Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 39: Lyons' Character Has Spoken


Henry is the central protagonist of the Other Dangers series (Slipped Through is book one of an expected eight part series), sort of our eyes and ears in a world gone on from where we are.  He came from our world and found himself trapped in a very similar parallel reality when he went to go on a camping weekend with his wife, with whom he was on the verge of divorce due to stress and strain caused by her breakdown and his very clear antagonistic outlook.  Faced with a post-apocalyptic world and too many questions about how it came to be so, Henry is forced to experience many dangers - among them the woman who is guiding him home.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Henry.  Thanks for agreeing to talk to me today.  Now, some of my readers have yet to ready your story.  What should they know about you?

Henry:
I’m an everyday sort of guy, middle-aged (40s if you’re curious) and tired. I’m a big guy too, I got comfortable in life. Well, as comfortable as it gets anyway. I don’t really like to be told what to do or where to go but that seems to be what I have to do deal with in this story, that and a lot of crazy shit I didn’t expect to see outside of movies.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Henry:
Life is what happens to you, it’s a matter of what you do to change it and make things better. I learned that the hard way. Trust me, you don’t want it the hard way.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Henry:
A lot of things. The things I said that I shouldn’t have, what’s going to happen to my daughter without me or her mom around, the way things change so fast, knowing that I probably fucked things up for a lot of people especially myself. Nightmares about the rain, the rain that never stops unless its too damned hot to breathe. The way she looks walking in front of me on the road, that long highway we seem to have been on forever. The ghosts, the dead, the dark when its more than the dark.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Henry:
Not really, I’m more compulsive than phobic.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Henry:
Rachel’s breakdown, that was the start of everything falling apart. If it hadn’t have been for that breakdown we wouldn’t have been in this mess to begin with, things would’ve been alright. We argued a lot after that, she lsot her job, April started acting out more and taking off with that boyfriend of hers that I don’t like. I don’t like change and that was the start of some big ones.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Henry:
Not really, I mean, not as much as a lot of people. I know I’m an ass sometimes. A guy just gets sick of things going wrong, you know? Ok, maybe I’m a little bit of a jerk and I like to think I’m not.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Henry:
Haha, yeah, childhood. I like to stick with the here and now if you don’t mind, its more concrete and present than the past. You can’t blame the bad things on your past forever.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Henry:
Destiny? I think? I sure as hell didn’t plan to end up someplace where the world is all upside down. Coming here when we had that crash, it changed everything completely. It was out of our hands, though I guess if we hadn’t been arguing that might have helped things a bit.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Henry:
I’d change a lot. I’d really have to think about what all though. I know I’d do better by Rachel, she didn’t deserve a lot of what I handed to her. April either. I’d be a better man, I guess, get things right if I had another shot.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Henry:
Eh, it’s old, so maybe it just makes it obvious I’m pretty old school. I don’t really fit in with everyone else’s way of doing things now. I preferred being able to expect things to stay where they were meant to-not like that, not gay people and all of that- I mean the simpler stuff, marriage and the world we live in every day. I wish you could wake up and know where things were gonna be, you know?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Henry:
Just my body being heavy, I mean its notably so. I was never really skinny.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Henry:
Imagine going from a typical little Ohio suburb and having a little car crash. Imagine you wake up from that and everything’s nuts. It’s hot as balls, like a damn rainforest in the middle of Ohio, and you gotta lug your wife down the middle of what would’ve been a busy highway if you were back where you came from. Not only that, there’s things out there, out in them woods. Dead things, monsters, nothing is the same. It meant I had to learn how to protect myself and do it fast. Nothing was certain.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Henry:
Like I said, a big guy who got comfortable and then had to get used to everything falling apart. I’m not always a great guy but I’m not always a jerk either.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Henry:
Lunch? Another thing in its way? Something to play with when its gets bored? Take your pick. It all depends on what it is and what it wants. Clearly, being an outsider, I’m not welcome and everything’s got some sort of bone to pick whether its lunch or getting to her while she’s vulnerable.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Henry:
Fallible, maybe the redeemable jerk. A lot is probably still up in the air. So far I’m not all bad.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Henry:
She got started with her part, the woman who’s helping me and Rachel get out of here. I came later, a surprise in a book full of surprises and horror. I am both the beginning and the end of the story; it all depends on where you come into the story and when things are happening. I guess you could say it was better to tell this story from the end and go back. I make the pieces fit, help the reader to see her from the outside and understand this strange parallel world better by experience. She did alright so far, there’s still a lot of story left to tell, this being book one. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Henry:
It’s a cliffhanger, nothing wrong with that, right?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Henry:
I’m as accurate as I’m going to get. I’d tell you I wish I didn’t end up in that other place, but that should be obvious shouldn’t it? Nothing would’ve gotten sorted out or developed if I didn’t have things the way they were in the end. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Henry:
*laughs* Do you like vampires, dead kids, gorey scenes, and character driven stuff? If so she’d be your author. If not, maybe stick to her blogs.



