Jeannie Wycherley’s Beyond the Veil, Excuse Me While I Fangirl

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Crone BragI have a very long and ever-growing “To Be Read List”. Many months ago I added a book called Crone by Jeannie Wycherley after she graciously agreed to be spotlighted on this blog for Women in Horror Month, read that post here.  I was just about to read Crone when I saw on FaceBook that Jeannie was releasing a new book. With an interesting premise and amazing cover, my attention was hooked, and I began reading the second it hit my iPad.

 

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I am now a devoted Jeannie Wycherley fan. I tossed my current Stephen King read on the floor of my office and read Beyond the Veil every chance I got. My family had to eat pizza and hot dogs for a couple nights because I Could. Not. Stop. Reading. And I’m not even the least bit sorry.

An unlikely trio, a cop, a near-death experiencer, and a physic girl who lives in a cemetery are thrown together in the midst of a horrible crime. United in grief and horror they must face a terrifying soul warrior who will stop at nothing to collect a wayward soul, even murder! The creep factor is a solid ten, the characters (I adored them!) are a 10, the plot with eerie twists is a definite 10!

This book does everything right. From deep, believable characters to story pacing, to spinetingling suspense, and outright terror!

If you like spooky, suspenseful, mysterious tales with characters that you will be immediately invested in, this is the ticket for you!

Jeannie stopped by to answer some of my burning questions. Excuse me if I squeal in delight.

I have been stalking…er…I mean following you on social media for some time now. So, I hope this isn’t creepy, but can you tell us more about yourself?

I’m a Brit living on the coast in East Devon in the south west of the UK. Previously I worked in education, and I have a PhD in modern and contemporary history. I’m married with three dogs, love cop shows and spy movies (James Bond, Bourne and Mission Impossible) and popular sci-fi (Star Wars and Star Trek). I enjoy cooking and make a lot of one-pot meals (curry, chili, soups, etc.). I have an obsession with the forest and love British wildlife.

What led you to become a writer?

I always wanted to write, but somewhere along the line I thought that being a grown up meant holding down a soul-destroying and energy sapping career. I was in a creative wasteland, and after some counselling realised I needed art in my life more than I had supposed. I had some time off sick over the summer of 2012 and enrolled in a writing bootcamp with The Writer’s Playground. It was fantastic and started a habit of writing every day.

The things I wrote were pretty bad in the beginning, but the feeling of exploring the world using words totally fulfilled me. I kept at it and when I was offered redundancy I accepted– mainly so I could spend more time with my dog! I didn’t have much luck finding alternative work I wanted to do, so I began copywriting. I wrote for clients in the morning and myself in the afternoon, and that’s how it all started!

I had a long apprenticeship – writing constantly – and had numerous short stories accepted here and there, before embarking on novel writing. I queried a few agents for Crone, but I’m ridiculously impatient and the process is so slow, I opted to self-publish.

One of the reasons I choose self-publishing as well. I read across genres and was curious what genre or genres you write in. 

Horror and dark fantasy is where my heart lies. I love the weird, and I totally relish venturing into shadowy places – both within the mind, and in a given locality or environment. I have also written some erotica and a little erotic horror (as Betty Gabriel), and have ventured into dystopia (which I love). I also wrote a love story earlier this year. It’s a great story, but I doubt I’ll write many more of those.

I don’t want to be pigeon holed and I see myself as a story teller, but I do appreciate people who read my work may get a little confused if I genre hop too much.

What is it about those genres that intrigue you most?

There is so much about the world that is scary, and so many infinite scenarios to battle the monsters that lurk within us and around us. Plus I really love to put female characters into dicey situations and see how they react. Women are so much stronger than horror tropes (both literary and film) would have us believe. I want to work with strong women characters and find something unique that readers haven’t come across before.

I absolutely loved Beyond the Veil. It is such a unique premise with amazing characters. Where did you get the idea for the story and the characters?

Beyond the Veil grew from a sad situation. A wonderful friend of mine passed away far too young after a brave battle with cancer, and her husband made the announcement by telling us she had ‘stepped beyond the veil’.

