Author Interview: Laurie Treacy

Laurie Treacy is one of the authors in the urban fantasy anthology, Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, and I’m so happy to have her featured on my blog for an interview.

What do you like about writing in the paranormal genre?

As a writer, I like the possibilities presented by the paranormal genre, not knowing about the unknown, about ‘otherworldly’ creatures and realms. What a creative playground for writers to play in! 

What prompted you to write this story?

“Wished Away” was originally a short story I wrote in 2012 titled “Scarecrows and Sunflowers” to enter into a competition. I didn’t win, didn’t expect to, but I wanted to explore the short story format. What I discovered was I liked creating shorter pieces. When I read the call for submissions for Urban Harvest, I thought “I can do this. I’m a New Yorker!” My favorite place in the city is the banks of the Hudson River, especially the Metro-North station at Riverdale. Many an hour I’d spent there and I’d also walk down to Spuyten Duyvil. There was my setting. While researching for another story, I discovered the urban legend of Henry Hudson’s “ghost ship.” There was the foundation of my urban lore. The Scarecrow story was still in my mind so I opened the file and began thinking. Ghost ship. Riverdale. The word “wish” popped into my mind. I was intrigued and a new story began to take shape. Within a few days I had my first draft of “Wished Away.”

What other things have you written/are you writing?

I wrote a paranormal New Adult short story, “Powerless,” which will be included in the Stalkers anthology edited by Cynthia Shepp and Rene Foslom. I also wrote an adult paranormal short story “Just One Bite,” which will be part of the In Vein vampire anthology, edited by Jodi Pierce. Both anthologies are expected to be published later this year. I am also writing two Young Adult novels, a paranormal, Strays, and a fantasy, End of Silence, finishing up my YA paranormal, Everlast, besides other works-in-progress.

Do you consider your writing character-driven or plot-driven? 

My writing is definitely character-driven. On my blog (www.laurietreacy.com) I call myself “The Story Channeler.” I feel like Theresa from TLC’sLong Island Medium, except I hear the voices of characters telling me their stories. I’ve learned whenever characters begin speaking or images pop into my mind, I grab paper or my laptop and get it out. It could be a page or two or even longer, but those spurts of inspiration can lead to short stories or novels. I let the characters take the lead.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

Much like baking, the plot rises out of my stories during my writing. I do like to roughly outline first and then I will go back and plot the story.

Do you have a writing mentor or inspiration?

I don’t have one particular mentor. I regard inspiration like a sponge seeking water. I am inspired by the books I read and love. As a frequent conference attendee, I am fortunate to meet many in the industry, listen to them talk about their own journeys and that inspires me. I am also inspired by images, pictures, paintings, and by nature. Many times I stop driving to capture a picture of something because it speaks to me. I never know when I may need that picture for creating a particular setting or as the catalyst for a story idea.

When and how did you first become interested in writing?

I wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid. Growing up in New York City, I spent many summers in the public library, lost in books. I still have two books I began writing when I was in the sixth grade (of course, both were Young Adult stories, one paranormal, one contemporary romance). In college I was very active with the school newspaper and literary magazine, majored in Journalism, and won some writing awards (I won an award from Columbia University for my Bruce Springsteen record review which was really cool).

Writing schedule?

I try to block out some hours in the morning but that doesn’t always work. I will say whenever inspiration strikes, I do pay attention so you may find me writing while waiting for my daughter at dance or while my son is practicing soccer. I need to write where I can see the outdoors and make sure I can listen to the playlist for that particular work.

What’s next?

I’m really looking forward to Nanowrimo this year. I have a title and story outline all ready to go. I’m excited ever since I was inspired by an urban exploration I went on. It will be a New Adult paranormal.

Anything else?

I’m a member of the SCBWI. I love to write YA and read a lot of books in this market. I’m also an active book blogger at Reader Girls, a blog I started in 2009. I get to meet many wonderful authors, publicity people, and other readers as well as discover new and exciting books.