About the author:
A longtime fan of horror and fantasy, Ms. Lyons writes character driven novels that, while influenced by the dark and gothic, can also be heavily laced with fantasy, romance, history, and magic.  
            Amanda M. Lyons has lived her whole life in rural Ohio, where she lives with her fiancĂ© and two children.  She is the author of Wendy Won't Go: Collector's EditionEyes Like Blue FireWater Like Crimson Sorrow, and Cool Green Waters, all available from J. Ellington Ashton Press.  She is also the co-author of Feral Hearts with authors Catt DahmanMark WoodsJim GoforthEdward P. Cardillo, and Michael Fisher and a contributing author to the extreme horror anthologies Rejected for Content: SplattergoreRejected for Content 2: Aberrant MenagerieRejected for Content 3: Violent Vengeance, and several others.


About the book:
Henry is a man with trouble on his hands.  Setting up for this weekend getaway wasn't even his idea and now he's woken up from a terrible car crash to find himself in a strange place where nothing is as it seems.  Now his whole life has changed and nothing he knew to be true seems to matter, not when the world is filled with horror and still other dangers waiting in the shadows.  Worse, his wife is hurt and there's only one woman who can help them get home, a woman who is more mystery than truth and holds the road map to a world without rules... a map which comes in the form of a book hidden in the depths of the backpack in her possession.  A book that calls his name and the woman shows him she would do anything to keep out of anyone else's hands.



The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 39: Among the Stacks with Amanda M. Lyons


