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December 18, 2011

John Connolly on His Best and Worst Gift-Giving Memories

Posted by Katherine

John Connolly is the author of 16 international bestsellers, including his latest, THE BURNING SOUL and THE INFERNALS. He divides his time between Dublin, Ireland and Portland, Maine. Here he talks about some of the best and worst gifts he has ever received for Christmas.

Oddly enough, I find it easier to remember my most disappointing memory of gift-receiving than my happiest, although that may say rather more about me as a person than I might like to admit.  I'd been badgering my parents for years for an Action Man tank: Action Man was our equivalent of GI Joe, and his tank ----well, it was seriously impressive, capable of taking three figures at least, and I wanted it so, so badly.

I can remember going to our sitting room after we got back from church, opening the door, and praying, praying for that tank ...

And there was a tank, only it wasn't an Action Man tank.

In fact, it was so small that one of my figures would have been hard pressed to sit on it, never mind in it, without falling off.

At first, I thought it was some kind of joke, but it wasn't.

This was it.  This was the tank.

In time, though, I grew to love that tank.  It was heavy, and metal, and it fired matchsticks, and it looked very impressive surrounded by plastic toy soldiers.  It wasn't an Action Man tank, but never mind.  It's still on the shelf in my old bedroom.  It survived so many battles in should be in the Smithsonian.

My best memory? Well, a few years ago I wrote a story called ON THE ANATOMIZATION OF AN UNKNOWN MAN . . . for an Amnesty International anthology, and one of my favorite artists, Jim Fitzpatrick, who had designed album covers for Thin Lizzy, among others, liked it so much that he agreed to provide an illustration for it.  Jim doesn't sell many of his original works, but somehow my other half, Jennie, through a combination of charm and a case of champagne, convinced Jim to sell her the piece of artwork he had created for that story, and she gave it to me as Christmas gift.  It has pride of place as I go up the stairs to my office each day, and I suppose I'm so fond of it because I never expected that something I wrote would inspire an artist I admire to create a piece based upon it.

But I guess I love it most of all because I love the person who gave it to me, and, in the end, that's all that matters.

Happy Christmas.