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Planet Comicon, Kansas City Schedule :: Holly Messinger

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Holly Messinger

Author of The Curse of Jacob Tracy

Holly Messinger is best known to Planet Comicon fans as a costume designer, but now she is making her debut as an author. Her first novel, The Curse of Jacob Tracy (St. Martin’s Press), is a historical western with a supernatural slant, about a cowboy who sees ghosts. It has gotten starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, and was recently optioned for television development by ITV.

News about Holly Messinger

In an interview introduction, John DeNardo at SFSignal says of Messinger:

Holly Messinger’s debut novel, The Curse of Jacob Tracy, is a riveting weird western, featuring a pair of hands-on wilderness guides in the old west. Jacob Tracy (Trace) and John Bosley (Boz) tend to find trouble wherever they go, no thanks to Trace’s ability to see ghosts. Trace tries to avoid the ghosts (who wouldn’t?) but is forced to confront his unwanted ability when the wealthy and reclusive Sabine Fairweather hires Trace and Boz to perform odd jobs. Although Trace hopes that Ms. Fairweather’s knowledge of the spirit world will help him stop seeing ghosts, he comes to realize that his powers might be put to good use. Or, it could be that Miss Fairweathers’ intentions are much more sinister. (Hint: they are.)

The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly MessingerThe Qwillery asked Messinger what inspired her to write The Curse of Jacob Tracy and what appealed to her in the genre:

In the most cynical analysis, you might say Westerns and Horror are an obvious fit, because Horror stories are all about fear of the Other, and Westerns are all about the Other being conquered by the Norm. It’s not a coincidence that both the western and horror genres are outgrowths of the 19th century, with its legacy of colonialism, genocide, and paternalism. And it’s not surprising, given that context, that both westerns and horror are fraught with racist, misogynistic tropes.

I never set out to write a “revisionist western,” but I did want to get away from the clichés. […] Rather than have the monster be a thinly veiled metaphor for some foreigner, I was thinking in terms of the monsters being very intimate: Trace’s religion, the color of Boz’s skin, Miss Fairweather’s illness. Of course there are examples of “imported” monsters, as well, like the Chinese “vampires” but I tried to always twist those tropes, as a dual symbol of cultural appropriation, and adaptation of immigrants to the new life they found in America.

That was the challenge and satisfaction of these stories; vivisecting the tropes until they screamed.

More about Holly Messigner

Twitter: @hollymessinger

2:00 pm

WHAT MAKES A GREAT VILLAIN? :: Room 2503 (Lower Level)
Quincy J Allen, Holly Messinger, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Dayton Ward
Friday May 20, 2016 :: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

12:00 pm

Ming Chen, Holly Messinger, Nerd For A Living, Freddie Williams II
Saturday May 21, 2016 :: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm