A Word or Two With Nerine Dorman
Picture, if you will, a small doctor’s office, quaint with its wide chairs with red cushions, the carpet a dark brown with speckled white spots throughout. The walls are covered in beige wallpaper that has faint white lines running from ceiling to floor. There’s a fish tank showcasing the African cichlids and their many brilliant colors. They dart about the tank, hiding behind the ornaments and false plants that are embedded in the white, sand-like substrate.
There are few people in this doctor’s office. An old man with a hearing aide sits in a chair near the front desk (which is not really a desk at all, but a counter where a pretty young woman sits and signs people in throughout the day). There is a woman with her son–a kid who is maybe in his mid-teens and who probably no longer wants to see his pediatrician (I’m almost an adult, Mom).
Do you see the end tables with the magazines and the television with the volume off? Pick a show–any show–and pretend it’s playing.
Do you have that picture in your head? It’s like any other doctor’s office in the world, isn’t it?
This is where Nerine Dorman and I should have met to have this interview. At the time this took place I was recovering from pneumonia and Nerine had been very sick herself. I won’t go into details, but we were both on medications and we were both somewhat miserable.
We should have been sitting across from each other comparing illnesses, both of which were dangerous in their own ways. We should have wished each other well when the nurse called our names to go back and see the good doctor.
Though it didn’t happen that way, it should have. And if you have that image in your head of the doctor’s office and a man and a woman sitting across from each other, keep it in the forefront of your mind as you read this interview. Imagine the two people meeting each other and trying to be polite without being nosy.
‘What are you in for?’
‘Yeah? Me too.’
With the ice officially broken…
AJ: Who is Nerine Dorman?
ND: Currently employed as a newspaper sub-editor and writer in Cape Town, South Africa, I’m also a freelance fiction editor and author. On top of that I’m a magician and full-time snark, but an indifferent housewife. I love travelling and exploring the worlds within and without. I have an unfortunate impulse to collect succulent plants and am a fount of lots of random information about nature and the environment. I love music and have played bass in an assortment of grunge, goth and metal bands, but luckily for the world in general, every time I get another impulse to start a band, I open a fresh MS Word document and write another novel.
AJ: Ha! I particularly like that you’re a snark–can never be too many of those in the world. You write novels? Can you tell me a little bit about how you began writing novels?
ND: I began writing novels ’round about the time I weaned myself off playing computer games. Up until that point I did a lot of talking about writing but hadn’t put my good intentions into practice. I’d get frustrated with the way movies were scripted or how novels developed, and thought to myself I could do things better by writing the stories I wanted to read. At the heart of it all, I’d always known I wanted to try my hand at writing longer works. I’d done a fair amount of editorial writing for magazines, which definitely stood me in good stead for when I embarked on my first full-length project.
AJ: I think all writers feel they can do better than most of the stuff out there and there is nothing like the incentive of proving it to make you try harder. Since you write novels, tell us a little bit about what you have out there.
ND: My main line is available from Lyrical Press These include my two Khepera novels, and a novella entitled The Namaqualand Book of the Dead, with a second novella released in January entitled What Sweet Music They Make. The Khepera novels are dark fantasy featuring my ill-starred black magician, James Edward Guillaume and his entanglement with a demonic entity known simply as The Burning One. My two novellas are lighter reading for those who like vampires.
I have recently made sales to Dark Continents Publishing. One is a novella-length work entitled Blood and Fire, which I co-wrote with Carrie Clevenger. It’s a crossover between our two main characters. The next big Dark Continents release comes in May. That’s Inkarna, and it’s about an ancient Egyptian reincarnation cult.
Before that, Carrie and I misbehaved together on a free short story that’s available on Smashwords. Just My Blood Type was so much fun to write, we decided to try again, which is how Blood and Fire came about.
For those who like erotic romance, I’ve gone down that path too, though purely to see whether I had a knack for it. Both novels ended up a bit grittier than typical romance fare. Tainted Love is about a retrenched graphic designer who ends up being a stripper, and Hell’s Music is about a bookstore owner who unwittingly dates a shock-rocker. These stories are written under the nom de plume of Therese von Willegen.
AJ: You’ve been busy, haven’t you?
Let’s talk about your current project with Dark Continents, Blood and Fire. You mentioned that this came about after working on Just My Blood Type with Carrie Clevenger. Can you tell us a little more about how Blood and Fire came to be?
ND: Carrie and I met quite by chance, on the ‘A Pale Horse Named Death’ forum. This is a fantastic gothic metal band that was started by ex-Type O Negative drummer Sal Abruscato. The one thing Carrie and I had in common from the start was music…and vampires. We both absolutely adore Type O Negative, and had shared sorrow at front man Peter Steele’s recent passing.
Through the forum, I stumbled across Carrie’s blog, Crooked Fang, which was a serialized novel featuring her vampire, Xan Marcelles. That’s when my inner editor made grabby fingers and I absolutely knew I had to work with her. Besides getting Crooked Fang a publishing contract, with me as Carrie’s editor, we also discovered that we worked really well as writing partners.
Our first foray, Just My Blood Type, was so well received we decided to try for a longer work. It’s definitely a kind of alchemy born out of mutual love and respect for the other’s writing. We find we complement each other well. I’m down for the nitty-gritty of technical details and descriptions. Carrie’s absolutely fabulous with finding twists for the plot and the snappy dialogue with characterizations.
Two heads are definitely better than one, especially when it comes to figuring out plot holes and layering of story arcs. It’s give and take, and when it works, the result is more than the sum of its parts.
AJ: It is always great to find someone you connect with so well in doing the same things. How did this project come to be published by Dark Continents?
ND: We saw the call for submissions and, since Blood and Fire had already entered the last stages of revisions, we felt we’d give it a shot. We ironed out some of the last plot points then hit send. Good timing, that’s all I can say.
AJ: There is nothing like good timing in any business, but in the writing world it can make all the difference.
I’m going to let you go shortly, but before I do, where can readers find you and your work?
ND: Okay, the useful links are here:
My titles at Lyrical Press:
Just My Blood Type:
Blood and Fire:
Keep in touch with my on Twitter @nerinedorman
Like my Facebook author page:
Or follow my blog at:
With that answer out, the nurse–not some young gal with her hair pulled into a pony tail, but a cartoonish looking guy with a hat turned backward and a jagged H plastered on his shirt–calls Nerine back to see the doctor. We know he’s going to do blood work; after all, we’re in The Donor Center.
She gives me a polite nod, says a ‘Nice to meet you,’ and off she goes, disappearing beyond the door. I wonder about the ‘nurse’ who took her back, though soon enough, I would see him again.
Yes, that’s how things happened–at least in the world of The Donor Center…
[Herbie's Note: Please check out Nerine's blog and her titles and check back for more details on upcoming works. Drop her a line, become a fan. Spread the word.]
[Herbie's Note II: I now have a fresh stock of goth blood to use in my creature. More on that at a later date. Mwahahahahaha…]