I met Sarah-Jane on line at one of the many digests on my blog. We agreed to exchange blogs. I'll be on her's sometime later this year. Here's hers.
1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?
I mainly write fantasy and horror, but lately I’m branching out into comedy.
2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
I write what I enjoy reading. I like anything with some sort of supernatural angle to it, and I like it even more if it has some kind of darkness to it. I also enjoy writing stories with outlandish plots so that I can test the humanity of my characters. I’ve often said that the human condition can best be explored when characters are put into extreme conditions, where they are forced to see if their morals will hold up in life and death situations.
3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
As I mentioned above, I’m currently trying to write a comedic novel. It’s still fantasy based, but unlike my other novels that border on horror, I’m going for a lighter, more surreal tone with RED ROVER. So far I’m happy with the results.
I don’t think I’d ever write a romance novel. Not that my stories don’t have a bit of romance in them, quite the contrary in fact, but I would never want romance to be the focus of the story. And I’m not a fan of the usual romance conventions, such as an alpha hero, a virginal heroine and a happily ever after, so even if I were to write a romance, it probably wouldn’t appeal to most fans of the genre.
4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
Nowadays, I don’t read a lot of fiction. I prefer reading about mythology, folklore, and the preternatural. The most recent fiction I’ve read has been old classics, such as Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,
I grew up in a small Northern Ontario town, and as I was a shy child, I spent most of my time off in the woods by myself, daydreaming. I think it was then that I developed my love of writing, but I had always considered it a hobby until my mid-twenties. It was then that I completed the first draft of THIEF and decided that I wanted to make a go of writing professionally.
6. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I think Glor from SHADES OF WAR is my favourite creation. I don’t want to reveal too much, but Glor is a mentally and physically handicapped child who holds a great secret. I enjoyed creating the duality of Glor’s character, especially in juxtaposition with the novel’s villain. I also enjoyed the way that Glor viewed the world. It was a refreshing change from the doom and gloom attitude of some of the other characters.
7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?
There are conventional villains in my books, but most of the characters have villain-like qualities to them. I am a firm believer in moral relativism—no one is purely good or purely bad. Everyone has a dark side to them, and sometimes the world brings out the worst in them. I think it’s important when creating a villain to recognize this. There are reasons for why they behave the way they do, and if I want to raise them above a stereotype, I have to make sure that every character in my books views themselves as the “good guy.”
8. What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on MASQUERADE, the third book in the Sevy series, which we hope will be released in November or December of 2011. I’m also working on RED ROVER, the comedic fantasy that I mentioned earlier.
9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
SHADES OF WAR was released in November of 2010, and is the sequel to THIEF. The idea for Shades came about while I was still writing Thief. I realized that Sevy’s (the main character) story was still far from over, and that I wanted to see it through to the finish. And the finish will be five books in total, so I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me!
10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words
Here’s the opening for SHADES OF WAR:
Sally’s pub, a dismal little dive located in the south-eastern quarter of Eloria, was as it had ever been: dank, run down, and saturated with the body odor of the city workers who made up the bulk of its clientele. But what it lacked in ambience it made up for in cheap ale, of which Sevy was currently partaking.
Seated at a table near the fireplace, she was in her own world. The other patrons knew not to bother trying to chat up the tall brunette; her temper was as quick as the sword that hung at her waist. She surveyed all with glacial green eyes as emotionless and piercing as a bird of prey’s, her mouth seemingly fixed into a frown except for the times she allowed it to slide into a sneer.
The message was clear to even the most drunken or stupid of men: stay back.
The only one courageous enough to approach her was Hal, the barkeeper. His back was more hunched than it had been in years past and his eyesight was weakening, but he could confidently invade Sevy’s bubble of personal space without fear of reprisal. So long as he always brought more drinks. Wordlessly, they exchanged coin for ale. Their familiarity didn’t demand stilted attempts at pleasantries.
Sevy took one long swallow after another until the mug was empty save for the last slippery bits of fragrant foam. Satisfied, she sank low into her seat, folded her arms over her stomach, and rested her feet up on the opposite chair. The fire warmed the timeworn leather of her boots. She wiggled her toes and stretched out her calf muscles, their soreness almost pleasurable now that they had a chance to rest and recuperate.
Her eyes closed. Her head fell to the side. The clinking of glasses and low murmurings in the room around her faded into a blissful blur.
“Ma’am? Excuse me, ma’am?” a tiny voice chirped into her ear.
Sevy made no effort to conceal the scowl that crossed her face. A sigh shook her chest as she looked up at the intruder through hooded lids. Before her was a young girl. Fourteen, fifteen maybe. Very gaunt and lanky. An uncertain grin revealed crooked teeth and excessive gums. She pulled self-consciously at the threadbare dress she wore, as well she should. It was a few sizes too small and didn’t leave much of the girl’s burgeoning, if not angular, womanhood to one’s imagination.
Author of fantasy and horror fiction