Follow Laurie at:

Website: www.laurietreacy.com and www.readergirlsblog.com

Twitter: @llt806 and @ReaderGirls

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reader-Girls/101996519841548

Bloglovin’: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3766750/the-character-channeler and http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3467855/reader-girls

The following is a short excerpt from Laurie’s story in Urban Harvest.

Wished Away

I haven’t hung out with Colton in a few years. He was always quiet and intense. He still seems the same way. We stick by the lone Amtrak track. We both know we’re trespassing but shrug it off. Colton laughs. “Do you hear it?”

He tugs me towards the river bank as a school of clouds pass in front of the moon. We hear voices. Stopping before the land slopes down, he draws me beside him. His arm slips around my shoulder. “Close your eyes. Clear your mind of everything. Listen.”

I do. We’re wasting our time, but I shut my eyes and don’t complain. Keeping my mouth closed comes easily living with my father. I like being around Colton. My mind turns into a smart board on Monday mornings.

Within seconds, they barge in. Voices. Sounds. Lots of them. At first muffled, then clearer.

“Captain!”

“Set sail soon.”

“Collection!”

Accented voices.

Then shuffling. Hurried steps. Climbing. Huffing from heavy lifting.

What the hell is this?

My heart races as I scan around.

The area is empty. But I can almost feel a presence of something big, something looming ahead. The waves are faster here as they crash against the bank, spitting froth onto our boot tips.

Colton’s grip tightens as I’m tucked in beside him. “Do you believe, Maire?” he asks, his tone excited.

“Um, kinda.”

He shakes his head. “No, you need to believe. Look again.”

I want to dismiss him as weird. I can’t. Something is going on.

To read the rest of Laurie’s story, check out Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, available from Amazon

Author Interview: Tara Hill

Tara is one of the authors in the (extremely!) soon-to-be released urban fantasy anthology, Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, and I’m so happy to have her featured on my blog for an interview.

What do you like about writing in the paranormal genre?

The paranormal genre really gives me a lot of room to let my imagination go free.  It not only includes fantasy, but also mystery and unexplained occurrences as well.  You can say something happened and the paranormal genre naturally allows that strange and wonderful event to take place in the world that you’ve created.   

What prompted you to write this story?

I was on the train going into the city, listening to music on my MP3 player.  I was thinking about the project, wondering what I should write about when Josh Groban’s song, “The Bells of New York City” came on.  I immediately stuck it on loop and kept on listening to it for the whole ride.  Music often helps inspire my writing.  The song is about a grey, snow filled night in New York City.  At the time, I worked down near Wall Street so naturally Trinity Church’s cemetery came into my mind.  Then in my head, I got an image of a man from the late 1800s walking down those streets and I just went from there.   

 What other things have you written/are you writing?

I have written articles as the New York Paranormal Examiner for Examiner.com.  I have also kept a blog called Gay Family Life in which I talk about what it was like to grow up with a gay parent during the 1990s.  I currently write articles as a Yahoo Voices contributor.  I am working on building a collection of short stories, mostly about ghosts.  I also have written a novel that I am hoping to find an agent for and to get published someday.  It is a ghost story that talks about the importance of brotherhood and how love can last from one lifetime to the next. 

Do you consider your writing character-driven or plot-driven?

A little of both, actually.  Usually the main character will introduce themselves to me first.  Then they tell me about the situation that they are in.  I guess really the character is in charge of my writing.  

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I usually have an idea of what direction I want the plot to go in, but ultimately there are some twists and turns as the story progresses.  I have found that it doesn’t work well if I try to force something too much, so I just wait for my inspiration to lead me down the right path. 

Do you have a writing mentor or inspiration?

I have several.  Some of my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Amy Tan, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Mitch Albom, and Charles Dickens.  My favorite book of all time is The Hobbit.  I like writers that create other worlds for their characters to go into or create odd situations for their characters to encounter in reality. 

