On this blustery Autumnal Sunday, it’s the perfect weather for curling up by the fireside and opening a volume of chilling tales. So, in keeping with our October Horror Promotion it gives me great pleasure to welcome back to Unusual Fiction – Author and Poet; Joanne Van Leerdam. Joanne is a prolific poet and has published many volumes of poetry as well as her tales of dark fiction.
Joanne is a poet, blogger, writer, thinker, puzzler, teacher, traveller, photographer and generally nice person. She drinks far too much coffee, but is highly dependent on the caffeine for successful navigation of that part of each day that occurs before lunchtime, so she’s not giving it up anytime soon. Despite having lived all her life in Australia, she has, thus, far, avoided being killed or maimed by any of the deadly wildlife, which is probably a good thing. Furthermore, she does not surf, live at the beach, or have a pet kangaroo.
Other than Australia, Canada is her favourite place in the world. She’s proud to have been adopted as an honorary Canadian.In addition to writing powerful, thought-provoking poetry, short-but-incredibly meaningful stories, and some creepy, macabre horror, she teaches senior high school English, History and Drama/Production. She is an active member and performer in her local theatre company.Joanne’s poetry is contemporary, moody, sometimes sensual and always easy to read – and it will get you in the feelings. One reviewer put her on the “shelf of legends” with Ginsberg and Whitman, calling Nova “A beautiful ride through a beautiful mind”.
Question 1. What draws you to horror as a genre?
I love being able to explore ideas such as the balance between good and evil, poetic justice, and inexplicable events that sometimes just happen in life without any warning or resolution.
Question 2. In your opinion, what are the essential components of a great ghost story?
I think the best ones play on the fear of the unknown, and really build up the anticipation of something dreadful. I enjoy it most when a writer keeps me guessing and then shocks the hell out of me.
Question 3. If you could have a celebrated horror/ghost story writer (living or dead) endorse your writing who would you pick?
Oh gosh, that’s hard. Maybe Edgar Allen Poe because, like me, he wrote both short fiction and poetry.
Question 4. What is your favourite character from one of your works and why?
Friday, the magical black cat. He’s affectionate and loving, and then BAM! he’s delivering swift justice to someone who has felt the need to be a jerk or make someone else suffer. Who doesn’t want Friday in their life?
Question 5. Have you ever experienced a supernatural experience or ghostly encounter?
My dad used to own a bookstore and there was “something ” living upstairs in the empty flat. We would often hear it moving things, even though there was nothing up there, and we’d hear footsteps on the stairs when we were the only people in the building. He was scared. I thought it was kind of cool, especially since nothing sinister or vindictive ever happened.
Check out Joanne’s horror titles:
Lac Du Mort In all digital stores via jvlpoet.link/ldm
From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.
Curious Times. In all digital stores via jvlpoet.link/ct2
More stories about a black cat, superstition and strange events.Friday, the magical black cat with a devilish sense of justice, returns in a second collection of macabre and darkly humorous stories. Set at significant times of the year, these stories celebrate key events while Friday delivers his own brand of feline justice to people who fully deserve what’s coming to them.
If you have ever wished for revenge, or taken pleasure in seeing horrible people get their just desserts, this book is for you.
Excerpt: A Curious Halloween (in Curious Times)
“Oh! Those jack-o-lanterns look amazing!!”
“Yeah! That black cat looks almost real, too!”
Friday stood and swished his tail, and meowed loudly at them.
“Oh! It’s not a decoration!” the taller girl giggled.
“I swear, Ashley, you’re so dumb sometimes. Of course it’s a real cat.”
“Well, how was I supposed to know, Emma? People do decorate for Halloween, you know!”
“Whatever. Let’s get a spooky selfie with these cool decorations!”
“And the cat!”
“Sure. The cat too. Move in closer.”
Emma raised her phone and lined up the photo. Glowing pumpkins illuminated the sheen of Friday’s fur and his green eyes shone vividly in the dark. Emma took the photo and tapped the screen to see how it turned out. Both girls screamed at the sight of a monster’s face looking over Emma’s shoulder, horned and slimy with its long black tongue in her ear as it grinned back at them. Ashley spun around, but the monster was nowhere in sight.
“What the heck? Where did that come from?” Emma squealed, trying in vain to delete the photo.
“There’s nothing there. It must be the app doing a funky Halloween thing.” Ashley looked behind them again and checked behind the garden wall to reassure herself as she spoke. Satisfied that there was nothing hiding behind them, she said, “Come on, Em, take another one.” She positioned herself beside Friday and put her arm around her friend. Emma switched back to the camera app, lined up another shot, and tapped the button.”