Interview: Author ‘Chuck Hogan’ Talks His New Book The Hollow Ones With Guillermo del Toro

Author Chuck Hogan is back with his newest book written with Guillermo del Toro called The Hollow Ones, available in stores now. I was able to send him some questions and below are his answers.

1. Congrats on the new book The Hollow Ones: The Blackwood Tapes Vol. 1! It’s really good. I didn’t read The Strain books but loved the series. How did you and Guillermo originally meet and decide to team up?

We were introduced by my literary agent. Guillermo had an outline for THE STRAIN and had the brilliant idea of marrying the horror genre with the crime procedural genre. We met for breakfast one morning in 2006 and started growing out the story together that very day.

2. As a follow-up to the first question what’s the writing process like with him? Do you get together, drink beers and write?

No beers, but lots of tea, since we generally meet for long breakfasts and bat around ideas of flesh out characters. I’ll be taking notes on all of that, then adding it to our growing document which expands from synopsis to outline to treatment — and suddenly we’re writing chapters.

3. In the new book The Hollow Ones we meet an awesome supernatural character named Hugo Blackwood and learn his backstory. He’s been around for over 400 years. Who came up with this character and with this being Volume 1 and no spoilers but there’s a storyline thread that still needs to be tied up, so I am assuming at least one more book and will FBI Agent Odessa Hardwicke also return? Do you guys have a plan for how many books?

Blackwood and the story of the Hollow Ones were Guillermo’s original idea. From there, we figured out who his companions might be, and then constructed the unorthodox triple time-period structure for the plot. We don’t have a plan, per se, for how many books, but we’ve only revealed maybe 20% of Blackwood’s character, and expect there is more to come.

4. Give a quick overview of what the story is about.

Rookie FBI agent Odessa Hardwick’s career and life are upended when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner when he inexplicably turns violent during an arrest. While awaiting the outcome of the incident inquest, she is assigned to desk work: specifically, to clear out the office of a longretired agent named Earl Solomon. Solomon puts her on the trail of a mysterious figure named Hugo Blackwood, with whom the dying Solomon has been professionally — but unofficially — aligned since his rookie days. Through the self-styled “occult detective” Blackwood — whose story serves timelines in England 1582, the Jim Crow South of 1962, and New Jersey in 2019 — Odessa learns of the existence of the Hollow Ones, nasty creatures who live to possess human victims, jumping from host to host.

5. I loved the movie The Town, which was based on your book Prince Of Thieves, were you happy with how it turned out?

Very happy. I am amazed that it will be ten years old this September, and is finding a new generation of fans now that it has only recently been added to Netflix.

6. You were born in Boston and I was born in Waltham and lived in Natick for most of my life. How often do you get back there and what are some of your favorite things to do in and around the city?

I live here still — in fact I’ve never lived further than 15 miles from Fenway Park — so it is excruciating to see what the pandemic is doing to the city. I miss Red Sox and Celtics games most of all, but every aspect of city life has been lessened here in 2020. And yet, Massachusetts has fared better than most states. Hoping for a better 2021, for sure.

7. Any discussion yet for some sort of TV series or movies for The Hollow Ones?

None. We have a policy of never considering any adaptation of our novels until we’ve completed them. That was true of THE STRAIN and it will hold for the Hugo Blackwood novels.

8. What’s next for you?

As I’ve been working in film and TV, I haven’t published a novel of my own in nearly ten years. That will change late next year with a standalone crime novel that I’m very excited about.

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