J.T. Holden is the author of three books of rhyming poetry: Alice in Verse: The Lost Rhymes of Wonderland ("A compilation of masterful original poetry" —The Children's Book Review), Twilight Tales: A Collection of Chilling Poems ("Filled with atmospheric rhymes...vivid images and palpable tension" —Foreword Reviews), and O The Dark Things You'll See! ("A delightfully dark sendup to Dr. Seuss's O The Places You'll Go!" —Teen Reader Review).
J.T.'s novels include: The Boys From Manchester ("A richly textured and atmospheric coming-of-age/fantasy tale...hauntingly beautiful and starkly realistic...with an explosive, action-packed finale." —The Midwest Book Review), Three Imaginary Boys ("One of the best Halloween reads I've come across in quite a while" —GoodReads Reviewer), and JB: Or The Unexpected Virtue of Being Swaggy ("This splendid satire is a real page-turner. I couldn't put it down!" —Teen Reader Review).
On his work:
I love coming up with new and different stories to tell. It makes it a little harder (on marketing) when all of your books don't fall into a simple and easily labeled category, but my tastes have always run a bit eclectic (as anyone who has read Twilight Tales can tell you). The one constant, or linking factor, would be that all of my novels center on teenage boys coming-of-age, so there's always a good deal of me in at least one of the main characters. The other constant is that there is never a 'bad guy' in my novels — at least not in the willful or wanton sense. Even the 'villains' in The Boys From Manchester and Three Imaginary Boys are not wholly villainous; each has his or her own demons to contend with, forces beyond their control, or comprehension, that made them the way they are. For me, the villain with no redeeming qualities is like the hero with no flaws: bland and uninteresting.
On superpowers in his books:
I've only written two novels that don't feature any characters with superpowers (both set for release in 2016), and though I'm proud of both, I'd have to say that I prefer writing stories about teens with superpowers. But as anyone who has read my books knows, I strive for a more realistic take on the subject. I grew up on DC comics and still love them to this day, but I'm wise enough to recognize that I do not possess the sort of flare it takes for that style of writing. Instead, I do what I do best: telling stories of teens in the early development of their special powers — which is why there will never be a sequel to The Boys From Manchester. Not because there isn't more to tell, but because I've already told the best part of it. I'll leave it up to the imagination of the readers to decide what happens with Daniel and Brandon and Cody in the future when they're grown up and have realized the full potential of their powers. In experience, the origin story is usually the best, and often the only one worth writing or reading.
On his reviews:
Though I've received extremely positive reviews from Foreword, The Midwest Book Review, and The Children's Book Review, my two favourite reviews came not from professional critics but from regular readers. The first came from an Amazon customer named John whose entire review consisted of three sentences (including the review heading), which beautifully summed up The Boys From Manchester: "Well-written gay superhero story. Innovative storytelling, epic story of super powers, great gay romance. Not what I expected in terms of typical gay fiction."
The second review was for JB and came from Gayle Slagle on Goodreads, a longer review that she summed up with this statement: "The heart of the book lies in the inner battle between JB and his id, Kid Swaggy; it is the classic battle between good and evil that is waged within each of us on a daily basis. This book will make you laugh, make you think, make you feel."
What I love about these two reviews is that they came from readers who didn't just enjoy my books but truly understood what they were about. For a writer there is simply no greater thrill.
On upcoming projects:
I'm working on several projects right now, including the long overdue Bedtime Tales For Naughty Children, The Mog Tails of Stonegate & Newcastle, and The Three Jacks — all books of rhyming poetry. In fiction I'm working on two novels: a coming-of-age story set in Vegas, and a scathing satire/exposé on the real superheroes upon which famous comic book superheroes were based.