Author Interviews

Author Interview with Horror Writer Michael Aronovitz

Welcome, everyone! It’s time for another interview, this time with horror writer Michael Aronovitz. Judging from the reviews of his book, The Witch of the Wood, his works are must-reads for horror lovers. Read on to meet today’s guest!

It’s great to have you with us today. Would you mind starting us off by telling us a little about yourself?

I am a college professor of English and a baseball nut.  I love heavy metal music and horror movies.

Where does writing fit into your busy life, and what keeps you motivated/inspired when discouragement sets in?

I write at every available opportunity.  At the moment I am only teaching college classes so I have a bit more time, but when I taught in public schools I would write for a couple of hours each morning and all day on the weekends.  Often, I would bring pages drafted in the morning to school and revise them on my breaks.  In terms of discouragement, I don’t see it that way.  Every page and scene is fun to write no matter how much I obsess.  Reconstructing the “discouraging” rough work is part of the process.

What’s your writing background?

I have published two novels and two collections.

When it comes to reviews, do you have a thick skin?  How do you handle negative feedback?

When I am fortunate enough to have a review of my work appear somewhere I celebrate regardless of the “thumbs up or down.”  The fun is being reviewed in the first place.  It means people are talking about the work!  As for negative feedback, I take it to heart and move on.  Hey…it’s still someone talking about the work.

What inspires your stories?  What draws you to your preferred genre?

My initial inspiration was Stephen King and his ability to draw characters.  In reference to genre, horror is really just my favorite spice.  It interests me and keeps me reading (and writing).  The supernatural opens up strange timelines, and it makes things more fun.  Add a time limitation or two, something at stake, and a gut-wrenching discovery and you have the essence of why horror works for me.

Can you tell us about your books?  What other projects are you working on?

Interview2Seven Deadly Pleasures and The Voices in Our Heads are collections of stories I published around the horror marketplace starting in 2007.  Alice Walks is my first novel, a ghost story, and your featured novel here The Witch of the Wood is my second novel, more a dark apocalyptic journey.  My third novel titled Phantom Effect is a serial killer / supernatural piece to be published by Night Shade Books in February of 2016, and my first young adult novel titled Becky’s Kiss comes out through Vinspire Press this coming November.

How did you build your writing support team?  Do you have tips and suggestions for other writers?

A great question.  I built my “team” begging and pleading to anyone who would listen.  I was incredibly fortunate back in 2007 that horror scholar and Lovecraft biographer S.T. Joshi took an interest in my fiction and put my first collection through Hippocampus.  Since then I have been lucky enough to have contact with other writers like Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne, those who not only write wonderful fiction themselves, but have given me exposure on Haunted Nights Live (as well as some blurbs).  I also bounce ideas off a couple of independent film directors from Australia named Donna McRae and Ursula Dabrowsky.  Locally, I have contact with Ken Bingham, writer, stage producer, editor, and teacher.  All these wonderful people are essential to my success.  I do not have an agent.  I have gotten all of my work published on my own.

What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into your genre?  Advice on marketing and selling?

I’ll answer the latter part first and assure you that I am learning the marketing as I go.  The more I explore in this business the more convinced I am that marketing is a major part of the deal.  My advice to new horror writers is always to stick with what you love.  Trends are fickle.

Hmmm. “Trends are fickle”. I like that statement very much. An excellent reminder to always focus on what drives us.

How can readers get in contact with you?

My website is currently http://michaelaronovitz.weebly.com/

My Facebook Author’s Page is: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelAronovitzAuthor?ref=hl

I am currently building a new website to be nicknamed “The Author’s Graveyard” and readers can email me at theauthorsgraveyard@gmail.com

Thank you so much for visiting with us today, and for sharing about your writing experiences. Readers, please let Michael Aronovitz know how much you enjoyed getting to know him by leaving a message below and/or connecting with him via his links. Thanks for reading!

