10 Questions for… Jake Aurelian

Jake Aurelian is an award-winning author with several books under his belt, most recently Living Well is the Best Revenge: D.B. Cooper & The G-Heist Gang & The Missing Two Million and We Leave With Our Guns Out!: A Festival of Photography and Fiction. Since graduating from the University of Illinois in 2000, Jake has since taught English and media at the college level, while also penning over 500 articles on pop culture.

Jake's collection of gritty, quirky short fiction, Dead Wrestlers, Broken Necks & The Women Who Screwed Me Over: A Main Event of Photography and Fiction was a Finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards; it was also the Runner-Up in the 2012 Hollywood Book Festival.

It was because of the Hollywood Book Festival (which I was also taking part in) that Jake and I came to know each other. Being that we both grew up enamored with profesional wrestling, we got along like a couple of kids at recess. Without further ado, here are 10 questions for Jake Aurelian...

1. What would you like readers to know about Living Well is the Best Revenge: D.B. Cooper & The G-Heist Gang & The Missing Two Million?

'Living Well is the Best Revenge' is crime fiction told in a true crime/non-fiction style—the story of five criminals, a daring armored car heist and the subsequent search for the missing, pilfered money. I consider 'Living Well is the Best Revenge' to be my personal masterpiece; it allowed me to utilize the first-person narration in a rare way, taking it to a new and unexpected level.

2. What would you like readers to know about We Leave With Our Guns Out!: A Festival of Photography and Fiction?

For those who read my first collection of short fiction, 'Dead Wrestlers, Broken Necks & The Women Who Screwed Me Over: A Main Event of Photography and Fiction,' I believe 'We Leave With Our Guns Out!' serves as a makeshift sequel of sorts; for those unfamiliar with my work, 'We Leave With Our Guns Out!' stands on its own as an eclectic collection of short fiction (horror, war, sci-fi, literary, bad romance and crime) with a gritty, raw, hard-edged narrative and biting humor.

3. Who are some writers that have affected your storytelling sensibilities?

It may seem strange, but I really don’t have any specific fiction authors who served as writing influences. I always wanted to be a writer and I always wanted to discover my voice independently without any outside influence, so, unless I was being forced to read literature for, say, a college class, I avoided reading fiction. I wanted my voice to be distinct, unique and my own, and even subconsciously, I didn’t want any author’s style or voice to play a part in establishing my own. That said, I’ve always been an avid reader of non-fiction—history (Hollywood, Civil War, Russian), biographies (esoteric figures in history), true crime (Black Dahlia, Jack the Ripper)—and, more than any specific one author, the overall non-fiction genre has most influenced my fiction writing.

4.  Professional wrestling tends to be a common theme in your fiction. Why is that?

Yes, pro wrestling, and pop culture in general, are common references in my work. Regarding pro wrestling, I think many of us who grew up in the 1980s and 90s certainly have, in some way or another, a soft spot for pro wrestling; there was an emotional connection between performer and viewer and something really special about that time period that hasn’t been duplicated. As a writer, I enjoy dropping pop culture references (be it pro wrestling or otherwise) into my texts. I believe such references make a connection with certain readers through the sharing of collective pasts.

5. What methods and strategies have you employed in order to promote both yourself as an author, as well as your books?

After writing and publishing a book, a new job begins—a beast called marketing, which has certainly been a learning experience for me. I reach out to local media, promote the books on my website, my Amazon author page, and the usual online tools, such as Facebook and GoodReads. I love the interaction with readers and receiving their feedback, and I am deeply touched and blessed with the support and positive feedback for my work.

6. Writing a book is such a complex exercise that I imagine no two authors do it exactly the same. Can you summarize your process for me?

I work in a meticulous fashion; when an idea is generated, I initially take a few notes and mill over the idea for weeks, sometimes months, before actually sitting down to write— and I write until completion. After a rough version of the story is finished, I always do extensive editing and re-writing (usually while working on additional pieces) before actually sending off to my editor. The writing process that occurred with  my novel 'Living Well is the Best Revenge' was quite different because, unlike spending a few days on a short story, it was a lengthy piece written in a long, 30-day burst of creativity wherein I did little but write.

