Double Trouble Author Interview: Nancy Holder & Alan Philipson

Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups, edited by Jonathan Maberry & Keith R.A. DeCandido, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, is now funding on Kickstarter. The anthology features more than a dozen great tie-in writers teaming classic characters up. We’ve already done interviews with Rigel Ailur (teaming Annie Oakley with Marian of Sherwood), Greg Cox (mashing up The Brain that Wouldn’t Die with Night of the Living Dead), and James Reasoner (pairing G-Man Dan Fowler with Stinger Seave). Not to mention Ben H. Rome, who is putting three figures from mythology together: the Egyptian cat god Bastet, the Norse wolf Fenrir, and the Central American winged-serpent god Quetzalcoatl!

Here’s an interview with Nancy Holder & Alan Philipson, who are pairing the first-ever occult detective, created by Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard for Pearson’s Magazine in the 1880s with Philipson’s creation, Mezzanotte, who debuted in the story “War Against the Mafia” in Dracula Unfanged.

Nancy Holder is a New York Times best-selling author. She received the Faust Grand Master Lifetime Achievement Award from the IAMTW in 2020. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association in 2022. Alan Philipson has written 135 novels under his and house names. He has been a professional editor for over thirty years. They are currently writing noir graphic novels and fiction for Moonstone Books and IFWG/IPI Comics as a team.

What led you to choose the characters you’re using for your Double Trouble story?

We had planned to use a different character, Dr. Hesselius, who was a creation of the wonderful Irish ghost story writer, Sheridan Le Fanu, who was touted as “the first occult detective in fiction.” But we realized that he wasn’t, really. Flaxman Low is the real deal, and we had a blast with him. 

We picked Alan’s creation Mezzanotte because we thought pairing the two together would give us a lot of opportunities for “a real creeper.” Mezzanotte is an ambiguous monster, not-quite a vampire but not-quite-not. He’s not like Blade or anyone else we’ve read. So it was a chance to stretch our fangs….

What do you enjoy most about writing tie-in fiction?

In the case of Flaxman Low, we wanted to bring a great character back to the reading public. The stories about him are really fun and spooky. We think he should have another chance at life as a literary character. 

What’s your favorite licensed universe that you’ve written in during your career as a tie-in writer?

For Nancy, it’s gotta be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For Alan, it’s Deathlands.

What do you have that’s now out or coming out soon?

We’re in the Kolchak 50th Anniversary project coming from Moonstone books. We’re totally jazzed about it! 

Follow Nancy online (and Alan will see anything posted there):