Janine Pipe Week continues, and today I’m thrilled to post my interview with the author herself.
Iseult: Welcome, Janine. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. What got you into writing?
Janine: Like a lot of us, I have always read as much as I can and started writing for pleasure at school. That was mostly something akin to Point Horror fan fiction but there was some darker stuff too including a poem I wrote about being followed by a stalker… I always read and watched crime stuff too so that explains that line of thought hopefully.
After uni when I started working and joined the police, if I was lucky to have any spare time at all, it was spent reading work stuff.
Then after I had my daughter, I left the police and began blogging. My other passion asides from horror is Disney and soon I was travel writing. As much fun as that was (and I was being paid), I still had the itch to write something fictional. Since I read horror and dark thrillers, it made sense to try my hand at that. And the rest as they say, is history.
I: What do you like best about writing?
J: Creating characters and making people laugh. That sounds a bit odd considering the genre, but I seem to have found a way of making my stories humorous. I think that is really cool because especially since I like to veer towards the more extreme, injecting some comedy into the situation, even via dialogue, really does help if you’re writing a particularly gross out scene.
The other thing I like is our horror community. Whilst it isn’t always sunny in Philadelphia, I have found the majority of people to be lovely and have made some genuine friends for life. The support and advice from some of the masters (like Brian Keene for example) has just been amazing and I count myself truly lucky to have made so many wonderful connections.
I: I think horror and comedy are a great match, and you strike the balance well in your work.
What do you like least about writing?
J: How long everything takes and of course, the rejections. We all know that sometimes our work just doesn’t gel with a certain editor or isn’t the right fit but it still sucks. And although we are civil and never react, negative reviews always hurt. You can tell yourself not to take it to heart, to learn from the comments etc. but we are all human. I have shed a few tears over comments people have made about my stuff. But you never ever respond. That’s private and to share only with friends and family you trust.
I: Oh yes, I am with you there, both regarding rejections and not responding to negative comments.
Why write horror?
J: Two things – write what you know, write what you would read.
I live, breathe, sleep horror so it was the only thing I could write. One day I want to write a thriller and use more of my policing background but you can bet it’ll be as dark as a Harris or Lehane and not like a Patterson.
And horror is so varied! I love that there are so many sub-genres and boundaries you can test, especially as a woman. Not that long ago, if you said a woman was branching into extreme horror, the men in the room would have laughed. For some reason, it was thought women were too delicate to write about depravity and debauchery when it came to sex and gore, that they couldn’t imagine a lady could come up with a story about characters eating babies and having sex with corpses. Well why not? Bring it on sisters!
I: Exactly! What drew me to your blog was your love of werewolves. As a fellow fan, I’d know to know what appeals to you most about werewolves?
J: Something I have loved from childhood is lore. I love origin stories, legends especially around anything supernatural and in regards to vampires and werewolves. I am also a bit of a purist and like all the well known tropes to exist as much as possible. I know the trend these days is to take the classic monster and invent your own rules but I love a full moon werewolf and a vampire that can’t cross water.
I have always been drawn to werewolves and I believe some of that comes from the fact I adore actual wolves, they’re one of my favourite animals, so beautiful. And I absolutely love love LOVE Dog Soldiers which is one of the best films ever.
That’s another thing, I like my lycans to actually look like people wolves. None of this just a bit of fur and some teeth – I expect full on fangs and a tail. I hadn’t read a decent werewolf book for years and then I discovered Blood and Rain from Glenn Rolfe and Wolf Land from Jonathan Janz and that was it, I was back in love with my lycanthropes.
They’re so much fun to write about too and of course, I needed one to have a starring role on the cover on my collection – thanks again to Neil Fraser!
I: I love wolves too. That book cover is absolutely fantastic.
I love the framing device in Twisted: Tainted Tales. It’s really fun. What inspired it?
J: Thank you! Really the premise behind it was cohesion. I had 17 unrelated tales, differing in length, setting, even sub-genre. I just wanted some sort of overall theming.
I love shows like Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone and wanted something like that, a central narrator if you will like Amicus.
The idea of the notes and mixtape just came to me, no doubt because I quite enjoy found footage scenarios and books that are written like journals.
The character is an ode to my bestie over at Kandisa Press, Jill Girardi and she is a lawyer in a nod to my husband who really does deal with probate. I really liked the way it turned out but we shall have to see if other people dig it.
I: Have you ever had an experience with the paranormal that you’d like to share?
J: So the things mentioned in Running with the Devil and School’s out Forever are both true stories. There really is a legend of Trent Barrow and there really was a Barwick School for Boys. The actual occurrences in these re-enactments are exaggerated but still true to a point.
I have seen one ghost and had one experience. The first I was far too young to fully understand but even thinking about it now gives me chills and the second scared the shit out of me. So do I believe, hell yeah and am I frightened – YES.
I: Scary! What are you working on at the moment? Any novels in the pipeline? (hopeful smile)
J: LOL!!! So, I will be starting on my second collection of shorts very soon but I have no proposed release date for that yet. Maybe next year.
I still have 2 novella WIPs to be getting on with too.
I have a few collabs on the table but they won’t see the light of day for a year or two due to commitments with the other authors involved.
I also have a major project underway with Kandisha that I am coordinating and will be editing which is going to be epic. And I am always on the look out for anthology open calls that take my fancy.
I: That all sounds very exciting. Thank you once again for chatting with me.
Want to win a signed paperback of Twisted: Tainted Tales by Janine Pipe?
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Contest closes on 6th May. Winner will be announced on 7th May.