7. What drove you to write your latest book Living Well is the Best Revenge?

I conceived 'Living Well is the Best Revenge' in March of 2012 (during a road trip to a book signing) and took sporadic notes with the idea of writing the story at some point in the future. I had firm direction for the beginning and end with everything in between pretty iffy (I didn’t even have a title!). 'Living Well is the Best Revenge' certainly exemplifies my aforementioned love of non-fiction, and it was an absolute joy to write. The somewhat clichéd phrase “It wrote itself” certainly applies. The events, the quotes, the characters—everything—just flowed and fell together as if I were relaying factual events versus creating fictional ones. I’ve never encountered a writing experience such as this. It was a special period of my life.

8. Where do you see your writing career five years from now?

I don’t want to be rich or famous, I have no real desire for either, but I would like, in five years (if not sooner) to have my work accepted on the mainstream level and produce a steady income. Someone recently asked me: “Do you have a benefactor?” They was surprised when my answer was no. I have been dedicating my life—working full-time—to fulfill this dream. I live meagerly, sacrifice a lot (personally and professionally) and struggle at times without having a benefactor and/or extravagant dollar advance from a major publisher. I do all my own marketing, I fund all costs associated with my books, and therefore, it takes a while to make a profit.

9. What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on an autobiography with a wrestling icon from the 1980s and 90s (who, for the purposes of privacy, I can't yet name). He's one of my childhood heroes, so this is unquestionably a dream come true and somewhat surreal. Helping this legendary performer  publish the story of his unique and amazing life will be a true honor, and if someone told me as a child that I’d eventually be working with this guy, I would’ve never believed it. Likewise, I’ve had a few additional offers for co-authoring wrestling autobiographies, and, while at this point, I have no idea if my involvement in any of these books will ever come to fruition, simply being considered is special. 

10. What advice would you give to an aspiring author who hopes to see their work published one day?

With a wide array of publishing tools currently available to aspiring authors, there is no better time for writers to pursue publishing. The stigma of self-publishing is gone, and there is most certainly a market for independent authors to find and build an audience. But, with that said, with so many others competing for attention along with the marketing, it’s not going to be easy. Take your product seriously and professionally, and stay strong during the frustrating times. If you have the love of the written word engrained in your soul, never surrender those dreams, despite the proverbial roadblocks. Never allow the criticism or negativity of others regarding your writing or chosen career path to dissuade you from pursuing what you love.

I’d like to thank Jake Aurelian for spending some time here on Inside Martin. If you’d like to learn more about Jake and his work, check out his website Pinfalls. You can also connect with Jake on Twitter and GoodReads. Buy Jake's books on Amazon:

10 Questions for... Emma Archer (NSFW)

Emma Archer is an erotica writer who is equal parts brilliant, hilarious, and filthy. She has also earned the honor of being the first interview on Inside Martin that requires a NSFW label. Normally, for those of you familiar with the "10 Questions for..." series, this is where I would give some background info on Emma and perhaps a synopsis of her career. But, seeing how this interview is already breaking new ground, I decided instead to share a letter directly from the author herself:

Dearest Reader/Masturbator:

I know how it is when you’re horny. Delving the deepest recesses of the Internet for that singular picture, video clip, or story that will bring you to your fall. The one-handed elation you feel upon finding that perfect gem of Onanistic joy. The heady moment of release, the Cheshire-cat grin of your afterglow. The inevitable WTF moment as you rush to hide all evidence of your perversion.

I’ve been there. Hand in my pants, fingers cramping, multiple tabs open, thanking Zuul for the gift of private browsing. And I, too, have finished my business only to look at my computer screen with a mix of satisfaction, contrition, and alarm. There are rough, dark neighborhoods in the cities of our sexual salaciousness; sometimes you walk the well-lit streets of simple fucking, sometimes… you need a guide.

