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, Lydia Prime. Lydia, 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
Welcome to the tearoom, Lydia. As always my first question to my guests is what would you like to drink?
Paula, thank you so, so, much for having me! My favorite drink is normally a Captain and Coke, but since I’ll have to make my way across the pond, I think I can settle for a super delicious raspberry coffee with almond milk.
Lydia, our driver Brutus will take you home in our private Jet. We like to make sure our guests are happy to be here. Now our refreshments have arrived, let me start by asking you, When you first began your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
Jumping into the deep end here, eh? Well, I suppose when I started getting my feet wet in the writing world, I’d already developed a fascination with all things doom and gloom. I sort of always knew that whatever I did, I’d have some monsters to contend with. Letting them loose on the pages made their existence less overwhelming inside me. Plus, you know, there’s that whole being a ginger and born with no soul deal, perhaps I have some things in common with all them jeepers-creepers!
What writing elements do you think are your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
My strongest writing elements are something I’d have to think about for a while—I actually have an almost nonexistent sense of self-esteem. If I had to name something, I suppose my ability to twist innocence into something rotten, combined with unexpected left turns, resonates pretty strong. There are many things that I wish I could do better, one of them being less critical of myself. I either write something, and never look at it ever again, or I painstakingly tear my pieces apart, word by word, line by line, until they’re a mash of different voices making no sense.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Hahaha! Might as well ask me how many times I breathe in a day! I think I’m something of a commitment-phobe, and a half-way hoarder. If I can’t make something work the first time, I often put it down, (intending to check it out again later) and inevitably forget about it for months, sometimes years. If it’s not screaming in my face, it sort of just… stops existing in my world. Taking a guess, maybe upwards of 75?
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? If you only write short stories, do you plan your story or let the characters lead you?
I am a trillion percent a “panster”-type-writer. I either find inspiration through images, or sometimes weird things that pop into my head. Sometimes a line repeats in my head and stories form around it. There are a bunch of pieces that I’ve written some rhyming verse as a “sort of” synopsis for a story, and then gone back and fleshed it out to be a full-on finished work. The Letter in The One That Got Away is actually one that started out that way, as well as Sadie, in the first installment of all-women-anthologies from Kandisha Press.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
Daily mood swings are somewhat understated; my mood swings happen within minutes most days. That being said, I definitely see it in my writing. When I’m having a bad time, sadly for my characters, they are too. If I’m happy, or on a somewhat of an upswing, I find I actually don’t write very much. I suppose anger and my general level of depression are what drive me.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
I write a tremendous amount of flash fiction, so I think I can safely say, many characters that I create draw from people in my life. I use a lot of hyperbole and metaphor when I write, whether it’s evident or not to the reader, I can always look back and remember exactly what was going on externally when I worked on each piece. I have actually written a few pieces that are direct correlations to situations I’ve been through, just magnified to make them less identifiable. It feels cathartic to expel some horrible situations I’ve lived through and project them onto imaginary beings in worse ways. Does… Does that make me evil?
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
Surprised is somewhat subjective, I think. If I had to peel the layers, I guess the fact that I’ve died twice, but for some reason, it just didn’t stick. Otherwise, I’m pretty open about everything, it’s hard to shut me up (as you may have noticed haha!) once I get started and feel comfortable.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
I can’t sit down and write every day, I’m incredibly envious of those who can. I wish I could set myself a daily word count, but I’d be too flippant about it and never actually follow through (much like my ever-abandoned workout plan).
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Writing under a pseudonym was the only way that I was going to get myself going. In my normal every day Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne attire, I’ve done too many things that I didn’t want tied to my writing. I didn’t want potential employers to see what I was writing or find out who I’d been in the past. When Superman/Batman takes over, well, she just lets loose. Lydia is who I wanted to be when I began my journey. Since I’ve known ‘er and leant her my experiences to use as her own, it’s become harder to differentiate where my daily life persona begins and my writing persona ends. Maybe it’s from becoming more comfortable in my skin, but I’ve melded my identities. I don’t bother to separate the author from the awkward kid in the shadows.
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
Do you remember being in English classes as a kid, and your teachers would over explain names that authors used to reflect hidden notes? I absolutely do that. LOL I may not know my character’s name when they’re born, but by the time I have their adventure planned out, I know what I want to use and can usually find a name that fits. Sometimes, they don’t mean anything at all, it’s just a name I was drawn to that day, but guess that’s part of the fun.
As for knowing everything about them… well, I think they sort of manifest as they come into existence. I often keep physical description out of my stories because I want my reader to be able to imagine the character in any way they want—sometimes they’re just amorphous blobs that I assign human traits and foibles, and never know what they look like. I guess I almost always know that they’ve gone through some horrible things in their lives though; because if they hadn’t, they wouldn’t be hangin’ around me. Hahaha!
Thank you for joining me in the tearoom, Lydia. To find out more about Lydia’s work please click on the links below.
Facebook.com/AuthorLydiaPrime Twitter.com/LydiaPrime Instagram.com/Helminthophobia
Short Story Collection: Itty Bitty Horror Bites https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JQLFTLG/
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.