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Amanda!!  Welcome to The Gal.  It's a pleasure having you here today.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Amanda M. Lyons:
I’m a creative lady and usually have all kinds of things going, some writing, some reading, some cross-stitch, drawing, photography, editing too. Mostly I’m an introvert and pretty private unless I really get to know someone. I’m also spiritual and mindful so you can catch me doing things that are about connecting like meditation or writing blogs about how to work on things. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Amanda M. Lyons:
I have CPTSD, I listen to music from every era and genre, I’m pretty much my own beastie as a creative INFJ, I’ve done one or two book covers, I’m 1/16 Cherokee and 1/16 Blackfeet. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Hmm, probably something like Arthur, Berenstain Bears, or witchy stuff. I’ve always been big on spooky, geeky, and “whimsical”.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Amanda M. Lyons:
I’ve got three going. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (bummer, not really digging it unfortunately), The Death of Addie Gray by Amy Cross (liking it so far), and The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvanni (woah, one chapter in and I am all about this one!)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn't expect you to have liked?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Hmm, probably a lot of them, I read all over the map. Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts is a favorite most wouldn’t expect a horror fan to be fond of, I think. I’m also a fan of Jennifer Weiner’s stuff, great writer.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Being a kid with a big imagination, I suppose it had to happen eventually. First moment of really getting it was with writing a short in 6th grade called The Last Lonely Christmas and getting a lot of appreciation for it from my teacher, he really encouraged me to keep writing. So I started at 12, that’s 25 years now.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Nah, not really. As long as the atmosphere is good I can write for a long time without much thought. It’s really more a matter of mental state and focus than location.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Just that a lot of my writing is processing. I didn’t really get that in the past but once I did I really started utilizing it to work through things. Fear, anxiety, past trauma all came up in some way and got transmuted into something cathartic and better. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Getting time and maintain focus. I’m a mom with two really smart and engaging kids who want my attention and at least two editing jobs on top of the regular mom stuff. I really love it when I can let go and just write.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the most satisfying thing you've written so far?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Hmm, not sure. Each story has its own quirks and needs, kind of like kids really. I really liked what I got with “Vast Oceans”, my short in Fearotica, for example, also “The Speed of Pain” from Extraterrestrial. Novel wise maybe Other Dangers.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Amanda M. Lyons:
It and The Stand by Stephen King, also Poppy Z Brite’s Drawing Blood and Exquisite Corpse, Gary Braunbeck’s Mr. Hands. Other than King, Brite, and Braunbeck, definitely Clive Barker, Anne Rice, Alice Borchardt, Jacqueline Carey, and Neil Gaiman. I’m all over the map as far as genre, mostly I do imagery and characters in trauma, sort of psychological.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Characters, a good plot, and striking imagery or ideas.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Someone I can get invested in. If I can connect with them on some level, if I care what happens, I am hooked. I try to make characters who convery things we all think about and then have them tackle some of the worst experiences of their lives, they live in extremes.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Katja Ademus from the Shades of Midnight series, and to some degree her lover Raven. They represent two sides of me, masculine and feminine.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Yes, I love a good cover and its honestly the hook that catches my attention. I’m lucky I get to talk to my cover artist and have input on how things turn out.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Amanda M. Lyons:
How to use the razor to cut away the chaff, how to build what is flat, and how much work there really is in things like foramtitng, cover design, and editing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Amanda M. Lyons:
The final scene in Wendy Won’t Go, when we finally see what makes her up and how it all plays out. I agonized over it so much. Will she have a say in what happens to her daughter? Will it all be brutal?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Amanda M. Lyons:
I’m a wee bit like a fairy tale writer for grownups, sort of a Guillermo Del Toro of the written word. I don’t worry about genre as much as I do about story and characters. Anything can happen. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Amanda M. Lyons:
I like to think it sets the mood of the book but it’s most important that it at least gives the reader an idea of what the book or story is about. I decide titles at random at any point in the process so I try not to stress over it and let it come. Other Dangers came out of wanting something that left a mystery in things and also said what if it isn’t just zombies and horror you have to face down when the world ends? What if there’s more? What if what you wanted was exactly the wrong thing and you had to make up for it?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Amanda M. Lyons:
A novel, while it’s great writing short stories it’s not as much work for me as the novels. I started on short stories and worked up to novels, so that’s probably a lot of it right there. There’s more work, more pulling at the reservoir, and I have to make everything stretch into broader themes and details. That means lots more time and energy invested so the payoff is that much sweeter.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from the stories.

Amanda M. Lyons:
I write genre benders that are genuinely more about characters than tropes or overarching themes. This means that I’m delving into the conscious and unconscious sides of people, the what ifs of these spaces, and pulling them out to look at. While I’d say most of it fits nicely in horror it also has snippets of other things like sci-fi, fantasy, and other themes that might not always be found in horror. I won’t go so far as to claim I’m really a Bradbury, but I do what he did back in the old days, writing for story and characters rather than for market or genre expectations. It means I stick out a bit, maybe have more moody elements and take more time with some things than some might expect. I guess I fit under gothic and literary horror for those reasons. My readers are the folks that like me fiddling about in all those spaces without worrying about fitting in, the oens that like remembering a scene or a character well enough that they think back to it later. I really hope that I make an impact like that, something that’s remembered for good or ill.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Haha, hmm, most of the cutting room floor things are repeated bits, superfluous dialogue, maybe something that doesn’t fit. I’ve gotten pretty good at writing a mostly clean manuscript so not a lot ends up needing taken out at this point. Granted I haven’t gotten to do a lot of novel work in the last year or so and that is a bit different. Generally if it’s a tough sell or an iffy scene I drive my loved ones nuts asking them to read it over, offer advice, or listen to me read it out for them. So imagine me pacing, frowning, and reading over the same bits over and over before I write more, sometimes for days. That’s not every bit of writing, but when its iffier that’s where I am.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's in your "trunk"?

