The wonderfully talented & amazing Jeffrey Kosh has done an interview with yours truly. Go & give it a look for the 411!!! 😉 Susan
I recently had the pleasure of reading some of the works for Lori Lopez. I was an immediate fan. I find her writing to be very cerebral, surreal, poetic and very striking. Just approaching it from a readers standpoint, I felt compelled to ask Lori to do an interview for me. The following is the culmination of that interview. I was not disappointed, and you won’t be either!!! Enjoy!!
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A. An indie author with an overflowing imagination, being a writer is part of my definition. But I am also a poet, artist and songwriter, as well as an actress and activist for animals, the environment, and abuse. Part of being an author involves promoting your work, and that was a difficult thing to learn. I can be rather introverted and focused on the creativity, the solitary concentration of writing. Networking and promoting online is easier than in person, but it also distracts me and takes up a lot of time. I am trying hard to find a way to balance it all, including having friends again. I was without any for a while, just my two sons and me fighting to survive. I have met some wonderful people online who enrich my life daily. But I don’t know how others juggle it all. Are their days longer than mine? Am I missing something? I’ve always felt a little bit “off”, a rather eccentric individual. Since I march to a different beat, perhaps the ticking and tocking of Time is just as irregular for me.
Q. Tell us a bit about your family…Married, single, kids, etc…
A. I am a divorced mother of two grown sons who share my talents and dreams. We’ve been working together for years to achieve them. There have been setbacks, and for almost two years my oldest son has been ill from physical conditions and crippling anxiety. Our life has not been without pressures for a very long time. Most of mine I have had some degree of anxiety as well. I don’t drive for that reason. But I’m optimistic that he will soon recover his stability and health. He’s incredibly bright, and he’s surrounded by love and support. He has an amazing brother, Rafael, who has been there for him so much! I am extremely proud of him, proud of them both. I wanted to say this for anyone who suffers from such problems. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Many of us are going through similar battles.
Q. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
A. Well . . . I enjoy having talents and being quirky. I enjoy being a horror fan. I am also proud to be someone who cares about others, including animals, and cries easily and wants to make a difference. I’m no saint. I’m complex. I can be innocent and guilty at the same time. But I think what I like best about me is that beneath my sometimes serious and sometimes comical exterior, I am a good person at heart. At least I try to be.
Q. What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
A. At this point in my life I am torn between two quotes that I have on my desk: “Never never never quit!” by Winston Churchill, and “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Author George Eliot said that. To me they represent unwavering determination and achieving one’s potential.
Q. What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
A. Finally publishing my fiction and verse; being read and respected as an author. This means a great deal to me. On a personal level, being the mother of two terrific young men.
Q. Now, this is a personal question for me! I’ve read several of your works, and your writing is very surreal. Have you ever considered writing lyrics? And if so, would you be willing to?
A. I am basically a poet who dabbles in prose. I write novels and stories with that sense of rhythm and rhyme. For a couple of decades since the early Eighties, while being a military journalist and then writing court papers before homeschooling my kids, I actually composed more than fifty songs . . . some good and some bad. I hope the good ones will be recorded eventually. The lyrics to a quantity of them were published in my first volume of verse, POETIC REFLECTIONS: KEEP THE HEART OF A CHILD.
A. I think as soon as I learned to write, the creativity kicked in. Before that, however, I was conjuring tales in my head. I feel that I became the writer I wanted to be during the past fifteen years, developing and self-publishing books and stories.
Q. What inspired you to pen your first novel?
A. A news report on a Chupacabras sighting near the Mexican border. My sons performed as Mexican folklore dancers from a young age. I came up with an idea loosely basing two brothers on them. It started as a screenplay, which garnered some interest. But I wanted to write books, and it turned into a trilogy then a trilogy of trilogies. The first book in the series is my novel DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS. I hope to release Tome Two by the end of this year.
Q. How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
A. You ask some interesting questions, Susan. I grew up in a small Wisconsin town. That environment is reflected in some of what I write. I also spent a few summers in the Northwoods region of the state with my grandparents and an aunt who was like a sister. I truly felt at home there, and at peace. That experience has stayed with me; it helped me cope with an abusive childhood. I have an abiding love of trees and forests and Nature. These, too, will often be featured in my tales.
Q. Tell us your latest news. Do you have anything new in the works?
A. I entered a contest in January of the previous year, a challenge to write a novel in one month. This was tough for me because I do not write fast. The process is usually slow and meticulous. I had to push myself each day, no matter what was going on in my life (my son being sick, for instance), to put down over sixteen hundred words on average. Not just any words; they had to be good. Not just good; I wanted them to be great. In the end I won the contest. My novel AN ILL WIND BLOWS was chosen as the best out of those completed. I surprised myself, crafting a novel I feel is one of my best stories thus far. And I plan to unveil the E-book version this month.
