Jennifer will be awarding two $20 Amazon GCs and five copies of Thoroughly Modern Monsters, her short story collection to randomly drawn commenters during the tour. The grand prize to one randomly drawn commenter will be a $25 Amazon Gift card, a copy of These Hellish Happenings (her first novel) and a copy of Thoroughly Modern Monsters, so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win prize!
Jennifer let me pick her brain, so let's turn the floor over to her!
Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
What keeps me coming back to the paranormal/contemporary fantasy genres is that balance between the everyday and the not-so-everyday. In these genres you get a mixture of very real and identifiable characters and situations and also things that are completely fantastic. Also, in general, I love stuff that’s on the creepy side of things (ghosts, vampires, etc) but I’m not big on writing horror (though I love reading it).
What research (or world-building) is required?
I have researched some entirely horrific things for my writing—particularly for The Beldam’s Eye. The rate at which bodies decompose, gunshot wounds, knock-out drugs… Fortunately, there was a decent amount of world building to be done for this book, too. It takes place in a sort of alternate universe where the existence of ghosts is proven scientific fact, so it was a lot of fun figuring out how that would affect the world in which we live and what changes needed to be made.
Name one thing you learned from your hero.
My hero is Paul McCartney, and he’s taught me some absolutely wonderful things, the most important of which is that we all live in a yellow submarine, haha!
Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
I always have a cup of tea when I’m writing, for one. Peppermint is my favorite at the moment, but I also love Earl Grey. Also, I will not write at night. I’m terrible at it! It’s strange because a lot of people do their best work in the evening, but I just end up getting too tired to create anything worthwhile past nine o’ clock!
Plotter or pantser?
I’m still mostly a plotter, but I’m not as much as a plotter as I used to be. I used to plan every single little detail of a project before I started writing it, but I found that really killed a lot of the fun and a lot of spontaneity of the writing process. Now, I make relatively loose outline before going in. I do need to have a bit of a map to where I’m going in a story.
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
There’s a massive volume of Sherlock Holmes stories! I’ve been a huge Holmes fan since I was in middle school; he’s still one of my absolute favorite literary characters. I’m really loving this bit of a Holmes revival we have going on in pop culture right now with the BBC series and the Guy Ritchie movies and all.
Anything new coming up from you? What?
The next book I have coming out will be the sequel to These Hellish Happenings, which was my first novel. It’s being edited right now and should hopefully be out this January/February. The story follows the protagonists, Jack Bentley and Alex Ridner, as they are made to go on what is a essentially a manhunt for Satan. The Lord of Hell has abandoned His domain, and it’s up to them to bring Him back. It was a fun book to write, and I really enjoyed being able to visit these characters again!
Do you have a question for our readers?
Of course! At its heart, The Beldam’s Eye is a ghost story. Gentle readers, what are your favorite ghost stories? Are they spooky? Romantic? Tell us all about them!
As paranormal investigators in rural Ohio, Ras and his business partner Antony Yeats tackle ghostly problems on a daily basis, from poltergeist exterminations to troubled spirits just looking for a shoulder to cry on. Angus isn’t looking for ghost therapy. He needs Ras and Yeats to help him retrieve a pocket watch stolen from him after death, a pocket watch that is said to be cursed: The Beldam’s Eye.
The skeptical Ras and Yeats agree to take Angus’s case, but they soon find themselves in over their heads, facing murder, theft and perilous dark magic. Is it all just backwoods superstition or is the curse of The Beldam’s Eye grisly reality?
Ras could hear shuffling in the kitchen. He ruffled his hands through his wet hair and walked into the living room.
A ghost covered in soot rummaged through his kitchen cabinets, humming lowly to himself, and he smiled when he found a mug that looked like a purple cat. Its tail curled into the handle, and this amused him. The occasional spark of fire flew from his dark fingers.
Ras opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by, “Well, you gonna stand there, or you gonna get me something to drink?” The ghost burst into laughter too quickly and turned to face him. His glowing orange eyes seemed somehow mirthful, but he didn’t let his guard down. Ghosts were known for their mood swings. Being reduced to nothing but a mass of paranormal energy complete with its own electromagnetic field will do that to a person. “I’m jokin’, I’m jokin’! I couldn’t drink anything anyway.”
Ras smiled. “I wonder why you’re looking through my cabinets, then.”
“Oh, just pokin’ around,” the ghost answered in a creaky voice. “Gettin’ to know ya. I’m gonna have to if we’re gonna work together, right?”
Ras laughed. “Really? What can you tell by looking at my coffee cups?”
“Well… you like cats? Purple ones, I reckon. You got a purple cat around here somewhere?”
Ras knew in situations like this, the worst thing one could do was antagonize the ghost. Sometimes a ghost was a little addled by the dying process. It was better to try to out-crazy a spirit, make them think you were the one with a screw loose.
“Not a purple one, I’m afraid,” Ras answered, “but I did have a blue one once. I’ve always been fond of blue cats!”
“Ah, you see! Close enough, right? And I could tell that just by pokin’ through your coffee cups. I’m a regular Sherlock Holmes.”