Today I present a wonderful interview with an amazing woman. Nina is one third of Sirens Call Publications, who have accepted three of my stories for publications and have recently launched the first of their bi-monthly eZine ‘The Sirens Call.‘ I spoke with Nina and probed her to find out what makes her tick, and what the future holds for SCP
1. Hey Nina, first of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, what got you into literature, and how you ended up with Sirens Call?
I think what got me into literature wasn’t so much a what as a who: my Uncle. He had amassed a vast collection of books on just about every topic imaginable, though his favorite reads were always Science Fiction and Fantasy. I can remember loving the feel of the spines even as I sat on the floor with my childhood pop-up books while he ‘read’ them to me. I’ve always been an insatiable reader, both my Birthday and Christmas lists were crammed full of titles I’d spent hours in the book store fastidiously ‘researching’ and wanting to consume. I would get asked time and again, “Are you sure this is what you want?”, and the answer was always a resounding “Yes”.
I took a book with me everywhere I went, thus the nerd status I earned fairly early on; I even carried one to the movies in case I was bored – trusty flashlight and jacket in hand, I read through half the movies I went to as a teenager, and since I grew up in the 1980’s, that may not have been a bad thing!
I met both Kalla and Kate on-line, and we seemed to mesh well together, and after having a discussion about what we felt some of the indie authors promoting themselves might be lacking in their self publishing efforts, we decided that forming a publishing company to help pull our resources together with their talent might not be a bad idea. So Sirens Call Publications came to be.
We don’t really think of ourselves so much as a company, as we do a co-operative of indie authors working with indie authors.
2. The pieces of fiction and various posts on your blog are very deep, dark and insightful. Have you always written in the darker genres? What is it about the dark side of life that appeals to you?
Ah, the heart of me; the style of writing that comes from my very soul, and screams to either escape or consume me. I’ve written that way my entire life, on scraps of paper, in journals, in the margins of my school books – many of which my parents were forced to purchase due to my less than ordinary ramblings; all of which I never had any intention of exposing to the world at large. Those were my private words that I used to express my own inner turmoil, and that expression eventually grew to be an obsession that I couldn’t break away from even if I wanted to, which in case you were wondering, I don’t.
Now I find it bursting forth from me on my blog and almost writing itself. I’ve always preferred to stare down the darker things in life, than to turn from them, and embrace the reality that the world isn’t made for the soft and fuzzy bunnies.
It comes at you from every angle as hard and as fast as it can, and looking it square in the eye is preferable to turning my back on it and waiting to see what happens next. I’ve lived very much in my own mind, searching out the deeper, darker corners to try and understand them. I suppose my ruminating comes from the imaginings I’ve found locked away inside.
There is something so enthralling and appealing about shaking loose the shackles of society and letting the inner demon control your mind for a short period of time that is irresistible to me. Then to be able to sing those words into prose that move not just me, but others as well is an unbelievable feeling of release. It makes me feel alive in a way that I could never truly be in the sane and orderly world we’re forced to conform to day-in and day-out.
What about it appeals to me? I think it’s the depth of emotion. You can express so much with your words used both properly (and as I am often told) improperly to impress an image on the mind of another that you can’t always do in a more controlled style of writing. It’s not shock factor, it’s an undulating wave that sucks you in and pushes you out, and makes you mildly uncomfortable about where your own thoughts might take you if you let loose your own inner self.
3. Not only are you a fantastic writer, but you’re rather adept at the photography thing. Do you have preference for either?
Thank you for both compliments! Yes, I am a photographer, and it is my genuine passion. I love to write, but I can only hope to use my words to impress upon the reader what I might be seeing in my minds eye; whereas with my camera, I can show them exactly what I see, and hope they feel the same type of visceral impact that I do when viewing my work. I certainly don’t expect everyone to experience the same things that I do – interpretation is the beauty of both of these art forms in my opinion – but I can inspire them to feel something from the visual impact of my imagery that might affect an opinion or two, at least I hope I can.
My genuine love is for photographing both Abandoned Places/Things, and Cemeteries. There is magnificent beauty to be seen in the collapse of a structure; the decay of items left behind; the earth reclaiming a piece of shaped metal with its glorious rust; or of wandering through a forgotten cemetery where the last mark a person has been allowed upon this world stands.
Being an UrbEx and cemetery photographer is not only enlightening in regards to the fact that you learn so much more than those not bothering to take a peek, but it is also emotionally stirring in its unique ability to inspire you to be something more than just another watcher, you are a chronicler of times both past and present.
4. You girls at SCP have been rather busy of late with all your projects, could you tell us a little bit about how each of them came about, and any plans for future projects? Where do you see SCP going in the future, and do you have any specific goals/ambitions?
Indeed we have been busy, and wow that was a loaded question! LOL We’ve published the first issue of our E-Zine, “The Sirens Call”, which I’m proud to say is 66 pages of fantastic material; we’ve closed submissions on two horror anthologies – Childhood Nightmares: Under The Bed, and Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity; and we’re about to launch our first full length novel by Julianne Snow, Days with the Undead: Book One.
