Ginger Nuts of Horror
Denise Bossarte is an author, poet and photographer whose passion is sharing the worlds of her mind and camera. Her daytime job in IT helps to keep the household running.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I live with my husband and ginormous Pixiebob cat in Texas. My current bill paying career is in IT as a data analyst. Usually there is some kind of story for Grace’s Paranorm world brewing in the back of my mind until it is ready to be written!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I am an avid reader, poet, yogini, and meditator. I spend my time away from writing in reading, walking, biking, and doing photography. I try to spend as much time outdoors with my camera as possible.
Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
I am a huge fan of Paranormal and Dark Urban fiction. There are so many worlds that have been developed from pretty standard building blocks. I was inspired to try to find a brand-new way of bringing those elements together in fresh relationships.
Epic Fantasy has always inspired me with the sheer scope of the story telling. The number of characters and subplots that are carried through in epic fiction challenged me to find a way to step up my game on the quality of characters and their relationships to each other.
The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations. What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?
I think that horror has to market the quality of the stories and the writing rather than just the elements that people associate with the genre. Horror isn’t just about slashers and serial killers, etc. as people think from the movies they are offered. It’s about how people/characters respond to incredible situations – are they consumed by them or rise above them? Horror drags us down to the dark depths of our beings and forces us to face those primordial fears all humans have hidden in their souls. We need that catharsis, but we need to publicize/market more broadly that it is done well with great characters and memorable stories.
A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?
IMHO, America is in the midst of a horror story politically and socially. There is plenty of fodder for stories, there. Enough said.
What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?
I was heavily influenced by the sci-fi movies of the 70’s and 80’s. There were lots of “firsts” in that time period and some wonderful stories. Let’s not forget Stephen King movies of the 80s. One powerhouse after another.
I think Stephen King and Peter Straub's “The Talisman” is still one of my all-time favorite books. I try to re-read as often as I can. To me it was a powerful story pulling in elements of fairy tales and horror. I tried to share it with my mom once and she had to stop reading it because “things were coming out of the walls.” I had to laugh because that was one of the reasons I loved it!
And Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Forget the movie, it was awful. The series was fantastic.
What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?
I am enjoying Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ “Natural series.” I was drawn to the series out of curiosity on how another author would craft a story with serial killers. I have been plowing through her books because her writing and storytelling are so good.
How would you describe your writing style?
My writing style pulls you into the book so you feel like you are living the story rather than reading it. Being a photographer, I am a very visual person. I want the reader to feel that they are experiencing the story in 3D and not just observing it as words on a page.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
This is my first novel, so I am just getting back reviews from ARCs.
So far two comments have caught my attention.
(1) I laughed out loud at this one: “…And can I express my joy that the main character is not caught up in some codependent love triangle?”
(2) The main character’s brother is around 11 years old. I don’t have kids, or even much experience with kids, so I was worried whether I would be able to pull off writing such a character. A reviewer put my fears to rest.
“…My favorite part of the book was anything that had to do with Danny. She did a great job with Danny. His actions seemed appropriate for his age, which I think is hard for some authors to get right.”
Good thing to, because I just finished up a short story from Danny’s POV!
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Showing and not telling. And sometimes getting the dialog to flow.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
Well, that’s an interesting question.
Glamorous has already covered a lot of button pushing topics, so I have already jumped into the deep end of the pool.
I think I would say that I would not write gratuitous violence or over-the-top gruesomeness in my stories just for the shock value. The violence should always serve a purpose and have a reason that moves the story forward rather than simply be there for shock and awe. And in my stories, Grace will always fight to stop the violence.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
For me it’s a mix.
Grace Bishop just sounded cool. Kind of went that way for most of the other names as well.
For the Paranorms and Witches, they immigrated from Italy (unpublished backstory), so I wanted all their names to be Italian.
DL has the most meaningful name. DL stands for Dharma Lion, which is his Buddhist refuge name (reference his tattoos in the story.)
Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?
I used to play around with poetry and short stories. Then I got interested in telling a story that was a bit bigger than I was ready to tackle.
Glamorous was originally going to be a short story. But it really didn’t work well in that format, or at least I suck at writing short stories.
Then I tried a Novella. I kept trying for something shorter than a full-length novel because I didn’t believe I had the skills to do a novel.
Finally, my novelist friend convinced me to read “Save the Cat!” by Blake Snyder, get a storyboard put together, and just start writing.
I could see my skills improve as the story evolved. And my development editors helped take my story telling to the next level.
I know I have a way to go in my skill level, but at least I feel my current stories are solid entertainment for the readers.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Read “Save the Cat!” by Blake Snyder.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
Get out of your own way. Don’t try to get it down on paper perfect the first time. Just get it written and go back and perfect it later. That approach really works for me. And I still literally have to remind myself to “just write” as I sit down at the computer to turn off that perfectionist voice in my head.
Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?
>I am hosting a Goodreads paperback giveaway and hope to grab an ebook giveaway once they are available.
>I spent a great deal of time finding reviewers on Amazon that I felt would connect to my book and reached out to them personally to ask for their reviews.
>I am planning on doing several promos over the launch weekend for this first book as well.
>I am doing a Kindle Fire giveaway and am leveraging what small social media footprint I have to get the word out.
To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least favourite to write for and why?
Grace is probably my favorite, followed closely by Danny.
Grace because she is essentially a much a braver and more confident version of my younger self.
Danny because he gets to be a smartass, and have fun driving Grace crazy and doing unexpected things.
My least favorite is the head of the Witch Family, Viora. I don’t like her at all, but she is very important for the overall arc of the series.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the multiple interwoven subplots and scenes in the book that all come together in the end. And very proud of that surprise that no one sees coming – not even my editor.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
So far, thank goodness, no.
For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?
Since there is only the one novel, I pick Glamorous!
Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?
“None of this would be a problem if you were clever enough to keep your extracurricular activities a secret.”
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
I have just finished writing two short stories set in Grace’s Paranorm world: RETURN and BEGINNINGS. They tell Danny’s and Grace’s story before the events in Glamorous and right after the accident that kills Danny. Both will be released in February.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
Clowns. I despise scary clowns. I read IT and couldn’t sleep without a light in the room for weeks.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
“The Luster of Lost Things” was wonderful. Shh, I have an addiction to middle school and YA novels.
Brandon Sanderson’s “Oathbringer” was a disappointment because I was ready for him to wrap up the story. He’s one of my favorite authors and an unbelievable story teller across multiple worlds. But this one was ready for a wrap up and we didn’t get it.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
No one’s ever asked me who is the inspiration for the villain. Answer, my grandfather.
A serial killer preys on homeless girls. Only her powers can stop him.
Grace is a survivor.
Haunted by the memories of the car accident that killed her brother and brought her police career to an end, she's determined to bring wrongdoers to justice as a PI.
Little do her clients know that the accident gave her more than nightmares; it gave her paranormal abilities she can't explain.
When she agrees to help a friend solve a mystery involving missing homeless girls, Grace is drawn into a secret world of Paranorms and The Family that rules them. It's a supernatural haven for potential friends and deadly evil, and this discovery alters her reality forever.
With the killer still at large, Grace must use her powers to put an end to his murder spree, even if she ends up being the one in the cross-hairs.
Glamorous is the first book in a series of urban fantasy and paranormal thrillers. If you enjoy intriguing mystery, new and distinctive paranormal worlds, and a riveting plot, then you'll love this new series starter.