Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Jennifer Loring, and I’m 43.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Portland, Maine but grew up in Western New York, near Buffalo. I now live in Philadelphia.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I live with my husband, plus our turtle (Ninja) and two basset hounds (Daisy and Rocky). I have a BA in Studio Art and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. Next year, I plan to start my PhD work in English Literature/Creative Writing on the topic of horror narratives in video games.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My novella Conduits, originally published by DarkFuse in 2014, was re-released by LVP Publications on April 30, 2019. I also have a short story appearing in the upcoming NecronomiCon 2019 memento book, and one in Would but Time Await: an Anthology of New England Folk Horror, which is also releasing at NecronomiCon. So I’ll be attending my first NecronomiCon this year!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing around age 11. I grew up seeing my mother write, but when I read Stephen King for the first time, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I knew I was going to write horror for the rest of my life. I’ve never been a fan of “happy” endings; they didn’t feel realistic to me given the things I’d experienced. That said, I wrote an entire romance trilogy a few years ago as a challenge to myself.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I had my first professional sale at 24. My first publication was three years before that, and I’d had other stories published in the meantime, but it was all token payments or exposure-only (don’t do that, by the way. You should be paid for your work).
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, I’d written several novels that were utter trash and thought I just wasn’t capable of writing anything that long. Once I went to grad school, however, I was required to write a novel-length thesis. I used a character from one of my unpublished novels and built a new story for her. It was largely inspired by the fairy tale “Donkeyskin” as well as Chinese, Roma, and Nigerian mythology.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It’s actually a song title by The Third and the Mortal. I’m terrible at titles, so I frequently turn to music for help.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My style has been called “poetic” and “elegant”; I write primarily horror but, as with everything I write, I like to do it in a more literary style. I love language and love to use it to its fullest potential. I think horror has a number of challenges, namely sustaining tension throughout the narrative. This is why so many people believe it works best in the shorter forms, and I agree. Novels can often feel as though they have a lot of filler. Not to say that there aren’t many, many brilliant horror novels!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Real life creeps into almost everything I write, and many of my characters are based on or are amalgamations of people I know. I write a lot about absent parents (physically and/or emotionally) and losses I’ve experienced in my life. Conduits was partly inspired by the death of a close friend 13 years ago, which sent me to a pretty dark place. My battles with mental illness (dysthymia, anxiety, excoriation disorder) are often present in my work as well.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t have to, but I enjoy doing so. I think that if you’re writing about a place you’re not familiar with, visiting will go a long way to lend authenticity to your descriptions. There’s only so much you can get from the internet without experiencing it yourself. I usually set my stories in places I’ve already been to—Conduits, for example, is set in Washington State, where I once spent a week on vacation.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve had several designers; for my latest, Kealan Patrick Burke (an excellent writer in his own right) did the cover art.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If there’s a message, it’s to consider the possible subjectivity of reality, which is supported by quantum mechanics. That’s the cosmic horror influence creeping in, but Conduits is mostly my love letter to Japanese horror.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
There are so many new/ish writers I’ve been enjoying.Nadia Bulkin, Gwendolyn Kiste, S. P. Miskowski, Betty Rocksteady, KristiDeMeester… My favorite writer is probably still Stephen King, because of his incredible gift for deep characterization. Even his settings, like Derry in IT, become characters. He’s the only writer I actually get cravings to read, like he’s chocolate. 😀
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I’ve been publishing professionally for almost 20 years and had little support back then, even from family. However, my undergrad English professor was very supportive of my writing, even though she only read my essays and never any of my fiction.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes; that said, it’s hard for most of us to make a career out of it given the irregular paychecks. I’m an online university adjunct instructor/team lead and freelancer to help pay the bills. Occasionally I sell some of my art, too.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
This being a re-release, I actually had that opportunity before it was published again. I don’t think there’s anything else I’d change at this point.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I didn’t consciously set out to write an unreliable narrator, because it always seemed so difficult to do well, but that’s a major aspect that readers identified in the story. So I learned not to overthink what I’m doing so much—and not try to deliberately employ narrative tricks; it never ends well when I do. Just let the story flow and see what happens.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I think KikoMizuhara would be perfect. She has that sort of broody look that suits Mara, my main character.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Learn the craft. If you self-publish, don’t insult your readers by not hiring an editor. Learn to take rejection and criticism. Not everything you write should be published. And don’t read reviews—above all, never respond to them. They’re ultimately for readers, not you.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I appreciate every one of you!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
We Live Inside Your Eyes by Kealan Patrick Burke and Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was the first volume in a set of children’s encyclopaedias that I read when I was four.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My basset hounds make me laugh on a daily basis. My husband makes me laugh. I’ve cried during everything from The Shape of Water to Avengers: Endgame. Any movie involving dogs, happy or sad, is guaranteed to bring the tears.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
That’s really hard to narrow down. There are dozens of writers I’d love to meet, both living and dead, as well as some musicians and actors.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Art is still something I enjoy doing when I have time. I draw, paint, collage, do photography, create handmade journals… I also read, of course, and play video games. And I love to travel.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Of course, I watch a lot of horror movies!I’m a big fan of superhero movies, too. I love everything Guillermo del Toro does. I’m also a “murderino”—a fan of true crime shows.Documentaries are probably my favorite thing to watch, on anything from Studio 54 to the environment to serial killers.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods: pizza, Mexican, dim sum, sushi, pasta. Does coffee count as a food?
Colors: black, red, silver, purple
Music: black metal, funeral doom, dark trap, witch house, industrial, dark ambient, video game soundtracks
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’m not very good at much else, so I’d probably do more art.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live; how would you spend that time?
That’s a tough one. Probably getting my affairs in order, eating all of my favorite foods, and then cuddling my dogs. (And my husband, I guess. :P)
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone?
Probably a literary quote.That or something funny. Now I’ll be thinking about this all day.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Sure do! It’s http://jennifertloring.com. You can also sign up for my newsletter there
Amazon Authors Link USA https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Loring/e/B0073XLEO8/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Barnes & Noble
Amazon USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998748986/