That expression wouldn’t let me go, and I explored it for a while. I had a wonderful image in my head of a veil curtain, and I wondered what would happen if someone attempted to step back through. But also, is there just one door to the beyond? Doesn’t it get crowded? What happens if there is a mix-up? Is there anyone controlling who goes through? I did some free writing around that (some of which ends up in the prologue), and the plot came to me quite quickly. Originally I envisaged a novella, then maybe 60,000 words, but the story took over and I ended up with a full-length novel.

The characters were interesting to me too. Originally, while plotting, I had Heidi as my main character, but the problem was her injuries (terrorist attack) meant she needed to be incredibly vulnerable. I couldn’t make her strong enough to carry the story and keep the essence of who she was and what made her tick.

I played with a female detective instead but the plot didn’t work. Also the Dan character was a young woman originally, but when I started exploring the relationships I knew I needed Adam Chapple as my detective, and to explore the father-son dynamic. I wanted some real multi-faceted and dynamic characteristics of them as individuals and within their relationship. Adam has a wonderful nurturing side that is real – no toxic masculinity here! Adam is a red-headed whisky drinking, running detective and is based on my brother!

So that brings me to Cassia Veysie. Wow. Where did she come from? I have found on several occasions that I’m writing away happily – sticking to my plot sheet – and a character pokes their head up, waves, and says, “Your story needs me!” It happened with Mr. Kephisto in Crone, a character by the name of Phineas in the forthcoming The Municipality of Lost Souls, and of course here we have Cassia in Beyond the Veil.

She totally steals the show. She was the strong and weird character I needed to balance out Adam’s rational common sense approach to the world. She’s also flawed in so many ways, over confident at the beginning, reduced to a bit of a mess after she bungles the séance. Over the course of the novel her mask breaks down, metaphorically and figuratively, as we see her losing the dramatic goth make-up and stepping into her powers.

I don’t know whether there will be a follow-up to Beyond the Veil, but certainly Cassia, Adam and Polly – another character I loved (I modelled her on the actress Gwendoline Christie who is my girl crush) may find themselves resurrected because I feel like there’s more to do with them.

I am going to hope for a follow-up. I agree with you, I ended the book feeling like there was more of the character’s stories to be told.

Past me pestering you for a follow-up (please don’t block me on FaceBook LOL) what’s next for you?

A slightly mixed bag. I spent a few months experimenting earlier this year. I wrote a loveWW1 promo story (Keepers of the Flame) and I wrote a cozy witch mystery. My editor loves the cosy so much that she’s persuaded me to write a series. The first in the series is The Wonkiest Witch and will be out in October (pre-order up soon). I am plotting the second, The Ghosts of Wonky Inn, and will write that in September.

My next dark novel is The Municipality of Lost Souls, slated to go to the editor on September 1st for an October release, HOWEVER I want to make sure it’s perfect so may delay that release. It has a complicated ensemble cast so I need to make sure it works. I don’t want my readers to get confused – it makes sense to me, but then it would, wouldn’t it? Ha!

The Municipality of Lost Souls is a fantastic story – my favourite so far. It’s a kind of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn meets TV’s The Walking Dead but with ghosts instead of zombies (of course – because I love ghost stories). It is a bit of an homage to Charles Dickens (my literature hero) and it is set on the rocky coast of Durscombe (the same as Beyond the Veil) but in the autumn/winter of 1861 rather than now (I knew my background in history would come in useful one day LOL). We get to meet Cassia’s foremothers.

It’s a story about how social cohesion can rapidly break down when we look the other way and follows the fortunes of three ‘witchy’ cousins, Agatha Wick, Sally Parrett and the inimitable Amelia Fliss.

It’s such fun! In a scary Mary kind of way, of course.

Those sound amazing! See, now I’ll be too busy reading these to pester you too much for a follow-up to Beyond the Veil! 

Being a horror author, I keep a running tally of things that scare people, so I have ideas on how to spook readers. What kinds of things scare you?

Politics. Brexit anyone? What a mess.

Ugh. It seems like a global time of political dumpster fires.

Heights! I freak out just climbing the stairs LOL. The first novel I wrote explored the whole height fear thing I have. I haven’t redrafted it yet, because it is a nasty piece, shocking in parts, but at some stage I will do some serious work on it, and publish it. It needs an audience.