Amanda M. Lyons:
I have a bunch of short story and novel ideas waiting to be worked on. I also have bits and pieces of work that need polish or to be finished. Years and years of picking up and putting down writing will do that, alas. I kind of wish I had finished a lot of it in the past, but then I’m better at the work now so maybe it just wasn’t time or I’m not the right author for the job. Time will tell. There’s definitely parts two and three of Other Dangers waiting for a final readthrough before they’re ready. Those are the most ready of the stack.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Amanda M. Lyons:
Other Dangers: This is How the World Ends and Other Dangers: Further Down the Spiral should be expected in the next year or two, hopefully sooner. Otherwise I’m a bit up in the air on what I might get finished. I would love to get the fourth book of Shades of Midnight, Hollow Black Corners of the Soul finished and out, hopefully Jodie (killer dolls and psychokenisis ) and Night is Falling (isolationist alien horror through an outcast’s eyes) too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?

Amanda M. Lyons:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Amanda M. Lyons:
No, but thanks for having me and for taking the time to read through this. I hope it gives a good idea of what you can expect with my books and stories so that you check them out in the future. *Waves*


About the author:
A longtime fan of horror and fantasy, Ms. Lyons writes character driven novels that, while influenced by the dark and gothic, can also be heavily laced with fantasy, romance, history, and magic.  
            Amanda M. Lyons has lived her whole life in rural Ohio, where she lives with her fiancĂ© and two children.  She is the author of Wendy Won't Go: Collector's Edition, Eyes Like Blue Fire, Water Like Crimson Sorrow, and Cool Green Waters, all available from J. Ellington Ashton Press.  She is also the co-author of Feral Hearts with authors Catt Dahman, Mark Woods, Jim Goforth, Edward P. Cardillo, and Michael Fisher and a contributing author to the extreme horror anthologies Rejected for Content: Splattergore, Rejected for Content 2: Aberrant Menagerie, Rejected for Content 3: Violent Vengeance, and several others.

About the books:
Billy and Sara are living a life of fear.  Every day and every night since Sara was small, they have been haunted by a terrible apparition.  She is cold and she is cruel, strange and frightening.  Her name is Wendy, and no matter where they go and no matter what they do, Wendy Won't Go.

Katja is a vampire who has lost sense of herself and her value in the world.  Lost, broken and damaged, she wanders the streets of Europe hoping to find some sense of purpose beyond the death and tragedy she has always known.  Betrayed by her sire and left alone in the night, she is startled to discover herself forming a connection to a young man who shares a close resemblance to her master and lover.  Though everything in her begs her to stay with him, she flees only to come running back to save him when a sadistic monster from her sire's past comes to destroy the only hope she has had in 300 years.
            Katja and Raven will face many horrors among them Renfield style zombies, ghosts and the undead.  This is also the first in the series Broken Edges.

Having discovered many of Anton's secrets, Katja must now seek out Raven and attempt to rescue him from the nightmare that his life has become.  As she seeks him out, Raven is being eaten up by the horror of his own past; a past full of guilt, pain and a terrible revenant who is more than she seems.  In time, these two paths will come to meet and a final confrontation that could mean the end of so many things will be in store.  Will Raven survive the monster who's come to take over his life and will Katja be strong enough to face it?