I want to be that guide. Truth be told, I’ve fallen in lust with you, dear reader, with your private proclivities and hidden hankerings. Whatever your kink, as long as it’s between consenting adults, I am all in. I want to be the wanton wind beneath your wings, the fevered filth that floats your boat. When there’s only one set of footprints in the sand, I want it to be because I was riding your back, flogging your ardor like the beast that it is.



So, without further ado, here are 10 questions for Emma Archer...

1. What would you like readers to know about your writing?

I’ve always been fascinated by people's sex lives, I have a natural sexual empathy that tends to make me a bit of a chameleon in bed. I top, I bottom, I can be a blushing innocent, or wanton whore. Sex is my favorite thing. To do, to talk about, to write about. I love it, can't get enough of it. I was lucky to be raised without a lot of the shame surrounding sexuality, and whenever I've had a particular fantasy, I've done my best to make it a reality. I’m a carnal creator, in bed and on the page. Writing erotica means I finally get to put this dubious gift to work. I get to be part of the solution, I get to contribute to the complexity of human desire. I get to make you come, make you squirm.

2. Who are some writers that have affected your storytelling sensibilities? 

When I was ten years old, I bought a box of books from a yard sale for a quarter. It turned out to be full of erotic novels, many of them by VC Andrews. That was an educational summer; I read My Sweet Audrina fourteen times. That book had it all: spanking, masturbation, incest, rape, bondage, anal sex, gang bangs—it was fan-fucking-tastic.

I had an extremely sheltered childhood, very little television, no junk food, I wasn’t even allowed to leave our cul-de-sac to ride my bike. I was a total innocent. VC Andrews (and Anne Rice and Stephen King and Clive Barker and all the other authors I read way too young) awakened in me a life-long appetite for all things taboo.

I also read the book Jaws that same summer, from that same box of books. And there was this section where the main female character is not wearing underwear and she’s thinking about how wet her pussy is, and how much she wants Hooper to fuck her. I’ll never forget the moment when my mother walked in and saw me completely engrossed, turning pages with wide eyes and asked, “What’s that you’re reading?”

“A shark book,” I answered, and that was it. She just nodded and left the room. From then on, books became my secret world, my oasis. I really enjoy writing erotica for the Kindle because it makes me feel like I’m offering that same deliciously secret world to someone else. Hopefully they aren’t ten.

3. At this point in your career, you’ve focused on short stories. Do you have any plans to write a novel?

I’ve written two fiction novels, and they’re both crap. I say that with all the love a mother can have for her wayward children. They were learning experiences, and in all likelihood, I’ll go back and try to fix them someday. I like writing novels, I like world building, and I think I have a knack for interesting characters, but the simple immediacy of erotica really appeals to me right now.

4. What methods and strategies have you employed in order to promote both yourself as an author, as well stories?

I did my research before I started writing erotica. I figured out which genres were underrepresented, and how best to maximize my consumer base. In every story, I include a link to another story. I always write in different elements of kink, so that I get five customers instead of one.

Early on, I was reluctant to tell people my pen name. I was embarrassed, worried they'd think I was deranged. Then a friend of mine said to me (at a party where everyone was pestering me for a link to my “whore stories”), “What’s your intention with this erotica? Do you want to sell books?”

I had been writing fiction for five years at that point, and had made almost no money doing it. I told him I absolutely wanted to sell books.

He said, “There are at least twenty people here clamoring to buy your writing, and you are telling them ‘No.’” I realized he was right. I told everyone there my pen name, and several of them bought stories and proceeded to read them OUT LOUD at the party. It was my trial by fire. I came out, and I’ve stayed out. Now I tell everyone my pen name, and sell quite a few books.

