All right, gang, it's the Myth Master, back at you again with yet another
interview, and this time we sit down with Jennifer Caress, author of the
short novel, "Perverted Realities." Jennifer also contributed a poem to
this issue of "The World of Myth." Hang onto your seats for this one,
everyone, as Ms. Caress has some 'curious' and interesting things to
share with us. Here we go.
M.M. Jennifer, allow me to welcome you to "The World of
Myth" and offer my congratulations on the publication of
your book, 'Perverted Realities.' How did that title come
about, and how does it relate to the story?
J.C. Thank you for the welcome and for the congratulations!
It is an honor for me to be here. The title had been
rumbling around in my head for a long time, almost as a
theme for my life. The fact of the matter is I am an odd
person, but when I was younger I wouldn’t accept that so
I tried, to a humiliating degree, to fit in. Then I decided
I was normal and it was the rest of the world that was weird.
Now that I am a lot older and a little wiser, I think all
reality is perverted, not just mine. So for the book, I just
wanted to showcase someone else’s oddities while trying to
convey that odd is normal and normal is odd. *laughs*
M.M. Right. Well, you have a couple of somewhat 'offbeat'
characters in the book. How were you able to come up with
such interesting protagonists?
J.C. Urg--I will TRY to keep this short *laughs*. The second
and third stories in the book (Madman’s Castle & Somewhere
Between Here and There) had been sitting around my hard
drive and on scattered notebooks around the house for, and I
hesitate to admit this, years. They sat there for so long
because I couldn’t make them work regardless of how hard I
tried. I couldn’t get the stories to move and I couldn’t
bring the characters to life. Very frustrating. But at the
same time I knew I was on to something with those story
lines so I refused to let them go. Then one day I decided I
was just going to write a story and FINISH IT, damn it, and
it didn’t matter if it made sense or if it was stupid…
nothing mattered except getting the beginning, middle, and
end out of me and onto paper. So I wrote freely, which was
liberating and beautiful. In writing that story I half met
and half created Sammy and Frankie. The more I got to know
them, the deeper our bond became.
I should interrupt myself here and mention that I am not a
“logical explanation” type of woman. I am a “paranormal
explanation” type of woman. If the house creaks, I blame a
ghost who tripped on the mess. If there is a light in the
sky, I figure it is a space ship who’s captain forgot to set
the cloaking device. So when I create characters, I am
creating reality as I see it.
Anyway, I met Sammy and Frankie while writing Tonight’s
Sammy, the first story in the book. I fell in love right
away and decided to inject them into the two stagnant
stories and BAM! It all came together thanks to them.
Sammy and Frankie each have a favorite song or band, which I
learned very quickly during the first story, so whenever I
get stuck in a spot, I play that person’s favorite music and
I am reminded of their characters and, thus, their decisions.
Because I know you are dying to know--Frankie’s song is
“Dancing in the Ruins,” by Blue Oyster Cult, and Sammy loves
the band The Mourning Glory. Any song by them will do, as
far as he is concerned.
M.M. So, who is your favorite character in the book?
J.C. This is probably obvious now, but Sammy and Frankie are
my absolute favorites. I can’t even describe how much I love
them, and I am continually amazed by them as we get to know
each other better. Cree is probably my next favorite after
that. Certainly, since all characters are birthed by me they
all carry a bit of me in them, even though many times it is
to a very small degree. Cree is someone I admire. I gave her
my passion and determination, but gave her a will and
strength that I can only hope to emulate.
M.M. Can you give our readers a short synopsis of your
J.C. Sure--Perverted Realities is a horror/fantasy
collection of three short stories, all connected by Frankie
and Sammy. In Tonight’s Sammy--A True Story, Sammy is an
artist who astrally projects himself into the cartoon
characters that he draws. One character, however, is already
inhabited by someone else, and will resort to violent means
to keep Sammy out of the cartoon realm forever.
Madman’s Castle retells the time Frankie and Sammy traveled
to an abandoned insane asylum. They bring along a few
friends with the goal of capturing ghostly activity on film.
Some of the ghostly residents are friendly, some couldn’t
care less of the group’s presence, and some are just plain
mean. Things get scary when a few of the deceased take
matters into their own transparent hands and make their
“get out” message abundantly, dangerously, clear.
Frankie and Sammy set out to find Cree, a woman who
disappears in the third story, Somewhere Between Here and
There. They soon learn why she disappeared and why they must
fulfill her mission, before they, too, meet with her fate.
--I guess at some point I need to mention to those who
haven’t read the book that Frankie is part human, part
dragon. The only visible dragon in him are his dark scales
on the lower right side of his face and long dragon pinkies
on both hands.
M.M. Okay. Is horror the genre of choice for your stories,
and if so, why?
J.C. To tell you the truth, I never really considered what I
write to be horror; I always categorized all of it as
“paranormal” or maybe “dark fantasy.” But the feedback I am
getting from readers seems to be that I do write horror
after all. *laughs*
No offense to those who do, but I cannot read romance books.
I just can’t get into them so there is no way I would ever
be able to write one. I don’t think I know enough about
crime or law to be able to write a crime novel--I can barely
help myself--so writing a self-help book is straight out…
basically, I stick to the old law of writing what I know.