A. It depends on the project. I slipped some personal details into my first novel. Some of my short stories are completely made up. But for various ones like “Bad Mood” and “Penned” from my OUT-OF-MIND EXPERIENCES collection, I drew upon a few details or inspiration from real life. In “Unleashed”, a short story published in both OUT-OF-MIND and CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES, I used the name and description, a bit of the history and attitude of a pet, an adopted alley cat named Midnight. For “Beyond The Stump”, my youngest son and I were going to watch my older son practice soccer with a team. I told Rafael, let’s sit over there beyond the stump. Then I stated that the phrase would make a good title. And so it did. “Bedeviled” evolved from a friend’s mushroom guidebook.
Q. What are you reading now?
A. Your questions! I am not reading any book at present. I hope to read the stories and books of some talented fellow authors I know in the near future. Right now I’m swamped with trying to finally finish reading through my second novel so I can do the artwork for the cover and release it. I just submitted a few stories to more anthologies. Just published my latest poetry column. I’ve been launching a steady stream of eleven digital titles since October: three books and eight individual stories. More to come this month. I wish I could find a chance to just sit and read these days, but that brings us back to my time dilemma.
Q. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A. The closest thing I’ve had to an actual author mentor, I would say, is Billie Sue Mosiman. She has been publishing for as long as I wish I had been, since I began writing songs instead. She’s far better established with a following, yet is a genuinely laid-back and sweet lady. We recently started talking on Facebook, and she asked me to co-admin with her a group for authors and readers called Book Summit. It’s a privilege to know her and share our perspectives on writing and life.
Q. What new author has grasped your interest?
A. I’ve become acquainted with a number of talented indie writers online. The ones I have read the most at this point (due to editing for them as a favor) and vastly admire are Geri Small-Graham, whose brilliant memoir on abuse titled STONEWALLS is near completion, and horror author Jerry W. McKinney. Jerry is close to finishing his first story collection and is already gaining a rabid, I mean, avid flock of loyal fans. But I’m his Number One Fan. (Shhhh, don’t tell the others!)
Q. Do you think Americans are reading less than they have before? Why or why not?
A. Before HARRY POTTER and other recent book series, this might have been true. Then the E-book Revolution happened with gadgets making reading cooler, the latest trend. I don’t believe it’s a fad. Even short stories are seeing a rise in popularity again. I hope to do the same thing for poetry as well. And self-publishing is tied right into it all, enabling authors with merit to compete against the “chosen few” the big publishers deemed worthy. And just in time, because the publishing industry was becoming harder and harder to break into for new voices. I was among those who had been rejected for years and might never have been heard. Sure, there is a lot of garbage flooding the market alongside the good. But more than ever, the readers can decide who deserves to be read. For someone like me that intentionally defies convention and has a unique style, my writing may not appeal to everyone yet there does seem to be an audience for it. And I can reach them now.
Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
A. Besides the ones already mentioned, I have long been a fan of Lewis Carroll, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman and more . . . What strikes me? I love wordplay, and Carroll had such a marvelous affinity for it as well as the most fanciful yet sarcastic sense of humor. Mary Shelley gave birth to the most beloved monster of all time. That is quite an awesome achievement! Poe had this brooding and macabre style that I adore. King, well, he is the king of popular modern horror fiction, in my opinion. Dean Koontz blends humor and horror, something I like to do. Neil Gaiman is very imaginative in an offbeat manner. Oh, I have to mention J.K. Rowling, because she has a very clever and creative style too.
Q. The perception of the horror writer is that he/she is just a little bit weirder than most. Do you find yourself — and other horror writers — to be more idiosyncratic than the average person?
A. Oh yes, we are an odd bunch from what I’ve seen. Myself, I have always been very individual in thought and behavior since I was little. I would hang out in cemeteries; collect dead birds and squirrels to bury in my mom’s flower garden (I just felt so sad for them lying there along the road). I spent a lot of time reading. As a little kid I was a fan of Where The Wild Things Are and The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow; Scooby-Doo, The Addams Family and The Munsters on T.V.; movies like Frankenstein, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and The Blob . . . My mother didn’t understand why I was so strange, why I liked so much weird stuff.