5. Were you a fan of erotic literature before you started writing it?

I was, although I tend to be more of a visually stimulated person. I never liked romance novels, and tended to skip ahead to the sex, but erotica has always appealed to me. I love Anaïs Nin, and will read and re-read pretty much anything by her. And I like Song of Solomon, which is not exactly erotica, per se, but there's an appreciation in it for the human form, for love, for beauty, and adoration that has inspired me to write sex in a meaningful way.

6. As an erotica writer, do you find yourself drawing from real life experiences or are your stories mostly fantasy?

Okay, here’s where things get tricky. After reading one of my (Adult! Consensual!) pseudo-incest stories, I had a well-intentioned friend call me and say, “Did something happen to you as a child?”

No. It didn’t.

I am a fiction writer, I write fiction. Do I often draw upon a particularly promiscuous and sordid personal history when I write that fiction? You bet your sweet cherry, I do. I gave my first blowjob when I was thirteen (to a nice Mormon boy, no less), probably thanks in no small part to that box of yard sale smut. I hit the ground running, and it’s been all downhill from there.

Many of the things I write about, I’ve tried. I’ve been happily, erotically, non-monogamously married for over a decade, you don’t get that far without getting weird. Or, at least, we didn’t.

7. My “friend” is a big fan and owns all of your stories and he wanted me to ask you who the gal on your book covers is?

Yeah. That’s my bum. I didn't want to spend money on stock photos, so I've been just using myself as a model. If you think the covers look like amateur crap I do with my phone camera and MS Paint, well, that’s exactly right.

8. Where do you see your writing career five years from now?

I hope in five years, I’m supporting my family completely with porn, and that I’ve revised and published at least one non-smut book.

9. What are you currently working on?

I’m about halfway through the fourth story in my Juniper series, and I’m putting the final touches on a commissioned piece I’m doing for a nice Indian couple.

10. What advice would you give to an aspiring author who hopes to see their work published one day?

My advice: don't you dare be ashamed of wanting to be a writer. I know, it’s a little embarrassing. That’s the difficult thing about being an artist (if you'll allow me to abscond with the term for a moment), that feeling of mortification you have for wanting to share your talent with the world.

Get over it.

Write and write and write, and let people read what you wrote. If it sucks (and it will, oh, God, will it ever), write some more until sucks a little less. It took about four years of writing shit before I finally found my voice and started to feel like I had a right to put a pen to the page. Now, I spend my days coming up with synonyms for the word “wiener.” So, there ya go.

If you managed to read that whole interview without blushing, then good on you.  And, more importantly, you should probably be reading Emma's erotic fiction, so what're you waiting for?! Go to her Amazon Author page, where you can find all of her brilliant, literary filth. If you'd like to sample Emma in 140 characters or less, then follow her on Twitter. While you're at it, visit her hilarious blog,  Fearless, Motherfuckers. Leave her a comment and tell her Martin sent you.

What Inspires a Writer to Tell a Story?

This article originally appeared as a guest post on Alive on the Shelves in August 2011.

Since the publication of my debut novel, Inside the Outside, I’m often asked the question: What made you want to write about cannibals? For me the answer is obvious: Why wouldn’t I want to write about cannibals?! I mean, seriously, how fascinating are cannibals?  They’re people who eat other people. Why isn’t everybody writing about cannibals?  But, of course, it doesn’t take much looking around to realize that there are not a whole lot of authors who are as interested in cannibalism as I am. Which leads me to wonder: Why isn’t everybody writing about cannibals? Don’t they find them as interesting as I do? And, on the whole, the answer appears to be a resounding no.

So in the end, it seems that the very simple answer as to why I decided to write about cannibals is because they interest me. This isn’t to say I’m interested in cannibalism as a lifestyle or even as a hobby, just that the idea of cannibalism—the idea that, even as I write this, there is a cannibal out there, somewhere, making his lunch—is infinitely fascinating to me. While the initial seeds were planted with my viewing of Wes Craven's 1985 horror film The Hills Have Eyes: Part 2, much of my interest in cannibalism stems from my being a vegetarian. Vegetarians and carnivores alike, at some point or another, have ventured down that slippery slope of questioning when eating meat goes from acceptable to unacceptable (Cows and chickens: “Yes!”; Dogs and people: “No!”). As a writer, this made me curious to explore those people who say “Yes!” to eating other people.

