In my latest interview I spoke with C.A. Verstraete. Author of Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie and her latest Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter along with dozens of stories including the new story “Jars” in the Aug. 2016 Siren’s Call Magazine. When she’s not writing, C.A. Verstraete enjoys creating in miniature. She is the author of IN MINIATURE STYLE II, with over 40 how-to projects, profiles and photos, featuring the work of talented miniaturists and IGMA artisans. Available in print, eBook, and other formats. The first edition, IN MINIATURE STYLE is now on Kindle and has a new cover. You can find a link to Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and her author page at the end of her interview. Thank you again, C.A., let’s get to the Q&A!
The Scary Reviews: When did you realize you were going to be a writer and when did you write your first story.
C.A. Verstraete I don’t think I realized it too early on though I plainly was destined to be a writer. One of my baby photos shows me with a newspaper in front of me and a pencil behind my ear—a reporter to be. I still write for newspapers. Eerie, huh?
TSR: That’s pretty cool and a bit spooky! If you were not an author, what would your ideal career be?
C.A. I also enjoy making and creating dollhouses and miniatures. I think it would be great fun to work on making miniature movie sets!
TSR: Your writing covers many genres, do you have one you prefer or feel more at home in and why?
C.A. I’ve always been a big Stephen King and horror fan, and have enjoyed writing more of that. But adding the historic time frame in Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter really made the project even more interesting to write. I enjoyed doing the research and finding out odd little tidbits like when fingerprinting technology came to be or what crimes happened in the same year in vintage newspapers. I hope to do more stories in that time period.
TSR: Do you write every day or have a set schedule you use when writing.
C.A. I’m usually writing something every day. I do assignments or I may be doing promotional items like this. But I do have to spend more time on a new novella idea I have that’s set in Lizzie Borden’s time and hometown. Something supernatural.
TSR: What books have most influenced your life and how did they influence your writing.
C.A. I’ve been reading more historical novels and admire how authors like Deanne Gist or Michelle Moran can bring the past to life. I tried to stay true to the time and real life events in Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, but with zombies in it, you’re already veering from reality. That let me add some moments of somewhat modern thinking, though I’d say some of it is still plausible given Lizzie’s situation. Whose life or viewpoint wouldn’t change if they were facing the gallows (and zombies)? (And the Victorian period wasn’t as staid as people might think, at least beneath the surface!)
TSR: I do love a good zombie story, adding them to Lizzie’s real life events sounds like a great mix. What would you say is your writing Kryptonite?
C.A. Facebook. You can get lost forever on there.
TSR: I know for me the internet leads to many distractions, why must it be so tempting. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
C.A. Start writing books earlier. Don’t doubt yourself.
TSR: I’ve heard that answer a few times before from other writers. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
C.A. One advantage to the Internet is that I’ve met some fantastic authors online who’ve become friends and more. I appreciate their support and support them as well. Terrie Farley Moran (Read to Death) and Camille Minichino (Matrimony in Miniature) are great friends and mystery writers. I’ve been in a writing group with Sci Fi and mystery writer Jean Rabe (The Dead of Winter, A Piper Blackwell Mystery) and horror-historical writer Stephen D. Sullivan (Manos, The Hands of Fate). I’ve learned a lot from them and credit them with helping me move my fiction writing forward. There are plenty of others as well.
TSR: Do you read your book reviews, both good and bad? How do you deal with the bad ones?
C.A. They say you shouldn’t read the reviews, but so far, I still do. They’re part of the business and even bad ones can help—if they are constructive. But thoughtless, meaningless “reviews” (many are not even a review but trolls) do nothing but take up space. You can’t lose sleep over them.
TSR: Can you share what your current work in progress is or the next book/story we can look forward to?
C.A. As I mentioned, I am working on a supernatural story set in Lizzie Borden’s hometown. I also am working on some short mysteries with Lizzie Borden as a character. Then I have a few ideas for book two. I’ve come to like Lizzie and her sister, Emma, a lot, so I don’t want to say goodbye to them just yet.
Connect with C.A. Verstraete at the following links
Author website: http://cverstraete.com
About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete
Amazon, print and Kindle – http://getbook.at/LizzieBordenZombieHunter
Barnes & Noble, Print – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lizzie-borden-zombie-hunter-c-a-verstraete/1124610870
Every family has its secrets…
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?