Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interview with Deborah LeBlanc

Deborah LeBlanc is the author of novels Family InheritanceGrave IntentA House DividedMorbid CuriosityWater Witch and The Wolven.

What drew you to the horror genre?
In short, my grandmother. She was the best storyteller on the planet. When I was a kid, I used to sit at the foot of her rocker, utterly spellbound as she told story after story, all of them fact, not fiction mind you, of supernatural events that some uncle, aunt, or cousin had encountered ‘back in the day.’ Being Cajun, it was only natural that my grandmother’s entire body played a part in the telling of the tale. Her hand gestures were emphatic, her eyes widening or narrowing for effect, her entire body tensing and leaning forward as she reached the spookiest part of the story. I remember wishing I could be just like her.
What scares you?
I worked as a consultant in the funeral service industry for years, and that stint included doing embalmings, making removals, and helping with autopsies in various morgues. It also led me to become a licensed death scene investigator, so I’ve seen more than my share of blood, guts, and gore, all of it up close and personal. I’m also a paranormal investigator and have been for fifteen years. All that said, I’m rarely affected by guts, gore, or ghouls. What frightens me most is the thought of any danger coming to my children.
Why do you think there are fewer women writing horror than men?
I think there are more women writing horror than we realize. The problem is that far too few of them are published. Why? Good question and I can only speculate on the answer. Maybe the publishing world views horror stories the same way they view war or espionage stories—as a male gig.
Who are some women horror authors that you admire?
The first who come to mind are Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, and Tananarive Due. 
What is your advice to aspiring women horror writers?
The same as it is for writers of any genre---read, read, read—write, write, write—and never give up!
What are your favourite horror novels?
Oh, so many! To name a few….The Shining, The Stand, The Exorcist, Joplin’s Ghost, The Haunting of Hill House. 

What is your favourite novel you’ve written and your favourite character you’ve created? Why?
I don’t really have a favorite novel, but I had the most fun writing A House Divided. It seemed to dang near write itself. My favorite character in the story was Tawana Baptist. I loved her grit, sassy attitude, and the fact that each time she stepped onto the stage, she felt larger than life. I truly hated to see that novel come to an end.
Your books deal with the supernatural. Have you ever had a supernatural encounter? Do you believe in the supernatural?
Yes and yes. As I noted earlier, I’ve been a paranormal investigator for years, and in that time I’ve been pushed off a flight of stairs by unseen hands, saw a tea kettle levitate from one stove burner to another, and have seen more ‘shadow people’ than I can count.
As an author who was published by Dorchester in the past, what do you think of their switch to trade paperbacks and e-books, eliminating mass-market paperbacks?
The publishing industry as a whole is undergoing major changes, and we’re only seeing the beginning of that evolution. Regardless of the publisher and/or their formats, I think authors are in for one hell of a bumpy ride.
Do you own an e-reader? How do you think e-readers are changing the publishing industry?
Yes, I have a Kindle, and I think e-readers are bringing significant changes to the publishing industry. In fact, my prediction is that the sale of e-books will rise 100 to 150 percent this year, which certainly does not bode well for print.
After being the Horror Writers Association president for four years, you decided to step down. Why did you decide to leave? What did you accomplish during your years as president?
The Horror Writers Association allows a president to serve two consecutive years, then he or she must step aside to allow in new blood. Thus my departure from the helm. I’m still on the Board, however, only now serving as a trustee.

With the help of a fantastic Board of Directors and phenomenal volunteers, we were able to accomplish many things in four years. The most significant accomplishments, in my opinion, were----- our bylaws went from an antiquated, convoluted albatross to a viable structure that will significantly benefit our members. We revamped the entire Stoker award process to give it more clarity and validity. And during those four years, the percentage of active members (published authors) increased over 60%, many of whom wrote in other genres, which in turn helped many of our other members cross genres and increase their publishing credits.   
What do you hope readers get out of your work?
I hope they’re captivated by the story and left with a sense of satisfaction—a smile perhaps—a bit of sadness that the story had to end. And I hope the story stays with them for some time to come.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing a paranormal trilogy called The Grimoires, which revolves around three master witches—a stand-alone titled Voices—and the first in a thriller series called The Collectors.  Busy, busy, busy! 

1 comment:

joannapary said...

I love hearing the voices of women writers in the horror genre. It inspires me to know that we are having an influence on an area that is so often dominated by men and makes me all the more determined to work on publishing my own work in the field. Excellent interview.