So I created a society of cannibals who live in a remote combine in the San Bernardino Mountains, a society of people for whom eating human flesh is every bit as normal as eating cows and chickens. I wasn’t, however, interested in writing any sort of didactic diatribe about dietary choices. I simply wanted to explore who these people might be and what their little corner of the world might look like. The theme of cannibalism naturally lends itself to the elements of horror, however, I wasn’t primarily motivated to write a horror novel. Ultimately, everything about my novel—every character and plot point—was motivated simply by the things that interest me in my everyday life.

And I suspect this is true for most every author. Certainly, there are those authors who are motivated by other, less personal elements—money, fame, Oprah’s Book Club, etc.—but, by and large, writers are inspired to write about whatever it is that fascinates them in real life. Michael Chabon, for instance, loved comic books as a kid, which helps explain why they serve as one of the central themes of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Tim O’Brien served in the Vietnam War, which more than explains why it serves as the central theme of many of his novels, including the National Book Award-winning Going After Cacciato and the Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Things They Carried.

As a reader, one of the things I enjoy about reading multiple books by a single author is coming across the various themes and references that repeat themselves from one story to the next, a variable trail of literary breadcrumbs leading to some secret insight about the author that might otherwise go unnoticed. Tom Robbins, for instance, author of such terrific novels as Skinny Legs and All and Jitterbug Perfume, often refers to pumpkins and genius waitresses in his work. I have no idea what place either of these hold in his everyday life, but clearly they mean something to him. Or take Stephen King, for example, who sets so many of his stories in Portland, Maine. Even if you’re not a King biographer (which I’m not), it becomes clear that this setting has some personal meaning to him.

But beyond the personal connections an author has to his subject matter, I think there is probably a simpler reason for what inspires us to write a particular story—or any story for that matter—and that is the simple act of human connection. By our very nature, we’re wired to communicate with each other. It’s one of the most natural things in the world, it’s why our ancestors painted pictures on cave walls and it’s why we developed words and languages. Storytelling is simply an extension of that evolution, an extension of our natural need to connect with other people. Of course, what we choose to communicate varies from author to author—be it comic books, war, pumpkins, or cannibals. And discovering those inspirations, like hidden gems, is all part of the fun.

MISPLACED: A Short Film I Did Not Write

So, back in the fall of 2009, my brother, Greg, shot is latest short film, Misplaced. When Misplaced was still in the pre-production phase, he recruited my help with regards to working out the story. I did not, however, co-write the screenplay, as I was working on another project. Among other duties, I wrote naughty headlines for a fake porn magazine called Grunt. I also wrote a fake radio show (in the spirit of Howard Stern) about clown porn.

Anyway, Greg felt he owed me a film credit for the writing I'd done (and, please, so we're all clear here, this was his idea) only he didn't quite know what credit to give me. He ultimately credited me with an "Additional Material by" credit. And, in quintessential Greg fashion, he couldn't resist the urge to explain himself in an article called "Martin Lastrapes: Not the Writer." Here's an excerpt:

Lurking somewhere in every film I’ve made is one of the best friends a guy could ever hope to have: my brother, Martin. I frequently place him in front of the camera and ask him to do ridiculous things while being side-splittingly funny, and he never disappoints. Never. I’ve yet to discover something he absolutely refuses to do. He is the actor every director dreams of working with. Yet despite his natural acting skills and flawless comic timing, he’ll always point out that he’s not an actor. He’s wrong about this, of course, but we’ll indulge his obviously false modesty because he is, first and foremost, an incredibly gifted writer.

You can read the rest of Greg's glowing love letter HERE.

It also includes the full audio presentation of my clown radio show, Bonkers and the Daff, featuring, among other talented folks, the voice of Jesse Meriwether, who, when she's not filming JC Penny commercials with Ellen DeGeneres, is usually getting recognized on the street as the lint licker actress from the Orbit commercial.