 

Author Interviews, Essays, Guest Blog, Misc

Author Interview with Horror and Paranormal Romance Writer Su Halfwerk

Today’s guest author is another miracle find. Mutli-talented and brimming with experience, wisdom and common sense, it was a joy for me to interview Su Halfwerk. I know every one of you will be similarly touched by her humor, honesty and advice, so I invite you, dear Reader, to have a seat and and meet this wonderful woman…

Su Halfwerk 1

Dyane, thanks for the opportunity to visit your blog and meet your readers. As you might already know, I’m a big fan of your blog and a very dedicated follower.

Thanks, Su! It’s fantastic to have you here today. Can you start us off by telling us a little about yourself?

Sure. I’m a writer, artist, wife, and mother. Writing became my escape when my son was an infant and I became a super-sanitary-freak, which put painting with oil paint and turpentine out of the question.

Whether I’m writing or designing graphics, Ramona, my son’s cat and my literary sidekick, curls up in my lap. She thinks she inspires my creativity, I let her think so.

What other artistic interests do you have besides writing? Where does writing fit in, and why are you drawn to it? What keeps you motivated/inspired?

I like to paint and design book covers and book trailers. As with writing, they are about creating worlds with words, brushes, or mouse clicks. I found that my creative activities complement and support each other. They also inspire me to research more which in turn leads to new avenues to express myself in my writing and the graphic designs I create for authors.

What forms of writing and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?

Short stories, novels, and novellas are my favourites. In writing, I focus on paranormal romance and horror, while in reading I add suspense and thrillers to the list of genres.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a genre as a No-No for me to write because I refuse to restrict creativity but I did find myself hesitant to intrude on my characters’ private and more intimate time together. Keeping this mind, I think erotica is the one genre I might never write. Nothing against it as a genre, but it might not be my cup of tea.

Then again, we never know! 🙂

AVENGER

I’ve read books which annoyed me to the point where I wanted to throw them across the room. As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to not do in your own writing?

I know, right! I make it a point to finish any book I start reading but it’s a struggle sometimes. A good story is one that doesn’t jar with typos and errors, one that has intrigue and suspense, keeping the readers on their toes, guessing, questioning, and sometimes even hating the author for what he/she did to some characters. A good book stays with you for sometime, pondering sub-plots, remembering touching or funny scenes.

I learned a lot from reading bad books, so I’ll mention two lessons instead. I learned to never ignore the need for fresh eyes to go over my books, best option is a dependable and honest editor. The second lesson I picked up was to avoid what I call “character’s self-pity party.” It’s when a character spends a good portion of the book bemoaning his luck and questioning fate instead of taking action. Action moves the story forward while a plentiful self-searching usually becomes the sagging middle.

 As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Elements that revolve around the senses are essential to involve readers. If they don’t feel, smell, hear, and taste with the character, then they’re distanced from the story. They need to feel the afternoon sun warming the character’s skin, the way a mother inhales deeply the scent of her baby’s clean skin, and the voice of a loved one, be it in distress or happiness, can evoke all sorts of emotions in one’s heart.

Weaknesses? I suck at marketing and promoting myself *shakes head*

I guess being an introvert is a big part of it, but I DO love to use my time to create and not promote. Funny enough, I’m quite good at promoting others!!!

Another weakness is nitpicking. I know when a book is finished but I don’t know when to stop going over it since I like to give my editor a clean copy.

My strengths? I’m flexible. If something, say like a scene or an event in my life, isn’t going the way I expected, I pout but I look for other ways to overcome the obstacle.

I also have a tremendous hunger for learning. I learn from everything I watch or read and subsequently, use it.

SEEKER

Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they influence what you write?

My mood controls my writing. I tend to swing like a pendulum between dark fiction and romance to balance the darkness with light in me. Well, we all have that small devil within us, difference is, I embrace mine fully.

When I’m in a dark mood I write horror, otherwise it’s sweet paranormal romance.

What draws you to your preferred genre? What do you think makes your genre unique? And why is it so popular? (Or perhaps less popular than it could be?)

It’s difficult to choose between horror and paranormal romance since I read heavily in both. I’m drawn to their extreme contrasts…in the destruction of lives and the wooing of the heart.

Horror is unique because as a reader you get to experience that rush of adrenaline from the safety of your home, knowing and believing that it can’t touch you. (Think again.)

