Interview with the Next Great Horror Writer Winner: Jonathan Fortin

JonathanFortinAuthorPhotoKenzie: Congrats on being the next great Horror Writer! I can’t believe it’s all over. It seems just like yesterday when all of you contestants completed the first competition. I’m so proud of you and your hard work. I loved all of your submissions and I’m so happy that you won it all! How does it feel to be the first Next great Horror Writer? Still riding that high?

Jonathan: It’s pretty insane! I’m excited, overwhelmed, and thankful all at once. Winning this contest and this novel contract is the realization of a dream I’ve had pretty much my whole life. I spent many years working on Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus, so it’s kind of incredible to realize that it’s actually going to become a book people can buy and read.

Kenzie: Winning a contest of this magnitude is completely overwhelming,  something that only a few get to experience. How long have you been working on your novel and what is it about?

Jonathan: Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is the story of Maraina Blackwood, a woman in Victorian England who becomes a succubus when demons take over Europe. Her life forever changed, Maraina ends up battling both a demonic new monarchy and her own repressed upbringing. It’s an epic Gothic saga, but also an exploration of Victorian gender roles and repression.

Writing Lilitu took many years. It was a challenging book to write because the Victorian setting had to feel authentic, but it also gets warped fairly early on. I needed to do all the research required for a historical novel, but also all the world-building of a fantasy novel. Naturally, this also impacted the characters–especially Maraina, who changes dramatically over the course of the book. Her character arc needed a lot of time to get right.

 

Kenzie: Holy cow Lilitu sounds amazing! Definitely, something I would read. Ever since I watched the Canadian show Lost Girl, I’ve been obsessed with any and all things succubus. I can’t wait for it to drop, it’s on my must read list! I love books that have a supernatural and horror element but doesn’t have to be 100% horror. I’ve never read a historical horror novel before, but I know it’ll be great.

Speaking of hard to write, what challenge was the hardest for you this season?

 

Jonathan: Thank you for your kind words. I love succubi too, not just because they’re seductive, but also because they challenge what society has traditionally told women how they must be. I’ve also always loved the sense of mystique to them–entering dreams, flying with demonic wings…these were things I wanted to capture when writing this book. I didn’t want my succubi to only be sex objects, or lack the magical qualities that make the folklore behind them so interesting. Putting them in Victorian England made sense to me because of the Gothic aesthetics of the time period (and the corsets!), and also because the sexual repression makes them clash dramatically with its values. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out.

For me, the hardest NGHW challenge was, ironically, the interview! Haha. I had a tough time coming up with questions and wasn’t sure what readers would be interested in knowing about me, or about what I think.

Kenzie: I love your interpretation of succubi. It gives them more depth than just sexual objects, especially in the Victorian era where women were supposed to be prim, proper, and dainty.

Haha, I actually remember your interview! I also loved your tongue in cheek way of interviewing yourself. What is one thing being apart of the first batch of next great Horror writers has taught you about yourself?

Jonathan: It reinforced my long-held belief that I am much better about getting my writing done when I have a deadline.

Kenzie: I can understand that! Working under pressure sometimes brings out the best work.

What are your plans going forward after winning this unique competition?

Jonathan: My plans are to push forward with Lilitu and it’s publication, as well as to move forward with my other writing projects. I’ve been named The Next Great Horror Writer–I had best live up to that!

Kenzie: Very True! I look forward to your future writing endeavors! Did you make any friends while doing this competition?

Jonathan: Yes! One thing I loved about this competition was that the participants were all very friendly to one another. I already knew Sumiko because we are both local to the bay area, but the other contestants were all total strangers at the start, so it was a pleasant surprise how nice they’ve all been. I hope to retain friendships with them. There’s even been talk of forming a critique group so that we can all help each other grow as authors.

Kenzie: Wow that’s honestly amazing. In other competitions, the contestants are at each others throats and here you guys are helping each other. You just can’t beat being in a competition where the contestants are nice to each other.

Is there anything else you’d like to let HorrorAddicts and your fans know?

Jonathan: I just want to thank you, Emerian, Heather, and the rest of the HorrorAddicts crew as well as Joe Mynhardt for this incredible opportunity. I hope I can live up to the title you’ve bestowed upon me!

Kenzie: Congrats once again on being The Next Great Horror Writer! We’re all so proud of you and wish nothing but the best for your future work. Good luck and keep it scary.

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Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: On Location Bleedingham

 

Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

She is also the founder of CrystalCon, a symposium that brings both Science Fiction & Fantasy writers and STEM professions together to mix and mingle with fans, educators, and inventors in attempts to answer a new take on an age-old question … which came first, the science or the fiction?

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!” 

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

Kidnapped! 5 Facts about Rhonda

It’s My Birthday!