When you're done reading the article and listening to Bonkers and the Daff (which, by the way, is totally NSFW), be sure to look around the website, where you can watch trailers for the film, read the screenplay (as well as the screenplay for Bonkers and the Daff), and see lots of beautiful still shots from the film.


10 Questions for... Gianna Perada

Gianna Perada is a dark fiction writer who, before becoming a novelist, worked for several years as a copy editor and book layout designer for small publishing houses and independent authors.

Growing up in North Beach during the late-70s/early-80s, Gianna fell in love with writing at the precocious age of seven, when her mother bought her a diary  for Christmas. Gianna used her diary to pen short stories with dark undertones, influenced by two of her favorite TV shows, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twilight Zone, as well as her favorite author, Edgar Allen Poe.

I had the good fortune of meeting Gianna in May of 2012 at the awards ceremony for the San Francisco Book Festival, where her debut novel, Blood Life, was being honored. We got along like old pals, talking about writing and publishing and vampires, among other things. We've stayed in contact since the ceremony in San Francisco and I'm very pleased to consider her both a friend and ally.  So, without further ado, here are 10 questions Gianna Perada.

1. What would you like readers to know about Blood Life?

Originally entitled Vrykolakas, which is an archaic Greek term for vampire, Blood Life is a book I initially completed close to 15 years ago. I had serious issues with letting it go. It was an enormous part of my soul. I’ve revised and downright rewritten it countless times since, never really ready to call it done. This was my way of truly finishing it. I have a huge file of rejection letters from queries I’ve sent out over the years. I did eventually land a New York agent at one point somewhere in the middle, but after doing more work than he ever did with it in two years’ time, I terminated our contract and decided to continue myself.

2. Who are some writers that have affected your storytelling sensibilities? 

Oh, so many have fueled my inner fire! Anne Rice is definitely at the top of the list. Others include Poppy Z. Brite, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Anne Bishop, Anaïs Nin and Pauline Réage.

3. As of this interview, your book as been honored in both the San Francisco Book Festival and the New York Book Festival. Has this newfound notoriety affected your writing? 

I don’t think it’s affected my writing per se, but it has definitely motivated me to keep writing. Every author is insecure about their first born; I don’t care what they say. And I don’t care if they’re published by a big house or self-published. All of them have reservations and anxiety at some point: How will it be received? Should I really say that? Will people understand what I’m trying to get across? Will readers be forgiving of any slights in the text? What happens when I get my first one-star review? It seems like these two little awards, which are huge to me, lessened those insecurities. I definitely feel like I won’t be quite as affected by any negative reviews or strong/harsh critiquing I receive.

4. What methods and strategies have you employed in order to promote both yourself as an author, as well Blood Life?

I created a Facebook Fan Page; I placed a very targeted ad to help build a following there (which was surprisingly affordable and nicely aimed at the right audience since I set all the filters carefully). I joined Twitter which I was totally against, being a Facebook whore, and taught myself how to use it because it looked like Chinese to me. I set up my first live book signing, which doubled as a local book release party, at my favorite local indy bookstore: Copperfield’s Bookstore in Petaluma, CA. I just signed up with Amazon’s KDP Select program; I have a love/hate relationship with it, but I decided to give it a go.

5. Writing a book is such a complex exercise that I imagine no two authors do it exactly the same. Can you summarize your process for me?

I do not outline my work. Instead, I have a few works-in-progress, or books that I’ve sat down and started writing from the beginning. Depending on the mood I’m in, I pull up a given file, sit at my keyboard, and channel the muse. Then my fingers start moving on their own and I just go with it. That is always how it is. Half the time, I go back and read what I’ve written and decide if I’m elated or disgusted and then act accordingly.

