Today we’re happy to welcome Joan De La Haye to AK&AQ. We recently reviewed her novel Requiem in E Sharp. Joan De La Haye writes horror and some very twisted thrillers. She invariably wakes up in the middle of the night, because she’s figured out yet another freaky way to mess with her already screwed up characters. Joan is interested in some seriously weird shit. That’s probably also one of the reasons she writes horror. Joan is deep, dark and seriously twisted and so is her writing. Her novels, Shadows and Requiem in E Sharp, as well as her novella, Oasis, are published by Fox Spirit.
Q: What do you write on? Computer, pad o’ paper, battered Underwood? Give us a vivid picture.
A: I write on an Asus laptop with a shiny black cover. It even has facial recognition software which always gives me a bit of a kick when it starts up and I just have to sit in front of it and it starts up. I love it!
Q: Do you listen to music while you write? Does it influence what you write?
A: I listen to the radio or have a playlist going. My playlist has a lot ACDC, Guns-n-Roses and some other really good rock. I’ve found that I’m my writing has a little more punch with the playlist than with the radio.
Q: Do you write in short bursts or carve out long periods of time to work? Is it a habit or a vice?
A: I’m probably not the most prolific writer. I’m rather chuffed with myself if I manage more than 500 words in a day. I’ve also been known to go through periods that can last for weeks where I don’t write a single word. But apparently I’m rather grumpy during those periods and when I start writing again I’m much easier to be around.
Q: What writer would you most want to read your work? What would you want to hear them say?
A: I think I’d love to have Clive Barker read my work. I’d want him to be honest. I won’t improve and learn as a writer if I don’t receive honest criticism. That being said, I’d probably be completely devastated if he hated my work. But then I’d suck it up, wipe away the tears and get back to work.
Q: On the days where the writing doesn’t go so well, what other art or career do you fantasize about pursuing instead?
A: I studied fine art and clinical hypnotherapy. I’ve worked in all sorts of industries, including the hotel industry and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to do anything other than write. Even when I’ve had a bad review or had a story rejected I know that this is where I belong.
Q: What do you read? What do you re-read?
A: I read across a wide variety of genres. I read horror, thrillers, classics. But I avoid romance and biographies like the plague. I’ll read non-fiction for research purposes. The books that I love and read over and over again are classics like The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Q: Where did the idea for Requiem in E Sharp come from? Do you have a surefire way of sparking inspiration?
A: I have no idea where the idea for Requiem came from. I was just driving along one day, minding my own business when the idea for a serial killer with serious mommy issues popped into my head. The story took on a life of its own and grew from there.
I don’t think there is a surefire way of sparking inspiration. I get ideas from my nightmares or from something I watch on TV or hear on the news. Sometimes a simple what if question will just pop into my head. I’ve even had inspiration strike while in the shower, washing my hair. Inspiration can be fickle. But when it strikes you have to ride the wave until it crashes.
He pulled the wire out of his pocket, savouring every second. He felt himself rushing the moment. He wanted to slow it down and enjoy every detail. But she would turn around any moment and things would get messy. He didn’t want that to happen again. He wrapped the ends around his hands and pulled it taut.
He watched the back of her head bob up and down as she made the coffee, humming happily. The kettle was too loud. Her humming was out of tune and pulled his last nerve. She chatted about how rare it was to come across someone as polite as he was, but all he could hear was the sound of the piano clanging in his head. He crossed his wrists and slipped the wire over her head and pulled it around her throat. His heart lurched and the beat quickened. The excitement of the impending kill made him a little light-headed. A surprised groan escaped from her mouth. She tried to grab the wire, but her chewed fingernails were too short to dig in. She tried to grasp his gloved hands at the back of her head, but she was too slow. Her arms flailed around trying to hit him. Her foot connected with his shin. That would leave a bruise, he thought. He pulled the wire tighter. Its sharp edges cut into her flesh, slicing into her like a hot knife through butter. Her breath came in gasps; the more she struggled for breath the bigger and harder his erection grew. His breathing became harder and faster. The wire was swallowed up by her larynx. Blood ran down the front of her clothes. Her end was very close now, he could feel it. It was about time too. His muscles were killing him.