Welcome to Killion’s Kave! Today I have a very special treat for you. We’re interviewing Lori Lopez who knows how to scare the heck out of you and isn’t afraid of spiders! I first met Lori in a Women of Horror group and have grown to love the kind generosity of her posts and the ever-lasting smile in all her photos. But what I love the most are her HATS! She stole my heart when she featured a video book trailer that her family helped her create. She is an inspiration to me that a lady in horror can have it all!
I love how you integrate your family into your whole book marketing. Tell me how did that start and where do you see it continuing?
Writing was always something I did, and my sons were around it as they were growing up. They have been very supportive, though they are not big “horror fans” like me. They believe in me, as I believe in them. The respect and admiration is mutual between the three of us. I did my best to encourage and bolster their interests when they were kids.
We share the same talents, yet each of us has our main passion. Mine is for writing. Noél is focused on music, Rafael on acting and filmmaking. But we love doing all of that, and it seemed a good idea to form a creative company. That is now called Fairy Fly Entertainment. We voted, and it meant a lot to me that my sons chose the name from one of my novels, THE FAIRY FLY.
The three of us have many projects and plans . . . for literature, films, and music. I started writing songs in the early Eighties. I’ve always wanted to act and be a musician, and that is possible at last. We started filming some things, such as author readings for my books, with Rafael behind the camera and Noél recording audio plus composing original scores.
We initially released a book trailer several years ago for my first novel, DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS. Rafael did the animation, Noél the creepy organ music, and we all sang my lyrics. It was a lot of fun. You can find two versions linked to our Fairy Fly Entertainment channel on You Tube.
In a more recent book trailer for my second poetry collection, THE QUEEN OF HATS, we played characters and filmed an improv scene. I’m a famous reclusive hat model, and my sons are trying to interview me. It’s funny, and the ending was a surprise! We were winging it, but I think the whole thing worked out pretty well. We filmed a couple of other single-take continuous-shot improv films the same night and may release them soon, along with more author readings that we filmed last year.
Rafael has a poetry collection published. He’s working on an author reading for that, an animated film, and more book projects, while his brother is working on musical projects. We hope to release songs this year. There is so much to do, so much going on, it’s difficult to keep up with. I love working with them and couldn’t be prouder that they chose to do this with me! They’re incredibly talented and supportive.
That is so exciting that your children are very involved in your marketing! How fun is that!! I bet they think they have the coolest mom 🙂
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? How’d that work out for you? 😀 I Also wanted to ride my bike across the United States … but I gave that up after an hour at the state park!
Honestly, in Kindergarten I knew I wanted to be an artist. I illustrate most of my books and do my own cover art, so I guess that came true. Next (by Second or Third Grade) I wanted to be a poet and songwriter too. I’m both of these. I’ve built a small following for my poetry column “Poetic Reflections” on our website, Fairy Fly Entertainment.com. We plan to record some of my ballads. I also wanted to write stories, which I am doing.
So far I have four collections of short fiction: OUT-OF-MIND EXPERIENCES; CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES; THE MACABRE MIND OF LORI R. LOPEZ; and my latest, ODDS AND ENDS: A DARK COLLECTION. Further collections are in progress. I have stories and poems published in a number of anthologies with other authors as well.
By age fifteen I knew I wanted to write novels. I have a few out so far: the eccentric Chupacabras horror-fantasy-adventure; AN ILL WIND BLOWS; THE FAIRY FLY. Some were written around seventeen or more years ago, but ILL WIND was written in one month for a challenge between a group of writers.
Since I can remember I’ve wanted to act. I was in school plays growing up and received First Place for a two-person Forensic Playacting competition in Ninth Grade. In Fourth and Fifth Grade, I would write comedy skits and perform them on the stage at my Middle School. It’s something I loved, but I had to bury it for many years. I supported my sons as dancers and actors, along with soccer and science fairs. Rafael was cast as a dancing Jack Junior for a Jack In The Box commercial when he was a child.
