four different authors/5 identical
questions/XX unique answers
> Greetings Obscure readers and welcome to our debut of The four/5/XX
where we will be featuring authors on the fringes of fiction who have opinions
to share and stories to tell. My sincerest thanks to those contributing
this week's expose who are members of my Goodread's group, Fringe Fiction
> Mark Phillips
, Author of Beneath the Mask of Sanity
> Gregor Xane
, Author of Six Dead Spots
> Lexi Dare
, Author of The
Girl with Wings
> H. Anne Henry
, Author of Once Broken
1. What genre does your story fall most into?
- My novel, Beneath the Mask of Sanity
, is a
thriller. There are elements of suspense in the book as well, but, on the
whole, I would have to classify it as a thriller.
- Six Dead Spots
is a novella and it fits in the
horror genre, somewhere between supernatural and psychological horror.
- My novel, The Girl
falls into the genre of erotic fantasy. The story is of a girl
who wakes up the morning after her 21st birthday with fairy or butterfly wings.
Of course the questions that arise are why and what is she and these questions
will be answered over the course of the series. Currently there are five books
> H. Anne
- Urban fantasy. Once
introduces the fictional town of Dove Creek, Texas and the troubles
they face because of a supernatural crossroads located nearby. There’s a great
deal of the paranormal featured in the story and while there’s also a good bit
of romance, it’s secondary to the action and conflict.
2. What trend have you noticed in the genre you write for and how does your
story embrace or stand apart from that?
- Most of the trends I see in the thriller genre put
ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The amateur detectives:
hairdresser, writer, bookstore employee, etc... There is also an element of the
supernatural that has arisen in the genre. Vampire detectives, psychic
detectives, and the like, proliferate the genre.
Beneath the Mask of Sanity
is in part a throwback to some of the
older conventions of thrillers. It is focused on a serial killer and is told
from his point of view. However, it differs in much of the genre in that it
focuses on the psychological aspects of not only sociopathic killers, but of
all human beings. Many issues are explored in the book, not the least of which
is the prevalence of violence in the media.
- The obvious, long-standing, trend in horror is the book
centered on monsters with brand recognition. There are built-in audiences for
vampire, werewolf, Cthulhu and, of course, zombie stories. I'm certainly not
above writing a story featuring any of these creatures, and I don't believe
authors are solely writing books about these old standbys for cynical purposes
of marketing. I'd say most writers are motivated to dig up these monsters out
of genuine affection and nostalgia. When I eventually get around to writing my
own werewolf and vampire stories (or whatever) it will be because I grew up on
these beasts and want to add something to the collective of works about them. I
just haven't settled on the right stories yet.
Now, Six Dead Spots
does in fact feature a baddie or two readers will
recognize from popular folklore, but it does so in a rather oblique way, and to
call attention to these monsters I've drawn upon would be rather misleading
from a marketing standpoint.
- In the erotica market, the sex with ‘other’ craze is
alive and well. This covers everything from your standard vampires, werewolves,
and zombies to all creatures mythological or alien.
While The Girl with Wings
under that category, I think it stands apart as while Tianna, the lead
character is ‘other’ she was raised human and so her mores are human and I
think my readers can relate to that. Over time these mores change but I think
that more character development than true alienation.
> H. Anne
- There’s a tendency to have strong female leads in the
urban fantasy genre, and Once Broken
doesn’t deviate from that. This is one trend that I didn’t buck, especially
because it’s something that I enjoy as a reader and as a writer. There’s a fine
line to toe between the heroine being tough and capable, and still retaining
the qualities that make her, well, womanly. It’s a challenge and a joy to write
such a character.
In Once Broken
, the strength doesn’t
end with the main character. Not only is the lead, Remi, a demon-killing
machine, but all of the women in the series are strong in their own, individual
way. They have to be – Dove Creek is a dangerous place. None of the ladies in Once Broken
are eclipsed by their male
counterparts even though they all work together toward a common goal.
3. What cliché is your least favorite in the genre you write for and how
does your story avoid that?