 Paranormal romance has the allure of mixing the dangerous with the protective, of taming the beasts known for bloodshed and carnage into romantic partners who would do anything to keep their loved ones safe.

Horror is popular within its own circle because it requires a strong heart. It’s an acquired taste really. Because of paranormal romance’s romantic elements it is very popular among adults and young adults. Romance is a winner wherever you go.

Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?

HISTOPOSSESSThere’s the sweet love story between a ghost and a woman in His to Possess, then there are the spirit hunters who must find their destined ones while battling the possessed in the Unsettled trilogy. I’m currently working on book 3 titled, Beholder.

In horror, I have Intricate Entanglement which consists of 7 short stories (or 8, depending how you look at it) that take place in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. You get to hear/read first hand about what brought each there. Hellbound contains 3 stories that are either from, to, or in Hell. Zuphreen is about a demon that comes bearing gifts, except there are strings attached to that service.

IntricateEntanglement_300dpi_eBook

Currently, I’m outlining a book that will have short stories linked by an unnatural thread. 

Why is promoting other writers important to you?

Nowadays, literary survival is through connections and networking. Visiting each others’ blogs is one of the most effective tools to help a fellow writer/blogger while spreading your name and keeping it alive on the internet. It’s also the best way to meet new readers and for readers to discover new authors. 

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?

Staying focused and finding the time to write. There are two types of distractions: Family and muse. With family, sometimes, saying you need writing time works. Forget that with the muse. He is stubborn (yeah, mine is male and he is gorgeous,) tenacious, and won’t let go until I listen. A new idea is great, but when it nags to take center stage, it can distract me from my current work in progress. If I give in, I’ll have loads of unfinished manuscripts. I deal with it by writing all I have about the new idea in a file and saving it in my IDEAS folder. This way I reduce the nagging (note: not eliminating. My muse is mighty) and at the same time I have basis for a new story.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

Stephen King in horror. He has a way with words, of gripping your attention until the last word. Sometimes the ending is not to my liking, sometimes it surpasses it, either way, the journey to reach that ending is worth it.

Gena Showalter in paranormal romance. She has an astonishing sense of humour and a solid vault of imagination that she dips in and paints the most rewarding romances I ever read. I love her heroes and heroines, they are strong and witty. 

What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into the horror or suspense genre?

My advice applies to all genres. Like all writers, you will go through moments of self-doubt. It’s cool but do it while WRITING not while sitting and mulling over it. And while at it, find out what caused that self-doubt. Is it the plot? The characters? Errors in continuity? Use that negativity, be it self-doubt or any other emotion, to push forward. You’ll be surprised at how many of your weakness can be turned to strengths with dedication.

Specifically for horror writers, beside the above, read in the genre; connect with other readers and writers on loops and groups to stay up-to-date. Horror’s share in the market might be less than romance but its fans are super devoted.

How can readers get into contact with you?

I haunt these places online:

Website: www.su-halfwerk.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Su.Halfwerk

Blog: www.suhalfwerk.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SuHalfwerk

Please stop by and holler. One of my 14 personalities is bound to answer!  Dyane, thanks again for the fun interview.

You’re welcome, Su. I’m just glad you took the time to talk with us about your loves and interests and I just know the Readers each took something valuable away from the interview. Please, Readers, visit Su–or one of her other personalities. We wouldn’t want them to get bored now would we?

Have a great week, everyone! See you soon!

 


Author Interviews, Essays, Guest Blog

Author Interview: Adrianna Joleigh, Psychological Horror Writer

Adrianna Joleigh, writer, blogger and promoter of other writers
Adrianna Joleigh, writer, blogger and promoter of other writers

I have no idea how to properly introduce today’s psychological horror writer. Literally, the entire multi-verse knows of Adrianna Joleigh, and if some sorry dimension out there doesn’t, well they soon will. 🙂 I guess I’ll just have to make it up as I go, lol

Adrianna’s quickly become an extraordinary friend, always ready to engage in some crazy shenanigans–some of you know what I mean, lol. Irreverant yet dear, thoughtful and lovable, she’s one of my favorite people around. As you’ll soon see, she has many talents and so much potential–she may actually rule the world one day, and soon. But it’s her drive and talent for writing which caused me to interview her today. So please stick around to find out more about this fascinating lady, what writing means to her and why she’s so passionate about it.

