Jeremy Holden is president and chief strategy officer of Raleigh-based branding agency Clean, but he’s also an accomplished author, speaker and adjunct professor at UNC Chapel Hill. Holden recently published Halo of Power, his third mystery novel. It’s the latest in a series centered around character Mal Thomas, who Holden describes as “an advertising executive who has had a successful career on both sides of the Atlantic, and he is seemingly looking for a quiet life with his wife in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
According to a news release, Halo of Power “poses crucial questions about the powerful unseen forces that act as puppet masters behind our political leaders, the scourge of human trafficking, and the rise of nationalism and its assault on democracies and organized religion.”
On Thursday, March 28, Holden is holding a launch event for the new book at Quail Ridge Books at Raleigh’s North Hills. Proceeds will benefit the Holt Brothers Foundation, which provides support to children who have a parent with cancer. More details here.
Holden answers a few questions about his new book and his writing process.
Who was the inspiration for the character Mal Thomas?
Mal isn’t based on one individual but has traits of many interesting people I’ve worked with in my career, both here in the U.S. as well as in the U.K. Of course, Mal also has some of my personal traits, but I consider him more reflective of my “outer monologue.” Del Bishop, Mal’s irreverent Aussie business partner, is more reflective of my “inner monologue,” I’m a little embarrassed to admit!
Who would most enjoy reading this book or series?
I think that if you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, especially those with supernatural or spiritual themes, you’ll enjoy Halo of Power, as well as the entire Mal Thomas series. Of course, if you have a foot in the communications industry and are interested in social-media-driven mass persuasion, you’ll find added enjoyment in the books, I hope. Overall, I’ve tried to write the books to be easy and accessible for most people to read and enjoy.
How do you find time to run a thriving advertising agency and write mystery novels?
I spend a lot of time thinking about each book before I attempt to write anything. On average, I’ll spend a year working through a narrative in my head before I commit anything to paper. When I am finally ready to write, it’s a fairly rapid process of only five to six weeks. I will say that, during the actual writing period, I don’t sleep a lot, and my clients and co-workers probably don’t get my fullest attention. Fortunately, I have my wife and business partner, [Clean CEO Natalie Perkins], to cover for me!
Why did you choose the Holt Brothers Foundation for this benefit?
At Clean, we’ve had a long association with Torry and Terrence [Holt]. And we are huge supporters of the amazing work they do through their foundation for families dealing with cancer and within the Triangle community overall.