After the events of EYES LIKE BLUE FIRE and WATER LIKE CRIMSON SORROW, Katja finds herself tackling a very damaged and conflicted Raven.  Hoping to heal that damage on her own, she sends Zero and Michael to find the only other vampire she knows still lives after learning about Anton's past and destroying the monsters she uncovered there.  Divided, the two groups find themselves tackling more that they could have expected as Katja faces an unknown threat from a faceless monster, while Zero and Michael must face Mateo, and with him, their own dark secrets.  Not all is as it seems and the past is far from buried.


Henry is a man with trouble on his hands.  Setting up for this weekend getaway wasn't even his idea and now he's woken up from a terrible car crash to find himself in a strange place where nothing is as it seems.  Now his whole life has changed and nothing he knew to be true seems to matter, not when the world is filled with horror and still other dangers waiting in the shadows.  Worse, his wife is hurt and there's only one woman who can help them get home, a woman who is more mystery than truth and holds the road map to a world without rules... a map which comes in the form of a book hidden in the depths of the backpack in her possession.  A book that calls his name and the woman shows him she would do anything to keep out of anyone else's hands.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 38: White's Character Has Spoken


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Charlie.  Welcome to The Gal.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Charlie:
Well, I’m still a kid, but it doesn’t feel like it. I’ve been through a lot. Seen some terrible things. Before the world went to shit, I was pretty smart. Enjoyed horror movies and my sister, who was really sick, annoyed me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Charlie:
I believe in death. It’s all I see.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Charlie:
I’ve had to do some things to protect my sister from the undead that still bother me. They will, in fact, until the day I die. I don’t want to give too much away in case you want to read my story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have phobias?

Charlie:
I used to, before the dead began rising and walking again. You know, spiders and snakes. Now I only fear the hungry moans of the dead, their shuffling walk.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Charlie:
Okay, all I’m going to say about this is that you can’t trust anyone. Not in this world. Not the way things run now. My party and me, we go out of our way to avoid people at all costs whenever we run into them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Charlie:
Yeah, any time I think that things will turn out okay.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Charlie:
My mom and dad liked to party and drink and, you know, do drugs. A lot. My sister, who is twelve and unable to take care of herself because of her illness, was often left in my care. They were never the hitting type, so that was okay. Dale and Merrick were a married couple who lived beside us. Dale helped me out a lot. He got me into watching old horror movies. That was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed reading comics and books back then. It all means shit now, though.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Charlie:
I can only blame destiny. Hardly any of what’s happened was a result of my freedom of choice. I had to react to the world around me, and often very quickly.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Charlie:
I would. I would rather live with a drunk and passed out mother and father a thousand times than in this running for your life every day. It’s hell.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Charlie:
Nothing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Charlie:
I hate tattoos. They’re ugly and meaningless to me. I might have gotten one if the world hadn’t died and become resurrected, but now, it’s all pointless. Were food for the dead whether your skin has art on it or not.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Charlie:
Well, so far I’ve only been in one of Jason’s books. He says he might write more about my story, but I guess we’ll see.  The setting is unique because it always changed. And then there was that time that me, Grant (the guy who was taking care of us at the time) and my sister nearly froze to death in the middle of winter. Fun times.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Charlie:
Before the dead started eating the living, I also watched a lot of war movies. In that HBO show, Band of Brothers, there’s a scene where one of the sergeants, or whatever, is trying to get a private to snap out of his fear of death. He says something along the lines of, ‘The reason you’re so afraid is because you still think there’s hope. There is no hope, and you’re already dead.’
            That's how I see myself.  Already dead.  I have to.  It helps me survive.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Charlie:
Food.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Charlie:
Jason thinks that I am depressing and completely nihilistic. He’s right. But he also knows the reasons why. I wish he was here with me, then he’d know for certain.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Charlie:
I wouldn’t leave him alone. He was the only one really willing to listen to what I had to say. I think he did a good job translating my experiences to the page.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Charlie:
I hate the ending because I had to live through it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Charlie:
I think he made me out pretty well. Maybe a little more optimistic than I really am, but otherwise he nailed it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Charlie:
I have. He’s not bad. There’s better. There’s worse.