A. Real horror. Creepy people who do awful things. I grew up just fifteen miles from where Ed Gein was living in a mental institution. The Manson slayings were headlines during my youth. It was truth, it wasn’t fiction. Wasn’t make-believe. That terror was not like the fun thrill I got from Horror.
Q. Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
A. I don’t feel my stories need that. I write my tales for more than one age group, for a general audience. Like classics that have endured, that are without explicit content, I hope my stories will be considered timeless and reach a broad audience.
A. Yes, I have ideas that creep me out. My Bone Man character in the “Fossil” story series is a brutal character who wears shards of bone piercing his flesh from his victims. A story I wrote called appropriately “Creep” contains descriptions that made my son Rafael shudder (he isn’t a horror fan). I try not to go too far, but I can come up with some frightening material. Another story I have in progress is borderline, so I am trying to keep it chilling while remaining within the parameters of tasteful terror.
Q. Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
A. As I mentioned, the Chupacabras thing is a prime example. For my novel AN ILL WIND BLOWS, I incorporated the image of birds (and other creatures) falling from the sky, which was in the news at the time, and wove the theme into a segment of it.
Q. How would you describe yourself in three words?
A. Dignified, silly, imaginative.
Q. If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?
A. WOMAN’S EYES EXPLODE FROM TOO MUCH FACEBOOK
Q. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, fictional or real, living or dead, famous or not famous, for a week, who would it be & why?
A. A week away from my computer? From my writing? Are you insane????
Q. If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
A. They’re Coming To Take Her Away, Ha-Haa!
Q. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
A. I love Meryl Streep. She’s older, but she could probably pull it off. There’s also Jamie Lee Curtis. Love her too! Julianne Moore is about my age. She would be good. Or maybe they could cast someone unknown, and it would be her big break. That would be nice.
I would like to take this opportunity & thank Lori for taking the time to answer my questions. It has given myself, as well as the blog fans, an opportunity to see inside the wonderful, surreal and very cerebral mind that is Lori R. Lopez!! I truly feel that a little insight into an author makes the reading experience much more enjoyable…Thank you again so very much Lori!! You can get more of Lori and her amazing books at the following links:
Lori’s Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/lorirlopez.author
Amazon Page – http://www.amazon.com/Lori-R.-Lopez/e/B003WJFUN8
Lori’s Column & Other Projects- http://trilllogicinnoventions.com
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/LoriRLopez
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LoriRLopez
Twitter – lorirlopez
🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m sure you’ve all noticed that it’s really MORE than twenty questions, it just sounds cooler than “Twenty Three Questions”…LOL…
I just recently finished DNA: Code Flesh by Alan Dale. What a wonderful read! Edgy, slightly political, gory, & full of zany zombie goodness, it’s a must have for any zombiephile! This one takes the genre to a different level. It really makes you stop & think about how our world COULD end up, scrats or no. As a result, I wanted to take a few and spend a little time getting to know the author.
A. Originally from Chicago and raised for a while there. Went to college at the University of Arizona. Currently live in Portland, Oregon.
Q. Tell us a bit about your family…Are you married, single, have kids, etc….
A. I have never been married and because of that no kids. Gee, go figure? But I currently live with my lovely girlfriend Thia Allen, her two dogs and my kick ass cat, Kid.
Q. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A. Well, I knew I would write. I started writing when I was four or five and even penned a 20-page book about microscopic mice looking for a baseball field to play their annual game on after the rains came. But, I always wanted to do whatever I decided to pursue. I always believed I could be good at anything if I put my mind in the right place.
Q. What is your favorite food?
A. I love to eat zombie leftovers…j/k. I really dig my pizza, macaroni and cheese, sushi, a good stir fry, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and soups. I am Hungarian so I really dig our foods as well.
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax?
A. I tend to watch a lot of sports and movies or TV shows. Of course I tend to read a ton so that will occupy me. I also enjoy exercising. I am trying to keep the fat off so the zombies pass me by on the way to the chow line.
Q. When & why did you start writing?
A. I started at four or five years old. Why? No idea. Just started. Wrote the mouse book and just went from there. I would bet that I have written over, no lie, 10 million words in my life. With all the journalism I was involved in, etc. It’s just something I do, as cheesy as that may sound.
Q. Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
A. No one directly. But, I love great books and admire good writers. I loved King and Clavell since I was young. I read The Stand, Salem’s Lot, Carrie, Cujo, Shogun, Noble House, and Helter Skelter by fifth grade. I also have enjoyed Anne Rice, Aristotle, Robert Ludlum, Leo Tolstoy, Hemmingway, Charlaine Harris, and many, many others.
