Whilst we're currently exploring the possibilities of an E-Reader (or the Steamnautics Plasma AethaManualizer V.2 Prototype) we get to hear from writerly friends about a publisher or two that we really should be looking at. Thanks to one of our writerly pals (PJ Schnyder), we've been pointed towards Nishi Seranno who we thought we'd bring to your attention. So here, for your viewing pleasure an interview with the charming authoress who's currently recruiting.
Discover the unknown, adventure to extraordinary heights, steampunk needs you...
Falcata Times: Writing is said to be something that people are afflicted with rather than gifted and that it's something you have to do rather than want. What is your opinion of this statement and how true is it to you?
Nishi Jean: Perhaps afflicted with a gift is how I would term it, and as with any gift (passion) you have to want to do it, because if you weren’t afflicted with said gift, would you want to do it?
FT: When did you realise that you wanted to be a writer?
NS: One day in the fourth grade, I arrived at school and the class was promptly ushered to assembly for story time. The school had hired a professional storyteller, complete with puppets and costumes. I don’t rightly remember the yarn—it was some bit of folklore—but I do recall being enthralled, and thinking to myself, “I want to tell stories!”
My fascination of all things fantastical and morbid only grew, and living in unique situations, like deep dark forests and the surreal streets of Hollywood fueled my imagination.
FT: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?
NS: Hmm … I was petrified of writing short stories at first. Back in the 80’s, when I was a teenager (sigh), I wrote a short vampire story. At a sleep-over I asked my friend to read it, she did, and demanded her parents be called to pick her up. She never came to my house again. Secretly, I was happy.
FT: If someone were to enter a bookshop, how would you persuade them to try your novel over someone else's and how would you define it?
NS: Okay, let’s say you walked into a bookshop, and picked up a novel by one of your favorite fantasy authors, I would stroll over and tap you on the shoulder. You would turn and look askance. I would query what you have in your hand; we would banter. I’d hand you a flyer for my novel Wandering Hallows Night. “What’s this?” you say … I’d tell you this: In College I took archaeology and volunteered on paleontological digs, you know, the kind where they dig up the bones of creatures past? Well, let me inform you, when people tell you monsters aren’t real—they’re lying through their pearly whites! I discovered there are more things dug up from the ground never sent to the public eye; instead studied, catalogued, and stuffed in a climate controlled vault. Even beasts resembling what today looks like an honest-to-goodness walking upright werewolf! My treasure is monsters and the supernatural, something we think possible to exist, but deny, one of life’s mysteries. And that’s what I put into my writing. Straight up adventure, on the dark side, shaken, not stirred. If your courageous enough, join me for a ride into worlds and creatures just out of sight, but most definitely real!
FT: How would you "sell" your book in 20 words or less?
NS: WHN is like Jane Eyre dosed on hits and starring in a Burton film co-written by Gaiman, Barker, and Mieville.
FT: Who is a must have on your bookshelf and whose latest release will find you on the bookshops doorstep waiting for it to open?
NS: Truly, I cannot have less than five top ones I love with equal fervor on my bookshelf: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, F. Paul Wilson, and Robert R. McCammon.
As to waiting at the bookshop and breathing heavily on the glass, my guilty pleasure is for a certain albino Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast; my heart is twitterpatting.
FT: When you sit down and write do you know how the story will end or do you just let the pen take you? ie Do you develop character profiles and outlines for your novels before writing them or do you let your ideas develop as you write?
NS: The funny thing about stories and characters is they tend to have mind-control. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. They must be alive somewhere, because the oddest synchronicities occur when they do. For example: last night I wrote a piece for my blog titled ‘Chimera’, after a character in WHN whom I’m particularly fond of, after posting it, I treated myself to an episode of X-files before retiring. The title of the episode happened to be—Chimera—I couldn’t stop laughing.
FT: What do you do to relax and what have you read recently?
NS: Um, what I really do to relax, I probably shouldn’t mention, but it involves gadgetry. I do not do this while I’m reading; however, reading has been known to be a precursor.
‘Draculas’ by Crouch, Kilborn, Strand, and Wilson is a most recent read. It was relentlessly awesome!
FT: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?
NS: Ha, ha, ha … Oh, if only I could tell. Few know my love for designing atmospheres (I used to work in spfx and haunted houses), and creating monsters. Hopefully, my love of these will soon be known through the expression of my writing, were I can build worlds and joyfully imagine creatures pulled from my darkest fantasies.
