5 Minutes With Me: An Interview

A few years ago, I submitted this self-guided interview to a Horror website (I won’t mention names), but for whatever reason, they never posted it; must be backlogged. When I transferred all my blog posts from Bizarro Fiction, I found it in the Draft Bin, so I figured, what the heck, I’ll post it.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Shoshoni, WY, (a very small town) and couldn’t wait to get out. Actually, growing up there was OK, especially when I was younger. It wasn’t until my teenage years that I saw how limited it was. I currently live in the Denver, CO metro area, and work for a television provider, testing customer service applications. People are always surprised when they find out that I write horror.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like exploring the mountains. There are a few ghost towns in Colorado, and I enjoy learning about who lived there and how they lived. I also watch way too much TV.

Other than horror, what other things have been a major influence on your writing?

Music is a big part of my life, and tends to influence the mood when I’m writing. Watching people and how they interact gives me ideas; yes, I’m a bit of a voyeur, but not creepy stalker or peeper. And, of course, places that make the hair on the back of my neck stand-up.

Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?

Weird Fiction suits me the best, my website is called Bizarro Fiction after all, but I prefer Horror. I incorporate strange events into my writing, and, of course, darkness, which is the key to all horror. Horror has many nuances, and I try to cover them in my writing.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Clive Barker and Edgar Allen Poe are the two who always come to mind first. Barker’s creations astound me, and Poe has been a staple for me since the first time my Mother introduced me to the Raven; I think I was nine or ten.

What is your all-time favorite horror novel, and film?

Weaveworld by Clive Barker is at the top in the novel list. It’s strange, dark, and beautiful all at the same time. The people inside the carpet are wonderful and complex. It was an inspiration for the Circus Tarot Trilogy. At moment, The Conjuring makes the top film for me. The story is incredible. I’ve seen it (lost count) several times, and the exorcism scene in the basement gives me chills every time.

How would you describe your writing style?

My editor says I have an unusual style, and I like that description. Details are very important to writing, but not over doing them. I like to show people what the character is seeing without stealing too much from their own imagination.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

I’m still in awe of a review I received for Circus Tarot; the person who wrote it was very excited about the book, and went into great detail about why she liked it.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

I don’t plan, and sometimes that brings trouble with where I’m going with a story. Most of the time it works out, but there have been occasions where I’ve had to start over because of it.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

As I sit, and ponder this, I don’t think there is.

If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?

Harry Potter would die by a spell backfiring on him. It’d swallow him in a ball of flames, then explode, spreading bits of him for miles around.

What do you think makes a good story?

Strong characters and plot. Without these things, the story falls apart or hits a wall with nowhere to go.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Names are an essential element in all stories. Most character names come to me immediately, like they are telling me who they are. As I write I begin to know them, like the reader meets them when they turn the pages. There are two exceptions; Asher Dolofonos from Hydrangeas on the Lanai, who I had to dig to find the right name. His name means The Killer of Happiness; Dolofonos means killer in Greek, and Asher is happy in Hebrew. The other I researched was Belphegore, but then again for HOME I researched all the Fallen Angels. He’s a Throne from the first sphere around God’s throne, but I don’t want to spoil any more than I need to, you’ll have to read HOME A Novel to learn about him.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Since writing Dreamwalker: The Second Plain, I believe the strength of my writing has at least doubled. I’m more confident with what I’m putting down, and not hitting the delete button so much.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

My high school English teacher, and Harlequin Romance Author, Kathleen Galitz told me, “Never stop, no matter how many times you are told no. If you want it, go after it.”

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Social Media is my biggest marketing tool, and I have had a pretty good response from Twitter mostly. I’ve tried virtual book tours, but didn’t have any success with them.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

In HOME A Novel, Belphegore, aka Mr. Bel, is my favorite. He’s a Fallen Angel trying to return to Heaven, and will do anything he can to have that special meeting with God to plead his case. The human façade he wears is alluring to most. He’s very charming, and used to getting what he wants even if he must wait.

How about the least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

Another character from HOME is Leona, who I like the least. She’s a settler. Whatever happens, she’s like oh hum, whatever. Her child, Bergen, is extraordinary, but still Leona just kinda shrugs through it.

Fame, fortune, or respect?

Yes, please. This was a job interview question I had decades ago, minus respect. My answer then, was ‘fortune, because with it comes fame.’ The addition of respect gives it a different perspective, which is now causing me to waffle between fame and respect.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

Dreamwalker: The Second Plain is my greatest achievement. It was the first novel I wrote. It was the hardest, and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and now I can’t stop writing.

And are there any that you would like to forget about?

Not really forget, but I wish I could do it differently, and that’s Hunger. I started writing it in a memoir style, then made the mistake of having someone read it before it was finished. They ripped it apart, not liking the first-person style, so I changed it, and I regret it. When I sent it to my editor, she was shocked on how short it was, and wanted more, as did I, but I couldn’t give anymore to it. The critique I received from the initial draft, devastated the story, and me a little bit.

For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?

Choosing one is difficult; each has its own individual flair and represents me nicely. HOME is a strong contender, but the Circus Tarot Trilogy represents my work the most. It is filled with grotesque, strange, and frightening scenes with a thick layer of darkness covering the entire story. The characters are strong, and the story has unexpected events.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

HOME A Novel is about a Fallen Angel, Belphegore, who wants a meeting with God in hopes of being forgiven and return to Heaven. He uses Cody to help set up the meeting; for whatever reason, he thinks having Cody speak of God’s love to congregations is the way to go. My hometown, Shoshoni, is the setting for the tale, and specifically Main Street where Belphegore resides in the hotel. Other residents in the hotel are the souls he’s claimed throughout the years and his demonic henchmen. He’s also created a beast of the apocalypse.

I’ve just finished writing World Circus the finale of the Circus Tarot Trilogy, as well as a deck of Tarot Cards to go along with the release. It tells the story of how World Circus was created, and includes the link to Hydrangeas on the Lanai. There’s a nice sequence of Clown mayhem to get coulrophobics’ attention.

If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

Stupid teenagers running in the dark woods, or upstairs. Seriously, who thinks that’s a good idea? Then again, I’ve never been chased by a maniac trying to kill me, so maybe that is the gut reaction.

Which fictional character would be your perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?

Buffalo Bill would be the best neighbor, because he keeps to himself, and I’m not an overweight woman, so don’t have much to worry about with him; he’d never say to me “You’re skin is pretty, it’d make a nice dress.” The worst to have live next door would be Freddy Krueger, he’d be all up in my dreams, and I’d never get any sleep.

What do you think of the current state of the genre?

It’s better than it had been with all the remakes of classics. Of course, that’s still happening with FOX remaking the Exorcist for television, but for the most part I see it moving in the right direction.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias was amazing. It’s a historical fiction, horror novel about a woman who makes a pact with the Devil to keep her daughter out of harm’s way. The research he did added an extra dimension to the story.

In the last year, I began the task of reading classic horror novels, and the one that disappointed me the most was Blatty’s The Ninth Configuration; I had high expectations after reading The Exorcist, but it just fizzled.

What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer?

What’s your favorite color? Blue.

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