- My least favorite cliché in the thriller genre is
the battle of good vs. evil. The idea of the antagonist as the pure embodiment
of evil and the protagonist as a paragon of all that is good and right with the
world has become tiresome and too far removed from reality.
My book differs from this in that everyone is flawed, but everyone also has
virtue. The protagonist is not a perfect man, indeed there are many elements of
his past and present that might make readers hesitant to trust his judgment.
Bentley Grimes, the antagonist, is a serial killer, but his rationality is
excellent. His justification for murder will, obviously, fall on deaf ears, but
his observations about the nature of our own fragile psyches hits very close to
home and is persuasive.
- I'm not a fan of horror stories where the fractured
nuclear family unit is ultimately brought together and healed by the harrowing
ordeals they must overcome throughout the narrative. I think this is partly why
I find The Shining
to be such a successful horror novel.
I'd say that Six Dead Spots
avoids this cliché in that the
protagonist's family unit is basically dead before the events of the story even
begin. The distance often felt in the modern family is on display, where the
demands of the day-to-day prevent us from really taking notice, where support
is merely obligatory, and, almost by necessity, superficial.
- Oh, that’s a hard one as there are quite a few but I guess
if I had to choose it would be lack of back story. Alternatively, a reason for
the what. Sure, the backbone of erotica is sex but I know when I’m reading it I
want to know why these people are together and uncontrollable lust is a little
thin to me.
In The Girl with Wings
there is a reason for why these people are having sex and it’s more than just
to have a good time. I can’t really go into more without giving the story a way
but the bottom line is there is a reason for the what.
> H. Anne
- The super-sarcastic heroine. I have absolutely nothing
against sarcasm – it’s my favorite type of humor, and it usually fits in the
urban fantasy setting – but it does become tiresome when that’s the main means
of communication for a character. Being a tough chick does not have to equate
to being edgy and facetious every second of the day.
While Remi does pop off with a sarcastic statement here and there, it’s not her
style to have a quippy comeback for everything said to her. Interactions
between characters in Once Broken
more direct and genuine, even when the characters are trying to protect or hide
their own feelings. There are some tongue-in-cheek moments but for the most
part, they communicate like everyday people.
4. What can readers expect from you and your stories?
- Fun. That's the important thing. It's gotta be fun.
If I'm not having fun writing it, then I know you're not going to have any fun
reading it. I'm all for books that make you think and challenged you (and I
think Beneath the Mask of Sanity
does) but I'm not writing text books
here. I'm writing exciting fiction that I hope will take you away from your
world for a little while and put you in mine.
- Well, based on my answers so far, people are bound to
expect some pretty bleak stories. But, really, there is a fair amount of dark
humor mixed in. I also aim for a fast-paced read with plenty of off-beat
imagery and ideas to keep things interesting. And I do my very best to cut out
all the boring parts.
- Readers can expect my stories to be well written with
plenty of sex but also a nice story to give that sex context. My stories are
not just a series of sex scenes connected by the thinnest story line I can get
away with. I like to believe if the sex in my books was reduced or even
eliminated, the story would stand on its own.
> H. Anne
- Besides heroines that kick asses and take names?
Plenty of action and a quick pace with enough romance to spice it up. I aim to
write books that I would want to read, with the hope others will want to read
5. Who is an author you consider an influence for your writing and what is your
favorite quote by them?
- Stephen King - "It is the tale, not he who
- Clive Barker -“Be regular and orderly in your life,
that you may be violent and original in your work.”
- Ella Dominguez –“I
hardly know her. It all comes back to the paintings. Her amazing and beautiful
talent. Her sincerity. Her kindness. Her feistiness. Her ability to be in my
head at all times. Her ability to pull me out of myself and make me see things
like I’ve never seen them before.”
> H. Anne
- George R. R. Martin – “We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong
spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in
fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that
one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow
hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of
Shangri-La. They can keep their heaven.
When I die, I'd sooner go to Middle Earth.”
Thanks for reading Libra Obscura's first The four/5/XX. If you were
amused or intrigued by any of the authors' responses please consider their
books as a future read through the links provided and help them transition from