6. What separates Blood Life from the slew of other vampire novels currently on the market?

Well, the easy (maybe egotistical) answer is that I feel it is bringing vampires back around to how they were originally perceived: as manipulative predators. And mine are not sippers; they tear humans apart and drink to the very last drop. Also, I threw in witches for good measure, and the interbreeding of the two races: the Combined. New, unique, and wildly conflicted, with a Goddess of their own. It also feels like there are a zillion YA vampire stories popping up everywhere; my book is NC-17.

7. What drove you to write Blood Life?

Blood Life began as a short story I went home and started writing directly following an incident at my JC Creative Writing class. The professor, a horrible bitch that was fired the following year for having too many complaints filed against her, gave us a writing assignment and instructed the class to choose any topic we wanted. She said it just like that, too, and people ooh’d and ahh’d about it. The point was to cite references used in the paper to other writers and their respective works. So… I chose vampires as my topic and cited authors such as Montague Summers (who wrote some non-fiction on the topic back in the day) and well-known fiction authors on the subject like Anne Rice and Bram Stoker. During the oral presentation, I had the class going strong! It was great. They were very much into it and asking a million questions which I answered to the best of my ability regarding vampire lore both in fiction and non-fiction. When the class ended, the teacher asked me to stay after class. When everyone was gone, she said, “I’m giving you a D on your assignment.” I asked why and she said, “Because I didn’t like your topic. I felt it was totally inappropriate and not at all what I asked you to do.” Confused and irritated after clearly doing so well, and exactly what she instructed, I flipped her off (making sure she understood my gesture by promptly telling her to fuck off), ripped my paper out of her hand, and left that class never to return. But, lucky me, because Blood Life may not have happened at all if it hadn’t been for that incident. Come to think of it, I should hunt her down and send her a copy with a little thank-you note.

8. Where do you see your writing career five years from now?

I see myself writing a minimum of one book per year, so five years from now I should be on my fifth story! Also, hopefully with a movie contract behind me because Blood Life is such a candidate for the big screen! Oh, and also a big backing publisher paying me fat advances so I can write full time. If I get that, I’ll easily give ‘em two books a year. Happily. Bring it!

9. What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a book called Devendra, which is a prequel to Blood Life.

10. What advice would you give to an aspiring author who hopes to see their work published one day? 

Keep writing no matter what! And have as many eyes that you trust look it over to offer feedback so you can fine-tune your craft. Don’t be afraid to say things you wouldn’t normally say in life, and never, under any circumstances, sell yourself out for fear that the world won’t accept you. They will. You’d be surprised. Your niche will come to you. Dare to be different! And READ READ READ. Reading nurtures a writer’s soul like nothing else. We all learn from each other and I love that.

And there you have it. I’d like to thank Gianna Perada for taking some time to hang out on Inside Martin. If you’d like to learn more about Gianna and her writing, you can visit Gianna Perada: Official Website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, as well as Facebook.

10 Questions for… Belinda Frisch

As Halloween quickly approaches, I've got a treat for you in the form of an interview with horror author Belinda Frisch. Belinda’s fiction has appeared in Shroud Magazine, Dabblestone Horror, and Tales of Zombie War. She is the author of the horror novel, Dead Spell, as well as the short story compilation, Crisis Hospital: Dark Tales from the Ward, the World, and the Bedside. She is an honorable mention winner in the Writer's Digest 76th Annual Writing Competition and a proud member of the Horror Writer’s Association and New England Horror Writers. And, while she is hard at work on her follow-up novel, Cure, Belinda was kind enough to take out some time out to chat with me. So, without further ado, here are 10 questions for Belinda Frisch.

1. What would you like readers to know about Dead Spell?

Dead Spell is a first novel and I published it independently because it felt like a niche horror novel, not a mass market one. Fiction comes in part from fact and that was the driving force behind this novel. It was a bloodletting of sorts with a main character that hounded me until I put her out there. People that identify with my main character, Harmony, really identify with her. Author Ben Miller was one such person and his review says that I accomplished everything I set out to.

