Wednesday 19 December 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Clarissa Johal

Today, I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Clarissa Johal, a wench of many talents including writing paranormal fiction and scaring the pants off readers! Take it away, Clarissa…

Musa Publishing’s newest author is here to discuss her life and debut novel BETWEEN. Please give a warm welcome to Clarissa Johal.
Tell us about yourself.

I write adult paranormal and horror. I love ballet, photography, fencing and running with my dogs. I’ve lived in so many places that I’ve lost count, but I was born in California. Right now, I live in North Carolina with my husband, two daughters, dogs, cats, tanks of fish, rescue turtles, rats, gerbils...the list goes on. I used to work in veterinary medicine and as a zoo keeper volunteer. These days, I try and help out with very basic wildlife rescue rehab when I can, which doesn’t explain all the other animals in my house, but I’m a sucker for strays.

Tell us about your book.

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.

BBQ? Carolina, Tennessee, Texas or Kansas City?

Oh yikes, none of the above. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 20 years now. My family is complicated. My younger daughter eats chicken, but doesn’t like fish, save for tuna. My older daughter eats fish of all kinds but no other meat, I don’t eat meat or fish, and my husband eats almost everything. Nobody eats beef, pork or lamb, because they don’t like it. Makes for an interesting dinner.

What are your five favorite Novels?

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, Lirael by Garth Nix, and the Skullduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. I also really love Shakespeare.

If you could only have one vice what would it be?

I’m boring as I only have one vice now! But it’s mine so I’ll stick with it—I’m an unapologetic coffee drinker. And it has to be Peet’s Sumatra.

What do you prefer roller coasters, carousels or the bumper cars?

I used to love roller coasters. On the first date I ever went on, I rode every single roller coaster at the California State Fair and ended up getting sick in my purse. That cured me from roller coasters forever. The guy even asked me out again but I was just too mortified. I’d probably pick carousels now. And I’d have to ride the seahorse or I’d have a grown-up tantrum.

What are you working on now?

My next paranormal novel. It’s about a young woman that gets struck by lightning and then begins to experience unexplainable things. That’s all I can say.

What’s your favorite movie?

One favorite? Right now it would have to be Castaway on the Moon. It’s a Korean film that came out in 2009. Big Trouble in Little China and Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe are close seconds.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

The Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland, hands-down. My husband and I backpacked all over the UK many years ago and I fell in love with Loch Skeen. I actually got choked up when it was time to leave. I wanted to sleep on the moors. The remoteness and beauty of the area really struck me.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

Oh, panster all the way. I have a general idea of plot and maybe one character, it may even be a supporting character, but I never know what’s going to happen until the characters tell me. With the exception of Between, which I wrote from beginning to end, I usually start by writing a random scene and it will build from there. If I tried to plot everything out, I think it would destroy my creative drive completely.

Where do you find inspiration?

In art and in mythology. My favorite artists are Waterhouse, Michael Parkes and BROM. I love reading all kinds of mythology but especially Celtic and British.

Name five things that are on your desk right now?

My gargoyle Victor, a handout from MOMA featuring one of Tim Burton’s awesome drawings, a painting my daughter did in grade 5, a lava lamp, and my Nikon camera.

How do you handle writers block?

With oven mitts. Kidding. I jump on my trampoline and ballet. Usually in that order.

To read an excerpt from Between, please click HERE.

Learn more about Clarissa Johal on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy Links 

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  1. Replies
    1. Anytime, Clarissa! Wishing you the best with your new release! Cheers!

  2. Hi Clarissa, now I want to stop by your house and see what everyone's having for dinner! I love how you can start writing a book from a random scene. I'm such a sequential person I can't write page 2 until I've written page 1. Great interview.

    1. Anytime, Sara! I'm the supreme multi-tasker cook, lol. (At least that's what my kiddos seem to think!)
      And yes, it's kind of a random way to write, I get a picture/person in my head and it builds from there. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. Yeah, Clarissa, plotting kills my creative juices also. I had a good start on a book a couple years ago and decided to try a new plotting program. It's still sitting there. It's like I locked my character in a box and he can't get out!!! I need to go set him free! Hope Between sells lots and lots of copies.

  4. Haha!!! Let me know how that works out--plotting program? I think my characters would stage a strike if I did that. Thanks for stopping by, Rita. And I hope people like Between too. :)

  5. Just love that you have a gargoyle on your desk called Victor. You have that in common with fellow Musa paranormal horror writer Keith Pyeatt. :-)