About the author:
Jason White is a writer and podcaster from the frozen lands of Ontario, Canada.  He has interviewed many writers for The Darkness Dwells Podcast, such as Laird Barron and Ramsey CampbellJohn Langan, and John Palisano.  His novel, The Haunted Country, is available on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere good fiction is sold online.  He has also published 18 short stories in various magazines and anthologies.


About the book:
Charlie and his sister, Cindy, are going to die.
            Charlie knows this deep inside his bones.
            The World has become a dark and cold place where the dead have risen and taken over the world.  But they're not the worst threat.  With a small number of the living stumbling around to survive, humanity's biggest problem is itself.  Since the end of civilisation, people have tried to kill or enslave the brother and sister.  Everyone who's tried to take care of them since the dead started rising has died.  They've died horribly.
            It only makes sense that Charlie's and Cindy's number will soon be up, as well.  If the dead don't get them, the living surely will.
            They should already be dead.

            Charlie is only fifteen.  His sister, who's severely mentally handicapped, is twelve.  Together they can barely survive other survivors.  Enter Grant, a gun wielding badass who accidentally saves their lives and then wants nothing to do with them.  A reluctant hero, he eventually decides to take the brother and sister under his wing.  Is he enough to take them where they can live free of the ever hungry dead and other, psychotic survivors?  Or will he join the others who've tried to help only to end up food for the dead?

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 38: Among the Stacks with Jason White


Jason White is one super cool dude... and someone that I am very excited wanted to come back and sit down with me for a second interview.  If you have not read anything from this man yet, you really need to.  The word "talented" doesn't even begin to encompass it.  He is also a podcaster, which I should have asked him some questions about (hmm... sounds like Jason and I need to sit down for interview #3, huh?)... one of my favorite podcasters, to be precise.  I download his stuff to my iPod and listen to it when I go out walking.  I find him so interesting and entertaining, that it is HIM that motivates me to walk "just a few more blocks."


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Jason!  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Jason White:
Thank you, Meghan!  It's always a pleasure.  I've been really busy lately with three different podcasts and raising my little man, who can be a handful.  He's a high-functioning autistic four-year-old.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are you outside of writing?

Jason White:
Serial kille... I... uh... I mean to say that I work full time at a plastics factory.  I'm an extrusion operator.  We basically melt plastic pellets we call resin and turn it into plastic sheeting.  I'm also a husband and a father.  I also love podcasting and interviewing other horror writers.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Jason White:
My family doesn't really read my work.  My father is too immersed into his religion.  He thinks that I'm going to burn in hell for the music I listen to and the books I read.  I have given him some copies of my books, but I doubt he's read them.  My mother cringes at the stuff I write.  She's a softy.  And, in truth, I don't think I'd be all that comfortable having them read my stuff.  It's not for them, really.  And sometimes, it's about them. *laughs*
            My wife used to read my stuff, but she's not really into the dark things I enjoy writing, so she doesn't as much anymore.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Jason White:
I used to think that it was a gift. There’s nothing like feeling as though you nailed something you were trying to say when all the work that goes into writing a story is finally done. These days, however, it feels more like a curse. A curse because I like writing. I love creating worlds and characters. But time is becoming more and more restricted with the podcasts and I end up sacrificing the writing to either that or for work, or for family. It has become a lot more difficult despite my desire to get behind the keyboard and pound out words.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Jason White:
I’ve always been emotional. Emotions are what drives me to write, be it anger, sadness, or even happiness. I’ve also always had difficulty identifying with other people, so I was alone without friends for a good part of my childhood. Despite my inability to relate to other people, I have always been very good at figuring people out, or figuring out what makes them tick.  Whether wrong or right in my judgements, I’ve come to realize that this was instrumental in creating realistic characters when I decided to take up the pen and write fiction.
            When I was a kid, I was also utterly terrified of anything that defied what was perceived by me as concrete reality until I was about nine or ten years old. The Incredible Hulk television series freaked me the hell out, for example *laughs*. When I got over those fears, I found myself obsessed with the fantastique, so to speak. I discovered Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, Stephen King, and Edgar Allan Poe, and my world never looked the same.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Jason White:
I once stumbled upon the picture of Chris Farely’s dead body while researching drug overdose for a story. While not completely in tune with the question, it was a very strange experience for me to see that picture. I wasn’t expecting it and it disturbed me for months.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Jason White:
Oh my god! It’s always the middle for me. I always know how a story starts and most of the time know how it’s going to end. It’s that goddamned middle part, the connecting the dots, that can drive me insane! *laughs*