When and how did you first become interested in writing?

My family raised me to love books.  They took me to libraries and bookstores, they read to me every night, encouraged imaginative play, and had discussions with me about what I was reading. One day, I was in a bookstore pretending to be Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I was actually reading a novelization of it as I was walking through the store.  Being something of a tomboy, Belle was the one princess character that I really identified with because she loved to read. Then suddenly, I stopped and looked up at the walls of books. Turning to my mother, I told her that I wanted my name to be up on those shelves someday so that everyone could read my stories.   

What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I tend to write for one to three hours at a clip.  I don’t really keep a strict writing schedule.  Instead, I just write my heart out every time I sit down at the computer and try to make sure that I find time to do this at least three to four times a week. 

What’s next?

I’m going to keep on writing more short stories and see if I can get them published. I’m also pretty sure I have another novel that is almost ready to bloom, but I don’t think I’m ready to start it yet. Also, I need to focus on getting a literary agent. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

I have created two Facebook pages, one to help showcase my online work as a writer and another called Ghost Fanatic to share my interest in ghosts.  You can also check out my Twitter page, @TaraTheresaHill.  I’m really excited about the Urban Harvest anthology.  This is my first official story publication.    

The following is a short excerpt from Tara’s story in Urban Harvest.

Don’t Be Afraid

Every night, I rise just as the twilight ends and night descends around the city. Walking through the old cemetery, I wander to the front doors of the church. Old Trinity Church welcomes me long after the last visitor’s steps have faded into the sounds of the bustling streets. Walking the long aisle, I always stop at the altar to pray. Only this night will be different. This is All Hallow’s Eve, the one night of the year when the veil between the Spirit World and the Living is thinnest. Every year at this time, I go back to the old neighborhood hoping to find the one that I lost.

Having said my piece, I exit the church and start the long, lonely walk. The city is busy with people and spirits roaming about. Another gentleman and lady from my time nod their heads as I pass by. I tip my hat in return, but there are plenty of spirits from all walks of life and eras here. If the Living only had the sight, they would see souls of people from modern times all the way back to the ancients who first walked the land. All gather together sharing ideas and helping to influence the ones on the physical plane when they can. Most come and go as they please, but others are stuck here on the Earth. I should know because I am one of them. While people use the terms interchangeably, the real difference between a ghost and a spirit is that a spirit has the ability to shift between the two realms at will.

How I died is not important. I do not really remember it being different from any other day. I seemed to wake up just as I always did. Actually, it was a lot like waking up from a nap. I opened my eyes to find myself fully dressed even though I thought I remembered having gone to bed the previous night. I was sitting in my study, only the shades were drawn and the windows were closed. I had always liked to have them open even during the coldest days so that a bit of air could get into the room. Standing up, I walked out into hallway and toward the center of the house. That’s when I heard the weeping. It was a sad sound that shuddered up and down as it came to me from across the hall. Astounded at the noise, I still swept forward to find the source of it. My hand stopped at the parlor door, which was wide open for a viewing. Everything was draped in black and candles burned all about the room amidst the overwhelming perfume of flowers.

My wife and our grown children sat in the parlor, surrounded by friends and other members of the community. The grandbaby sat on his mother’s lap, his fingers stuck in his mouth to soothe himself. They all wore black and grey. Shaking my head, I looked toward the raised dais in the back of the room. All conversation was lost on me for the moment; I had to see for myself to make good their words.

Walking over to the coffin, I stared down at the remains of the body that I had only recently occupied. There was the strong, square jaw, the jet black hair laced delicately with grey at the temples, the broad shoulders and wide chest. I had been in the peak of health for a man in his sixties. What had happened? Surely someone must know. 

To read the rest of Tara’s story, check out Urban Harvest: Tales of the Paranormal in New York City, available from Amazon in just a few hours!