Welcome to my guest page. Here, every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation, over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, if they are not driving, with a friend about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today I’m lucky enough to be chatting to Jill Girardi writer turn publisher. Welcome the Clubhouse. I’m so glad you managed to find us okay. It is a bit off the beaten track. I’ve ordered the drinks.
Thank you so much for invite us, Paula. It was pretty easy to find, once you knew where to look.
You’re welcome. My first question is when did you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I used to run a record label called Razorback Records with my close friend, Billy Nocera. The label had (and still has) a horror theme to it. Billy lives and breathes horror and pretty much taught me everything I know about it. Being immersed in it every day for over a decade, it was only natural that I chose the horror genre when I finally decided to go after my dream of being a writer.
What writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
My strongest point is probably being able to write with clarity. It’s easy for me to write coherent sentences that anyone can understand. Nothing is worse than reading a book and trying to wade through jumbled sentences. There are a million things I’d like to do better. I tend to write in a ‘bare bones’ matter and have to go back in and try to add extra details later. I’d like to actually be able to get the scenes I come up with sound as glorious on paper as they do in my head. Haha.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
I’m currently working on my Hantu Macabre/Haunt Macabre book series. It’s going slowly, as I’ve started rewriting the book for a Western audience (it was originally written for a Malaysian/Asian audience) and I am also in the very beginnings of the second book in the series.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Four to five projects, I think? A couple of them are finished, but I wrote them when I had just started my writing journey and boy, are they awful! But they do have potential. I’d like to try and rewrite them one day now that my skills have developed a bit more.
Choosing only five of your favourite authors, (Poet, Playwright, or Screen writer) can you list them in order 1 begin the top of your list and say how have they influenced your writing?
1. Daphne DuMaurier – Her “Echoes from the Macabre” collection is a dream collection. Every story is horror gold. It is my utmost desire to be able to write a story such as any of the ones found in this book.
2. Brandon Scott – His “Vodou” series is bar none the best series I’ve read in a long time. I also have the pleasure of calling him a dear friend. I have learned so much about writing from him. I read his books like author textbooks!
3. Tunku Halim – Tunku Halim is a Malaysian author who has been referred to as the Stephen King of Malaysia. I stumbled upon his books when I was living in Malaysia and immediately bought up everything I could find of his. He is one of those authors who makes you say, “I want to do that too!”
4. Ni Kuang- This man is a novelist and screenwriter. He has written over 400 screenplays, many of them for Shaw Brothers martial arts movies. As a huge fan of these films, I have been touched time and time again by what he has created, and it has definitely influenced my writing, especially when I write stories set in China.
5. Anita Amirrezvani – Another author I stumbled across while living in Malaysia. Although she also is not a horror author, her book “The Blood of Flowers” is so incredible that it made me dream of one day crafting a story like that.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Many! The main character in my book series is named Suzanna Sim- Suzanna after the famous Indonesian scream queen, and Sim after one of my dearest friends whose last name is Sim. There are plenty of other characters in my books based on historical people such as Mona Fandey (A Malaysian pop singer turned murderous witch doctor), Ichiro Suzuki (a Japanese baseball player), Leon Lai (a Chinese pop idol) and even several of my friends.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
I am actually a 300 year old chupacabra currently inhabiting the body of a small woman.
Did you uncover things about yourself while writing your books (or stories, play, poem) whether that be a long forgotten memory, a positive experience etc.
I tend to exorcise my demons by turning painful moments from my past into horror stories. I often find myself surprised at the long forgotten emotions I dredge up. It’s very cathartic.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I sometimes wish I had used a pseudonym as it would be nice to have a beautiful sounding, flowing name instead of the one my parents graced me with. I do have one martial arts/fantasy story published under a pseudonym, however.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It takes me forever! I wish I was as prolific as you, Paula, and also Dawn DeBraal. The two of you accomplish more in a year than I have in six!
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