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!

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Darkness, Suspense and Vashti Quiroz-Vega! Oh, My!

Today we have a real treat! We get to chat with YA suspense, thriller and horror writer, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, whose book, The Basement: Robbie’s Rite of Passgae, will be released tomorrow! For those of you who don’t know this amazing writer, Vashti has a love for all the arts (music, writing, drawing, etc.) and features artists from various disciplines on her blog.

Vashti is one of those people I always think of as being chipper, smiling and laughing. I mean, just look at that innocent face!  So it was really interesing to read about her penchant for The Dark side.

Alright, I know. Enough chit chat! Without further ado, allow me to introduce to you one of the blogging world’s most dynamic voices! So read on…but don’t forget to leave a light on!

Vashti Quiroz-Vega, author of the YA book, The Basement, and blogger
Vashti Quiroz-Vega, author of the YA book, The Basement, and blogger

1- Hello, Vashti! Fantastic to have you with us today. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?

My full name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega. I grew up in New York City, and I currently live in south Florida. I’m a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer—that’s my day job. My passion is writing. I have a large extended family and two cute little dogs, Rascal and Cocoa.

2- Where does writing fit into your life, and why are you drawn to it? How did you get your start and what keeps you motivated/inspired?

Every chance I get, I write. I’ve loved reading and writing from a very early age, and I’ve always been a good storyteller. I can’t explain what draws me to writing. I guess I just love telling stories. Ha, ha!

3- What forms of writing (short stories, poetry, novels, etc.) and genres do you prefer to write? 

I enjoy writing short stories, novels and poetry. I have a box full of short stories that I can either leave as they are or expand into novels. My book, The Basement, came from that box. It started as a short story I wrote in high school, which I then expanded into a novel. My favourite genres are Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller and Horror, and sometimes I intermix several genres within a single story. I love the idea of creating characters and worlds. I enjoy being scared and scaring others (to a certain degree, of course). The anticipation factor and the thrills and chills of Suspense/Thrillers excite me.

What will Natasha discover hiding in the darkness of The Basement? Read on, if you  dare.
What will Natasha discover hiding in the darkness of The Basement? Read on, if you dare.

4- Do you have favourite tips/words of wisdom you like to share with other writers?

Don’t allow unqualified people to critique your story—they can only do more harm than good. When you’re done writing your story, have a professional editor edit your manuscript.

Also, I’m a firm believer in Karma. I believe that if you’re kind, helpful and supportive to other aspiring authors, good things will come to you, and vice versa.

5- As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to never do in your own writing?

For me, the story has to keep moving forward with action, and without too many stagnant areas.  I don’t really believe in bad books. I think if it was published and people bought it, it couldn’t be so bad. Take the Twilight series—I hear people all the time talking about how bad those books are. Personally, I prefer my vampires not to glitter, and I like vampires to tear people’s throats out and be full of raw animalistic sexuality, but that’s just me. At work there are women of different ages who devoured the Twilight series and really enjoyed those emo vampires, and frankly, Stephenie Meyer is laughing all the way to the bank. Another book widely criticized is Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. If the book made countless people happy and horny, who are we to judge? Ha, ha!

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

Strong characters that drive the plot. An interesting hook in the first paragraph to make readers want to keep on reading, and an ending that doesn’t leave you hanging. My strengths are that I am very creative, I have a great imagination, and I can really tell a story. My biggest weakness, I would have to say, is that I’m no “Grammar Girl.”

7- Who are your favourite writers and why?

Stephen King, Dan Brown, Anne Rice, J.K Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Michael Crichton. I enjoy their storytelling.

8- Can you tell us about The Basement? What other projects are you working on?

The Basement is a suspense/thriller aimed at a Middle Grade/Young Adult audience. It’s about a highly intelligent pre-teen named Robbie. He deals with being bullied by neighbourhood kids and verbally abused by his alcoholic father. He does, however, have friends that love him and heroes to look up to. The Basement is a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, of treasure hunts and adventure, and of facing your fears. The story focuses on the small-but-everything world of one group of pre-teens and the very real and wondrous situation they face. I’ve written a second book, a Young Adult/Adult Fantasy, Lilith. It is the first of my fantasy angel series.

Cover for The Basement: Robbie's Rite of Passage
Cover for The Basement: Robbie’s Rite of Passage

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

The editing part is challenging, especially when I have to kill my darlings.

An ominous scene from The Basement
An ominous scene from The Basement

10- What do you find is the most satisfying part of being a writer?

Finishing a book.

Books on display from The Basement release party
Books on display from The Basement release party

11- How can readers get into contact with you?

I have a blog, a Facebook author page and book page, Twitter, Tumblr, website and Goodreads.

BLOG: http://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com
Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vashti-QuirozVega-Author-Page/396515670465852
The Basement Fan Page: http://on.fb.me/XccJOR
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VashtiQV
Website: http://thebasement.tateauthor.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/list/book/18041475

Photo taken from The Basement release party
Photo taken from The Basement release party

Thank you Dyane!

The pleasure is all mine, Vashti. Readers, don’t forget to check out Vashti’s contact pages and links as well as her book, The Basement, which will be released August 20!!

Also check out her audio interview for ‘The Writers Block’ hosted by STEEL Magazine. Click on the thumbnail for the link :

The Basement Cover (05-14-13) 9781625105554large

See you next time!

Author Interviews

My STEEL Magazine author interview

I have posted this before but I’m sure it’s lost in the body of my blog. So, for those of you who don’t know me, I invite you to check out this audio interview hosted by STEEL Magazine. I talk about myself, my writing and my upcoming projects. Drop me a line when you’re done! I’d love to chat. 🙂