Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed Jennifer Gordon, who has recently released her second novel From Midnight to Madness, the debut in The Hotel series. Her first novel, Beautiful, Frightening and Silent (2020) is a finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards.
Jennifer Anne Gordon is a gothic horror novelist. Her work includes Beautiful, Frightening and Silent (2020) which is a finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards, and From Daylight to Madness (The Hotel book 1), and coming out in November 2020, When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk (The Hotel book 2).
She had a collection of her mixed media artwork published during spring of 2020, entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon
Jennifer is one of the hosts as well as the creator of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network.
Jennifer is a pale curly haired ginger, obsessed with horror, ghosts, abandoned buildings, and her dog “Lord Tubby”.
She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she studied Acting. She also studied at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Art History and English.
She has made her living as an actress, a magician’s assistant, a “gallerina”, a painter, and burlesque performer and for the past 10 years as an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor, and choreographer.
When not scribbling away (ok, typing frantically) she enjoys traveling with her fiancé and dance partner, teaching her dog ridiculous tricks (like ‘give me a kiss’ and ‘what hand is the treat in?’ ok these are not great tricks.) as well as taking photos of abandoned buildings and haunted locations.
She is a leo, so at the end of the day she just thinks about her hair.
For more information and benevolent stalking, please visit her website at http://www.JenniferAnneGordon.com
BookView Review: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Jennifer Gordon: I think this really depends on what we are considering a writer. I would say if someone is a fiction writer, poet, memoirist, biographer…I don’t know how it would be possible to write and not feel each emotion deeply. I think the best characteristic an author can have would be empathy. It would be impossible for me to create any characters if I personally could not imagine what they are feeling and channel that onto the page. I know I am a highly emotional and empathic person and I think that is what allows me to write very emotional work. I feel my character’s emotions with them.
While I think people who don’t feel emotions intensely could still be writers, I think at the end of the day it is my strong emotions that actually led me to writing.
BookView Review: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Jennifer Gordon: I find that while I am actually writing and creating, I am very energized, especially when things are going well and I am excited about what I am creating. This is true even if it is a very intense scene or it is material that is emotionally difficult to tackle. That being said, the moment I am “done” writing for the day I feel the exhaustion take over. The adrenaline rush is done and I almost collapse. Mentally I probably do collapse a little.
BookView Review: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Jennifer Gordon: I do read my reviews. I would like to someday be an author who does not, but right now I still read each one. My first bad review broke my heart into pieces. I cried myself to sleep, I had to have other author friends console me. I was so hurt by it, not that I was shocked, I knew bad reviews would happen. I just couldn’t understand the harshness of it, I was and am too close to my work, they are not just books to me they are my loved ones. SO, after a fitful night of sleep I woke up and decided to look up some of my favorite books and read the bad reviews that those books had. Now, these are books I would consider “perfect”. I found that so many of the “bad” reviews mentioned things that I LOVED about the books. So, it really made me take stock of that. I cannot force people to like my book, and I have learned (or am starting to learn) not to crushed by it. As far as dealing with good reviews, they are to be cherished and celebrated. I appreciate and adore each one.
BookView Review: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
Jennifer Gordon: I am a very avid reader; I have been my whole life. The book that really changed the types of books I wanted to read (and eventually write) was Pet Sematary. I was young when I read it and it shaped who I am now as a reader and writer. I tend to prefer to read “dark” books. Whether that be horror, or thrillers, psychological suspense etc.
My favorite author is Shirley Jackson, and to me Haunting of Hill House is a masterclass of gothic fiction, and without that book, I am not sure who I would be as an author. Jackson and I have VERY different styles of writing, but I think what I adore about her work was the almost hallucinatory quality to her horror. I found that intoxicating.
Another book that really inspired me was Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars, as that was one of the first books, I read that was both a novel, and poetry. I feel like his work walks a fine line between the two and I love it. I tend to write in a lyrical poetic way, it was inspiring to read his work and be able to feel the rhythm of his language.
BookView Review: Tell us some more about your book
Jennifer Gordon: From Daylight to Madness is my second novel, it is a historical gothic horror novel that deals with how mental illness and grief were treated in the 1870’s. It is lyrical and dark, unsettling and at times romantic.
BookView Review: Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?
Jennifer Gordon: It started with my main character Isabelle. It sounds strange but I had past life regression hypnosis, and I saw very clearly the beginning of the book (well what happens at the beginning). The book is fiction and a horror novel, so I took a scene and then went forward from there. There are things in the novel that feel to me, very real, as if they happened to me. Yet I added a horror and fictionalized element on top of that to create the story, and flesh out Isabelle’s life and the world she lived in.
BookView Review: What’s more important: characters or plot?
Jennifer Gordon: The characters are my most important part, followed also by the location (which done well is another character). I think if the characters are fully formed and as a writer, I have done the emotional work needed to create them, then the plot almost takes care of itself. The characters seem to tell me their story, not the other way around.
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