Welcome, Adrianna!

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?

Oh goodness. I’m 25 years old (cough-hush-cough). I was born in the USA, and now live in Eastern Europe. I’m a published author and travel editor for STeeL Magazine. The ocean, no matter where I am, is my favorite place to visit.

I’ve always been an ambitious and impulsive person. When I do something, I go all the way without hesitation, sometimes drowning myself, lol. I’m an ex-model, ex-firefighter, rescue specialist and pilot, among a few other things. I’ve gone to school for Criminal and dabble in International law. I enjoy reading or theorizing physics. And I can make a man cry just by looking at him. 😛 Talk about talent!

Hmmm. You might have to teach me that last trick, Adrianna.

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Are you interested in other forms of artistic expression besides writing? Where does writing fit in, and why are you drawn to it? What keeps you motivated/inspired?

Yes! I am interested in painting. I’ve this craving to take up painting. I’m eager to see what I can do with the strokes of a bush. My writing career fits in between my running around after my twin daughters. They are a lovely handful, so I find it a challenge to write. But when I do write, it’s at night while they are sleeping. My motivation for writing would have to be my daughters along with my need for sanity. My writing, whatever form it takes at that moment, is my therapy. I think many people out there can sympathize with that. I was at a very dangerous point in my life last year, before I began a diary, and once I started to write, I felt the pieces of me heal a bit at a time. So, I continued. Little did I know I’d be where I am today.

Congratulations on your hard work and determination paying off!

What forms of writing (short stories, poetry, novels, essays, etc.) and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?

I’m still getting use to the craft, and what it has to offer. There are so many options. I’d like to try all of them at least once to see if it’s something I’m interested in. Right now, I enjoy writing long stories and poetry. I call it poetry, but there are times when I view it as a unique prose, perhaps.

I cannot see myself writing non-fiction. I’ve thought about a memoir, but then I’d only end up giving myself some tragic ending so it would at least seem appealing to read. Lol. I can ALMOST not see myself writing comedy or romance. I’m not saying that I won’t try, but I don’t see me successfully executing that project. I’m a gloom and doom kind of gal. Sure, I’ll put a man and woman together in a story, but I can tell you this, one of them will lose a limb, their mind, or just shoot each other in the end. Lol. My cynical view of love perhaps shines through my writing.

My poem Victims of War  won an honorable mention for poetry in the Darker Times Fiction Magazine.

As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to not do in your own writing?

To me, a good story pulls the reader in and allows them to develop a relationship with the main character. Without that, my mind will go to sleep. I need immediacy. Lingering descriptions make me want to rip my leg off and hit myself with it. Give me the information. Give me the action and make me feel every bit of it. I’ve read some bad published books and I’ve got to say that the biggest no-no, and usually irritates me to no end, is a book that calls for an active voice and ends up in passive.  

As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Real characters. Make them believable and able to sympathize with. I hope that’s what you were asking for. My weaknesses are abundant. I have a quick mind. I can’t focus well. So, when I write, it’s quick and confusing. What takes a person probably an hour to write, takes me a week. It’s frustrating.

Strengths? I’m not sure. I would say it’s my imagination. It’s vivid and odd. If only I could grab it and write proficiently. If I can manage to hammer myself down to a chair to sit still and focus, I can write a pretty descriptive scene and make you uncomfortable. I could probably manage the same outcome by just staring at you. 😛  

Too true. You’re making me squirm right now! (Lift cue cards to cover my face)

Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they influence what your write?

Edgar Allan Poe. He was the first poet that I seemed to understand, and the most complicated. His symbolisms and wording of sentences, to give you a different meaning with each read-through, is impressive. When I write, I keep him in mind, and hope I succeed in executing my stories with such talent. Also, Jane Austin. The way her stories unfold and how she has you falling in love with the characters from the beginning takes my breath away. I’ve not read anything of hers that I didn’t like.  

What draws you to write in the horror genre? Why do you think it’s so popular?

