Ginger Nuts of Horror
It was while watching Romero's Night of the Living Dead at the tender age of 6 that solidified Julianne’s respect of the Undead. Since that day, she has been preparing herself for the (inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse. While classically trained in all of the ways to defend herself, she took up writing in order to process the desire she now covets; to bestow a second and final death upon the Undead.
As the only girl growing up in a family with four children in the Canadian countryside, Julianne needed some form of escape. Her choice was the imaginations of others which only fostered the vibrancy of her own. The horror and forensic/crime thriller genres top her list of favourites, but she can never turn down a good science fiction, fantasy or mystery read.
Julianne appears in the anthology Women of the Living Dead with a story entitled The Living Dead at Penderghast Manor. Look for her short stories in future anthologies. Days with the Undead: Book One is her first full-length book, the basis of which can be found in her popular web serial of the same name.
Hi Julianne, how are things with you?
Things are going very well Jim. Thank you very much for asking. How are they with you?
Can you please give the readers a little bit of background information on your good self?
Hmmm… Well I am a 34 year old woman living in Canada. I have a full time job and I write in my spare time. Days with the Undead: Book One is my first full length novel but I have short stories in The Sirens Call Issue One, and Women of the Living Dead along with two due out in anthologies to be released in late spring.
I see that you are Canadian, is it true all Canadians are afraid of the dark?
Well if the answers from the last census can be trusted – yes!
Why horror, what is it about the genre that holds your appeal?
Horror is one of the genres that holds my attention long after the book or movie is over. It’s the kind of thing that gets into my imagination and takes root. I like that. I like that it leaves me thinking.
And what is it about the genre that you dislike?
There is a lot of gratuitous violence and gore in horror that I don’t think needs to be there to sell a story.
We have just had Women In Horror Month, what do you think of this? Do you think it helps to promote female writers, or do you think it pigeon-holes female authors, as writers in need of special help?
I think that it’s great to feature women as writers in the horror genre. At the moment, many of the big names in horror are men so if a little promotion helps to gain women readers a larger fan base, I’m all for it.
Who would you say has been the biggest influence on you and your writing?
Positive or negative? I had a mentor tell me to pursue an education in science which I did to the detriment of my writing. Once I had rediscovered my passion for it, I wrote Days with the Undead. On the positive front, the relationships that I have made with other Indie authors have influenced me the most. Just knowing that there are other people going through the same struggles as myself is supportive.
If you could give any book to someone who doesn’t read horror, in an attempt to change their mind, what book would you choose, and why?
Oh that’s such a hard question! Just one book?!
Can you remember what first motivated you to start writing, and has your motivation changed over the years?
My first motivation was discovering that I had so many stories that I wanted to tell in my fertile imagination. I wrote all time the time through school until one of my mentors told me to pursue the sciences. After that point, I didn’t write for over 10 years. I was able to quell my desires in the works of others and for a while that was enough. Once it wasn’t, I started to write again and Days with the Undead came flowing out.
And how would you describe your writing style?
My writing style changes depending on what I write to be perfectly honest. I found a website that analyzes your writing when you put in a sample and the results that I got back were Dan Brown and HP Lovecraft. Those are some very big shoes and I was surprised to say the least.
Let’s talk a bit about the mechanics of your writing. How do you go about the writing process? Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow?
I mainly go with the flow. There are times however when there are plot points that are set out in advance.
How much research do you do? And have you ever had any nasty letters saying your research is flawed?
I didn’t do a lot of research with Days with the Undead, mainly just looking up the names of highways and such in the United States. Nasty letters? None so far and hopefully none to come.
Pen and paper, or computer for the first draft?
It’s a combination of both. Sometimes I need the feel of pen and paper and others I can work from where the pen and paper leaves off and type directly into Scrivener.
Do you have any rituals that you go through when you write?
Not really. I like to put my ear buds in and erase the outside world but that’s about it.
How do you edit, do you edit as you write, or do you edit after each draft is finished?
With Days with the Undead, I edited after the first draft was completely finished. For the additional posts of the serial novel, it’s been an edit before I post process.
How has your experience as being a writer been? How fulfilling, and rewarding has it been so far? Have you ever had any negative experiences?
I love writing. It’s hard at times to strike that balance between writing and the rest of the life that you want to live but in the end, it’s a fulfilling and rewarding experience. I have only had one negative experience but it’s a learning curve that everyone has to go through.
How did you become involved in Women of The Living Dead?
