Tom Halford on Life, Writing, Mythical Creatures, and Deli Meat
If you are looking for a humorous whodunit, look no further than Deli Meat! It's a weird and wacky Crime Thriller that follows Effie Pitts, a woman who has had more than enough of her husband's nonsense until he goes missing. Pitts becomes obsessed with uncovering the connection between a string of disappearances and the mysterious cult of The Pure White Hand.
Tom Halford is the bestselling author of Deli Meat. I am honored to share a recent interview with the man who penned one of the strangest and most disturbing crime novels in recent memory.
1. What is the first story you remember telling (not necessarily writing)?
We were passing around a flashlight and telling ghost stories in this tight, little room. Each kid was trying to give the biggest scare. I was the last one in the circle, and when I finished, I remember my cousin saying, “Wow, that was a good story.” I was hooked on telling stories from that point on.
2. What was your favorite game to play as a child? If you could play it now with anyone alive, deceased, or fictional, who would be your top picks for opponents or teammates?
We used to play a game called Red Alert in the wintertime. We divided into teams, and the goal was to hit your opponents with snowballs. If you got hit, then you were out. If I could pick anyone to play with now, I’d pick all the kids from the neighbourhood I grew up in. We all have kids of our own and would more likely than not injure ourselves, but it’d be fun to go back and play it again.
3. How many languages do you speak? Which is your favorite?
I speak English. I can read and understand a little French, and I know a little bit of Korean. All three languages are amazing, but my favourite is English. There is so much opportunity for humour and misunderstandings in the English language.
4. Who inspired you to write your debut novel?
That’s a tough one. Probably my older brother, Pete. He used to write when we were younger, and I always thought that was cool. I wrote a lot of the novel with my son in an ergo baby carrier. I would stand at the kitchen counter and write while my daughter had her TV time for an hour. I guess there was some motivation in that as well. I was kind of desperate to get a novel published. It had always been a dream of mine, and I guess they motivated me to realise one of my dreams. When they get older, I want to tell them to stick to their goals, and I wanted to model that for them.
5. You are asked what your least favorite color is knowing that it will forever be erased from existence. Would you give your answer?
Zero hesitation on this one. I would get rid of maroon. Who cares about maroon? Get out of town maroon! You’re not wanted!
6. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Tough one, but I have to go to Star Wars. I like the epic hero tale. I love the lightsaber battles. I’m not knocking Star Trek. It’s just my personal preference.
7. If you were to be gifted a superpower that you had to use continuously for 8 hours every day, what would it be?
My superpower would be to be able to sleep for a solid 8 hours every night. That is all I want. I don’t care about flying or shooting laser beams out of my eyes. I want to sleep properly. That would be amazing!
8. What are your hobbies (besides reading and writing)?
I like playing sports when I have time. I’ve started to get really interested in boxing, so that’s been great in terms of staying fit. My wife and I take our kids hiking whenever we can. There are many great places to go hiking in Newfoundland, so we try to take advantage of the natural beauty.
9. What is your favorite sport to play? To watch?
I love to play soccer. I grew up playing it, and I always enjoyed the game. I also played rugby, and I really enjoyed that, but I don’t think my body could manage a full rugby game at this point. For watching, though, I find it really relaxing to watch an NFL game. I usually fall asleep when a game is on, but it’s still really nice.
10. What is your favorite author/book?
It’s probably either Lynn Coady’s Mean Boy or The Antagonist. Those books have always stayed with me.
11. Have you ever played kubb? Did you have to look it up before answering?
I’ve never played it, and yes, I did need to look it up. It looks like fun, though!
12. The zombie apocalypse will happen in two days. You are fully stocked with food, water, and toilet paper. What is the one thing you will have stocked up on as your guilty pleasure?
I would make sure I had a bunch of beer making kits. That way, I could keep making beer all year round.
13. If you could have authored a book, which one and why?
The Stranger by Albert Camus. It’s the tightest, most literary crime novel ever written. I'm also a big fan of a novel called The Vegetarian by Han Kang. It’s such an incredible mix of magical realism and social commentary.
14. What movie sequel would you erase from history, and why?
Any of the Die Hard movies after the original. They’re all fine, but the first one is so good that I wish they would’ve just left it alone.
15. You won the mythical lottery and are granted the use of a magical creature for one week. What creature would you pick, and why?
100% I would go for the Bigfoot. I love all of the myth and lore around Bigfoot, and I would love to see what one looked like, how it moved, and how it lived. Apparently, there is an extinct ape called Gigantopithecus, which is essentially what the Bigfoot would have looked like, so it’s not farfetched. I don’t think I’d use the Bigfoot for anything. I’d want to hang around it and see what it was like.
16. What is one food you could never bring yourself to eat and why?
Any savoury food concealed in jello. That used to be a thing in Atlantic Canada. Imagine Vienna sausages in lemon jello. It’s disgusting. I can’t eat it!
17. Tell us your favourite "dad joke.”
What is a Vampire’s favourite beer?
18. Cake or pie?
Pie all the way! Pumpkin pie with a cup of coffee for the win!
19. Tell us about your latest book, how long it took to write, where to buy (if I buy it, how will it change my life?).
It’s been about two years now since Deli Meat was published, and it’ll be out of print in December. In many ways, I designed it to be a parody of crime novels. I wanted to emphasise how strange it is that readers get a thrill from watching fictional people get killed one by one. In another way, it’s a critique of consumerism in North America. As a Canadian, I know that so many of us go down and buy products from America, but we also complain about the USA. There’s this incredibly hypocritical relationship that we have with our closest neighbours. You can buy Deli Meat from Amazon. It’ll change your life because it’s the weirdest, grossest novel I could write, and it’ll leave you feeling profoundly disturbed.
20. Do you have a favorite character that you created? Why or why not?
I have a character called Ms. Coriander, who embodies a parody of the Cozy Crime genre. I’m working on a novel where she is one of the main characters. She appears in Deli Meat, and she is a lot of fun in a twisted sort of way.
Tom Halford lives in the beautiful and secluded Corner Brook, Newfoundland. He and his wife have two wonderful kids. Tom is a teacher and writer.
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/tomhalfordnovel
Youtube account: youtube.com/user/CyrilTrout
Deli Meat is available on Amazon in print and on Kindle Unlimited. https://mybook.to/delimeat