To begin, please introduce yourself to our audience. What is your name? Who are you? What books have you written?
Clarissa Johal and I write paranormal, gothic horror and fantasy. I have three books out right now (PRADEE, BETWEEN and STRUCK) three short stories, a play, and numerous magazine and newspaper articles. Permuted Press just signed on my fourth book VOICES, which is a paranormal psychological horror.
What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?
I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be. As far as continuing—truthfully? I think I’d go nuts if I didn’t write.
What is the first book you read that made you fall in love with literature?
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser. I loved that he took a sympathetic character and flipped him. By the end of the book you saw Clyde’s journey into corruption but didn’t want to see him convicted. The character is a very delicate balance between sympathetic and unsympathetic—antagonist and protagonist. The book is a good example of complex writing and character building.
What do you think is the most difficult part of being a writer? What is the most rewarding part?
The most difficult part of writing is balancing the drive to write for 24 hours a day with family. My family comes first but writing can be very demanding, both emotionally and time-wise. I tend to be a bit of a workaholic. The most rewarding part about writing is when readers tell me my books are different and have unique storylines. I aim for that so it’s good to hear! I love getting email from readers.
What is your most recent work? What can audiences expect from this book or series?
My paranormal gothic horror STRUCK was just released in January of 2014. The release date for VOICES is TBA but possibly by next summer. I’m working on THE ISLAND right now. In fact, I’m flying out to Canada to do some research next week. There are a couple of remote islands I’m familiar with but it’s been awhile. Since my novel is situated in that area I wanted to get a “feel” for the place again.
What do you think are the most common misconceptions about writers?
That we’re weird. Okay, maybe we are weird. Writing is a pretty solitary business. When you spend as much time alone as the job requires, it’s hard not to end up talking to yourself. And just so you know—it’s not myself I’m talking to, it’s my characters. Honest.
Why did you decide to join Permuted Press?
I was looking for a publisher that would support my paranormal horror habit.
What are your dreams for the future as a writer?
I have dreams of hitting the best-seller list, I think all writers do. But I’ve managed to contract every book I’ve written with a publisher, so I can’t complain. A lot of it is luck and timing.
Is there anything else that you would like for people to know about yourself and your work?
Hmm, well, I’ve been studying ballet for over 20 years. When I’m not writing or with my family, you’ll find me in my dance studio. As far as my work—I write what the characters tell me to write. A lot of it comes to me through dreams. I’m always at a loss for paper so if I wake up (in the middle of the night) I’ll write things on my arms and legs. It probably looks kind of creepy in the morning but it works.
Do you have any events coming up such as conventions or book signings?
I do regular appearances at my local Barnes and Noble, blog hops and the like. If you check out my website, I post everything there. I’ll probably attend a convention next year but haven’t decided which one.
Where can people find more information about you?
My website: http://www.clarissajohal.com/.