Clubhouse Guest’s Chat: Demi-Louise Blackburn

Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sorts of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.

Today, I’m chatting to the horror writer, Demi-Louise Blackburn. Demi-Louise, like myself, is one of the writers featured in the Women of Horror Anthology, Vol 3, The One that Got Away published by Kandisha Press

Please may I welcome you, Demi-Louise to the tearoom. As always my first question to my guests is what would you like to drink?

Thank you for my invite to your lovely tearoom, Paula. My favorite beverage is black coffee, but those cakes look lovely too.

Let’s order some cakes to go with our refreshments. While we are waiting for them to arrive, let me start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?

I think my love for the horror genre came to me quite slowly compared to others. I started out reading and writing straight literary pieces because that’s what we were made to read during my schooling years. Luckily, by college we were given freedom to explore and request our own authors to use as inspiration for writing projects. I picked Poe, and I think from there my love for the genre spiralled quite a bit.

Plus, I’m quite a placid person in my day-to-day life, so, I think I partly love horror and darker fiction because the emotions it aims to manipulate are the few emotions that really get a response out of me. There’s something very interesting to me about trying to capture that and pass it onto someone else when fear is so personal.

Demi-Louise Blackburn

Which writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?

I like to think I’m able to make my writing sing a little, even in mundane parts of the plot, whether it be in the sense that the writing is satisfying to read aloud, or in terms of being able to capture a single picture, feeling, or thought, in a way that really hits a few readers close to home.

However, in turn, I think that’s also my weak spot as well! I get so wrapped up in making parts of the prose beautiful that it can sometimes drown out small actions. For example, on one piece of work I sent for feedback, hardly anyone noticed that my character had moved from one room to the next and got confused, all because I’d gone crazy on theprose surrounding it!

Demi Louise‘s story Smash and Grab included with in.

Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?

At the minute, I’m indulging myself a little and dipping into a short project that’s well-known territory for most horror authors, but one I’ve actually never had a crack at – a haunted house tale. Though the story is a new project, the memories that encouraged me to write it very much aren’t.

After my grandfather passed away, we moved into his old house and lived there for quite a few years. I’m a fairly sceptical person by nature, so even though a lot of bizarre things happened at that house, looking back I shrugged them off as being young and imagining things, or put it all down to sleep paralysis which I started suffering from rather badly at the time.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to start writing about it, honestly. You’d think I’d have jumped at the chance to use that experience as fuel for a story. But, better late than never!

How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?

If you’d have asked me this last November, I’d have probably refused to tell you! But as it stands, at the moment I’ve got a respectable five or six unfinished projects…I mean, it could be worse!

Do you write a synopsis first, write the first chapter or do you let the characters lead you?

Whenever I start a project, be it a chaptered piece or a short story, I always give myself a rough outline before I get going, but it is very, very rough. I’ve discovered lately I do much better if I just let go of the reigns and write the story however it comes to me. As I go along, I’ll write myself a summary at the end of the writing day, so when I come back for revisions, I’m able to glance at the plot itself and spot any structural problems straight away.

When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?

Oh, absolutely. I can always tell if I’ve been in a bad mood and trying to write through it. If I’ve been a bit blue my pacing slows down to a snail’s pace, and you can see in the writing I’ve been overthinking things too much and ideas get muddled. If I’m angry or annoyed, it’s the entire opposite, everything is rushed and messy, there’s a million typos in there, fragmented sentences, and just a general disregard for writing clean.

Makes the editing process very interesting!

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Hectic.

I would love to sit here and boast about how organised and disciplined I am, but I’m a disgustingly chaotic writer. Some days I’m good and settle down for an evening and write for a solid hour. Other times I cram in writing on my 15-minute breaks from work or rush in a bunch of writing about 5 minutes before I’m due to go to bed. I’m really easily distracted, too.

With the free time I have, I honestly just accept that if I can cram writing in somewhere through the day, it’s good enough. It’d be nice to have a bit more free time to set myself a schedule, though.

I can wish!

How many hours in a day do you write?

I’d say I try my best to get two hours a day but, depending on how busy I am with other stuff, it can sometimes end up a lot less. I try and make up for lost time on weekends when I’m able to, though.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

When I first looked into getting some bits and bats published, I honestly didn’t consider a pseudonym at all. I was more than happy to just slap my name on it and call it a day. Plus, I don’t think there’s too many authors around with my name from what I’ve seen, so I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard! I’d maybe consider it if I got invested into another genre or something like that, but can’t really see it happening.

How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?

I’m going to sound so boring…but I google the place my story is set, or an area I think it mimics, and I will search for the most common, bland, everyday names I can. I’d much rather have my character’s sound like they’re someone you’d bump into at a local pub than try and make them stand out. On occasion I do find myself digging around for names with specific connotations, but it’s just something I do very rarely. And I never know everything about my characters. Again, as with my usual writing process, I have a very vague shape in my head of who my characters are, but they only really develop into something solid as I continue writing. My first draft characters and my final draft characters are unrecognisable compared to each other, and definitely go through lots of changes in terms of their backstory.

Thank you for joining me in the tearoom, Demi-Louise. To find out more about Demi-Louise’s writing check out the link below:

Website Link: https://demi-louise.com/

If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.

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