Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Jennifer Anne Gordon

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

The first time I remember consciously thinking about writing, I was in seventh grade, and had just turned twelve. I was a poor girl living in a rich town, and for that reason and probably many that I will never understand, I was bullied and picked on by a group of girls. They were incredibly cruel, and my self-esteem was demolished. I was depressed, I didn’t understand that then, but I do now. My grades suffered a lot, I barely did any homework, I was hardly functioning. I did have an English teacher who knew I was smart, and she was willing to help me get my grades up. She suggested I write stories or poems, so I did. I fell in love with writing then, with creating a world outside of my own. 

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What inspired you to write your book?

This will sound crazy, but many years ago I was undergoing hypnosis for past life regression, and a few of the scenes that I included in From Daylight to Madness were the direct result of these sessions. Just little flashes in my mind, but they were very emotional. I thought about them a lot, what they meant for me, what they meant in general. I always knew one day I would write the story of those images in my head, what I didn’t know was that I was going to create a gothic horror series around them, for a a while I thought they would just be straight historical fiction.  

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Though the Hotel Series is Victorian Horror, it really is at its heart a story about grief, and trauma and two very misunderstood people who never really had a chance at a normal life. I would hope people would take away a little knowledge about different kinds of mental illness, including depression, survivor’s guilt, dissociative disorder, and the terrible ways people who had these problems were treated or ignored in the past. 

What drew you into this particular genre?

I have always been drawn to darker things, and horror. It’s my favorite genre to read, write, watch. I guess I could blame the fact that when I was little, I used to play and hang out in a cemetery near my house. That combined with reading Pet Sematary at the age of ten had a huge impact on my life.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

This is a great question, and I think it would be different every time someone would ask me. Today I will go with Hawthorne Hughes who is the hotel manager and one of my antagonists from my Hotel Series (From Daylight to Madness and When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk).  I would probably ask him what his relationship was like with his parents, and I would want to know what kind of childhood he had. (I have thought about doing a story or a book about him someday as well).

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I think Facebook and Instagram have been the best for me, especially Facebook. I have always believed that if people get to know you and they find you interesting and likable then they will want to support you. I have made some great friends and found some very loyal fans on there as well. I also have started to use Slasher as well which is a horror-based app that is a lot like Facebook.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t ever let yourself get talked out of writing what you want to write. Even if you don’t think there is a market for it, or it may not be popular, focus on writing the book you want to read, and trust your voice. Remember you can always edit or rewrite. You can’t edit a blank page.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Yes, I am in the early days of a new Work in Progress, I have been writing for about a month now, and I am about 20,000 words into draft one. It is a departure from Gothic Horror, which is what my first three books have been. This one leans more into speculative fiction and horror, with a little bit of a dystopian romantic comedy thrown in. 

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About the Author

Jennifer Anne Gordon is a Gothic horror novelist. Her work includes Beautiful, Frightening and Silent (2020) which won the Kindle Award for Best Horror/Suspense for 2020, and From Daylight to Madness (The Hotel book 1), and When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk (The Hotel book 2).

She had a collection of her mixed media artwork published during spring of 2020, entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon

Jennifer is one of the hosts as well as the creator of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network, as well as the Co-Host of the You Tube Channel “Talk Horror to Me”. She had been a contributor to Ladies of Horror Fiction, as well as Horror Tree.

Jennifer is a pale curly haired ginger, obsessed with horror, ghosts, abandoned buildings, and her dog “Lord Tubby”.

She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she studied Acting. She also studied at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Art History and English.

She has made her living as an actress, a magician’s assistant, a “gallerina”, a comic book dealer, a painter, and burlesque performer and for the past 10 years as an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor, and choreographer.

When not scribbling away (ok, typing frantically) she enjoys traveling with her fiancé and dance partner, teaching her dog ridiculous tricks (like ‘give me a kiss’ and ‘what hand is the treat in?’ ok these are not great tricks.) as well as taking photos of abandoned buildings and haunted locations.

She is a leo, so at the end of the day she just thinks about her hair.

https://www.jenniferannegordon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JenniferAnneGordonAuthor/

https://www.instagram.com/jennifergenevievegordon/

https://www.patreon.com/JenniferAnneGordon

Posted in reviews

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One of 2018’s most highly anticipated fall reads has to be author Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s novel Dracul. The book is the official prequel to the classic literary horror classic Dracula, written by Dacre Stoker’s great-granduncle Bram Stoker. Taking the concept first explored by Bram and showcasing how the legend of Dracula first began, the story puts the Stoker family in the role of protagonists and explores where the myth and legends truly came from. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s–and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen–a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen–and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.

The Review

I will say it now: this is one of my 2018 picks for best book of the year. It was truly amazing to read, and was as engaging as the original novel written by Bram Stoker over a century ago. Capturing the gothic, Victorian era setting and interweaving history, mythology and handwritten notes from author Bram Stoker himself, the authors really did a wonderful job bringing the life of Bram Stoker and his family to life in a horror based setting.

