In actual fact it has been relatively calm around here since the snow and the Snow-Yetis melted away. No, it is not the most comfortable chair around, and the flames can singe on occasion. I call it character making. I mean truly when ever have you seen a comfortable interrog... sorry I mean interview.
Anyway. Yeah, no need to clean, but if you insist... afterall who am I to argue with a guest?
OK, are you done now? You are welcome to continue after the interroga.. interview. Though it does give me some insight into what your first answer will be. OK, let's start.
Now I can’t start writing until I have a coffee and digestive biscuits to hand. Do you have a ritual before you start writing, or is it spontaneous venture? I do, in a way. I have to be completely relaxed, in a quiet room (Preferably a clean room but this rarely happens.) I can’t have anyone making noise or walking around behind me. Do not speak to me unless absolutely necessary (a rule the people in my house never take seriously, haha.) Also, I have to take care of everything else I have to do first. Emails, errands, social media. I can’t write if I have all these bits and pieces tugging at the edges of my mind. Of course, it often takes too long, and by the time I’m finished, I’m too worn out to write anything. So there you have it, my insanely neurotic and rather unproductive writing rituals!
Self care is important these days, and women tend to leave ourselves to last everytime. How do you care for yourself?
The Japanese believe that a shower is a ritual renewal, and I believe it was V.C. Andrews (the real V.C.) who wrote that washing your hair is ALSO the solution to all life’s problems. So for me, a shower is the most invigorating thing possible. When I’m stressed, I head for the shower. I can recall a night on an island in Malaysia where I dramatically ran away from an ex-lover and holed up in a hotel, sank down against the door in relief, and then took a hot bath. Three hot baths later, I called him and we made up. Not sure if he was invited into the 4th bath with me but I know there was one. My point, ah yes, a hot shower or bubble bath always makes me feel better, even if it doesn’t involve a lover’s quarrel on a sub-tropical island.
You have a choice of five people to invite to dinner. Any five in life or beyond? Ok, make that four because it is a given you will invite yours truly. Four friends plus me to your dinner party. Who are they and why?
Definitely you, Lee, and please bring Terra Franklin aka Ginger Love Glitter along! So the other four would be my late grandparents, my late cousin Raymond and my late friend Rozaimin. These are people I loved dearly and would do anything to sit and talk with one last time. Terra Franklin Pic R
I was probably supposed to choose authors. So I can also amend this list to: the amazing Lee Franklin, Pearl S Buck, Daphne DuMaurier, Nicholas Pileggi and Amy Tan. What a group!
How do you determine success for yourself?
I’m probably supposed to say that having a lot of money, a nice house, cars, and a luxurious life is NOT my idea of success, but I’d be lying, wouldn’t I? I may never have these things though, so my second idea of success would be carving out a comfortable life for myself and being content with what I have, and maybe selling a few books.
Tell us, why should we read your work? Don’t say because it is better than mine.
I put my heart and soul into it, and leave a piece of myself on the pages. I often do this with humor, so you may not catch the painful aspects of my writing, but they are there. My life is hidden in these pages. Come and find me!
Is there one thing you would have done differently in your writing career?
I probably would have learned to write first. I’ve heard a lot of authors say they can’t even read their early work without cringing, and I am no exception. I’ve always had a talent with the written word, but I made the mistake of thinking I could just dive in and create a masterpiece. Didn’t know how hard it would be, how many technical rules there would be, or just how much I needed to learn before I ever put the first word down on the page. But I’m in it now, aren’t I. Learning as I go, so to speak.
What inspires you? No, don’t look at me.
Reading an incredible novel or story that makes you sit up and say, “How the hell did they do that?” Dissecting works and figuring out how the author achieved a certain imagery, scene, feeling, action. The learning process is what inspires me the most.
Imagine I am filthy successful agent (I did say imagine) we are stepping into an elevator. Hit me with your top three elevator pitches for three pieces of your work.
Hey, I have this novel about a Malaysian punk rock private detective who solves occult crimes with the help of a Toyol (a deceased child resurrected by black magic) and it’s being made into a film! It’s called Hantu Macabre, and I’m currently re-writing a Westernized version of it. Interested?
- Hey, I’m writing the sequel to my first novel about a Malaysian punk rock private detective who solves occult crimes with the help of a ... what? You’re interested? Where do I sign?
- Hey, I don’t have a third work available, unless you count this collection of short stories I’m working on, but can we set up a meeting?
A mother isn’t meant to have favourites, but tell me, what is your favourite story that you have written? And why? Just so all those other stories know.
I think the best story I personally have written so far is one called “The Wet Dream” which appeared in the Places We Fear to Tread Anthology published by Cemetery Gates Media in 2020. It’s about a horrible experience I had on a boat when I was a teenager, and I took it one step further by turning it into a horror story. No one died in real life, but I was able to exorcise a few demons by getting it down on paper.
Other than WIHM which is an amazing month for female horror writers. How do you feel other women can best support each other in this genre?
Social media is where it’s at! Buy, read, promote, tweet it, facebook it, instagram it, blog it. Do what you are doing, Lee, and work hard to promote your fellow women. Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! And happy 12th Women in Horror Month!
Jill is the author of Hantu Macabre, (Published by Fixi Novo) the best-selling novel featuring punk rock paranormal detective Suzanna Sim and Tokek the toyol. The book was shortlisted for the 2019 Popular/The Star Readers’ Choice Awards. Suzanna and Tokek will also be taken to the big screen, as a full-length film based on the characters is set to start shooting in 2021, with former MMA Fighter Ann Osman starring as Suzanna.
Jill has several short horror stories published (many of which feature various small, wicked creatures) and will soon begin working on the next volume in the Hantu Macabre series. She currently lives in New York where she is the editor of the Kandisha Press Women of Horror Anthology books.