(So, here is our next HWA writer. Leigh M. Lane has been writing for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and twelve published short stories divided between different genre-specific pseudonyms. She is married to editor Thomas B. Lane, Jr. and currently resides in the outskirts of Sin City. Her traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe, was a 2013 EPIC Awards finalist in horror. Her other novels include World-Mart, a tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut, and the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods.
She recently released Jane, Volume 1: Revival, the first collection in her dark and twisted dramatic horror series, Jane the Hippie Vampire.)
What made you want to write horror?
My mother was an avid horror fan, and I ended up exposed to it at a young age. More importantly, I was exposed to smart horror: The Twilight Zone; The Outer Limits; and early Stephen King, just to name some of my earliest influences. I remember being fascinated with the (then novel) twists that made them and those like them so provocative. I also began writing early, around eight or nine, my first stabs actually being mysteries that quickly evolved into psychological horrors. My drive to write horror stems from a desire to emulate the works that had left such an early impact on me.
How do you get your ideas?
Usually, my story ideas begin with that enigmatic “What if…?” I tend to be rather introverted, which leaves me observing more than participating in many situations. Observation leads to speculation. Speculation leads to ideas. Sometimes, a character will simply pop into my head and I’ll feel the need to tell his or her story. Sometimes, a sentence—or even a feeling—will inspire me.
The Big Unknowns of the universe, eternity, and death, scare the hell out of me. The thought of a finite existence keeps me up at night. What happens to us after we die? We can believe whatever we want, but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. Do we simply cease to exist? What will be left of any of us once our sun dies and the earth is left barren and silent? Will the universe as we know it end in everything simply drifting, cold and lifeless, forever? And if something of us continues to that point, what then? *shudder*
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is an homage to some of the dark dramas of the ’70s and ’80s, obviously with a horrific spin. Two of my favorite shows when I was little (beyond those I mentioned above) were Kung Fu and The Incredible Hulk. The protagonists’ tragic lives, traveling from one town to the next in search of a sense of belonging, left a lasting impression on me. I wanted to capture that feel, while also keeping the work unique to my style. My protagonist, Jane, has been a vampire ever since the Summer of Love, and it has left her a tortured individual. She’s a gentle soul by nature, the stereotypical flower child, but she’s also in a constant state of bloodlust, which she must fight constantly to keep in check. She’s homeless, ever wandering, searching for personal peace. If only she could be so lucky
Why should people read horror?
At the risk of sounding clichéd, horror brings us closer to the human condition. When we talk about monsters, even unnamed menaces, we’re fashioning symbols that represent the darkest evils of our species. Sometimes it’s easier to make sense of a symbol than to try to figure out why some people do the terrible things they do. At least it is for me.