FT: Lots of writers tend to have pets. What do you have and what are their key traits (and do they appear in your novel in certain character attributes?)
NS: Aw, I love animals! They are the one thing in my novels you will never hear about being tortured or hurt, I don’t condone cruelty to animals. Goo is my fuzzy child. She is a healthy and rambunctious cat who is spoiled beyond belief. There are no characters yet who have her personality, which is lazing about while obsessing over food. Her favorites are corn chips, and crack cheese.
FT: Which character within your latest book was the most fun to write and why?
NS: There are two (so far): Maira Annwyn from Wandering Hallows Night, and Abigail Bertram from my steampunk erotica. Maira because she is a totally innocent hearted monster (think Dexter, except I wrote her long before the first episode of Dexter released). And, Abby because she is tough as nails, but wishes a man would treat her like her inner delicate flower. If you care to read a little back story about Maira, you can visit my blog at: www.nishiserrano.blogspot.com.
FT: How similar to your principal protagonist are you?
NS: In the fact she is constantly being tested, I would say we have that in common. Due to the fact I’m morbid, I probably identify with certain other characters in my work. Then again, because they have mind-control, I must have dual personalities.
FT: What hobbies do you have and how do they influence your work?
NS: Oh, my. I’m an avid ghost hunter, adventurer, and event attendee. Burning Man has been a huge influence, I love Black Rock City!
FT: Where do you get your ideas from?
NS: I don’t, they get me. They find me in dreams, on walks, during sex, you name it, I’ve tried to hide, but there’s no escaping them!
FT: Do you ever encounter writers block and if so how do you overcome it?
NS: Lucky to say, no writers block yet. The only block I have is called W-O-R-K; since I’m new to the scene I still work in the real world too.
FT: Certain authors are renowned for writing at what many would call uncivilised times. When do you write and how do the others in your household feel about it?
NS: My partner is very understanding of my whims, the bonus is he’s an offshore diver, so he’s hardly home anyway.
FT: Sometimes pieces of music seem to influence certain scenes within novels, do you have a soundtrack for your tale or is it a case of writing in silence with perhaps the odd musical break in-between scenes?
NS: Music helps to clear my brain and take me to the places where my characters wait for me, and then, the earth could be crumbling to pieces, and I wouldn’t notice.
FT: What misconceptions, if any, did you have about the writing and publishing field when you were first getting started?
NS: Too many misconceptions to mention. I started putting my feelers out right about the time the publishing world seemed to be falling apart. On top of all that, I had a few strange experiences with a number of agents, maybe because of all the re-organizing and absorbing of companies. It was difficult, and time consuming, very, very time consuming. I still don’t understand what’s going on. I do know I’m proud to be an author with two smaller publishing houses: Hellfire Publishing, Inc. and Decadent Publishing. They rock!
FT: If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?
NS: Is music the food of love? I thought steamy unbridled sex was? Yeah, writing is orgasmically cerebral, totally!
FT: What can you tell us about the next novel?
NS: Currently, I’m writing multiple projects. The second book to ‘Wandering Hallows Night’, adult version and young adult version: A post-apocalyptic world taken over by the Sidhelie (but I can’t divulge any more! I’ve already said too much!). A steampunk erotica companion novella to ‘Mile High Airship Club’: the further adventures of Lady Rose, and her friend Abigail, filled with undersea peepshows, naughty contraptions, and tons of sex. A steampunk dark fantasy with a twist of Sherlock Holmes meets Hellraiser. And, a young adult novel about a boy’s Lovecraftian quest at sea.
FT: What are the last five internet sites that you've visited?
NS: Falcata Times, The Steampunk Empire, Netflix, Lovecraft eZine, Goodreads.
FT: Did you ever take any writing classes or specific instructions to learn the craft? If so please let us know which ones.
NS: Only in high school, where I won a few awards in English and creative writing.
FT: How did you get past the initial barriers of criticism and rejection?
NS: You just have to understand before you even begin that some people will love your work, and some people will hate it, there is no in-between. It’s never easy though. As a writer, you want people to admire your work, to fall into the stories and be carried away from life.
FT: In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of writing for a living?
NS: The best is writing itself. The worst is, as a struggling artist, writing as a hobby and not as a living.
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