Crowds and noise. I’m very introverted and get tired and stressed in social situations rather too quickly. I’m happiest in my study with only a snoring dog or two for company. My idea of hell is doing a presentation or a book signing. Happy to leave that to other authors. I know it’s not a particularly great idea to self-publish and hide your light under a bushel but I prefer to let my writing do the talking.

I hear you. I’m ridiculously shy. Doing all that mingling with folks is on my list of things I’m scared of, too!

Jeannie, I adore your writing and will try to wait patiently for anything and everything you write. Crone is my now current read, Stephen King will just have to wait. Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

Stalk me!

http://author.to/JeannieWycherley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanniewycherley/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Thecushionlady/

I will stalk away and if you are a fan of strong female personas, interesting characters, dark stories, and other assorted deliciousness you should stalk her too!

Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!

 

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The Paranormal World Sees the Passing of a Legend, Brad Steiger

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Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 11.26.55 AMI first discovered Brad Steiger and his amazing books when I heard him on a paranormal podcast that I listen to rather regularly. He was chatting about a variety of topics including, vampires, parasite spirits, and aliens. I was very happy to find that he has over one hundred books, yes you read that right 1-0-0, on various paranormal topics. A few of his tomes are in my reference library of the strange and terrifying. The book “Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Dark Side” has so many bookmarks in it you’d think it was a favorite cookbook! He wrote many of the books with his wife, Sherry Hansen Steiger, and his work also includes tales of animal miracles, angels, and Atlantis. Check out his Amazon Author page to learn more.

Sadly, he passed away May 6, 2018, at the age of 82.

Thank you for your gentle wisdom and willingness to share what you learned and believed. Good journey Mr. Steiger.

Meet Nate Camden From my Novel DREAD

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nate.jpgI’ve done a few author interviews for book blogs and such, but never has someone asked to interview one of my characters, until now! Author and blogger R.J. Davies asked just that and I think it is probably the coolest interview I have ever done!

I didn’t realize how much I missed the main character of DREAD, Nate Camden, until he started answering the interview questions. The photo to the left is an image I used to help me create his character(unable to find photographer or model credit other than it first appeared on the internet in 2009). Check out the interview here:  http://rjdavies.tumblr.com/post/172642019516/interview-with-protagonist-nate-camden-from-joy

Then check out DREAD to get the rest of Nate’s story. Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 12.38.00 PM

Women in Horror Month a Peek Behind the Pages: Women Who Create Nightmares, Final Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed meeting some female horror writers and I hope you will check out their work. To wrap up Women in Horror Month, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts of my own.

Thank goodness I write better than I speak! Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!

Women in Horror Month a Peek Behind the Pages: Women Who Create Nightmares, Ellie Douglas

I have been having such a good time with my sister nightmare makers! There is a common experience that many of us female horror writers share, it is the reaction we get when someone finds out our chosen genre and the inevitable question of why!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the multi-talented Ellie Douglas. Like me, she is mother to several children and she has a set of twins so you can guess that not much scares her! She’s here to share with us why she writes in the horror genre. Take it away Ellie!

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Hi there, 

Ellie here 🙂 

Why do I write horror? I write horror because I personally love it, I also love to scare people, the reaction I get from my books is a grand reward. I’m a bloodthirsty writer, in terms of, I write a lot of gore with exceptional characters too. So it isn’t all about guts and gore. I love the fear I create within my stories, and the fear is to evoke in my readers. Listening to them say how it gave them nightmares, or that their skin spiked and crawled is really awesome to hear. My love of horror started at a very early age and it stuck with me.

 

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Website: www.authorellie.com

Twitter: @AuthorEllie

About Ellie

Ellie Douglas, born and raised in New Zealand. A graduate of Massey, is a freelance graphic artist, spent 10 years working with Autistic Children, and has done some overseas traveling. She is a member of NZSA and SpecFicNZ.

 Ellie went into motherhood, with four children, including one set of non-identical twins. Ellie was able to dive right into her creative side. She started out as a freelance graphic artist, and to this day she still creates award-winning professional pre-made book covers.  During her designing of book covers she would write, sparking her inner desire to be an author.  Writing more and more until she finished her first novel, Zombie Dogs.