Now while the world knows the works of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to be a fiction horror tale, what fascinated me about Dracul was not only the amount of history and real life individuals mixed into the narrative, but learning about the creation of Dracula to begin with. Readers will be enthralled to learn the true manuscript first written by Bram Stoker was never meant to be a fictional tale, but through the words of Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s afterward we learn how the book came to be what we know today, and that large portions of the original novel have never been published before. How much of this horrific and scary tale are fiction as we know it, and how much is fact?

The writing itself was amazing. The story was written in an epistolary format, allowing us to delve into the minds of the Stoker family themselves, as well as associates of the family and historical records to match some of the claims. Fans of the original tale of Dracula will love the similarities and context given throughout this novel, while modern day horror fans and readers will be enthralled with the vast character development and parallels between the life of Bram Stoker (in the novel) and the stories told within his novel years later.

The Verdict

This is a must read book for 2018. As a history buff, classic horror fan and overall Bram Stoker enthusiast, this story really captured my attention from the beginning. From the author’s early years battling illness to the life or death battle with unknown forces he and his siblings undertook, this is the kind of story that comes along rarely. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up the novel Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735219346/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0735219346&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

About the Authors

Dacre Stoker:

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Dacre Stoker, a Canadian citizen and resident of the U.S., is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker. He is also the godson of H.G. Dacre Stoker, the commander of the AE2 submarine, whose tactics were instrumental in Gallipoli in World War I.

Dacre, who now calls Aiken, South Carolina home, was a member of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Team, Senior World Championships in 1979 and coach of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Olympic Team, Seoul, South Korea in 1988. Dacre is married to Jenne Stoker and is the father of two children. He is the Executive Director of the Aiken Land Conservancy.

Dracula: The Un-Dead is Dacre’s first novel.

Dacre Stoker’s Links:

https://twitter.com/dacrestoker?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/DacreCStoker/

J.D. Barker:

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J.D. BARKER is the internationally best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His work has been compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. His 4MK Thrillers, The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die, were released in June 2017 and June 2018 respectively. He has been asked by the Stoker family to coauthor the forthcoming prequel to Dracula due out in fall 2018. His novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, daughter, Ember, and their two dogs, both of whom sit outside his office door daily, eagerly awaiting his next novel.

A note from J.D.

As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

jd

J.D. Barker’s Links:

http://jdbarker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker

https://www.instagram.com/jdbarker_author/

https://twitter.com/jdbarker

Posted in reviews, Uncategorized

The Steps by Iveta Redliha REVIEW

An attempt to create the perfect family leads to secrets and tragedies in Iveta Redliha’s novel, The Steps. The Latvian author, (along with a beautiful translation from translator Karina Loza), builds a haunting world in which two decades collide and a haunted past could lead to a bloody future. Here is the official synopsis:

“Shivers ran down Reyna’s spine. For a moment she thought his last words were meant as a threat. The stranger’s look had been so sharp and penetrating, horrifying and exciting at the same time. She embraced herself and shuddered once again. This time it was due to the pungent wind that was becoming stronger as the evening grew closer. For a while she stood there watching Lucas walk away, then finally looked away.”

Bradbury is a gorgeous property that stands amidst dark secrets. One fine day a young reckless woman Leonora, driven by desire for easy money that a rich couple would offer their surrogate mother, comes to live at the mansion, unsuspecting of the paths this seemingly carefree life and lust for money will bring to.
Meanwhile, Reyna’s steady life is turned upside down the moment her mother dies in suspicious circumstances and leaves her an unknown property and dark secrets from her turbulent past. Around that time handsome yet secretive Lucas comes into Reyna’s life. At the end the truth about the young man and the horrors of his past that haunt him, not allowing him to give in to his feelings, serves a final blow to Reyna.

Iveta Redliha (b. 1977) is a Latvian writer. With great passion she unravels in writing destinies of people of different walks of life, and their entangled feelings. “The Steps” was born out of the writer’s imagination and built on inspiration from gothic love and detective novels.

This Gothic Thriller is extremely unique and delivers a chilling story. The characters are flawed, human and sometimes terrifying. The story of a young woman’s mission of greed becomes a horrifying family drama, while another woman meets a mysterious man and learns he may have a dark side he is hiding from her. Telling the tale of a powerful family ruled by money and influence, and those that get ensnared in their power struggles and selfish desires is something we’ve seen play out time and again, and yet it’s given a breath of fresh air from author Iveta Redliha.

The writing is exceptional, delivering a spine-chilling account of two worlds colliding in messy and unexpected ways. It was a fast paced read with
lots of twists and turns, and while there are a few spots where you can see where the grammar didn’t match up with the translation, overall the
book was greatly translated for the English speaking audience, delivering a powerful literary experience that is wholly unique and fun.

Overall this was a fantastic read. The atmospheric nature of the Gothic genre blends perfectly with the mystery of the thriller genre in Iveta
Redliha’s The Steps, and if you haven’t yet I highly recommend you pick up your copies today!

Rating: 8/10