When Stacy and I talked about the week I’d kidnap her blog, I told her this week was pre-destined because it’s my birthday week. Super excited was an understatement! So, here we are, on my born day, visiting an awesome Horror blog. How much better can a weekday birthday get?

In honor of my born day, I thought I’d fill this post with five things all about me. Not just random things…well, maybe some randomness…but mostly things about me that inform who I am as a Horror Writer. Here we go:

  1. The first novel I read all the way through was Carrie by Stephen King. I was about six or seven years old and although my parents thought it appropriate to hide all of Mama’s romance magazines and novels, they apparently didn’t think they should hide all Daddy’s horror and sci-fi novels. So there we have it.
  1. I didn’t fully come out as a horror writer until I was almost forty. Although I’ve written horror since I was a child, I never felt comfortable embracing that part of my writing persona. Writing horror was just not an acceptable endeavor for a little black, Southern Baptist girl.
  1. I always wanted to be the monster. Part of my fascination with the horror genre is totally rooted in my always wanting to be the monster. The monster was the most powerful person in the movie or the story and I wanted to get inside the monster’s head. I wanted to know what made them tick and what motivated them. I also wanted that power for myself.
  1. I’m deathly afraid of rabbits. Crazy, I know. But nothing can reduce me to quivering mass of hysteria quicker than a horde of rabbits. One spring, our subdivision was infested with the creatures and I spent many long minutes locked in my van until someone else ran them away so I could get into the house. There’s something about the way they move that freaks me all the way out. Might have something to do with Mama craving and eating rabbit throughout her pregnancy with me. Maybe some type of furry, “you’re really on of us” revenge…?
  1. I love the darkness. I’m more comfortable in the dark than in bright light. Darkness is a more natural state for me. I’ve always been a night owl, preferring to live and be more creative at night. Everything is quieter in the dark when many other beings choose not to move so much. The ones that are moving around then are doing so in stealth. I find that infinitely beautiful. And the light shone on some things reveal so many cracks or can be changed to show only what the light wants to be shown. I find it somewhat depressing to face a world illuminated in what can be manipulated so easily.

Even though it’s my birthday, I want to give away a gift. For the chance to win a free ebook, please comment.

 

********

J. Josephisa Texas-based writer and professor who must exorcise the demons of her imagination so they don’t haunt her being. A life-long horror fan and writer of many things, she has recently discovered the joys of writing in the academic arena about two important aspects of her life: horror and black femininity.

When R. J. isn’t writing, teaching, or reading voraciously, she can usually be found wrangling one or five of various sprouts and sproutlings from her blended family of 11…which also includes one husband and two furry babies.

  1. J. can be found lurking (and occasionally even peeking out) on social media:

Twitter: @rjacksonjoseph
Facebook: facebook.com/rhonda.jacksonjoseph
Facebook official: fb.me/rhondajacksonjosephwriter
Instagram: @rjacksonjoseph
Blog: https://rjjoseph.wordpress.com/
Email: horrorblackademic@gmail.com

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/rjjoseph

 

 

Kidnapped! Kealan Patrick Burke Interview

 

1) When you told stories with your other family members, did you compete to see who told the best stories?

At home, we didn’t really tell each other stories. We read them. Book discussions were common in the household. Still are, as a matter of fact. Oral storytelling was more of a rural thing, and in that regard, my grandfather held court with outrageous tales of ghosts and devils. Nobody tried to compete with him, though. There wouldn’t have been any point. He was the master!

2) At what age were you that you knew you would be a writer?

As soon as I had the cognitive ability to recognize ambition, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I lost myself in books as soon as I could pick one up, and though I had brief dalliances with other ambitions (criminal lawyer, astronaut), this was always what I was going to end up doing.

3) You have had quite a bit of profession, other than being a writer, which did you enjoy most? I hear being an editor of a website is loads of fun 😉

Oh yes, being a fiction editor was a very rewarding experience. I also really enjoyed fraud investigating and bar work. At the opposite end of the scale were the security guard, salesman, and waiting jobs, which, while they are all perfectly respectable lines of work, did nothing but suck the life out of me because they involved being verbally abused and treated like dirt most of the day.

4) What do you do for inspiration for stories?

Nothing. They come to me out of the blue, or from the things I see and hear around me. Inspiration is not something that requires any effort whatsoever. It’s making good stories out of them that takes all the work. 

5) Do you model stories from life experiences or do you model it from characters you conjure?

Certainly, there’s a lot of my life experience at play in the stories. To write real people, you must know them. To craft a convincing world, you must know your own. But often, the characters will run away with themselves and tell me the story rather than the other way around. That’s always the best part: the feeling of just being along for the ride rather than driving the car.

6) In this recent novel, Blanky, what inspired you to write this story?

I wanted to study the worst kind of grief and loss and the effect it has on people, how it affects relationships, how it contaminates love. This was the goal long before I came across a vintage child’s blanket on Etsy. It was pretty much as I describe it in the story: old, faded, with weird bunnies stitched into it. Once I saw that I had all I needed to write Blanky.