M.M. And what type of stories and authors do you like to
J.C. It varies, of course. Anne Rice’s Vampyre Chronicles
got me through high school, and I will dabble in a little of
Stephen King’s writings from time to time. The Celestial
Prophecies really got me. When I read Carl Hiaasen’s work I
just turn green with envy--that guy has me laughing out loud.
Whitley Strieber’s Communion is a good one.
I am a yard sale reader. If I see it at a yard sale and it
looks interesting, I will read it. The bummer is, once I
have finished the book I move on to the next and don’t
remember too much of the first book. So my apologies to
those fantastic stories and writers who have been lost in
M.M. When did you first discover that writing was what you
wanted to do?
J.C. I don’t know…I have always known that writing is
something I HAVE to do--there is a habitualness, an
obsessiveness to it. There is also the therapeutic aspect of
it that has carried me through more times than I care to
recant. But there is also the neediness to it--I need
feedback, I need an “atta girl!” but will settle for an “I
don’t get it.” My favorite feedback, naturally, is, “I get
it and I like it.” It is the neediness aspect that drives me
to submit what I write.
I just realized I never answered the question *laughs*. I
have known that writing professionally is something I have
always wanted to do, with brief interludes of wanting to be
a film maker, an astronaut, a veterinarian, and a
professional cookie taster.
M.M. And, a typical 'stock' question--how do you come up
with the ideas for your stories?
J.C. I would love to tell you my ideas came from drugs or
alcohol or a bump on the head, but the truth is they come
from the sick sober twisted caverns of my mind. *laughs*
When I said before that I am a “paranormal explanation” type
of woman, this is true. But I have also been a loner all of
my life, and from countless numbers of hours spent alone
comes a very vivid imagination. Where one person sees a guy
standing on the side of the road waiting for a bus, I see an
extraterrestrial who came to Earth as a right of passage…who
is waiting for a bus.
M.M. I...see. Uh, 'Perverted Realities' ends with a
definite opening for a sequel. Will there be a follow up
book anytime soon?
J.C. Yes, indeed! I just can’t let Frankie and Sammy go, so
we are off on a whole other group of experiences together.
Plus, well, I don’t want to give too much away, but Sammy,
Frankie, and a surprise guest will avenge Cree and finish
what she started. There are also two other books in the
works (I have a short attention span) that travel across
aliens, murders, ghosts, and astral travelers.
M.M. Where can our readers learn more about your book?
J.C. Very soon there will be a jennifercaress.com, so
please keep looking there. One can also go to
Stonegarden (stonegardenbooks.net) to learn a little more about me, or
to amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and a zillion other
on-line bookstores to learn about the book. Of course, you
are always encouraged to go to a physical bookstore and
order it there!
M.M. How are you managing to cope with your newfound
success as a writer?
J.C. If by “success” you mean “shamelessly begging people to
read my book,” then I think I am coping rather well. *smiles*
In all seriousness, I am happy with the way things are
moving forward and I hope it will continue to do so. I have
always believed that having a successful book is a lot like
winning the lottery--planets and stars have to align just
right at just the right moment, and it has to be written in
the tablets of fate. But no matter how deep it is written in
the tablets I can’t ‘win’ if I don’t take the chance, so I
work my butt off on making, and then taking that chance.
I have always known that my writing will never appeal to the
larger masses. Frankly, I don’t want it to because I don’t
have it in me to write for them. But I do continue to hope
that my work reaches those it was intended for: the freaks,
the geeks, the tortured souls, the free spirits, and my
M.M. What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
J.C. I am an Internet junkie--there, I said it. I love, love,
love to research, and I will research just about anything so
long as the possibility of getting the answers I set out to
find exist. So if I hear a phrase or topic in a passing
conversation, I race to my computer to find out more or if I
hear of a spooky, freaky, potentially unexplainable place, I
am off to the Internet to find out more. I am such a dork.
I enjoy meditating, astral traveling (or trying to astral
travel), paranormal web sites, I help moderate an abducted-
by-aliens chat room, though I myself have never been
abducted. When I am not on-line or writing, I like to watch
B movies, sci-fi, and horror movies late into the night with
my beloved fellow oddball husband. Mystery Science Theater
3000 will always rule in my mind and heart!
M.M. All right, Jennifer, I really want to thank you taking
the time to talk to us, today. Is there anything we didn't
cover that you would like to share with our readers?
J.C. I want to thank the Myth Master and The World of Myth
for this fantastic opportunity! Though, honestly, I don’t
see the purpose of tying me to this chair and shinning that
4,000 watt spotlight on me. I would have answered your
M.M. Yes, well, the light was just an after thought. The
tying you to the chair part...that was just for fun--it gets
kind of boring around here, sometimes, you know? Um, so,
anything else you want to say, Jennifer?
J.C. I want to thank you, the reader, for reading this
Please do check out "Perverted Realities," if only to figure
out what the hell I was talking about in this interview.
M.M. Okay. Well, thank you, again, Jennifer. I hope to
see more of your work, soon, both here at "The World of
Myth," as well as in our local bookstores, and continued
success with your writing.
Okay, gang, that's it from the Myth Master. I'll 'see'
ya next time. (Uh, should we untie her, now?)