CS-I am from Wales, though I live in London now. I spent a long time teaching English in China. Now my day job is writing and editing in the men’s sport and lifestyle sectors. I’m freelance, so basically I’ll write about anything, as long as I get paid. Over the years I’ve written about everything from chilli peppers to martial arts, and everything in between. These days, it’s a lot of ticking boxes and keeping clients happy. Fiction is my release, though I do love my day job. Usually.
I left school at 16 with no qualifications and went to work at a local factory, putting things in boxes. I used to go home after my shift and write in notebooks, always dreaming that one day it would lead somewhere. well, it wasn’t easy, but now I’m proud to say I’m one of the lucky ones who can make a living doing what they love. I was never the smartest kid, any of my teachers will tell you that, but i am living proof that dedication, perseverance, and a good work ethic can take you a long way. 🙂
I had several books traditionally published, before realizing I was getting royally screwed. So then, in 2012, I turned indie. Since then I have put out two novellas and two collections of short stories. Short stories are a big part of what I do. Recently a few pieces have come out, including my first love story!
You can find Jessica here: http://liquidimagination.silverpen.org/article/jessica-c-m-saunders/
JA- You’ve had an interesting journey already!
Being indie means I have total control over everything from the cover art to the pricing.
JA- There’s so much to chew on here. Thank you for sharing why you left traditional publishing behind. It does sound like, other than actually printing the books, you were doing all of the work anyway.
What have you found to be the most powerful marketing tactic or platform for getting the word out there?
CM- I’m still looking for that all-powerful marketing strategy! I think everyone is. I am lucky enough to be part of a collective of writers called the Deviant Dolls (https://deviantdolls.org/) we cross-promote each other and share marketing tips, etc, which keeps me active. Personally, I’m a big believer in the personal touch, connecting with potential readers by doing guest posts, interviews, reviews, etc, for other sites in the same or related genre. For me, it’s the best way to meet like-minded people.
Let’s Talk about Haunted Houses, well, one in particular
CM- Earlier this year I put out my novel, Sker House. It’s a paranormal historic mystery disguised as a traditional haunted house tale.
As you can see, it fits into many genres!
It’s based on a real place I used to visit with my parents in Wales. I always wanted to write a story about the history of the place, so when I lived in China I started researching the area and found that the truth is stranger than the fiction. I’m surprised at how well the book has been doing, but very glad that people like it.
Here’s the blurb:
Dale and Lucy are two students with a fascination in the supernatural. One weekend, they travel to Sker House, South Wales, a private residence with a macabre history which has recently been converted into a seaside inn. They plan to write an article for their university magazine about a supposed haunting, but when they arrive, they meet a landlord who seems to have a lot to hide. Soon, it becomes apparent that all is not well at Sker House. An air of oppression hangs over it, while misery, tragedy and ill-fortune are commonplace. Gradually, it becomes clear that the true depth of the mystery goes far beyond a mere historical haunting. This is a place where bad things happen, and evil lurks.
Little by little Dale and Lucy fall under Sker’s dark spell, and as they begin to unravel the mysteries of the past, they realize that nothing stays buried forever.
Welcome to Sker House, a place where past and present collide.
CM- I think it was the story of Elizabeth, Maid of Sker, which was a popular local folktale. She was the daughter of the house who lived there in the 18th century. She fell in love with a local harpist but her father, who was apparently a very evil man, forced her to marry someone else instead. The story was that he locked her in her bedroom at Sker House until she agreed. After the marriage she died, some say of a broken heart, and her ghost was later seen at the window of the room where she was kept. It was the definitive gothic ghost story.
Venturing into No Man’s Land
CM- On July 1st my new novella came out. No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches is set in World War I.
July 1st was the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme, still one of the bloodiest exchanges (and one of the biggest losses of life) in human history. I wanted to commemorate it somehow, and this is a story I’ve had on the backburner for a few years now. I thought this would be the perfect time to get it out there. People always ask me what inspires me, and I never have an answer. In this case, I wanted to do a little comparison between what we call ‘horror’ and the horror of war.
Visually, when I first discovered music back in the 1980’s. the band Megadeth had a kind of mascot called Vic Rattlehead (similar to Iron Maiden’s Eddie), who was this kind of reanimated corpse in soldier’s uniform. For some reason, that imagery struck a chord and stayed with me. I always wondered what his story would be, if he had one.
I’ll be donating the proceeds to charity.
Here’s the blurb:
The Somme Offensive, 1916. Harry Doyle is a young, overawed British infantryman struggling to come to terms with the insanity of war. His main objective is staying alive, and getting back home to his family in one piece. But his hopes begin to diminish as he realizes the full extent of misery and destruction around him. And the German war machine isn’t the only thing he has to worry about. Something else is preying on his friends and comrades in the trenches, picking them off one by one. Something no amount of military training can prepare him for.
JA- Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us here on Horror Made Chris!
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