I became friends with OpenCasket Press on Facebook and they mentioned that they had an open anthology featuring women authors only and dealing with the Zombies. At the time, I didn’t have any time to write anything but the way that they work is that their anthologies are open until they are filled. Once my schedule freed up a little bit, I looked on their website and say that it was still open so I sat down, wrote The Living Dead of Penderghast Manor and submitted it. Their response to the story was very favourable.
Apart from your story, which is your favourite of the Anthology?
I’ve only worked my way about half way through the anthology so my favourite from the first half has been The Lottery by Chauma Smith Gus.
From snooping around the web, you appear to have a love affair for the zombie genre, what is it about zombies, that appeals to you so much?
I have always loved Zombies! Ever since I was a young child. It’s hard to put my finger on what it was exactly but there is a creepiness in staring into a face that is so similar to your own. That and the fact there are so many possibilities for how it could happen…
So should zombies, run or shuffle, talk or groan?
Running Zombies is a scary thought! There is no way that they should be faster than me! Shuffling Zombies are much more my speed – plus I am a purist at heart. As for talking or groaning – I have to say groaning. Talking would just be creepy!
So let’s talk about Days with the Undead, how did you first come up with the idea?
It was something that starting playing through my mind as I was plagued with an illness that temporarily robbed me of my eyesight. Not being able to read left me a lot of time in my head. That was where it all started.
Was it always you intention to release it as a web based serial novel?
No. Once I had written the novel, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I had no idea how the publishing world worked and I was a total newbie when it came to social media and blogging. I was also so anxious that my words wouldn’t be well received that I decided to release it a piece at a time and hope that it was met by a little bit of like.
What challenges did writing it as a serial based novel did you face?
After I had gotten to the end of where the first book ends, I continued the story. It’s hard to keep up the pace at times but the story works very well in serial format.
It’s written as journal; do you keep your own journals?
Oddly, I don’t. I could never keep up with them over the long term.
And is there one deep dark secret that is in your journals, that you would hate to be made public?
Oh I have deep, dark secrets but none of them are written down!
What would you say is the unique selling point of your novel?
The fact that it is a full narrative, journal is a unique selling point.
Days with the Undead has been picked up by Sirens Call Publications, how did that come about?
I sent my manuscript out to Sirens Call Publications first since I knew one of their founders was an avid follower on my blog. After doing a little research and talking to them about their approach, I knew that I wanted to work with them. Given the fact that all of the founders are also indie writers, they knew what I was facing in wanting to publish my first book and were willing to put the weight of their collective talents behind both it and me.
In this day and age where everyone and anyone is self-publishing, what does a publisher bring to the table?
They offer a wealth of information that they are willing to impart, and that made me feel good about publishing with them. Knowledge is a heady commodity in this industry, and the team over at SCP has it in spades!
And what would be your choice of weapon if the zombie apocalypse happened?
A cure. Altruistic, yes, but honest. If I had to choose an actual weapon, I’d go for a semi-automatic handgun of some kind.
If you had to be one of the characters in the book, who would you chose and why?
I’d choose to be Julie and not just because we have the same name. She is one tough woman with a human side.
The zombie genre, besides the Twilight loonies, is the one genre that seems to have the most ardent fans. What has been your favourite and least favourite fan experience been?
I love interacting with my fans and so far there hasn’t been any experience that I would call my least favourite. They’ve all been my favourites!
As a new author, how do you get yourself out there, and noticed by the book buying public?
You have to have presence on social media. That way you interact with other indie authors and other genre lovers. It’s the best way to connect when you’re just striking out.
Do you have any advice for any readers who are thinking about taking up writing as a career?
Of course. Don’t ever give it up. Write for anthologies and get your name out there. So many new authors that self-publish forget to network and getting your name in an anthology is a great way to do that.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
I have two stories in anthologies coming out in late spring – Childhood Nightmares: Under The Bed and Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity. I’m on the lookout for more anthologies to sub to and I’m working on the continuation of the Days with the Undead series. Lots of exciting things in the future.
Do you have any final words for the readers?
Does “please buy my book” count? On a more serious note, I would just remind everyone to follow their dreams because it will make them infinitely happier as they navigate life.
Days with the Undead: Book One Synopsis:
It’s a journal of survival.
Five people set out to escape the Undead who have risen too close to home. Join the emotional and physical struggle as they began on the third day after the awakening of Brooks VanReit, as they are recorded from the point of view of Julie, a former pathologist and part-time survivalist.
Each entry is geared toward helping those who want to help themselves and maybe give a few that don’t a swift kick in the ass. Join our group of survivors on their journey through these Days with the Undead.
Date Released - February 29th, 2012