The E-Zine is something that we will continue to produce bi-monthly with the help of/and in support of the indie author community. We believe that it’s a wonderful platform for authors to get their name out there in a well produced and so far well received e-zine, and spread a little indie love around.
As to why two anthologies at once? The three of us became enamored by the two topics we narrowed it down to, and couldn’t decide which one was the stronger choice, so why not do both at once. Childhood Nightmares will publish a month before Twisted Realities, but we accepted submissions for both at the same time and got more than our fair share of outstanding submissions, yours included!
Julianne’s book was a natural fit for us, not only does it feed a category we all love, Post Apocalyptic Mayhem, but it fits in perfectly with what we are trying to do; which is show the world that just because a large traditional publishing house isn’t going to pick up your work because a portion of it has been published online (her book is based on her web series), doesn’t mean there isn’t somewhere to go with it where the people with the right contacts, talent and know-how can help push your work to that level beyond self-publishing. Don’t misunderstand me, we’re all for self publishing and think it’s a great thing, but where most authors fail isn’t necessarily in the talent pool, it’s the deeper end where you need to swim with the more ferocious fish to get noticed while at the same time not get eaten!
Future SCP plans? We’ll continue to publish our bi-monthly E-Zine, “The Sirens Call”; and will undoubtedly be publishing more anthologies as they really are fun to do (once you work through the ‘work’ part of it); and we have several authors who have submitted full length works to us for publication that are under consideration. Not to mention an expected novel release from our illustrious Editor-in-chief, Kate Monroe.
We’re expecting this to be a very busy year, but are eagerly looking forward to tackling all the challenges and excitement that come along with it.
5. Getting back to your writing. Do you have any particular influences or favourite authors that have shaped your own style?
I have a multitude of favorite authors depending on the genre. My classic go to’s are Poe, Edgar Rice Burrows and H.P.Lovecraft – though I don’t think my writing style reflects any one of them in particular other than in its emotional content.
As to contemporary authors, I love so many: F. Paul Wilson, Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston (both collaboratively and individually), Robin Cook, Jonathan Maberry, Neil Gaiman, (and don’t label me a Goth-chick) Poppy Z. Brite. I also love the worlds of Terry Goodkind, Arthur C. Clarke, and Glen Cook. I could go on for hours naming individual authors in different genres, but that would just bore the crap out of you!
6. What is your writing process? What do you do in order to get the words down?
This is a great question, and it makes me laugh because I think I’m somewhat abnormal when it comes to my manner of writing. I don’t have a writing process per se. I don’t go to a coffee shop and watch the crowd for inspiration, I don’t sit in a bar with near defending music blasting to put me in the mood to write, nor do I have a favorite comfy chair that I curl up in; I just sit down with a thought, dream, image or something I glanced while driving around that particular day and begin typing – and what comes, comes.
What I find the most difficult is sticking to strictures or guidelines that force the mind numbing emotion out of my stories. I struggled a bit through my Childhood Nightmares submission because now that I’m allowing myself to write with my own emotional and somewhat metaphoric pen, it was very difficult to choke the raw feeling I write with out of the majority of the lines and turn it into a more cohesive narrative. How well did I do? I’ll let you be the judge of that!
The last thing I wrote by hand was sitting atop a raised platform in a cemetery. It was a poem for someone I had recently lost in my life. It was a bizarre experience, I was out with my camera shooting in an old grave yard when the words just flooded my brain – I think it must have taken the backs of 15-20 business cards to get it right, but I simply couldn’t walk past that spot without sitting down and finishing it. Strange the way words suffocate you sometimes, but deliriously delightful at the same time!
Colin, thank you very much for the opportunity to do an interview on your blog, I am a true fan of your writing, and have often described it as a “warm comfortable blanket in which to curl up in on the days when the world is feeling heavy”. So again, thank you, it has been a genuine honor. And if you’ll forgive the somewhat shameless plug, the cover artwork on “City of Hell Chronicles Vol. 1” completely kicks ass! Very nicely done!
Nina D’Arcangela was the type of girl who, when given a doll as a child, would immediately pop its head off to see what was inside, then spend countless hours contemplating how so many fantastic and fantastical things could be in her own head when the doll’s was so very vacant. As a relative new comer to the writing scene, Nina is just beginning to let the world have a glimpse of not only her imagination, but darker ruminations as well.
Enamored by the classically woven tales of Edgar Allen Poe, Lovecraft, or H.G. Wells, and with landscapes dancing in her head prompted by the likes of Edgar Rice Burrows and Arthur C. Clark, magical worlds took form from their inspiration that would keep her awake night after night reading by flashlight under the covers, or nesting in a closet with the door shut so as not to awaken others by her insatiable need to read more wondrous tales. While willing to read just about anything that is well crafted, she has a soft spot for the darker side of writing in the Horror, Sci-Fi and Other World genres.
Nina is the Social Media Coordinator for Sirens Call Publications, and can be reached at Nina@SirensCallPublications.com; or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Fanatical About Fiction
Colin F. Barnes is a quill-wielder of vibrant, edgy fiction, mixing sci-fi, horror and thrillers.
You can learn more about him here.