2. Who are some writers that have affected your storytelling sensibilities?

I’d say my biggest influences are Anne Rice and Joe Schreiber. Early 90’s Anne Rice brought me to horror. Joe Schreiber brought me back.

3. What do you enjoy most about writing in the horror genre?

Anything goes. That’s a great perk and you can vent anger, frustration, sadness, and hopelessness in a way that you couldn’t in other genres. I like the occasional unhappy ending.

4. What methods and strategies have you employed in order to promote both yourself as an author, as well as Dead Spell?

Like most indies, I’ve networked like crazy via Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. I’ve built up a decent following and made some excellent friends. As for marketing, Kindle Lovers site has been the most return on the least amount of time spent so far. They have a 20K+ person following and every writer I’ve sent to their site has seen immediate results. Twitter is great, but I’m careful not to over-promote myself and come off like a broken record. Social networking should all be about “look at me.” It should be about get to know me, too.

5.  Writing a book is such a complex exercise that I imagine no two authors do it exactly the same. Can you summarize your process for me?

Dead Spell being my first was a lot of flying by the seat of my pants and throwing everything at it to see what sticks. It was barely organized chaos, really, and I paid the price with extensive revisions before finally shipping it off to my editor, Glen Krisch. I learned a ton writing it and now, my process is MUCH cleaner and more productive.

I start with index cards and I jot down rough notes on the scenes that come immediately to mind. I make character notes and reorganize until the flow feels right. Then, I start writing. I keep notes in a notebook because details are super important to me and I don’t want to miss a single connection as I get further into my work. I keep writing, adding more cards, reorganizing scenes, and adding layers to my characters and my plot as I go. In the end, I should have a knock-out second book.

I started with short stories. I entered some contests and even received honorable mention in one of Writer’s Digest genre short competitions. I came in the top 100 out of over 19,000 entries. That felt great and my prize-winning story, "The Look-Alike," appears in Crisis Hospital. Another of the shorts in Crisis Hospital was published in the venerable Shroud Magazine. Tim Deal, the editor, has a great eye for talent and I was beyond pleased to be accepted alongside such greats as Bram Stoker Award-Winner Kealan Patrick Burke. Do I like shorts better? No. I tend to want to go very deep with my characters and plots. Shorts just don’t offer the freedom to fully do that. I do, however, have a 6,000 word short releasing in the City of Hell Chronicles, Volume 1, in December 2011.

7. Where do you see your writing career five years from now?

In five years, I hope to be publishing both independently and traditionally. Cure, my upcoming novel, is something that has mass-market potential and I’ve received rave reviews from early beta readers. I’ve gone to working a part-time job instead of a full-time one to focus on realizing my life-long dream of being a paid, full-time author.

8. What drove you to write Dead Spell?

I think I answered this with question one, but it was some old demons and a nagging main character that insisted I write DEAD SPELL. I couldn’t let Harmony down.

Honestly, since I went independent, it was not hard at all. I wrote the novel, revised it a million times, and hired an editor because no writer should be without one. I sent the book to him and after successfully revising the manuscript into a solid final draft, I released it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace.

I do have a traditionally published text book, too, so I know what that route looks like by comparison.

10. What advice would you give to an aspiring author who hopes to see their work published one day?

Oh, where to start. Learn to take criticism. It’s hard when you think you’ve written the perfect short or novel, to hear that it needs work but you’ll never succeed without listening to others’ views on how your work can be better. Success isn’t overnight and, honestly, indie money isn’t great starting out. Write the best story you can, persist, and hone your craft. If you do all of those things and learn from the revision process, you’ll get there. Practice, patience, and persistence. In writing, there are no short cuts to success.

And there you have it. I'd like to thank Belinda Frisch for being so generous with her time. If you want to learn more about her, you can visit Belinda Frisch, Author. You can also connect with Belinda on Facebook and GoodReads and you can follow her on Twitter. She also runs a Facebook page for authors and readers of horror, mysteries, and thrillers, which you can check out HERE.