Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about J.C. Raye in her featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
A Clark Bar. Crispy peanut butter and taffy core with a caramel center. Enrobed. Milk chocolate. There’s some heaven for ya. Circa 1917. I saw one in a sketchy little convenience store down the Jersey shore. Last one in the cardboard display box. I went to purchase it, and then something fell across my hand. There were a great many surprised hollas then, mostly from me. I left the store hungry.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Our protagonist? That title barely suits him. Except that he is the one the story is about, so let’s go for it.
Hmm. Okay, if you were to shake his hand you might feel the need to immediately wash up. Using LOTS of soap and hot water. And after that, repeat. In fact, my husband said that about the whole tale, actually. What’s worse, of course, is my main character actually views himself the hero. You know the type I’m sure? Justifying the cruelest behavior with the lamest of disclaimers. I had to. It’s not my fault. The world is against me crap.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
The world I’ve created, the characters and the sites are intended to make you itch. Read it and try not to.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
Speculative. Horror. Maybe a little 1950’s sci-fi. But definitely some Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid antics for sure.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
For a time, I worked for the Department of Labor, specifically, Unemployment. I helped people find job interviews. Jobs, of course, were another thing. I could prep them all I wanted, but when they met an employer, they were on their own. Many I helped. Then, there were others. The self- saboteurs. Ones you knew you’d see again and again, over and over, week after week. Poor things.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
To read more women in horror. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And the darkness of a woman’s imagination truly has no bottom. Want to stay up nights? Read a horror story concocted by a woman.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
Foliage. I’m from NJ. It was the first story I’ve written where I spent considerable time learning about trees, grasses, plants, and flowers in the south. Also, about spikey forelegs. That, too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I had a mid-life crisis at fifty. I wasn’t planning on it, but everyone tells me that is what it was. There is no other way to explain suddenly writing horror stories out of the blue. Two years in and I’ve written about thirty of them and haven’t stopped yet. Some people buy cars, get divorced, or quit their job at life’s magical half-way point. I kind of love my day job, am happily married, and drive a no-frills Suzuki, so none of that applied to me. One day, I woke up and just started thinking about blood. Happens, I guess.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
I’ll spend a whole day picking out the music I’ll listen to while writing. I’m paralyzed ’til I have it. Thank you, YouTube Search Bar. The invention of cheap, room-darkening drapes has been a godsend, too. Candles. A chilled mason jar mug with slowly melting ice cubes, and I am all set.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
Foreign horror movies. I love them. The cultural difference makes the scares totally unpredictable, which challenges me to follow suit. Americans, and our vampiry, ghosty, possession stuff? Oh my, we can’t hold a candle to the rest of the world.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Times New Roman. I’m college professor working in the Arts and Communication program of a small college. I have friend across the hall who teaches Advertising Design. I once saw her weep when a student used Comic Sans on a website landing page. Her grief left an impression. I stick to Times New Roman unless instructed otherwise.
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
Read anything where publishers provide their top pet peeves about us authors. They are really useful and also hilarious. I remember one saying the following: Do not kill any dogs in your story. We mean it. No dog killing. If you kill a dog, we’ll dump the story immediately. We also won’t like you personally.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
I love can all words when they are coupled with vocal variety. I actually have a bad habit of giggling when I hear a person pronounce a word with panache–as it is so rare for people to take their time and speak their words with care and passion. I have an aversion to any monosyllabic word used aloud for which there is a guarantee that at least one person in the room won’t know the def. My best friend often tortures me with the word Aforementioned.
J.C. Raye‘s stories are also found in anthologies with Belanger Books, Chthonic Matter, Scary Dairy Press, Devil’s Party Press, Books & Boos, Franklin/Kerr, and Jolly Horror to name a few. More stories in 2020 with Rooster Republic and Transmundane Press.
For 20 years, she’s been a professor at a small community college teaching the most feared course on the planet: Public Speaking. Witnessing grown people weep, beg, scream, freak out and pass out is just another delightful day on the job for her. Terror down to the bone. She’s seen it all.
She’s won numerous artistic & academic awards over the years for her projects in Communication and seats in her classes sell quicker than tickets to a Rolling Stones concert.
J.C. also loves goats of any kind, even the ones that faint.
ON TIME is coming in Summer 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.