A. Well, my first ebook, “DNA: Code Flesh (Part I) has been available for about four weeks and has done well. Sold enough to go get a good sushi dinner…twice, but not make it a day job yet. Yet, it’s a novella and for being a noname author I believe it’s doing quite well. Also, Part II will be done shortly so now I am looking for publishers that may want to publish the entire, actual, book, CODE FLESH, which will launch the DEAD NATIONS’ SERIES trilogy. The idea at first was to do one, standalone, 800-page epic, but decided to go trilogy route to make things easier to digest for the readers. If I get a publisher, which I may, I will either go with them or release Part II as a novella for those who bought Part I and then I will also self-release CODE FLESH.
Q. How did you come up with the title for your book?
A. Well it is basically focused on the evolution of the human race’s ultimate reaching of equilibrium and karma all at once. It begins with the flesh, then continues with the (CODE) mind, then ultimately rests with the (CODE) soul. And the DEAD NATIONS’ ARMY represents an analogous definition of what the protagonists symbolize, but also is reflected of a political statement of how I believe the world is headed and who champions us.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?
A. Writing itself? Easy as eating pie. Finding the time? Now, that’s the hard part.
Q. What books have most influenced your life?
A. Horror, history, biography, science fiction, and true crime.
Q. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A. Stephen King most notably.
Q. How does your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
A. I have always been supported and well received for it. I won a lot of awards early on in life and I guess that made it cool and so my supporters were all for it. In high school, teachers told me that whole classes would open the school newspaper right to my column and everyone wanted to read that first. It’s just who I am.
Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
A. Yes. I would make it even better than it is now…because I am never satisfied.
Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
A. King. His ability to write in a way that you find yourself 20-50 pages down so quickly. It’s like putting warm butter on warmer bread – smooth, easy, tasty.
Q. What about the horror genre interests you?
A. The fact many stories are fun analogies of how f***** up life can be.
Q. What scares you?
A. Only one thing: failure.
Q. What was your first introduction to horror literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
A. Sheesh, probably when I read Dracula or Carrie back in second or third grade. I was an advanced reader.
Q. What is your favorite horror movie?
A. Of all time? Lordy. Probably a major tie between the first two Romero films, TCM, the Exorcist, Hellraiser I, 30 Days of Night, and a ton of the old Universal, RKO and Hammer horror films.
Q. Why should fans of horror movies read horror books?
A. Why the Hell not?!
Q. What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
A. A ton of Diet Pepsi, cheese, and cold cuts. Oh! And a ton of fruit.
Q. What was the last movie you went to see?
A. Chimpanzee. It was cute.
Q. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why?
A. Christiano Ronaldo. Um, c’mon, really?
Q. How would you describe yourself in three words?
A. Passionate, Funny, Deep.
Q. If you were a car, what kind would you be?
A. A pinto…because I am reading to blow up.
Thank you so much Alan, for taking the time to answer some questions for all of us! Your attention is very much appreciated! If you haven’t already, get your copy of DNA: Code Flesh by Alan Dale. Here’s a little more info on DNA: Code Flesh…
A BIT MORE ON DNA!
For years the planet was run by the New World Order, but not to its liking. After mandating the use of death row and life sentenced inmates as subjects in scientific experiments, the NWO has decided to tighten its grip through its greatest political decision. However, the experiment backfires, leaving the world in the middle of a war stuck in the middle of another war.
Two of those combatants, Bridjett and Shad Alexi, siblings, torn apart by different allegiances both work to find the common ground amidst a war that will soon grow beyond the parameters anyone would have ever imagined.
Having contaminated the “cocktail” used to keep prisoner test subjects, or SCRATS, alive, the NWO hoped to create an army purely under its command. Little did they know the “cocktail” would turn thousands of SCRATS into zombies and lead to a worldwide epidemic of undead walking the earth.
Led by Bridjett and the DNA roving army, the survivors, mostly trapped in various gated communities around the world, await the replenishment of food, medications, and supplies in order to survive the constant threat of zombies on the other side of the wall.
What the DNA didn’t expect was the NWO’s need to feed the new undead army to keep them compliant. Only what they don’t know is Shad Alexi’s plans to give the people a fighting chance, even if it involves going against the NWO he fights for. Now, a war for the lives of the remaining humans on earth is waged as government and survivors, battle for the right to claim control for the lives of the people.
The Dead Nations’ Army trilogy begins with Code Flesh which examines the origins of the scrat infection and its ultimate growth. It also discusses the many issues that face the world today, such as how the have-nots sustain themselves in a world gone dead, the different groups that ultimately arise from the apocalypse, and of course, how to destroy the NWO.
