Interviewed by talented author Linda Lingle. I discuss the origin of “Cape Misfortune” and claim, amongst other things, “everyone is human, even if they have become zombies.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK.
“Cape Misfortune” is a fantasy adventure about a disgraced Sheriff’s deputy on the foggy Pacific Northwest coast. Her world is turned upside down investigating disappearances that may be supernatural in origin.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?
The book is about people going missing in the fog, so my earliest research was looking for a foggy location. Two of the foggiest places in America are Port Reyes, California and Cape Disappointment in Washington State. I decided to combine them and drew a line between them that ended up on the southern Oregon coast. I invented a fictional piece of headland sitting between Coos Bay and Bandon called “Cape Misfortune.”
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?
Early on, a character in the novel says, “Nobody ever really disappears. Because the missing know where they are, even if no-one else can see them.” I was interested in the idea of how some people might seem to disappear as far as society is concerned but haven’t actually disappeared to themselves.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?
Parts of it are based on my experience of people. The characters are usually based on someone, particularly the villain!
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH WENT INTO WRITING YOUR BOOK?
I researched the southern coast of Oregon and found it very rewarding and useful. The southern coast has a distinct and mild micro-climate where they are able to grow cranberries in the sandy soil there. The coast is foggy, very rocky and the Pacific Ocean is cold and fierce. The fantasy world needed research too, poring over books on mythology and folklore. The main character is a police officer. I have no experience of law enforcement so I spoke to a kind American ex-officer who was generous with his time.
WHAT CRITERIA DID YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?
I needed two things – a rocky coast and an atmosphere of mystery. I found a stock photo with those elements. I’m pleased with the one I ended up with.
WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?
My message is always that everyone is human, even if they have become zombies!
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
Eventually you have to abandon your book, otherwise you might spend the rest of your life doing umpteen drafts. So no, nothing.
IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?
Interesting question. Maybe Jennifer Lawrence to play Deputy Cassandra Dollar.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?
I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. They have always been an escape for me. I finally wrote my first novel after a cancer scare and I realized I had to get on with it.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?
I always have, even when I wasn’t writing! I was a news reporter for a while and that is a type of writing, I suppose.
DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.
I try to be unpretentious. I learnt as a journalist never to use a long word when a short one will do.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?
The marketing side of writing is as hard, maybe even harder, for me, than the creative side. I have no experience of selling things, so marketing a novel is a learning curve. You have to factor it into the daily writing routine.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?
Low self-esteem and fear of criticism have to be crushed.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
Solstice Publishing have published both my novels. They are great because they have lots of authors you can speak to and learn from.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?
The more you write, the better you get.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?
I like adventure stories, so Robert Louis Stevenson is on the favorite list. Edgar Allan Poe is always fascinating. Also H.P. Lovecraft, Robin Hobb, Ursula LeGuin, Jim Butcher and Philip K. Dick.
WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?
I’m reading a book called “Arctic Dreams” by Barry Lopez about the people, history and landscapes of the Arctic.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
People being cruel to each other.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?
Powell and Pressburger films like “A Matter of Life and Death” and “Black Narcissus” are always a joy to watch. I like the films of Tarkovsky, particularly “Stalker.” I tend to binge-watch tv so have enjoyed classics like “The Sopranos” and “The Wire.” I like horror, particularly the old classic Universal monsters and Hammer films.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?
Allegri’s Miserere always gets me. Usually the human voice.
WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?
I don’t want one, but you can’t do better than British comedian Spike Milligan’s headstone, which says, “I told you I was ill.”
DO YOU HAVE A BLOG OR WEBSITE READERS CAN VISIT FOR UPDATES, EVENTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS?
I do! Please stop by https://henryandersonbooks.com for free short stories, blogs and the latest news.