I didn’t choose the genre. It chose me. Something that I don’t speak about is my imagination. I may give a general idea, but no one knows what truly lingers inside my head. I live in a constant nightmare, but only inside my mind. On the outside I’m completely different. I sat down to begin a diary, and out came a lot of scary thoughts. Things I forgot happened. So, I continued to write. The more I wrote, the more I saw a story that had to be told. When asked what genre I write, I had to sit and think about it, and then it hit me. I write psychological horror. I think it’s a popular genre often because many do not experience what they see in films or read about. It’s usually their greatest (unrealistic) fears coming to life. That tease, and thrill or adrenaline of being forced to the limit of fright and terror is like a drug for some.

Can you tell us about your book? What other projects are you working on?

Well, it’s titled Nadia. It’s a psychological thriller. Some have gotten a glimpse of it but I’ve kept the writing hidden for some time now. Nadia experiences something horrific as a child, losing both her parents right before her eyes. After finding her father dead, she loses her mind.  Twenty years later in an asylum, she wakes up frightened and not sure why she is there. A voice in her mind drives her to do horrible things to others. Between the horrific treatments she undergoes, and the demon within, taunting her constantly, she grows weaker and slowly deteriorates. On a desperate journey for a solution to stay alive, she understands more about herself and her demon, learning to cherish the evil with the good. In the end she realizes that the only way to live is to kill the only person to ever really care for her. I will leave it at that.

I do have other projects waiting for a beginning, another psychological thriller but through the eyes of the demon. I have a tragic love story that I’m always mapping out as well. Who knows! Could I possibly be a romance novelist?

You also like to promote other writers on your blog. Why is that so important to you?

It’s a great marketing technique. I see new writers that have much talent, but are either too shy or inexperienced to promote their own work, so, I thought what better way to help than to feature them on my page. In the end they get the attention and more people learn about them and their work at the same time. Not to mention when someone is featured, the readers tend to want to read others.  

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?

Not to edit while writing is difficult for me. Prior to joining the writing groups here on G+, I didn’t know anything about writing or editing. I just wrote from within and managed to write a chapter a night, at times. Now that I know what to look for and the ‘dos and don’ts’ of writing, I’m my own nightmare. I catch myself editing while writing, and it hinders my ability to hold a thought and just write without distractions. I’m still learning how to cope with it. I try to just sit and not think too hard but watch the film in my own head and write as it comes. Or have some wine. 😉  

Girl, wine is an underated miracle! Cheers! *clinks glasses* 

Who are your favourite writers and why?

As mentioned before, Jane Austin. Her writing style is unique and timeless. Again, writing styles. King is blunt and to the point. Screw what others may think of what he writes, he writes for himself and lets his unique twisted ideas out without hesitation. I hope one day my ‘unique’ mind will be that much appreciated and accepted.  

What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into the horror or suspense genre?

Oh dear. Um… don’t ever be too afraid to be you. Write from within and just let it go. Don’t listen to others as to what is ‘normal’ and what isn’t. Cherish the crazy ideas and know that no one out there is anything like you. If you are eager to learn more about how to write, read a lot, ask questions, as for constructive criticisms and take from it what you need to progress, and toss the rest to the side.

I must say, that writing Horror/Thriller/Suspense, takes a lot of guts. No pun intended. To admit that you think about murders, deaths, children kidnapped, emotional stressors that no one would willingly admit even to their shrink, takes guts. To be able to write it and put it out for the public to read and see your soul on paper, takes guts. The chance that you may be committed for it…. Awesome guts! Lol. 😉  

Covertly reaching for the phone, thumb hovering over 911…

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How can readers get into contact with you?

You are more than welcome to visit my site http://adriannajoleigh.com/

Email : Go to the author page on my site and click ‘contact’ at the very bottom.

Twitter@Adriannajoleigh

Facebook- Adrianna Joleigh  

STeel Magazine (travel section in STeeL Magazine) 🙂

Adrianna, it was great to have you with us today. I feel I got to see another side of you through this interview, and I hope our Readers also felt that way. Readers, please swing by her site and pages and get to know more of her work; it’s unique and well worth the time. 🙂

See you next week!