Ginger Nuts of Horror
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a Sussex-maid, now living in North Staffordshire with my husband, Peter Coleborn (Mr Alchemy Press). I write short fiction, much of which are inspired by my obsession with folklore; around forty stories have made it in print to date. I have several full length books out in various forms but none in print under this name so far. I have reviewed books for various places including websites and magazines such as Piper at the Gates of Fantasy, the BFS and Starburst. I have also been involved in some Dr Who scripting. I’m also a Reiki Master and Meditational Healer.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I don’t write in any one specific area, but if pushed, then a mix of weird/dark/contemporary fantasy/horror. My stories are often supernatural with a bias toward traditional folklore, by which I mean the kind of local legends that are handed down. The legends of silent pools that crop up throughout the UK; the many black hounds; or else tales of mystery, monsters, ghosts and the Good Neighbours. But as my short fiction has appeared mainly in horror anthologies it would seem to lean in that direction. I will read and enjoy most things, but I am not over keen on angst and/or gore-fests.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Favourite authors change with my mood so I would not like to single any one of them out. Books that I enjoyed from 2013? Lou Morgan and Alison Littlewood stand out.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Does re-reading count? I read a lot of 19th and early 20th century fiction and have just re-read Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons – always a big favourite. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman remains a huge influence. Disappointing fiction? A controversial choice, perhaps, but Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
How would you describe your writing style?
Another tough question to answer for myself, so I have just asked Peter – and he says, quote: “Idiosyncratic, and occasionally obtuse, but never in a bad way. i.e. Jan invariably approaches her fiction from an unexpected perspective.” Unquote.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
Positive: ‘Leinster Gardens’, which appeared in The 13 Ghosts of Christmas. Walt Hicks said, in HellBound Times, “descriptive prose and subtle shades of character perfectly accentuate this spooky paen to Dickens." I was well chuffed!
Negative: A well known editor with a major publishing house once told me that I punctuated with a machine gun. She’s not wrong. Struggling with dyslexia as I do, punctuation is especially hard work. Fortunately for me Peter is my beta reader and editor.
What’s your favourite food?
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Jethro Tull, Maddy Prior, Richard Thompson... there are many more and varied acts, but folk music, especially folk rock, will always be my default setting.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Never include any subject if you don’t know the facts – because there’ll always someone out there who does...
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
That I’m never satisfied with anything I’ve written. I just hit deadlines, at which time the tweaking must end!
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Essentially I am writing the same types of fiction that I always have, but how has that writing evolved? Hopefully I have got better; better at putting my thoughts into words; better at conveying atmosphere and emotion; better at telling a story. So, short answer, I am evolving into a better writer than when I started out.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Write to the end before you think about editing. And, read books ... lots of books.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
The series of books I am working on now has a character called Tara of whom I am very fond. She is cynical and impatient, and has authority issues. I can empathise...
How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
It is hard for to really ‘dislike’ any character that I’ve created. Even the nastiest creature is written with sneaking regard – if not open glee! There are less appealing characters of course but it doesn’t follow that I like them any less than the ‘good-guy’. It’s usually more a case of winners vs. losers.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
All three options have their attraction :-)
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I am proud of almost all my fiction for differing reasons, but as ‘Otterburn’ – published in Estronomicon e-mag - was short listed for a BFS short fiction award it will probably be the most mentioned.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
There have been a few short stores out recently in anthologies. ‘Black Hound of Newgate’ in The Bestiarum Vocabulum (Western Legends) and ‘Bone Wary’ in A-Z Cities of Death (Static Movement) to name but two.
My last book to come out was wearing my editors’ hat for The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic which I co-edited with the inimitable Jen Barber. We now have a Volume 2 in planning, so watch the Alchemy Press site for guidelines.
I have a shared-world novel for Fringe Works in planning, and have a series of novels of my own that I hope to roll out very soon – watch my own web/blog for details on those.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
“Can we buy the film rights.”
For more info on Jan and her work please follow these links
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B009BAA3R0
Please consider sharing this interview on Facebook, Twitter and other social Media Sites. By doing this you are helping to spread the work of these great authors, which might just help sell some of their books.