Today's participant in this ingoing series of rapid fire author interviews is Jennifer L. Barnes. Jennifer lives in Southern Indiana with her patient husband and perhaps the world's most ungraceful cat. She was raised with wolves by a crazy biologist Shawnee Medicine Man so being normal was never an option for her. With a fascination for things that go Bump in the Night since she was a small child, she turns this towards her writing, else she'd go insane. Her preferred genre is Urban Fantasy and has already had several stories published by Pill Hill Press and Norgus Press. Due to her love of 80's movies and comic books, she describes her works as "Big Dumb Fun" with sharp, witty dialogue and page turning action.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m Jennifer L. Barnes and I’m a 30 year old author from Southern Indiana. I was raised with wolves by a Shawnee Medicine Man and a bibliophile mother. My husband is a huge geek dedicated in the preservation of classic retro games. I’m odd and neurotic, but aren’t most writers?
I love classic heavy metal (most of my writing is produced while listening to Iron Maiden and Dio) and 80’s movies.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Horror and Dark Fiction. Most of the stuff I write is “Urban Fantasy”, but there’s a lot of horror there too. Before the term Urban Fantasy came out, I would describe my work as “Dark Fantasy”.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Jim Butcher. Neil Gaiman. Clive Barker (if you haven’t, read his “Books of Blood” series). JR Ward. Even though he’s not an “author” in the written sense, I have to give Joss Whedon a huge shout out. What can I say? I’m a die hard Whedon fan who still mourns the loss of “Firefly” and “Angel”.
What are you reading now?
I just finished Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard. If you like vampire fiction at all, I highly recommend this series. The premise is that Van Helsing and Friends didn’t kill Dracula but he defeated them, and the aftermath there of where he marries into the English royal family.
Part of the fun of this series is the “Spot the Cameo”, and when I say spot the cameo, I mean really spot the cameo.
How would you describe your writing style?
Joss Whedon meets an 80’s Movie. Witty dialogue, tongue slightly in cheek, and making my characters miserable. Oh, and lots of gratuitous violence.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I mostly write before bed after I get home from work. If I can get a whole day writing I find that tea is imperative to my creative process. I also have to have music when I write. As I’m writing this interview I’m listening to classic Black Sabbath.
Like I mentioned previously, heavy metal – the classic stuff or European symphonic metal- is key. I’ll also throw in some Industrial or 80’s pop music for good variety. I have a whole host of different playlists set up on ITunes depending on what I’m working on.
What’s your favourite food?
I’m a fat girl. I like ice cream; just not chocolate. I’m allergic to it. I’m also a sucker for a good pizza or hamburger.
What’s your favourite album?
Since I listen to so much music, this question is hard as all get out. Iron Maiden’s Fear of the Dark is really good because it includes the studio version of “Fear of the Dark”. Every “Best of” compilation has a concert recording, and it just lacks something that the studio recording has.
Tool’s “Lateralus” has a lot of good “fall into the void” songs and is perhaps my favourite Tool album.
“Pretty Hate Machine” by Nine Inch Nails is up there too- first half is absolutely brilliant.
Man, this is such a hard question for me to answer, because I listen to so much music!
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Find a good proof reader who will not coddle you and be rough when you need it. That and watch the pop culture references.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
A combination of both! In a perfect world I’d like to make a good living off writing and be respected. Then I remember that I basically write “cotton candy for the brain” and the literary equivalent of 80’s action movies and that I’m probably not going to be respected by my peers. So I’d be happy with a nerdy fan base and get to the point where I can quit my day job and make a living as an author.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
My online ongoing serial novel “The Law Unto Herself Chronicles: The Stolen”.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
I’m being featured in Diabolic Publication’s latest anthology Dying to Live. The story is called “Birds of a Feather” about a rogue of a vampire who proves to a gang that they’re not the apex predator here. I play with the “vampire with a conscience” theme, but allow my protagonist to keep his fangs.
Right now I’m currently working on my JukePop serial novel “The Law Unto Herself Chronicles: The Stolen”, which can be found here: http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/533/ It features a vampire named Forest who’s a bit too good for her own good and doesn’t know when to leave things alone. Armed with an absurdly large hand gun, a sharp tongue, a love for pop culture, and a bitching car, she fights the Forces of Evil. It’s a mad cap adventure with the plucky heroine trying to stop a ring of supernatural slavers while everything that can go possibly wrong does.
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