Today’s interview comes from horror aficionado, and owner of Janine’s Ghost Stories, Janine Pipe…
Hi Janine, tell the readers about yourself and where you caught the writing bug.
Hello. Thank you for inviting me to your blog.
I basically grew up on horror. My parents pretty much let me watch and read what I wanted. My dad especially was a huge horror fan and would regale me with local lore and legends about ghost stories. Growing up in Somerset there were plenty of them. I watched Ghostbusters when I was about 5 and it scared the crap out of me. I remain now equally as terrified and fascinated by the supernatural. I read my first King at 9 and was hooked.
Luckily my husband is an avid fan of the dark fiction too so we watch and read stuff together. My 10 year old daughter however has not inherited our spooky genes. She won’t even watch Scooby-do. However, as much as we love it we would never force it on her.
As far as writing, English was always my favourite subject at school and college and I even managed a couple of creative writing modules at Uni to supplement my Criminology degree. I have always written in one way or another but only recently began doing it in earnest and for an audience.
You run a horror website that is growing at a daily rate. Tell me more about it.
The blog started as a platform for me to post flash fiction, lore, urban legends and book reviews. After posting a review of “We are Monsters” by Brian Kirk, we connected on Twitter and I asked if I could send him a few questions. I then connected with Brian Moreland too and did the same. They were my first author interviews. After that, it just seemed like a fun extra draw to bring in views. I concentrated on as many female writers as possible for Feb as it was Women in Horror month then suddenly people were coming to me asking to be interviewed!
Once the COVID-19 pandemic came into full force and authors were having to pull out of tours, launches, conventions etc., it just seemed like a little thing that I could do to help promote them, especially if they had something new out.
I like the range too. I have writers just starting out (like myself), some big hitters (like Adam Nevill, Paul Kane, Stephen Volk and C J Tudor) and even some people within movies and podcasts. My most viewed post to date is actually the very first interview I posted, with Henry Zebrowski from The Last Podcast on the Left. I absolutely love LPOTL as it is a perfect mix of horror, serial killers, crime and total and utter ridiculousness.
Do you consider yourself a horror writer? What draws you to it and what other genres do you enjoy?
My fictional writing is 99% horror as I find it the easiest to write. I think most of us write what we read and that’s true for me. My favourite sub-genres are vampires, werewolves and ghosts. I love lore. I can spend hours delving into the history and the legends. I have dabbled in other genres, I wrote a short rom-com type story a few years ago to whet the whistle but I am thinking of adapting it to make the MC a vampire instead. I like to inject a little humour into my work sometimes too. The other subject I have written a lot about is Disney! I used to be a regular guest contributor to the Floridatix blog, in fact, that was my first paid writing gig! I still keep my hand in with Disney stuff although not so much now.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I find sexual stuff hard to write. I’m not sure why, maybe I think “eek my dad is going to read this!” There is a scene in Adam where things are really heating up but then it takes a very different turn. I have yet to include a full on x-rated ‘make a porn-star blush’ type scene as yet, although it does seem to go hand in hand with horror.
Which authors – past, present, established or independent – inspire you?
Hands down the author who has influenced me the most is Stephen King. But I would say he is closely followed by R L Stine! You weren’t expecting that were you! However, Goosebumps, Point Horror and the like got me through my tween and teen years alongside the classics like Poe, King and Kootnz.
These days I still love King, although I much prefer his older work. Desperation is my all-time favourite of his. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris is another I have read several times. Last year I discovered C J Tudor and I think she is amazing. She definitely inspires me. I absolutely loved The Hunger by Alma Katsu. Glenn Rolfe is fantastic. Everything I have read of his has been 5 star. Adam Nevill of course, there is a reason why he is the most mentioned influencer in the interviews I conduct with other authors. He is also a lovely person. And then there are 2 local chaps who have been instrumental in building my confidence in my own work. Graeme Reynolds who actually lives down the road from me and David Creed from Bad Blood Films who is a script writer. I owe a lot to both of them.
What does your writing process look like? How many hours a week would you devote to it? Are you a single work at a time writer or do you have a few plates spinning at one time?
I don’t really have a process as such. I work, I’m a wife and a mum. Things need doing in the house. These things all come before writing. But I do try to devote a little time to it every day. Lately, this has been even more difficult to manage as my husband is working in the home office and I have been home-schooling. Where before I might have had an hour during the afternoon to dedicate to writing/editing, now I have to really make the time. I also can’t concentrate in the evenings. I get really tired and my writing just gets sloppy. So evenings are for watching and reading horror. We have just got Shudder and are working our way through that, starting with the Creepshow remake.
You’re an avid fan of Disney. How does that mesh with your horror leanings?
Well my very first ride when we arrived at WDW was the Haunted Mansion! And my most favourite ride is the Tower of Terror. So, I guess it meshes that way. I love all the villain and Halloween stuff they do. Hocus Pocus is one of my most watched Disney movies. But a lot of my friends are shocked that I can write such violent stuff. They’re like ‘but you’re so nice and you love princesses, how can you write about ripping someone’s throat out?’. Hehehe.
Is listening to music a big no-no for you when writing? If not, what would you usually put on while working?
To really concentrate, especially when editing, I need silence. Even the TV in the background is too much. Plus, I mainly listen to rock music. I’m not sure those awesome guitar riffs would help much. Even at Uni, my husband would listen to classical music whilst we were studying but I would make him wear headphones. I need quiet.
Finally, what’s next for you and what are your goals for 2020 and beyond?
Perfection will be coming out on The Horror Tree soon, as well as several drabbles. I have a short in a horror anthology also this year although I can’t say too much now as the final details have yet to be confirmed. And I am writing a werewolf story for the most exciting project I have ever been part of which has some big names attached. I still have to pinch myself that I have somehow been allowed to be involved. I can not wait to tell everyone about it. I will also have more stuff featured on Ghost Stories the podcast, Tyler is a friend and has some fantastic spooky stories over there.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/disneynine