Ellie has two brothers, one younger, one older, both of whom she adores dearly. Ellie is a very warm, fun-loving, friendly, generously giving woman, she’s mysterious and enjoys keeping the suspense going.  She is hard-working, loyal and very down to earth.

 

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Women in Horror Month a Peek Behind the Pages: Women Who Create Nightmares, Christine King

Next up in my Women in Horror Month blog series is author Christine King. We met hanging out in writer’s groups on Facebook and she is lovely and spooky! Christine is going to share with us why she writes horror and extend a wonderful invitation to anyone who already writes horror or would like to with the possibility of publication! Come on kids, our coven-Wait. What. I meant-our writer’s groups can never be too big!

 

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I guess for me horror has always been my literary friend. I started with Dracula and Frankenstein from my mother’s book collection when I was ten, they were a means to escape the poverty my family lived in, and then I moved on to Stephen King and Dean Koontz at my local library. 

I feel in love with Stephen after reading his introduction to ‘Skeleton  Crew’ a book of his short stories. That’s where he mentions a short story being like a kiss and why I called my short story collection ‘A kiss in the dark.’ 

I have sometimes felt that Horror, as a genre, is male-dominated and that my stories may be overlooked because I’m a woman and women ‘don’t do horror.’ Yet I keep writing. I also started a Facebook group for Female Horror Writers to help support and promote them. I have a Facebook author page too.
I work as an English teacher in a Spanish school helping children to be international with their language skills. I have also worked in English schools and I found many kids felt that books for their age group spoke down to them or dumbed the language down. So with my teen and young adult books, I have never done that.
I recently started a blog to try to get other writers involved and to publish a book of our joint efforts at the end of the year. Anyone can join us and give it a try: https://chrissyswritingchallenge.wordpress.com/

My author page will tell you more.   http://christinekingauthor.wixsite.com/mysite

My best advice to other writers is just to keep writing. There is no better advice. Keep writing, keep submitting. Write what scares you, and at some point, you will find a kindred soul in a publisher who will love your work as much as you do.
Thanks,
Christine King
About Christine

“Mostly I write Horror but I chuck out a few fantasy and other genres when I feel the urge. I also write poetry when I am feeling melancholy or adventurous.

I live in Barcelona at the moment but hail from London, England. I enjoy archery, a good cocktail and sushi. My influences are Stephen King (whom I have loved since I was 15) and Terry Pratchett (who gave me encouragement and a place to escape to RIP sir)

I am a mum and a wife and always get the same response when I say I write Horror. “But you seem so nice!”

 

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Women in Horror Month a Peek Behind the Pages: Women Who Create Nightmares, LC Champlin

My next installment for Women in Horror Month is LC Champlin. She is an author of horror but also writes thriller, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, action-adventure, and survival books. Sounds like a good companion in any situation! Welcome LC!

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Fear, an emotion we hate and yet love. We avoid it in day to day life, yet we seek it when we feel the drag of routine. In a controlled form, horror, dread, and terror give us a high. It’s the rush that I love with the Horror genre. Horror spans all genres, from sci-fi to fantasy to thriller to romance, and takes us out of the ordinary in ways more visceral and vivid than real life ever can. In the end, perhaps a mundane existence is the real horror?

LC Champlin

A terrifying thought!

lc2lc1Never let the apocalypse go to waste…

Business trips to San Francisco aren’t supposed to include terrorist attacks. They’re definitely not supposed to

have a cannibal plague and earthquakes. It’s going to be an interesting night for New York businessman Nathan Serebus and his attorney Albin Conrad. They’re up to the challenge, though. Their motto: buy when there’s blood in the streets.


About LC Champlin

Writer, traveler, adventurer. Lover of all things Geek and Dark. I admire villains, antagonists, and rogues more than a little. They really do have more fun, and they can teach us important life lessons.

I write fiction because the characters in my head have too much attitude to stay in my skull, I want to see the world through different eyes, and I want to live life through different souls.

I write zombie apocalypse/horror/thriller books because it’s in the dark that we see a person’s true character. Plus, who doesn’t like shooting zombies?

Check out my site lcchamplin.com for book updates, and blog posts about villains, weird science, and more.

Up next in the series Women in Horror Month: Women Who Create Nightmares, author Christine Brown! Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!

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