7) You are a Bram Stoker winner, how did you feel when you won?

Elated. I’d been reading horror novels throughout my teens that declared the author a “Bram Stoker Award-Winner” on the cover. I remember telling myself that one day I would win one, with no real conviction that it would ever happen. Then it did, and other than the wicked cool statue, it was a lovely acknowledgment from my peers, and an honor to share a category with some of my biggest influences.  

8) Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?

Oh yes. It’s a dreadful thing to have the will to write when the words won’t come. Usually what I do is write conversations, just the dialogue, no descriptions or speech tags, and see where it goes. This almost always works. When it doesn’t, I quit trying and go find other non-writing-related things to do until the muse kicks in the door.

9) What is your favorite monster? Human villain?

My favorite monsters are the quieter, less showy ones, the ones that are averse to monologues and showboating. The ones that hide in the dark, so you never see them coming, like depression, disease, loneliness, insecurity, grief, envy, rage. Us, basically. And how do you defeat a monster if it’s you?

10) How can we find you on social media, website, and purchase your books?

My website is kealanpatrickburke.com. You can find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kealan.burke, Twitter @kealanburke and Instagram: @kealanpatrick

An Interview with Horror Bites Author, Adam L. Bealby

An interview with
Horror Bites: Alice’s Scars author,
Adam L. Bealby.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always loved writing! When I was about ten I was obsessed with thinking up zany characters and concocting outlandish situations for them, plotting be damned. Political correctness and copyright also be damned. I lived in a fairly closed-minded ex-mining community, and I was as naïve as a barefoot pilgrim. So in the mix was a crippled baby clown, an Indian taxi driver called Curry (ooff!); as well as a couple of characters from an obscure British Marvel comic book I liked, and a lengthy character-jamboree sequence stolen from (we’d call it ‘parodying’ these days) the third Star Trek movie, entitled The Search for Bogart.

 

Actually, there’s something to be said for liberating yourself from social (and literary) mores and graces when you’re writing. I don’t think poor Curry will be making a comeback any time soon, though…

Who were the biggest influences on your writing?

I’m a huge fan of Michael Moorcock. I like the idea you can write about anything, and that there’s really no barrier between high literature and genre writing. Be bold and brave and go where your imagination leads you!

I’m also very impressionable and tend to be influenced by whatever book I happen to be reading. I have to make a concerted effort when I’m writing to find my own voice, or a voice that suits the story, and not appropriate the stylistic traits of other writers. Although I was impressed with a rather nasty little story I wrote off the back of my time with a Chuck Palahniuk anthology! It won’t be seeing the light of day any time soon, but as a taboo-breaking exercise it was very therapeutic!

What is “Alice’s Scars” about?

It’s about a guy who meets a gal and they fall in love. Only the gal is all messed up and leads him down the rabbit hole into her abusive past – one in which she retreated into a Wonderland-inspired fantasy.

What inspired “Alice’s Scars”?

The first book I ever bought my wife was the collected Alice works. It was the first year of Uni and I even wrote a loving dedication in the frontispiece. That was over twenty years ago. So when I heard the call for Clockwork Wonderland, the HorrorAddicts.net anthology “Alice’s Scars” was originally written for, I knew I had to mine the first few months of our burgeoning relationship for inspiration.

I’ll say now that my wife isn’t Alice/Katie, the main character in “Alice’s Scars.” She’s much more together than that! When I asked her what was in her drawstring purse that first night, it proved to be money, not a rabbit’s foot – which is clearly completely different.

Many of the scenes in the story do riff off people and situations from my Uni days, including an episode in which I merrily chased a distraught girl through the night. But enough of that.

Did you have to do any research for the story?

Just a quick flick through the Alice books, really. The same collected works I bought for my wife all those years ago! As I said, there’s a lot of real life in there, jumbled up with the stuff-I-thunk-up, and that feels like a good compromise for a story about the grey areas between reality and fiction.

What are your favorite things to write about?

Psychological horror, especially the type of story where you can lead the reader to question what’s real and what’s not. I also like writing rollicking adventures for kids – it makes a nice change of pace.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing a book about a suicide cult, alternating between research and drafting short ‘suicide vignettes’, which will be interspersed between the chapters of the main story. My internet search history makes for worrying reading. Let’s see: ‘I want to commit suicide’, ‘slitting your wrists’, ‘suicide bag’, ‘I want to drink anti-freeze’, ‘experiences of depression’, ‘suicide and reincarnation’…

I really hope I can do the subject justice. I’m very proud of how some of the vignettes are turning out.

Where can people find you online?

Many of my stories are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Adam-L. -Bealby/e/B01EE49YWW.

You can also catch up with my sporadic ravings at @adamskilad.