Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Author Interview: Jessica McHugh

Welcome to my blog Jessica, let's get right to it.

                Has writing always been a passion of yours, or did you discover it at a later age?
It was always an interest. It didn't really become a passion until I was 19. I worked at a perfume kiosk for 11 hour shifts and as we didn't sell much perfume, I would just read and write all day. At the time I was reading a lot of HP Lovecraft and the macabre short stories of Roald Dahl, so most of what I wrote leaned more toward horror or twisted tales. Most of them were also horrible, but they had potential and also succeeded in turning my interest into passion.

Do you outline or write as you go?

It really depends on the story. A lot of times I just start writing with a basic idea in mind. The idea will blossom as I go and I might get more than halfway through the book before I have to stop and say "Okay. What now?" That's when I do a lot of my outlining. But there have definitely been books I've outlined from the get-go, especially ones in which I have a lot of ideas ahead of time. In that case, I'm apt to forget something if I don't write it down in an outline first. I also needed an outline for my historical fiction novel, Verses of Villainy. Keeping track of real names and dates and locations just wouldn't work without some sort of outline.

What inspires you?

That's a tough question. I really couldn't say what inspires me. So many things do: something strange or beautiful in nature, human behavior, interesting facts I learn...There's just so much to be inspired by.

Do you get inspired by a certain element(Water. Fire. Air. Etc)? 
Not really.

Do you listen to music or multitask while writing?

I usually have something on in the background, be it music, movie, or tv. Sometimes I write in absolute silence or in the din of a crowded bar. It really depends on my mood and what I'm writing. If I'm writing a romantic scene, I might opt for opera. If I'm writing a battle scene, I might hunker down at a restaurant filled with obnoxiously loud kids, just to get that rage flowing. However, one of my favorite settings in which to write is a patio bar. I love sitting outside, sipping beer, and slinging ink. I hear the people around me, maybe even cars and trucks, but I also hear birds and street musicians. It's a rich soundtrack.

What is your favorite genre, and least favorite?

I focus more on story than genre. If something piques my interest, it doesn't matter what the genre is. But on the whole, I'm more likely to choose horror over romance. 

Who are among your favorite authors?

Roald Dahl is my absolute favorite author and has been since I was very young. I love his children's books just as much as his terrifying yet humorous short story collections. Another favorite author is Bret Easton Ellis. I'm a big fan of his writing style and I love the way his depictions of humanity turn my stomach with the greatest of ease. 

What is your favorite piece you’ve written, and what is it about?

Whew, that is really tough. If I could pick pieces from different stories I've written and combine them together into a mega-novel, I think it would be the greatest piece of literature yet conceived. It would also probably make little to no sense. Honestly, I love my novel "Song of Eidolons". Although I believe all of my stories are original, I think "Song of Eidolons" is 100% unique. I am exceedingly proud of that story, the characters I created, and the details within the "big reveal". More than any book I've written, I would like to see that book as a film.

Let’s change things up:

What is a hidden talent of yours? 

I wouldn't exactly call it hidden, but I have this....ring...thing...I think technically it's called a Gyro-Ring. I had it for many years and didn't know what to do with it until I got very tipsy on chardonnay one night and taught myself a whole bunch of tricks.

Do you have any animals?

I have two cats, one of which appears in several of my stories. One of the races in my Tales of Dominhydor series is named after him. His name is Tyler and the race is called the Tylira. A depiction of him is actually on the cover of Tales of Dominhydor, Book Two: YVEN. When we got our second cat, my husband insisted I put her into the Dominhydor books too, so she appears as a character in Book Three: PALAPLIA.


TV shows: LOST. I know it's not on anymore, but I still love LOST. Also Dexter, Weeds, Modern Family, True Blood....and America's Next Top Model. Yeah, I have my guilty pleasures too.

Movies: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Gangs of New York, The Social Network, The Departed, The Big Lebowski, My Fair Lady

Authors: Roald Dahl, Bret Easton Ellis, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Norman Juster, Warren Ellis 

Books: The Phantom Tollbooth, The BFG, Queen of the Damned, Animal Farm, The Rules of Attraction

Animal: Ring-tailed Lemur.

Color: Any shade of blue

And last but not least, tell us all about your upcoming novel.
Coming in September 2011 from Reliquary Press: Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things.
Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things is the story of a twelve year old boy's journey to rid himself of the scary things that have plagued him since his mother's death. But as Danny finds out, his scary things are unlike the usual phantoms conjured by a child's mind, and his quest to cure his terror-induced insomnia requires him to venture into strange new worlds where he must learn about the true nature of fear.

I am really really looking forward to this release. Not only will it be my first hardcover book, it was my first collaboration...with my husband. He did the creepy cool illustrations and I loved them so much, I had one tattooed on my forearm.

Contact information
Twitter: theJessMcHugh
Thanks again for the great interview, Theresa!

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