A Conversation with Billy Coffey

INSPYs 2016-Billy Coffey

Hello. Today, the Advisory Board welcomes author, Billy Coffey. Billy is the author of novels, The Devil Walks in Mattingly and the upcoming novel There Will Be Stars. His novel, The Curse of Crow Hollow (Thomas Nelson) is on the 2016 shortlist in the Speculative Fiction category.

Join us in welcoming Billy as we chat with him about what inspired The Curse of Crow Hollow, discuss the challenges and benefits of writing speculative fiction, plus he shares what he’s currently binge-watching.

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Book - The Curse of Crow HollowAlvaretta swore at her husband s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves. – Goodreads | Amazon

INSPYs: What inspired you to write The Curse of Crow Hollow?

I grew up with stories about people along the Blue Ridge who, for myriad reasons, had all but left society. They lived alone and cut off in the mountains. Often these stories turned to legend, to the point where an old woman living alone in a hollow could be twisted by rumor and gossip to become a witch up to no good. Those old tales told to me served as the basis of a story about how fear of some generic Other can lead good people to do horrible things.

INSPYs: What are the challenges/benefits of wiring inspirational speculative fiction?

For me the challenge is to keep an air of realism in an unrealistic situation, or at least a highly unlikely one. The great majority of my stories all involve supernatural elements, but I try to keep those things in the background and the real focus on the characters. I’m not so interested in the speculative bit of my books as I am the ordinary people who are thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

The greatest benefit, I think, is linked to those ordinary people. Allowing characters to grow and change leaves open the opportunity for redemption. I’ve always thought a good novel is like a mirror we can hold to ourselves, revealing something we’ve never considered.


  • What are you listening to?

American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash.

  • What are you watching?

I’ve just recently begun re-watching all six seasons of Lost.

  • What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand?

Nightstand Billy Coffey

I’m currently reading Charles Martin’s next novel for endorsement, which is as excellent a story as you would expect. I’m a huge fan of Borges. He’s so impossible to describe and his breadth of knowledge seems almost inhuman. And I never go to bed without reading something by Flannery O’Connor.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Billy. It was great to learn more about The Curse of Crow Hollow and read more about the behind-the-scene happenings in the pursuit of a story.Billy-porch-pic-1024x741


Billy and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity–all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.

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