Today we have another guest for you. A fellow paranormal author, Clarissa Johal stopped by to chat with us about her new novel, BETWEEN. Welcome, Clarissa.
Hi, Clarissa! Thanks for being with us, today. Why don’t you tell my readers a little about yourself and your work? How did you first become acquainted with the paranormal genre?
Author Clarissa Johal
Clarissa Johal: I’ve worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef but I’ve always written. In high school, I wrote a one-act horror play that won first place in the Alberta High School Drama Festival. In college, I had two short stories, PIGEONS and THE ROPE, published in the literary magazine, Susurrus. In university, my non-fiction piece, A WAY OF LIFE, was published in the Sacramento Bee newspaper. It never occurred to me I could make a career at it until after the birth of my first child. While she nursed or slept in my lap, I wrote. It took me a year to write the first draft of my fantasy PRADEE and another ten years to complete it (raising a family, you know!). Once both my girls were in school, I threw myself 100% into my writing.
As far as the paranormal genre, I’ve always been interested in the paranormal. I was raised in a very non-believer household, my mom is an atheist and my father was an agnostic. But all throughout my life, I’ve had personal experiences that I couldn’t explain. In university, I took courses in cultural anthropology, mythology and religion and found them fascinating. When it comes down to it—we’re a product of not only our upbringing, but our personal experiences. And oftentimes, those experiences are in direct opposition with our upbringing or what society accepts. In BETWEEN, Lucinda says, “I know what I see. I don’t know what I believe,” which pretty much sums it up.
What was the inspiration for BETWEEN?
Clarissa: I was working on the second installment to my fantasy series when I was hit by two characters that didn’t belong and could not get them out of my head. I ended up setting the series aside and started writing BETWEEN, a story of the supernatural. I had the first draft written in a month, my edits finished a year later, and Musa Publishing accepted it three months after that. I’ve been pulled into the Otherworld permanently now. I love writing paranormal–the ideas come faster than I can get them down.
Now that your novel’s published, do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Clarissa: Network and find a writer’s group to not only supports your writing, but helps you promote it once it’s published. We’re all in this together and an internet presence is key. And write!! Even on the days that you feel your writing is crap. Do it. You can always go back and delete or rewrite later.
That’s true. If you weren’t a writer, what career might you have pursued instead?
Clarissa: I worked as a veterinary and zoo-keepers assistant all throughout college and university. I love the field and would probably go back into it.
Really? Wow! That’s neat. What can curious fans expect from you next?
Clarissa: I’m working on my next novel titled, STRUCK. It’s a supernatural horror and came to me as a single character and scene that kept replaying in my head over and over. I built on it from there and it should be done by March. The characters are very quirky but the premise is a bit darker than BETWEEN.
I see you’ve written a Young Adult fantasy too, Pradee. How did that come about?
Clarissa: I wrote a short story in a mythology class that my fellow students seemed to like. After the birth of my first child, I pulled it out and started building on the world I created. The four-book series is planned out in my head and I have the second book started, but I’ve been pulled into the Otherworld for now. We’ll see where that leads me.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Would you like to share anything more about your work?
Clarissa: If you leave a comment, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a free ecopy of BETWEEN in the format of your choice (Kindle, NOOK, PDF or Mobi). You can leave a comment on your own paranormal experiences, a response to my post, or just a “hello” and your contact info. The contest begins that day this goes live and we’ll pick the winner on Wednesday. The winner will be picked using Random.org and will be notified by email.
Now for a fun question: if you could face and vanquish any literary (or movie) villain, who would it be?
Clarissa: Now why would I want to do that? I love literary villains! They’re the best part of the story. *grin*
Hehe. Oh, that’s true. Sometimes they are! Thanks for being with us today, Clarissa. Before you go, would you care to share anything else? Perhaps a taste of your work?
by Clarissa Johal
How far would you go to redeem yourself?
As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn’t come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved.
After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire.
As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life…but a battle for their salvation.
A young woman stood beside the bed, anguish on her face. She looked vaguely familiar, though Lucinda couldn’t place her. The forgotten colors of her blousy dress had faded into indistinct shades of grey. The woman grasped Lucinda’s hand and pressed a key into it. Lucinda felt the jagged, metal edges pricking her skin. Somewhere in the distance, a car engine roared to life. The woman’s lips moved but the growling engine drowned out all other sound. The sound became louder.
Growling. Darwin was growling.
“Darwin?” Lucinda woke with a start.
The shepherd growled again and hopped off the bed, padding into the living room.
A quiet knock sounded from the front door. Lucinda rolled out of bed to answer it.
Pushing Darwin aside to open the door, she peered sleepily into the moonlit night. A breeze blew across the clearing, stirring the grass. Confused, she shut the door before the breeze could make its way inside.
“Come on back to bed, Darwin. Nobody there.”
As she pulled the blanket up to her chin, the knocking started again.
Lucinda slipped out of bed and walked back into the living room. The sound clearly came from the other side of the door, faint but unmistakable. She slid her hand quietly over the knob. At once, the knocking stopped. Turning the knob slowly, she pulled the door open a crack, heart pounding in her chest.
“Hello?” An icy breeze slipped by her thigh as the scent of ozone assailed her senses. Her heart beat erratically. “Darwin, no!” The dog tried to push past her, growling once more. Rattled, Lucinda closed the door with a bang and locked it.
Lucinda lay in bed and shivered, unable to get warm. A chill slipped under her covers, stealing up her spine. The smell of roses clung to her blanket, the warmth from their scent seemed to be at war with the cold. An hour passed and she finally dropped off to sleep.
For the remainder of the night, the two unseen presences in her room remained at an impasse.
BETWEEN buy links:
And where can my readers learn more about you?
Don’t forget now, leave Clarissa a comment or question (and leave us your email here somewhere) for a chance to win a copy of Between.