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you outline?  Do you start with characters or plot?  Do you just sit down and start writing?  What works best for you?

Jason White:
At the beginning, I always start without any outline. For me it usually begins with an image or a ‘what if?’ scenario. With it usually comes an idea of who and what I’m going to be writing about. Because of that horrible middle part I described in the previous question, I tend to write bullet-point outline sometime during the second act to help me figure things out until the end of the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Jason White:
This is sometimes why I struggle with the middle. Characters rarely do what I want them to, and so things, including the end of the story, is always altering. It can be unnerving.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Jason White:
I look to the people who inspire me. I am in no way prolific. I am the complete opposite, in fact. But I wish to be prolific. So, I have a list of authors that I admire for not only their writing, but their prolific output. Writers like Stephen King, Mark Allan Gunnells, Caitlin Kiernan, Laird Barron, and Tim Curran. I also think of writers I love like Mercedes M. Yardley, who is probably busier in real life than I am, and still produces fantastic work.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you an avid reader?

Jason White:
I am indeed.  Although, not as much as I'd like these days.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Jason White:
I read every genre. I’ve even read some romance, though I’d say that that is the genre I’ve read the least of. If the story and characters are good, and the prose is like cold water on a hot day, I’m in for the long term.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Jason White:
I love reading the book, catching the movie adaptation, then comparing the two.  I've done this with great joy since my adolescence.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Jason White:
My hands are stained with blood I cannot wash off.  So, yes.  I indeed have.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Jason White:
No. I don’t, actually. The good ones, anyway. The bad guys, or perhaps I should say, the assholes, I love to make suffer. But not the good-hearted characters.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that you've ever come up with?

Jason White:
In my novel, The Haunted Country, I wanted to challenge the Darwinian theory of Survival of the Fittest in a post-apocalyptic setting. So I created Charlie and Cindy. Charlie is a fifteen-year-old boy, and Cindy is his twelve-year-old sister who is also severely mentally handicapped. I wondered how and even if a couple of kids like that could survive and what would it take for them to survive. That novel took me into some dark places.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best piece of feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Jason White:
The worst was a rejection from a publication situated in Australia that told me that I was perhaps better suited to selling shoes than writing.  That one hurt.  It was mean-hearted and unnecessary.
            The best I got was another rejection from one of the largest genre literary agencies around.  It was a two-page rejection that basically told me that I was a good writer, but laid out some areas where I needed to improve.  I took that advice, bought and read the books he suggested, and moved on.
The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to you?

Jason White:
I love the people who read my stories and listen to my podcasts.  They make it all worthwhile.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Jason White:
That is a great question. I think that I would love to play around with a George R. R. Martin character a little. I would take Tyrion from the Song of Ice and Fire series, not really the HBO version. We would drink wine and exchange sarcasms and irony. It would be a blast.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Jason White:
That’s a tough one. I’m not sure I could do that. I’d be too frightened of fucking it all up *laughs*. But if I could, I would write the next Song of Ice and Fire book. I love that series.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Jason White:
I’ve been meaning to collaborate with Michael Schutz who co-hosts The Darkness Dwells Podcast with me, but we never seem to get it going. Other than him, I’d love to collaborate with Mark Allan Gunnells or Tim Curran.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Jason White:
You can find my short story, Dweller Messiah, in the upcoming C.H.U.D. Lives Tribute anthology, coming out early 2018. I’m real proud of this one as C.H.U.D. has always been a favorite 80s horror movie of mine. I’ve seen it countless time. And the table of contents is mind-blowing!
            You can also catch my short story, House of Dandridge, in the Group Hex Vol. 2 anthology, which is was just released! It also has one heck of a lineup of fantastic writers that I’m really excited to be a part of.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (STaLKeR links.)

