzie File” – are currently not available. The others are available on and

“A Killing In The City”







“The Marinski Affair”




What or who is the driving force behind your creativity?

No one except lil’ old me I suppose.

How do you feel about e-publishing compared to traditional publishing?

I was always very anti ebooks.  I much prefer a real proper book.  One you can touch, and smell.  But I’m gradually coming round to the benefits and advantages of ebooks.  Certainly ebooks are much cheaper than a paperback, and if the book disappoints then you don’t feel so bad about the expense.

What’s your all-time favourite read?

“A Tale of Two Cities” without question.

Do you draw from personal experience when writing, such as situations and settings?

I write about people being murdered, corrupt villains, not something taht I would expect to come across in my everyday living.  So, no it’s all imagination.

Are the characters in your books based on real-world people (you don’t need to name names!)?

No there’s no real people in my books.  There are, of course, characteristics taken from people all around, but no one in particular.  Names are taken from old school friends, people I used to work with.  But it’s only the names, nothing else.

If you could morph into any animal, what would it be, and why?

A Lion perhaps.  Why?  Because if you’ve any sense you don’t mess with a lion.

Have you attended any writing classes or workshops? If so, which ones?

Short answer No.  I learnt to read and write at school.  That’s more years ago than I care to think.  Why would I need writing classes, or workshops?  To learn how to write how others think I should write, perhaps.  No thanks.  I write my way, for me.  Hopefully others like my style, but whatever happens it will be MY style.

What’s your overall impression of self-publishing?

If nothing else I’m a realist.  I would be most fortunate if a mainstream publisher decide to publish my works.  Not being a celebrity chef, or a TV gardener, or a Top Gear presenter, the chances of being snapped up by Harper Collins, or such like, is most unlikely.  My first four books were published by a so-called Vanity Publisher.  In other words I paid for the privilege.  I thought that was pretty good, at least my books were in print.  It seems to me that for authors like me self-publishing is the way forward, the only way.

Where’s your favourite place in the world, and why?

My all time favourite place would have to be the Austrian Lakes – magnificent scenery, clean fresh air, friendly people, good food. What else do you need.

How do you handle negative feedback from readers?

If it’s genuine and possibly has some grain of truth in it then I will take it on board for the future.  But quite often the negative comments can be nasty, vicious, and unfair.  That annoys me more than I can say. But in truth there is nothing you can do about it so I just think of the number of positive comments I have received, and then don’t feel quite so bad.

If you could sit down with any author and have a chat, who would it be, and why?

Probably Charles Dickens.  A real author in my view.  Without word processors or typewriters how on earth did he (and others of course) write so prolifically.  His stories were social comment and still popular today as they ever were.  Will the likes of Dan Brown and J K Rowling be remembered in two hundred years time?  I think not.

Do you use social networking such as Facebook and/or Twitter, and if so, how do you find it?

I’m not really into social networking.  It’s a technology that seems to have passed me by.  Having said that I do use Twitter, although I don’t think I use it correctly, or to its full potential.

How do you market yourself and your book/s?

The competition is absolutely staggering.  Everyone wants to be an author and every month 20000 (I think) new books are published worldwide every month.  Marketing is extremely difficult.  Apart from Twitter I give out business cards showing details of one of my books.  If I see people coming out of Waterstones, or WH Smith, I’ll approach them and hand out a business card.  I have stickers which I attach to any letters that I send out, including payments to teh electricity company.  I have electronic stickers that I add to emails.  Then there are book markers and publicity leaflets that I hand out whenever and wherever I can, including hospital waiting rooms.  Any other ideas would be gratefully received.

If you owned your own planet and the laws of physics didn’t apply, how would you have it?

Certainly it would be a green planet.  There would be no wars, no animal cruelty, no child abuse, no need for charities.  Oh, and no need of corrupt politicians.

If you could sum yourself up in one word, what would it be?


What does the future hold for you and your writing?

Well that’s difficult.  I don’t expect to be producing a million seller anytime soon.  I doubt that Speilberg will be banging on my door demanding to purchase the film rights of one of my blockbusters.  But I do enjoy writing.  I currently have four on the go, at one stage or another.  So I shall carry on writing and continue to hope that my works are enjoyed.

Lennon or McCartney or neither, and why?

Neither I suppose.  Back in the early sixties I used to go to a jazz club in London and saw the Rolling Stones (before they became famous).  At that time I was very much into Negro Blues, and the Stones was, to me, the greatest White Blues band around.

If you were stranded on a desert island, and needed to burn books for kindling in order to survive, which of these would go into the flames first – The Bible, Catcher in the Rye or War and Peace?

It would not be The Bible, because that is my guide, the standards by which to live.  It would have to be War and Peace.  Firstly because I personal found it to be utterly boring, and drawn out.  But more importantly, it is by far the thickest volume and would, therefore, last longer for burning.


Thank you, John, for your your Interview responses!
Please support our Indie Authors by checking out John’s work.