During the 1950s, the notion of a shrinking world and globalization was still the dream of science fiction fantasy. People lived in rural communities or in city neighborhoods, rarely venturing far beyond the bordered rim of their lives. Paul Hollis was born in a small town east of Birmingham, picking cotton with bent-back farm workers with no knowledge beyond their own ten feet of dirt.
But Paul soon tumbled off the edge of the known universe, though he couldn’t have known then the impact of his father’s decision. At the age of five he began a personal journey to experience a world few Americans would ever know. His family moved to Chicago where he grew up though Paul came of age in California. He entered university at the end of 1967 and fell into a blossoming subculture that reshaped his reality, figuratively and perhaps a little too literally.
Then came the war that divided a country, forcing us all to choose sides against an enemy we were persuaded was us. It was a time when division turned into a multiplier of fractures in this suddenly unfamiliar world; politics, assumptions, values, religious ethics, and even human conscience were all reshaping themselves. America was beginning to understand that beyond its street corners, beyond its cities, winding roads, rivers, and oceans lay other oceans, rivers, roads, cities, street corners, and people.
Paul wanted to know more about this changing world and joined a community of service volunteers. He was assigned to an initial tour of duty in Paintsville Kentucky, just off the Cumberland Plateau and a stone’s throw from the Lost World of West Virginia. When he realized they weren’t kidding, he jumped at the unexpected opportunity to visit Africa. Lions and tigers seemed preferable to dinosaurs, but not by much as it turned out.
He quickly found himself knee-deep in mud and some kind of animal excrement, feeling lost and abandoned at the edge of a rain-soaked crust of ground called Tanzania. Enter a government agency with a slick story and three months of training. The representative offered him unrestricted travel through Europe with an occasional venture into watching, learning, and reporting on terrorist activities. That sounded better than what he had at the time and a far better opportunity to learn about new people in their own cultural environments.
A series of true experiences over the next several years formed the inspiration for the #1 bestselling Hollow Man novels. At the time, terrorism was on the rise and Paul was assigned to learn as much as he could about it. Most early acts of terror were specific, personal and the damage was focused on a distinct, definable enemy. But terrorism was beginning to change its strategy to the familiar, senseless chaos we recognize today. The death of political figures no longer seemed to bother us as much as these new, random attacks against our children. Targets of innocence became preferable to these people because it was the kind of shock and hurt that hit closer to our hearts. The fear inside us grew larger with each incident.
Back home, Paul placed an urge to write on hold and knocked around the budding world of technology for the next few decades. He eventually found himself working for IBM where he achieved worldwide responsibility for several emerging business opportunities for the company, one being intelligent video surveillance. After 9/11, security and safety became of paramount importance to corporations, police departments, governments, casinos, banks, retailers, and a host of others. As a result, he was almost constantly on his way to somewhere else.
Paul was fortunate enough to work in all fifty states and almost as many countries. He lived in many exotic locations such as London, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Anchorage, and more. If you’re thinking of your dream vacation spot right now, he’s probably been there.
These travel experiences have allowed him to interact with people within their own cultures, experience their spiritual and political environments, and understand their hopes and dreams. Consumed with an overwhelming fascination to learn something from every person encountered along his journey, Paul was able to understand the world through their eyes; its animosities, ambitions, and motivations. Consequently, The Hollow Man Series has a ring of realism that pulls the reader into the scene with the characters, whether it’s entering a dark alley in Madrid or sitting in a café on the Champs Elysees.
From traveling through Europe as a young man to flying nearly three million miles which took him nowhere near home, to teaching companies worldwide about coming global implications, as a world tourist Paul Hollis brings his own unique viewpoint to his mesmerizing thrillers.
Paul Hollis has a dual BA in English literature and psychology from the University of Illinois. In addition to having worked for IBM and others in worldwide physical and video security, he is an active member of International Thriller Writers and the St. Louis Writers Guild, as well as an international conference speaker.