Women in Horror interview

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Charon Coin Press was kind enough to include me in their special feature celebrating Women in Horror Month. The full interview, including the revelation of my completely normal and rational fear of piranhas waiting under beds to chew my feet off, can be read here.

I’m thrilled that my story “Maze Walker” will appear in their upcoming anthology “Paying the Ferryman”, due out in April. A sneak peak of the cover can be found here.

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Women in Horror Month Feature: Jenner Michaud

Jenner Michaud ushers in our third day of celebrating Women in Horror Month. Michaud will be appearing in the upcoming release of Paying the Ferryman with her story, “Maze Walker”. We sit down with her today to discover more about the author behind the story.

Women in Horror Month feature Jenner MichaudCharon Coin Press: What drew you to the horror genre?
Jenner Michaud: It took me a long time to find my genre but horror definitely feels like home to me.  I’ve tried to write everything from comedy to rosy fairy tales but there is always an ominous cloud shadowing my work. Someone once told me “Your story is funny but I had goose bumps the whole time.”  Horror is not a conscious choice, it’s simply what comes out.

CCP: Do you have a favorite monster/horror character?
JM: I can identify with the regular Joes and Janes much better than with any monster. I like stories where ordinary people are thrown into extreme situations forcing them to act outside, way outside, of their usual comfort zone. I love Carol in The Walking Dead and how she has changed and embraced the apocalyptic world she is in – I hope I can be like her if zombies ever overtake the world (though I think I would have shot Lizzie much sooner).

CCP: Do you have any advice for other female writers who want to write horror?
JM: Write stories that are itching to come to life, let the characters and stories clawing to get out of you come out without trying to control it too much. To me, horror is a feeling more than anything else, that voice in the back of your head warning you something is off. The more one writes, the easier it becomes to find that feeling of unease where horror lies.

CCP: What do you look for in a good horror story?
JM: Originality. The unexpected. A new twist on an old idea. The speedy zombies in World War Z were terrifying to me because all zombies I had ever heard of had always been slow. That was the one consistent thing I knew about zombies: if you are clever enough, you can outrun them. This completely took me off guard in WWZ and effectively threw that old concept I had taken for granted right out of the window. I loved that.

CCP: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
JM: I’ve always wanted to write and I can’t remember a time when I had any other ambition. But it was a goal for a long time, more than anything concrete as I only started writing seriously a few years ago. When I am at a keyboard and a story is flowing out of me, there is no other feeling like it. My only regret is that I didn’t start writing seriously sooner.

CCP: Who is your favorite horror author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
JM: Stephen King is a lot of people’s favorite horror writer, and with good reason. I admire how he can stretch out moments for several pages. His style is so direct and immediate, it grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the book is done. I am currently enjoying Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga’s The Walking Dead series. The Governor’s backstory is so layered and interesting it’s made me appreciate the TV character even more.

CCP: What are your favorite horror films? What book would you love to see on the big screen?
JM: I’m drawn to post-apocalyptic stories that have to do with plagues or viruses, such as movies like 28 days/weeks later. The Mist is a classic and I watch it every time it’s on tv. I love The Walking Dead. As for what horror book could be adapted, I would have said Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain but that came out as a tv series last year so my wish has already come true and I’m looking forward to Season 2.

CCP: What are three “Good to Know” facts about you?  Be creative.  Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details.
JM: Piranha is the first horror movie I ever saw and I still can’t let my naked feet hang off the bed for fear that they will be chewed off, like it happened to the guy who let his feet dangle in the water in the movie. My sister even gave me a stuffed piranha (hid it under my bed, actually), its jaws extended and razor-sharp teeth on full display. I know for a fact that my big toe fits perfectly between its jaws.

I have a vast number of notebooks with clippings and notes about story ideas, characters, dialogue, etc. I have new ideas every day so I never even have the need or time to dig back for inspiration. As a result, I’m not sure what will ever become of all the ideas in those boxes of materials, or if they would even make sense if I read them today.

I am a huge Metallica fan. I was the Canadian Editor of a fanzine for many years.

CCP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
JM: I have an endless supply of story ideas but I will never have enough time to explore them all. I have to write the story that is clawing to get out at that time so perhaps that’s why I have difficulty writing on spec, or following specific prompts. I wish it weren’t so mentally restrictive for me but those tend to be the only times I suffer from writers’ block. If I don’t try to control my creative instincts too much, it is much easier, and a lot more fun.


Jenner Michaud’s Bio

Jenner Michaud is a speculative fiction writer with a leaning towards the dark recesses found at the edge of reality. She finds pleasure in weaving stories that push the boundaries of the possible, even if they go bump in the night and keep her up.

Jenner works in the field of innovation research and education, and spends most of her free time exploring innovation in the field of writing.

An all-around Canadian, Jenner was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, spent most of her childhood in Quebec, and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

“All of a Heap” appears in Plague: Aftermath, now available on Amazon. “Maze Walker” will appear in Charon Coin Press’s Paying the Ferryman anthology, due out in Spring 2015.

Follow Jenner on Twitter (@JennerMichaud), learn more about her by visiting her blog (jennermichaud.wordpress.com), and check out her page on her writers’ group website, The Scrawling Narwhals (scrawlingnarwhals.weebly.com).

Walking the Maze

thCA0O41S9Great news first: My short story “Maze Walker” will appear in an upcoming anthology, due out in March 2015. I have done two interviews in the past few weeks, one in anticipation of the anthology, and one in conjunction with February’s celebration of Women in Horror. I hope to be able to share more in the coming weeks.

Other than for the above, writing projects were paused last Fall when I began battling a nasty sinus bug but I am happy to report treatments have recently kicked in and I am feeling much better. In January, I had a Popeye-style burst of energy, leading me to write an entire short story from scratch in five hours, averaging a thousand words per hour (my usual speed when I’m in “the zone”).

The energy burst didn’t last, but after a few months of little scribbling, it felt good to finally write something that seems solid. I have since spent some time editing it and submitted it for critique to my local writing group, The Scrawling Narwhals. I’ve already made a few notes of what I think need to be addressed in the re-write but we shall see what the feedback is like next week on “Boomerang”. Maybe I just imagined the story being good, which wouldn’t be much of a surprise after the past few months of brain freeze.

One of my standing writing objectives is to make at least two submissions each month. Despite the bug, I still managed to do that up to the end of December but I haven’t yet submitted anything in 2015. I have just heard back about the lone outstanding sub (rejection) so I am making a push to be able to meet my two sub minimum this month, and hopefully at least one more to make up for the January zilch count.

First up is “Arctic Marauder” (formerly “Frozen in Time”), the story of an Arctic Expedition finding a lost WWII soldier who has survived alone some seventy years at the bottom of an icy crevasse. A hint: the plane’s mysterious cargo may have something to do with his survival. Next, I will work on “The Beaten Path” (Alien chiropractors, who knew?), and “Threader”, a complicated Earth where nothing happens by chance, where lives are controlled by a chosen few forced to live in the Earth’s mantle to hide the reality of how the world really works. Those are the three stories that have been occupying my mind in my recent delirium so I just had to move them up to the top of the pile. I have feedback on all three stories and it’s a matter of using what can help make them great ones. I hope that doesn’t sound easy because it’s not.

Lots of work ahead – happy writing!

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