He also acted in an indie film, THE HUNGRY WOMAN. Noél went to the International Science And Engineering Fair in Ninth Grade after winning a lot of awards at the regional level. He went to a few State Science Fairs. I homeschooled them from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade, putting them ahead of my ambitions. My parents had signed me up for the military while I was in Eleventh Grade, so I went straight into the Navy after graduation, then married and wound up doing court papers for my husband another five years for a lawsuit. When that ended, the homeschooling began.
My life has taken detours, yet I never stopped believing that I would pursue my dreams. I have always been writing to some extent, and I would submit it when I could. I received the usual rejections. We self-published my first book in 2008, followed by a series of hardships and setbacks including divorce, financial struggles, one of my sons being ill for two and a half years . . . I continued to write and publish, meeting other authors online. Beginning in 2013, my sons and I could finally start attending events — festivals and book fairs, conventions — and working toward our goals. It has been an amazing period in my life. Finally, finally, I am doing author things! Signing books, producing them, working with my sons. I’ve never been happier.
You can easily tell how happy you are 🙂 Keep it up, Lady!
Is there a message in your stories/novel that you want readers to grasp?
I usually have a message . . . although I write some crazy poems that really don’t have much of a point other than harmless humor. The environment is a recurrent theme. The human struggle. War and peace, poverty. Respect. Animal and child abuse. I don’t have one area that I focus on. There are many concerns that I need to express. I put a lot of depth, emotion, and substance. It will make you think, hopefully make you wonder and question. Or feel, react . . . I take risks — inventing the occasional protagonist you might not like a lot, for example, and may even need to dig deeper to find compassion for.+
I like to challenge readers and push beyond conventions. I write my own way, by my own rules, so you can expect an unorthodox style rather than one that goes according to the way they now say everyone should write. I know the basics, the standards. I simply do not agree with all of the rules or lists on writing, and I do not use formulas. There is no single “right way” to write.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Find your voice, not anyone else’s. That is the most important possession a writer has. The second is to practice. Write and rewrite. Be patient. Be persistent. Do not give up if it is burning inside you. If it is not, go do something else. Don’t clutter the world with something you’re only lukewarm about. Don’t pretend you’re a writer. Find your true calling, your true passion. I think there currently could be more writers than just readers.
What about the horror genre interests you? Disgusts you?
I have loved horror since I was very small. Watching the FRANKENSTEIN and WOLFMAN movies, THE MUMMY, Alfred Hitchcock; THE ADDAMS FAMILY and MUNSTERS. Reading Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving and so many others. Later, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Peter Straub. Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman are wonderful. I just love dark things. I love the nighttime and find it tough to stay on a daytime schedule. I enjoyed hanging out in cemeteries as a kid. This is who I am. My sons adjusted to their mom being into Horror. Not everyone understands.
What disgusts me? I worry that things can go too far. Horror without a conscience, a message or meaning. That worries me. That kind of sick and twisted gore, purely for entertainment, isn’t my thing. And I do worry how the choices and decisions of today, artistic or otherwise, will affect our next generations. My generation was influenced by the classics of Horror. I think we turned out okay, for the most part. But what about the future? I think about that as a writer. I worry a great deal about Tomorrow. I feel we have to consider the impact, our footprint, because there have to be some limits. With everything. It’s a delicate balance. Just as there have to be standards for quality. You can’t throw it all out, or you will create garbage. That’s my belief, anyway.
I was raised watching Dr. Paul Bearer. My father LOVED old “horrible old B-movies.” I have amazing memories of huge spiders chasing little itty bitty people across the screen in black and white!
What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I tend to be a nervous person, despite loving Horror. I get anxious. I’m working on it, but there were things in my childhood that affected me deeply. I can get really scared just riding on a freeway. I don’t drive. I have been terrified at times, sometimes over nothing.
One time as a kid I heard water dripping and was convinced there was a bomb in my room. I woke my mother. I remember being afraid of Ed Gein. I grew up in Wisconsin and heard stories. I knew he was locked up about fifteen miles from my house, so I would hear sounds at night and be sure he was coming for me. I think I worried about that instead of monsters in the closet or under my bed. My monsters were real. I recall seeing headlines and news about the Manson murders. That shook me up. To this day, human monsters are far more frightening to me than any make-believe creatures.
