Friday, October 10, 2014
Considering the other fiction you write - horror, crime noir, what made you write No Lipstick in Avalon?
It's no secret I've always been drawn to horror fiction. I grew up on a steady diet of The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Dark Side, and In Search Of, and when the Book Mobile came to my school, I was always the kid clamoring to get to the front of the line so I could buy the newest Daniel Cohen book about monsters and myths.
So yeah, I've always been drawn to horror fiction, but I've never described myself as being soley a horror fiction writer. The ideas get sent in from the Muse and they either keep itching like poison ivy on the brain until I write them down or they stop and fade away. This one didn't fade away.
Have you faced any challenges since this is your first venture into the chick-lit genre?
A little. It's tough to break out into a different genre than what you're known for. I know there are fans of mine waiting for what's next in horror and I also understand No Lipstick in Avalon is something entirely different than what they expect from me. We'll see how it rolls. Over time, I hope it might catch the attention of the kind of audience it was intended for. The reviews so far (and yes, I know you're not supposed to be pay attention to that stuff), are all very good, so readers seem to enjoy the novel a lot.
Right now, I'm working on the sequel to my novella Samson and Denial. It's coming along and fans should really enjoy the return of Samson Gallows and the Crimson Sisters.
After that's finished, I'm not sure. There's a novella idea I've been kicking around for a long time that is the same horror/crime vibe as Samson. So while I'm in the mindset, I might tackle that one. After that, there's a straight fiction novel I've had the idea for. It keeps raising its hand in the back of my mind, asking for attention, so we'll see.
Some writers use pseudonyms when they break out into other genres. Was there a conscious choice to not use a pseudonym on this release?
That's a tough one, and yes, I tossed around the idea of a pen name for some time. I thought it might be easier to separate my horror fiction from this release and not confuse the readers. Pretty sure it would be a bad thing for a reader who loved No Lipstick in Avalon to pick up a copy of The Compound and read a scene where a prison guard gets his dick chewed off.
But in the end, I decided on keeping my own name. Hell, I'm no Michael Crichton by light years, but that guy... hell, he's written everything from medical thrillers to Jurassic Park. He's never pigeon-holed himself into one specific genre.
Was it difficult to write from a woman's point of view?
As many will tell you, I write slowly. Painfully slow. I do a lot of mental groundwork before I get rolling and part of that work is really finding the character's voice. The first chapter of No Lipstick in Avalon was written several years ago. Hit me out of nowhere as snips like that sometimes do, and I wrote it all down, set it aside and moved on.
Last year, Sara's voice came back to me and it was incredibly strong. When a voice like that has such power to me, things tend to gel together pretty rapidly and it was time for me to write her story down. First person is one of my favorite things to write in because I think it just pulls the reader into the character's head in such an intimate sort of way. But Sara's voice led me to first person... I didn't have much of a choice this time.
I can't say it was difficult to write from a woman's POV, though there were times I rewrote things because a male perspective was getting in the way. I had a reader ask me recently if I thought all women thought about was drinking and sex. I don't, though I'm sure some of them do.
The old adage write what you know comes to mind here because the characters - all of them - are so incredibly believable and vivid. And after reading the dedication, I take it the characters were based on women you've known?
They were. All of the characters were this strange sort of amalgamation of different women I've known during my life. Little things they might have said or done, as well as me writing a particular scene and imagining how they would react in that situation.
In No Lipstick in Avalon, one of Sara's biggest regrets is running away from her self-described "Ice Cream Boy." Any regrets in your life?
I think unless you live in a padded room and are getting a steady stream of Thorazine, you've got regrets in your life. Yeah, I certainly do, but that's the rub, isn't it? You have regrets. You either live with them or you don't. Best you can do is try not to let them chew you up inside and some days that's easier said than done.
What's coming up next?
Well, like I mentioned earlier, I've got an idea for a horror/crime novella called Big Stakes Jackie. I posted a piece of it on my blog some time back and if you search for it, it's still there. That's another one of those moments... that little snip hit me and I ran with it but had no idea where it was going to go. Little pieces of the puzzle would come to me here and there and I'm pretty sure I know where most of the story goes. It's definitely enough to get me rolling and allow some surprises to happen as the character comes to life on the page. I do know, looking over some of my notes, there's some scenes that are pretty repulsive but make complete sense in the context of the story.
The other novel idea I mentioned is for something I'm calling Domino right now. I don't want to get into too many details as I'm superstitious and avoid that like the plague if I can. But I'll have to do some research into segregation and would really like to interview some people who have lived through that era of American history.
The story has a lot to do with racial divide and how the purest among us – even during that time in our country's history – didn't see skin color... they simply saw a person, no more, no less.