It’s our second weekend of fabulously fearsome fiction and today I am delighted to welcome to Unusual Fiction author of paranormal horror and fantasy, Jessica Flaherty.
Jess Flaherty is one lucky writer. She has two great kids, a day job that she loves, and she gets to co-write an ever-expanding paranormal universe with her very best friend, her husband Keith.
Their novel, Always Darkest, features a demon named Ben. It garnered a review from fantasy icon Piers Anthony, who called it, “A very different story” and “A solid fantasy novel.” Fans have compared their style to a combination of Douglas Adams, George R.R. Martin, and Christopher Lamb. It was selected as Book Talk Radio Club’s Best in Fantasy for 2018 and continues to garner strong reviews and a dedicated following.
Something’s Gotta Give takes another look at Ben’s life, from before the adventures of Always Darkest. This story of a celebrity soul collection ends very differently than their favorite demon Ben expects. The Twelve Days of Fic-mas Volume 1 compiles twelve holiday themed stories from their universe, and of course Ben makes a few appearances.
On her own, Jess loves to write fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and a fair amount of action-oriented fan fiction (under the name Objessions on fanfiction.net). Visit demonsrunlit.com for more information, and plenty of free content, including more short stories. From fantasy, to horror, to romance, to humor, if you check out Jess’s work, you won’t be disappointed!
Why do you write horror? Tell us about your horror journey?
I write the weird and wild (paranormal, psychological, possession types of horror) because I love finding the magical in the mundane. You always hear the advice, “Write what scares you.” I just decided to take it literally and write the things that scare and disturb all of us. While I don’t write exclusively horror, all my work contains elements of the genre. My book series is primarily paranormal fantasy, but there’s a significant horror influence and strong horror elements in the book. Piers Anthony (Xanth, Incarnations of Immortality, et al.) reviewed my first novel (co-written with my talented husband) and commented on the fact that there were some truly scary things he wasn’t used to seeing in paranormal fantasy. The good news is he liked it!
Your favourite horror author and the book you like best by this author?
I really enjoy a number of horror authors. I started as a fan of Stephen King very young. I grew into Richard Matheson and Robert Chambers in high school and college. And, of course, like so many of us I always return to Lovecraft. I’ve been revisiting Matheson lately and I Am Legend is always a standout. I think my favorite of his is less strictly horror and more paranormal though. What Dreams May Come, both the book and the beautiful movie starting the late great Robin Williams, is just such a breath-taking story of love and loss, Heaven and Hell, and given the bent of my book series, it strikes a chord.
What scares you?
I have a very active imagination, so a lot of things can scare me if I’m in the right (or is it wrong?) mood. I’m prone to terrible nightmares. They often find their way into my writing. I’m not ashamed to admit there are plenty of nights I sleep with the light on.
If I’m a hundred percent honest though, the thing I am most afraid of is heights. I get uncomfortable even watching a character on screen up high, including when I know it’s a special effect. I’m working on it though. My goal is to master rock climbing before my next birthday.
What have you got in the pipeline?
I have a number of projects in production at the moment. I continue to work on promoting my novel Always Darkest, Book I of The Arbitratus Trilogy. Book II, Before the Dawn is nearing completion. I have several horror shorts coming out in an anthology from Writer’s Assembled later this year. Additionally, my husband and I will be appearing at the Vermont Sci-Fi Fantasy Expo in April 2019 as exhibitors and panel guests. We are also developing a role-playing game based on our paranormal universe, getting a Patreon up and running, and continuing to develop the universe around our series in other shorts, novellas, and novels. It’s a busy time to be a part of the Flaherty Writing Team, also known as Demons Run Lit.
Please, include a paragraph of your work – your favourite passage or a few lines from a work in progress.
Here’s an excerpt from Before the Dawn, my work in progress:
Teddy made his shuffling slippered way down the hall, rubbing his eyes. It wasn’t so much sleep stickiness now, they were beginning to burn. Awful smells started to overpower his mom’s good cooking. One smelled mechanical like when Mal’s catalytic converter went on the fritz a while ago, one smelled kind of like the stink of the grill on the patio the morning after a cookout, and the other was a sickly metallic smell that made Teddy feel as though he’d eaten ten pennies. He was stopped cold by the tableau he witnessed as he entered the dining room, and fell to his knees retching and weeping, remembering all at once that this couldn’t be real, remembering what had happened, and realizing that it didn’t matter if it wasn’t real, he was really here.
Spread out over the dining room table was his father’s dismembered and smoking corpse. It was arranged carefully on various platters, as though this was some kind of nightmare holiday. In serving bowls tucked neatly in between the plates were dishes with big spoons and ladles containing what could only be blood, brains, and ugh, Teddy didn’t even know, but probably other inside parts. Teddy saw that Kelly’s highchair was empty but there was a split down the middle of its back and a long, curved blade rested in the wood of it, blood pooled in the seat, turning black and sticky as he looked on.
In front of the empty chair was a large platter covered with a silver dome, a gleaming carving knife resting on its edge. Teddy prayed under his breath that no one would open it. Then he thought about what would be there if they did and he immediately threw up all over his mom’s favorite cream-colored carpet. This was all terrible enough, he didn’t want any of that all over him. He struggled to his feet, using the door frame for leverage to compensate for his shaking legs and he leaned against it heavily, pretty sure he was going to pass out any second.
Find out more about Jessica Flaherty’s books and her writing:
Always Darkest: http://mybook.to/alwaysdarkestbook
Somethings Gotta Give: http://mybook.to/somethingsgottagive
The Twelve Days of Fic-mas: http://mybook.to/12daysoffic-mas
Realm of Magic (Horror short in anthology): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1949398005/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vp
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/