Code Flesh (Part I) hopes to get your taste buds whet and ready for the finale in Part II, which is set for a May release.
So go & get your copy at the following links:
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13569984-dna
Go & visit the fan page at http://www.facebook.com/DNACODEFLESH#!/WeRZombies
Alan Dale’s Twitter Page – https://twitter.com/#!/ADaleandDNAArmy
Alan Dale’s Blog – http://alandale.wordpress.com/
I’d like to take a moment & thank my good friend & author, Jerry McKinney for taking the time away from his family & his writing to do this with me.
Where are you from?
I am from Northern Illinois. Born in Libertyville, August 9th, 1963. My family bought a house in Spring Grove, off of a chain of lakes. In the times before video games, we had fishing, swimming and five channels on television. The neighborhood kids would war every snowfall. I wonder if they still do? We now live in Central Florida.
- Tell us a bit about your family…Married, single, kids, etc…
I am married with one son, age thirteen. He is an extremely gifted young man. Every day he continues to amaze me.
What are you the most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I have been a foreman on many construction crews, a lead singer of a local cover band, assistant manager for Wal-Mart and even been a member of Mensa for the last eight years, but nothing beats seeing my writing printed. Is it arrogant to feel it’s like living forever between pages?
What is your favorite food? I think I may already know the answer to this one, since we’ve discovered that we have this very much in common…LOL
On the eighth day, God made gizzards and they were good. It seems like a lot of things taste like chicken, except eggs. Go figure.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’d love to say I would engage in some fantastic hobbies or events but basically I live in the real world and drive a truck for the local dairy. In my spare time I enjoy spilling my mind on the blank pages and creating.
When & why did you start writing?
About two years ago I had an idea and sat at my computer and wrote a really short story, maybe 1700 words. It was wrought with mistakes and grammatical errors. But damn, it was good. I had posted it on a website and had several great comments on it. I believe I’ll post it on my own website. It was the first draft of my story FEED.
- What inspired you to pen your first novel?
One day on Facebook, I was chatting on a horror story website and a lady named Laura Ehlers took me to the next step and introduced me to the Key Publications group. It was where writers help writers. I’ve met many talented people there and many close friends. They also published my work for the first time. I did two anthologies with them, but they sadly have dispersed and the books are now out of print.
What are some of your influences?
Propped up with a bowl of popcorn watching Svengoolie’s pick of horror for the night. Babysitted by Dark Shadows and Creature Features. In the world of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. Reading King, Barker and Matheson. Don’t worry, my eye always twitches like this.
Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
Up to this point I have written numerous short stories. My next hurdle is the novel.
How long does it take you to write a story?
That depends. I have torn through some in a couple days, then there are some that are like pulling teeth. Each is different; free time, attitude and inspiration all play critical parts.
I’m working on two tales now that will hopefully complete my collection of short stories. I want to get this out and published before embarking on the next endeavor.
- How did you come up with the title?
One is called ICU, where the main character works in a hospital. It’s a play on words because he sees a serial killer torturing his victims.
Is there any message there you want readers to grasp?
Crime is bad, M’KAY?
Where did you get the idea?
I just thought the play on words would work well for this type of tale. Maybe I see you too. Creepy, huh? I mean, who are these people that take care of us when we are at our weakest?
What was your favorite part & why?
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite horror book and why?
Blatty’s The Exorcist was a piece of true horror. I read this without my parents knowing when I was about twelve. It was a wake-up call to raw, unedited horror on my made for T.V. mind.
Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?
Well, my shyness is about the thing close to a phobia I have. I think my stories are basically the product of too many hours driving alone on dark roads at night. I’m serious. I get my best ideas by turning off the radio, listening to the hum of the engine and thinking.
What draws people to horror novels? Why do we, as readers, like to be scared?
I think it is quite beneficial to read fictional horror where we can control how it affects us, either setting it to the side or immersing ourselves totally in the author’s forte’. It’s up to us. I compare it to a roller coaster. All the thrills and chills, but the knowledge of the fiction of the danger.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
I’d have to go with Star Trek. Weekly, they would grace our homes with their adventures. Star Wars was a two-hour movie. Pfftt! Hardly compares!
If you were a character from Star Trek, who would you be & why?
Kirk, of course! He oozed machismo. But I’d have to draw the line at the green chick.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Goofy, Awesome, Dreamer
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Super editing skills just like Lori Lopez!
Thank you again, Jerry, for taking the time to answer my questions!! You can check out more of Jerry on Facebook, Amazon, Smashwords & Goodreads….