Back in October I participated in this thing called The Coffin Hop. It’s the first time I have participated in something like this and it was fun, yet time consuming. I think the time consuming part swallowed me and spat me out at the end. The premise is writers and artists in the horror genre signed up and then from October 24th through Halloween those same folks visited the blogs doing the Coffin Hop. There were give aways and stories and great things to read. Better yet, there were friends to be made.
One of those friends is a young lady who writes a zombie series and runs a website dedicated to the zombie sub-genre. She is a pleasant woman who has an insatiable desire to write, to tell stories, and like the rest of us, she’s putting herself out there for the world to love and criticize. Such is the life of a writer.
Her name? Julianne Snow, and she graciously agreed to an interview with Herbie and me. Granted, she doesn’t care much for needles, so Herbie had to leave them home, much to his dismay.
Now, if you don’t mind, follow us if you will into the world of Julianne Snow.
HH: Who is Julianne Snow?
JS: As I sit here trying to think about what to say, I’m struck by how hard of a question that actually is. How do I want to the world to perceive me? Does that world actually perceive me in that way? Should I embellish bits and pieces to make myself sound more interesting or am I interesting enough all on my own?
You asked, so you’re going to get the most honest version. I am a thirty-something year old (Oh God! Where did my 20s go??) author striving to make my world a better place each and every day. I write horror, so generally my day is not as bad as those of my characters. Am I classically trained in the art of prose? Heck no, but I do have two degrees and I have written tonnes of academic papers and two theses, so I think I have the basics covered.
I am Canadian, extremely proud of our spelling of specific words, and trained in all of the correct usages for the phrase ‘eh?’. I have travelled, though not extensively, and found myself to be open and willing to experience new and wondrous things.
I have a distinct love for Zombies, which originated at age six with a viewing of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. That grainy, black and white masterpiece solidified so many things in my young mind; a love for horror and that of the Undead. I absorb (read: watch, read, craft, write, etc.) anything Zombie related and I am currently working on my first Zombie cross-stitching project – it’s a hand reaching out of the dirt –and plan to create more embroidered masterpieces (because deep down, I know it will be a masterpiece).
I am the creator and author of Days with the Undead, which started off as an online serial, but I have added more to the story and have begun to release the sagas as a series of books. Days with the Undead: Book One is currently available with Book Two coming out in the spring of 2013.
I have also penned a number of shorter stories which can be found in various anthologies from Open Casket Press and Sirens Call Publications with a few more awaiting deliberations. You can even find some of them on either of the two blogs I maintain, but you may have to go digging for them a little bit.
So to sum it all up into a few words, I’m a Canadian Horror Author with a penchant for the Undead. I suppose I could have given you that version to start with, but how much fun would that have been?
HH: I’m a fan of zombies as well and have been working on a series for the last couple of years. Having said that, what do you find is the hardest part of creating a series and maintaining it, especially one based in the world of zombies when so many stories and movies are currently out involving the not-so-loveable shamblers?
JS: At the moment, I am no longer posting aspects of the Days with the Undead saga online, but the hardest part of it was finding the time to develop a story and then put it all together for posting. My posting schedule was such that I was writing and posting a new segment each and every day or every couple of days. Getting the word count was not difficult; I never concerned myself with that aspect. The problem was more in finding the time to sit down and develop the story in a direction that could sustain the saga for additional days after that.
When you write a book, you have an idea of where the story is going and if not, you can always go back and flesh out the bits that need to be there to make the rest of the story follow a logical and continuous path. When you’re posting something online, you’re working within such a short deadline: you need to write and edit before you can post. It was hectic, but I loved it.
I’m never short of ideas, even within the Zombie genre, but I do find it hard to come up with story arcs that have never been encountered before. I think I have a few, but it’s hard to say for certain because I have not read or watched every Zombie related piece out there – close to it, but certainly not all. I found it easier to create my characters and the general conflict, letting everything develop from that point.
HH: Though you love zombies, they aren’t the only things you write about, right?
JS: Good heavens, no! I definitely write in other genres of horror as well. At the moment, I have three non-Zombie related stories in anthologies with a few more in different stages of the decision process. I’m a regular contributor to an online dark and edgy literary magazine entitled The Sirens Call and I’m currently working on a number of stories for different projects as well, so there will be plenty more from me in the future if you’re not a fan of the Zombie sub-genre (though I have no idea why you wouldn’t be…).
Heck, I’ve even had my first acceptance for a romance themed anthology. Sometimes the muse hits you in the right way and the call is something you need to answer. I enjoy writing and while horror and Zombies may be my first loves, they are certainly not my only ones.
HH: The Sirens Call? Can you tell me about that?
