It’s Friday! That means it’s time for another Author Spotlight. Today, we’re chatting with J.S. Larmore, a fantasy and horror author, who just recently released her poetry collection, A Theatre Strange, on Amazon!
With poetry, you condense emotion and scenery into much fewer words. Would you say short stories and novels are more or less difficult than poetry?
J.S.L.: Typically novels and short stories are more difficult for me. Poetry is more about emotions and imagery, and I write as I feel it. With novels and short stories, I’m a total research nerd! I love to slip in mythology, Easter eggs, and pop culture nods, so there are plotholes to fill and subplots to wrap up. Even my character names take time choosing because all of them give clues to characteristics or talents of the specific characters.
I love Easter eggs, it’s probably one of my favorite parts of reading anything that’s based in mythology or history.
J.S.L.: That’s what I love about fantasy, seeing how different authors interpret different myths.
What piece of horror got you into the genre? Was it a book or movie, a piece of art?
J.S.L.: I watched a lot of horror movies when I was little. More than I should have honestly. But the first one I remember being a favorite was Tommy Knockers. I think I was 6 or 7. I also loved Village of the Damned.
What’s your favorite part of spooky season?
J.S.L.: Decorating! Every year my decorations get bigger and bigger. I love seeing everyone else’s decorations. I used to love spook houses but no one goes with me. They aren’t into being scared!
Have you heard of those 100 foot skeletons they sell at Home Depot?
J.S.L.: Yes! I want one so bad, but we don’t have outdoor outlets. That’s on my hubby’s home improvement list.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write on the horror genre, especially poetry?
J.S.L.: My advice would be to go for it. Be bold! There is more of an audience for gothic and horror poetry than people might expect. Also, you don’t have to be gory or grotesque to be scary. Poetry is all about human emotion, and the classic gothic writers knew that loss, madness, and despair were often the scariest of subjects.
I agree, I think what a lot of people think is scary are things like blood, guts, ghosts. But imagine being able to hone in on the horror of the human condition. That’s terrifying.
J.S.L.: Perfectly said, that’s the true horror of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
I noticed in your first three titles on Amazon, there’s emphasis on hands on the covers. Was there a significance to that pattern?
J.S.L.: The main character, Alvina Vaughn, is an Elemental. The way she accesses her magic is through her hands, so what the covers are essentially showing is the evolution of her magic and ultimately, her struggles throughout the trilogy. Starting with the spark in Book One, through the growth of her magic, and to her final and hardest battle in the last book.
In terms of your characters, we briefly touched on how you choose their names to describe them. I love names that sound like descriptors, but I also love looking up the meaning behind names. What is your process for naming characters?
J.S.L.: I like to choose a characteristic that is most important to their story arc, and then find a name whose etymology and meaning fit that characteristic. For example, Alvina means magical being or user of Magic. I have another character (no spoilers) who’s name means ‘bitter’ and that plays a huge role in her becoming who and what she does.
What Hogwarts House do most people inaccurately place you in?
J.S.L.: That’s a tough one, because I’m a bit of a hat stall between Ravenclaw and Slytherin. I always test 50/50. Most people would put me in Slytherin, but I think I’m more Ravenclaw.
By the time this interview is posted, your collection A Theatre Strange will be available! First, let me preemptively congratulate you! What can readers expect from this newest release, something fairly different from your other titles?
J.S.L.: Completely different, actually. This new release is a poetry collection, where my other releases were urban fantasy novels. It’s a mix of dark poetry, some from my Crow Calls posts, some new, and grief poems that haven’t been posted anywhere. Some sappy love poetry for good measure, just an overall mix of the spectrum of emotions tossed in with the dark and spooky.
Did you have to compartmentalize for this collection?
J.S.L.: Some of the pieces are extremely personal, I don’t think you can compartmentalize when writing those, but it’s cathartic and helps in a way to make sense of the ache. You’re basically baring your naked soul to strangers, and Crow Calls has definitely made that easier! Sharing less emotionally driven pieces has given me the courage to put myself out there in a more honest and open way. I’m grateful for the reception I’ve received so far!
Catharsis is probably the most accurate descriptor I’ve seen and used for writing, especially when it comes from the heart, however dark it may be at times.
J.S.L.: I agree, and I personally believe it’s extremely important to face those dark sides of yourself. Better to air them out than to let them fester.
What (or who) would you say is your favorite monster?
J.S.L.: My favorite monster, or monsters I should say, are somewhat obscure. They’re from the short story Leiningen Versus The Ants.
Oh? I’ve never heard of that!
J.S.L.: They’re large ants that eat flesh off of anything they come in contact with and invade Leiningen’s farm. They eat an entire cow in moments! I think it was the first creature feature I ever read instead of watched, and it stuck with me.
Final question, and I like to preface this by saying we don’t glorify heinous people or crimes, we’re just fascinated: Who is your favorite serial killer?
J.S.L.: David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam Killer. The idea that insomnia could drive a man to such horrible deeds always fascinated me. That lack of sleep could cause such vivid hallucinations to make him think the neighbor’s dog was telling him to kill and he had no choice but to obey. Wild!
I’d like to thank J.S. Larmore for taking the time to chat with me and major congrats on her newest publication, A Theatre Strange, available on Amazon now! If you’d like to follow along for more updates and see her Crow Calls, give her Twitter a follow.
Next week, we have a very special guest known for being a master of swords. You’ll have to follow to find out who.