Creepfest Blog Hop Day 4 – An Interview With Marissa Farrar

Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!

Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win :)

One of the most fun things about a blog hop for we writers is meeting other writers and picking their brain, not to mention adding substantially to our To Be Read pile! Get ready to add more. It is my pleasure to introduce Marissa Farrar.

1. You have a degree in Zoology, which is really cool! But what prompted you to give up that career to pursue writing?

I always wanted to write; I’d been coming up with stories since I was a kid. However, I’ve also always had a sensible head on my shoulders and I knew how hard it would be to earn decent money through my writing. I spent most of my degree writing instead of studying, so as soon as I graduated, I made the decision to follow my heart instead of my head.

2. How is zoology similar to being a parent of two children?

It’s not! Apart from perhaps needing a lot of patience (there is a lot of sitting around in Zoology studying animals that aren’t doing anything!).

3. What is your writing process like? Plotter or pantser?

I’m a total pantser! People who intricately plot out whole novels totally intimidate me. I always have a vague idea about what I want to happen in a novel, but normally it’s the characters that are most real in my head. I let them lead the way and just write down what they do. With my latest novel, ‘Buried’, I thought the story was going to end one way, but then one of the main characters did something I totally wasn’t expecting. The good thing is, because I wasn’t expecting it, my readers won’t be either!

4. You’re a published indie author. What would you say were the greatest challenges of going indie and why did you make that choice?

I was traditionally published for a couple of years before choosing the indie route. I became very frustrated because there were so many things I wanted to try out but couldn’t because the choices were being made by the publisher. In the end I was lucky enough to get my titles back so I had new covers done, had them re-edited and then re-launched the books. I’m happy to say it’s the best decision I made.

I’d say the biggest challenge is still around people taking indie’s seriously. There’s a lot of misconception that the only reason writers go indie is because they can’t find a publisher, but that simply isn’t the case. I’ve had a publisher and have turned down several offers from other publishers. I’d have to be offered a pretty damn good deal now to ever give up my digital rights.

5. What is it about the horror genre that attracts you?

I’ve always love horror. Even as a child, I used to sneak downstairs and read my mother’s horror novels by the light of the fish tank. I think it speaks to that dark and twisty side of me I normally have to keep under wraps.
6. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell us your top five wishes for Christmas.

(Other than wishing for world peace, etc. I really only have three…)

For my family to stay happy and healthy. For next year to be easier financially. And the big one… To get to the point in my career where people are talking about my name as the next big thing in the horror and dark fantasy genre.

7. “Alone” deals with the serious issue of domestic violence. Why did you choose this theme for your book?

I never wanted for the theme to be domestic violence; it just happened to fit the theme of empowerment I was going for. I wanted to show how one person can start off broken, fragile and terrified, but draw strength from someone else. However, I also didn’t want Serenity to lean on that other person. I wanted her to learn how to be strong enough to take care of herself. I hope that’s what I did.

8. What advice would you give to new writers?

Get involved with other writers and learn, learn, learn. I’ve learned so much from the other authors I’ve met blogging and social networking. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and above all, they’ve helped me learn my craft.

9. If you could sit down to tea with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’m going to be really unoriginal and say Stephen King. He’s always been a hero of mine!

10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’ve got so many! At the moment I’m just finishing edits for my novel, ‘The Dark Road’, which I hope to have out by the end of the year. I’m writing the third book in my ‘Serenity’ series. I also have another two completed manuscripts which are still in need of edits and will be out next year. Finally, I’m planning a YA spin-off from my ‘Serenity’ series, featuring one of the characters. I’ve never written YA before but I’m up for the challenge!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Annetta!

Alone

Caught in a violent and abusive relationship, Serenity thinks there is no escape.

Upon meeting a stranger, Sebastian, she is shown the possibility of a different future.

Only Sebastian has a dark secret; he is a vampire.

As Serenity’s life takes a terrifying turn, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed; one of murder, love and immortality. She is forced to confront her own weaknesses to save both her own life and that of the vampire she has come to love. But in the end all that matters is; can she find the strength to be Alone?

Book two in the ‘Serenity’ series, ‘Buried’ is also now available to buy from your favourite eBook store!

Author bio: Marissa Farrar is a multi-published horror and paranormal author. She was born in Devon, England, loves to travel and has lived in both Australia and Spain. She now resides in Devon with her husband, two children, a crazy Spanish rescue dog and four hens. She has a degree in Zoology, but her true love has always been writing.