Jason White:
You can friend me on Facebook - I'm usually lurking around there somewhere.  Search for darkfiction74 in Facebook's search bar and you'll find me with no problem.  You can also catch me on the main podcast I produce, The Darkness Dwells Podcast.  I'm also on Twitter.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview or the last?

Jason White:
A BIG thank you to everyone who enjoys the things I put out there.  I love you guys!


About the author:
Jason White is a writer and podcaster from the frozen lands of Ontario, Canada.  He has interviewed many writers for The Darkness Dwells Podcast, such as Laird Barron and Ramsey CampbellJohn Langan, and John Palisano.  His novel, The Haunted Country, is available on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere good fiction is sold online.  He has also published 18 short stories in various magazines and anthologies.

 

About the books:
Charlie and his sister, Cindy, are going to die.
            Charlie knows this deep inside his bones.
            The World has become a dark and cold place where the dead have risen and taken over the world.  But they're not the worst threat.  With a small number of the living stumbling around to survive, humanity's biggest problem is itself.  Since the end of civilisation, people have tried to kill or enslave the brother and sister.  Everyone who's tried to take care of them since the dead started rising has died.  They've died horribly.
            It only makes sense that Charlie's and Cindy's number will soon be up, as well.  If the dead don't get them, the living surely will.
            They should already be dead.
            Charlie is only fifteen.  His sister, who's severely mentally handicapped, is twelve.  Together they can barely survive other survivors.  Enter Grant, a gun wielding badass who accidentally saves their lives and then wants nothing to do with them.  A reluctant hero, he eventually decides to take the brother and sister under his wing.  Is he enough to take them where they can live free of the ever hungry dead and other, psychotic survivors?  Or will he join the others who've tried to help only to end up food for the dead?

From the twisted mind of new horror writer, Jason White, comes 3 short stories.
            In "Room 118," a young man just graduated from university finds himself working nights as a janitor at his hometown's gymnasium.  He works with a cast of weird characters and a room everyone's obsessed about.
            In "Chemical Burn," Alex accidentally creates a new drug by mixing chemicals at work.  He shares it with his co-workers, but when he discovers how dangerous the drug is, will he be strong enough to overcome its hallucinatory and addictive effects?
            In "Divorce & the Black Cat," Nick's wife wants a divorce, but he is still in love with her.  He's also been unable to control his behavior lately.  It's as though someone or something is taking control of his mind, leaving him a helpless passenger to a life that is going completely insane.
            Enter these strange and eldritch worlds populated with people you will care about and creatures that will make your skin crawl.  Maybe you will find something of yourself breathing within...

From the twisted mind of Jason White are nine previously uncollected stories of isolation, desperation, horror absolute, and despair.  Within these pages you will meet a man who becomes obsessed with a room that whoever enters does not come back out; a woman learns from a demon how to protect herself from the man who's been hunting her; a man who has lost his family to a house fire finds that there are creatures living inside the ruins of what was once his home.  Within you will also find a young couple who see a poster advertising a heavy metal concert and decide to go, but find that the musicians and fans are from the deepest pits of Hell; a woman suffering the loss of her husband in the Afghanistan war finds that her family cottage is haunted with a darkness that looks all too familiar to her own soul; a young janitor creates a new drug by accidentally mixing cleaning chemicals, and when he goes to destroy it, his fellow users are not so enthusiastic to get clean.