Without a doubt!
Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?
Yes, I tend to mix in my own fears and history from time to time. I think all of my writing is personal in some way or other, no matter how far I reach into my imagination. I will find myself tossing in a detail here or there that is about me, from my life.
What one stereotype about horror writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
People think horror authors are odd, tortured, wacko. I completely agree. I certainly am! Which stereotype is wrong? That we’re odd tortured wackos. I don’t think this is true for most of them. It’s just me. (Wink.)
Tell me how you feel being a woman has either enhanced or hindered your writing in the Horror genre.
Well, I hear there has been a lot of doubt and disinterest toward female horror authors. I cannot say whether it affected my career so far. It is possible, since I do not yet have a lot of readers other than downloads for my free stories. And there are no thousands lining up for those. But I do have a number of male fans. I don’t feel I have more female fans than male. Nor do I write with female protagonists more than male protagonists.
I bring my own particular style to horror, my own individual sensitivity and perspectives. Whether that is a female aspect or just a unique one, I cannot say for sure. I do know that women write Horror as well as the guys do, and we are changing that type of negative attitude by putting our work out there for the world to see.
Tell me more about what’s on deck for Lori in 2015!
Thank you, Killion. I’m excited about my latest books and will be trying to spread the word for them. As I mentioned, I have a new horror collection titled ODDS AND ENDS and a collection of dark and humorous verse called POETIC REFLECTIONS: THE QUEEN OF HATS. (I recommend the print editions, which I did quirky artwork for.) I anticipate doing more filmwork and music with my sons. We plan to be at events. I have a Local Authors Exhibit coming up in San Diego soon. I’m thrilled that one of the anthologies I have a story in, JOURNALS OF HORROR: FOUND FICTION, made it onto the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards. It isn’t nominated, merely in a preliminary round, but it’s the first time I have anything on the ballot.
I have received honors for my work before, yet being a horror author, the Stoker Award is iconic. It’s very meaningful. JOURNALS is a terrific book that was put together by Terry M. West. I’m just so excited to be part of it and to have the chance to be recognized at that level.
And of course … my signature question – What is something that truly frightens you and how do you deal with it?
Fear of failure is up there. What if I never build a larger audience? Or what if the one-star reviews outweigh the positive ones? If you think about it, readers are busy and somehow find the time to read! They don’t often take time to write a good review. Writing a bad review is appealing to some, on the other hand, as it can be a way to hurt somebody else. It gives them the power to take out frustrations on another person safely, without any repercussions, whether it’s an honest opinion or an insulting one.
They can intentionally give away critical information, spoil the twist or ending. An unfair review can have a serious effect, not just on an author’s emotions. It can cause readers not to read something that might be good — it simply wasn’t what certain readers liked. I’ve had all of this happen. So negative reviews, especially one-star, can be pretty terrifying. Just like trolls attacking others online in comments. The whole attitude of pulling out daggers really concerns me. There are a lot of nice people in the world. But there is a lot of cruelty and injustice out there also, and it scares me.
Something else that frightens me is asteroids. One is passing us tomorrow as I write this. A rock the size of a mountain! There are so many things to be afraid of. I could go on and on. I deal with it by writing about horrors in the hopes that people will want to change it, maybe change their lives, possibly change the world.
Want to learn more about Lori – you can connect with her here!
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/lorirlopez
Fairy Fly Entertainment Channel on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO8H3bHfH1WmzJ-3nDo9Krw
ODDS AND ENDS: A DARK COLLECTION: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RLYNC76
POETIC REFLECTIONS: THE QUEEN OF HATS: http://www.amazon.com/Poetic-Reflections-Lori-R-Lopez-ebook/dp/B00N7CS0ZA
JOURNALS OF HORROR: http://www.amazon.com/Journals-Horror-Fiction-Todd-Keisling-ebook/dp/B00MTB67GY