Her dark take on a vampire romance, Alone, was first published in 2009 and has now been re-launched by Red Hot Publishing. The second book in the series, Buried, is now available to buy. The third in the series, Captured, will be published early 2012.
Her short stories have been accepted for a number of anthologies including, Their Dark Masters, Red Skies Press, Masters of Horror: Damned If You Don’t, Triskaideka Books; and 2013: The Aftermath, Pill Hill Press. Her own collection of paranormal short stories, Where the Dead Live, is also available.

If you want to know more about Marissa, then please visit her website at www.marissa-farrar.blogspot.com. You can also find her at her facebook page, Marissa Farrar, Author or follow her on twitter @marissafarrar.

She loves to hear from readers and can be emailed at marissafarrar@hotmail.co.uk.

Prizes!

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

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Creepfest Blog Hop and the Meaning of Horror

Tomorrow starts the Creepfest Blog Hop and I really have been looking forward to this.

But Netta, you may say. Why are you so excited about a Creepfest? You’re not a horror writer.

Well, it depends on how you define “horror”.

For the record, although I know labels are necessary in the literary world, it’s mostly for marketing purposes. If you can’t put a label to your work, how are you supposed to market it properly? You need to hit your targeted audience, and if you can’t figure out what you’re writing, how is your audience supposed to figure it out?

Another factor is the blurring of genre lines. It’s not uncommon to find paranormal, sci-fi, horror, romantic, or literary elements all contained within the same book or story. And that’s not a bad thing.

But for the sake of argument, let’s talk strictly horror.

Yes! This is an ALMOST EMPTY coffee pot! Totally horrible, but there are even MORE horrible things. I think.

Many people are introduced to horror through high school reading of authors like Poe, Shelley, Stoker, or Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). Still others have explored horror through authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Robert Bloch…the list is long and impressive. Horror as a genre has quite a distinctive history and showcases some of the finest writing around. In other words, there is gold in them there stories, people. Please don’t make the mistake of pigeon-holeing a writer because they may have written a dark story or two.

The purpose of writing a story is to elicit a response from the reader. Horror certainly serves this purpose. It plays on the reader’s innermost fears, and if done properly, will make an impression long after the last page is turned. Remember Poe’s “Telltale Heart”? I bet you do, even if the last time you read that story was in high school English class. Horror writing can showcase the human condition in a infinite number of ways. How people react in dire circumstances — whether it’s zombies, a serial killer, or a monster — really reveals true character.

However, horror isn’t always a monster or a crazed killer. Take Poe’s story. There’s no monster (unless you count the main character who buried a heart beneath the floorboards). The horror of that story, in my opinion, is the madness experienced by the protagonist, and how his crime ate away at his mind until he finally collapses into insanity.

Although Stephen King has been classified as a “horror” writer, if you read a cross section of his work you’ll find horror elements, true, but he writes a lot more than that. It’s not necessarily the “slash and gore” or supernatural horror which has permeated the genre that Sai King produces, either. For instance, I consider “Apt Pupil” one of THE most horrifying stories I have ever read, and there isn’t one supernatural element in it. No slash and gore. But amazingly horrible, all the same.

Of course, there's THIS, too. *SHUDDER*

So what is horror? It can be things that go bump in the night and slither in the dark corners. It can be the vampire stalking the streets looking for the next victim, the ghost lurking in the shadows waiting to eat your soul, or it can be the nice man living next door with a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts. But the real core of horror is fear, and human fears are as varied as the humans themselves. In other words, what scares you may not scare me at all, and vice-versa. And this is why I’m so excited about Creepfest.

During the next twelve days, you will find a wide variety of writers who explore the darker side. Some writers are considered strictly “horror”, and others, like myself, who cross the boundaries into other genres such as dark fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal shenanigans, and other sub-genres. You’ll find monsters, sure. But you’ll also find a lot of other things, things like humanized zombies, monsters who aren’t what they appear, psychological horrors, emotional and spiritual horrors which can’t be destroyed with a silver bullet or a stake to the heart, because the horror may actually live inside you. You may even find funny horror; horrors that may surprise you and even better, affect you. Isn’t that the point of a good story?

So, I encourage you to visit during the days of Creepfest, because I am not only going to introduce you to some really great writers through interviews but even better, through excerpts from their work. I’m going to include some work of my own you may not have seen plus an excerpt from “Athena’s Promise”. I’d like you to keep an open mind, and give these writers a chance to move you. Every day will be something different, something tasty. And to further encourage you to broaden your horizons, I’m going to run a sweepstakes.

Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!

Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:

Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.

Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)

Like my Facebook Fan page.

Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.

Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.

Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.

That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.

Spread the word! The more the merrier :)

TOMORROW, LET THE CREEPFEST BLOG HOP COMMENCE!

MUAHAHAHA! Come with me to the dark side!
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