JS: The Sirens Call is the dark and edgy literary bimonthly online magazine that is put together by Sirens Call Publications. Generally, each issue is themed and authors, artists, and photographers are invited to submit any work that fits that month’s theme. They’ve actually just released December’s issue, which is themed ‘frozen’ and they’re giving it away for free! It’s a wonderful project to be a part of and I love the mix of talented authors from different genres that make up each issue.
HH: For free? Would you mind sharing the link with all of those in Type AJ Negative land?
JS: Absolutely! You can find the link by visiting the Sirens Call Publications website.
HH: Can you tell me about the writing process for you? Are you one that outlines or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
JS: The process of writing for me is something very organic. Usually it starts with an idea or a line of dialogue and the story builds in my mind before I have the opportunity to sit down and write it. Submission calls are also very inspirational to me – sometimes I write stories without the inspiration of a call, but if I’m going to submit to an anthology or magazine, I let the words of the call guide me in the right direction. I think it’s extremely important and helps your chance of acceptance if you pay attention to what the publisher is ultimately looking for.
As for being a planner or a pantser, I’m a pantser during approximately ninety percent of the stories I write. The other ten percent of the stories are planned down to most of the details. Don’t get me wrong, the stories I write by the seat of my pants do have to hit on certain aspects for the story to progress, so there is a small amount of planning but it’s extremely minimal. In fact, most of the time, I have no idea how I’m going to join elements of the story together until my fingers start to fly over the keys.
HH: That’s interesting. For the most part I fly by the seat of my pants as well, but for me I never write specifically for an anthology or a particular publication. I used to, but I found many topics limiting and my stories like to stretch their legs.
Being a writer, I like to say my stories have to ‘breathe’ in order to live and there are various things I do during writing to try and make them come alive. Are there any particular things you focus on when writing a story to make them as believable as possible?
JS: I think having characters that are relatable adds a significant level of believability to any story that I write. Without the connection between character and reader, the story is going to be an extremely hard sell. Even if your character is a villain, adding an aspect or two of vulnerability can help to make them a little more palatable in the loosest definition of the word. No one wants to like the villain, but sometimes when you’ve created the perfectly flawed character, the readers cannot stop themselves from liking them just a little bit. Let’s face it, sometimes good people do bad things…
Generally I concentrate on one central main character and tell the story from their point of view. Other points of view are necessary in some cases, and I concentrate on each one as I bring them together into a cohesive whole. A misplaced perspective can destroy a great tale and I work hard to make each one that I present authentic.
I also find that writing what I know is the easiest way to keep things straight. Each of my stories contains a small aspect of myself that I can rely on to draw inspiration from and help me to keep the different story lines organized and complete.
And then there are those other times that I just write with abandon and see what comes out at the end. Those are certainly some interesting stories…
HH: Do you ever see yourself in your stories?
JS: I see parts of myself, but I’m never a complete character. At times, the similarities are akin to a situation that I have dealt with or a particular quirk that I have. In others, certain traits are amalgamated along with others into a character to the point that readers would have no idea that a part of myself was even included. I believe that many authors put bits and pieces of themselves into their work, whether it’s subconsciously done or completely transparent. It makes for a better read, in my humble opinion.
HH: I agree that putting parts of ourselves into our work makes the stories much better and less one-dimensional. A couple more questions and we’ll wrap up. Who is your favorite character that you’ve created and why?
JS: Such a hard and unfair question! They’re all my favourites! After thinking for a moment and coming to terms with the thought of singling out one of my creations, I’m going to choose Julie. In so many ways, she’s exactly like me (name aside and all of that). We share some of the same history and she is the ultimate embodiment of survivalism. That’s something that I really relate to in more ways than one.
HH: We have our favorites, though we’re supposed to love them all the same, right?
JS: In a way that’s true. Our characters are ‘people’ that we end up spending inordinate amounts of time with – we craft them into who we want them to be and do our best to help our readers form the right opinions and emotions concerning them. It’s hard to pick a favourite.
HH: Julianne, where can we find you? Facebook? A blog? Amazon?
JS: Oh I can be found in lots of places! I’m on Facebook with both a personal page and a fan page, on Twitter. I can also be found on Goodreads, Google+, and my Amazon Author Page. I blog in numerous places: WordPress – Days with the Undead and The Flipside of Julianne; Tumblr – The Randomnes of Julianne. I think that’s everywhere you can find me.
HH: Julianne, thank you for hanging out with us today. We hope your future is bright with many words and publications and zombies.
To the readers out in Type AJ Negative land, drop a comment in the section below and/or visit Julianne at any of the links provided above. Thank you for reading, and until we meet again, my friends…