Interview with Margarita Felices, author of “Judgement of Souls”
Interview with Margarita Felices,
author of “Judgement of Souls”
This interview is being included in the 2013 Women in Horror Interview Series. Every February, Women in Horror Recognition Month (WiHM) assists underrepresented female genre artists in gaining opportunities, exposure, and education through altruistic events, printed material, articles, interviews, and online support. You can find out more about WiHM here:
About the Author:
Margarita Felices is the author of “Judgement of Souls”, a supernatural novel about a different kind of vampire. She’s also penned several other supernatural stories such as “The Psychic”. She lives in Cardiff, Wales (UK) with her partner and three little mad dogs and works for a well-known TV broadcasting company. She started out writing short stories for magazines, to pay her way through college. She considers herself Gothic, and loves the fashion, the architecture and the music.
Q: I really enjoyed your story “The Psychic”. It has all of the earmarks of traditional supernatural horror, or supernatural suspense, and reminds me of some of the short stories that were the basis for the Outer Limits and Twilight Zone series episodes. You’ve stated in other interviews that you consider your genre as “supernatural”.
I was wondering what you think about the relationship between the “supernatural” and the “horror” genres? How are they different, and how are they similar? Do you find the stories you write ever crossing these genres?
A: Thank you, that’s kind of you to say – they were great programmes.
We had a similar series some years back in the UK and a reviewer compared it to one that would be written for that Hammer House of Horror series, that’s quite a compliment. The Psychic is a story that I’ve been waiting to re-write for a while.
When referring to either supernatural or horror, I’d prefer if they were never mixed. I mean most horrors are about people killing each other whereas Supernatural are more about different beings/entities. In horror, although you still have to tell a tale, it has to stay believable because the more normal it seems, the more horrific it will be. You must believe that the man across the road has a basement full of dead bodies etc… and good luck trying to sleep after a horror story. Whereas in supernatural, your imagination can wander through the most bizarre of situations and it still makes sense, but you can dismiss it from your mind and not get nightmares because it’s not real. Once you start mixing the two it loses all credibility.
Q: Here at “Things That Go Bump in My Head” one of the important subjects is the dearth of Women in Horror. I had two questions for you related to that subject. I was wondering if you think that stories by women which contain horror elements, are more likely to be categorized as another primary genre than stories by men? For example, Toni Morrison’s book “Beloved” is a ghost story, but it’s generally categorized as Historical Fiction.
A: No not at all. What I’ve learnt so far is that it all comes down to marketing. When I first wrote JOS and submitted it, I was adamant that it was a Gothic horror, and to me it still is. But I was advised to market it as a Paranormal Romance too, and it helped sales. I suppose deep down it is a love story – it didn’t start that way, but it ended that way so I have to go with it. I don’t believe that nowadays there is discrimination between male and female authors. People just don’t care who wrote the book, they are after a good story.
Q. Also, you mentioned in another interview that your early short stories were published in Women’s Magazines. I found that interesting. Do you think that would be a good route for women in horror to pursue, and conversely, do you think that your genre placement in supernatural as opposed to horror made you a better match for those magazines?
A. That’s right, but my writing went further back than that. I always loved to write, even at school. When I wrote those stories I was in college and needed the money! I wrote all sorts of stories; The Psychic was only one of them. It was a great way of getting my stories read, but it’s very difficult to approach magazines these days without an agent, I’ve sent off lots of stories and had each one sent back. Not because they weren’t any good, but because they just don’t accept them without an agent. One of the things that I didn’t like too much was that they severely re-write them. The Psychic was re-written to fit two pages in a magazine; they took everything out of it. I didn’t like their version, but it paid well and I was an inexperienced author, so I just let it go.
Q:Your novel, “Judgement of Souls” features a strong female protagonist in
Rachel, and it opens with references to the Judeo-Christian Lilith legends, which are popular among certain segments of modern feminist or woman-centered society. Would you consider it as a book that has feminist, or pro-woman themes? Do you think it is a story that resonates strongly with women?
A: I certainly hope so. I was so fed up of having the female characters as a weakling all the time. I wanted a good strong female character that I could associate with; she takes control of any situation and doesn’t let anyone stop her. But she has so many flaws and weaknesses too, she’s vulnerable at times and I believe that women will associate with her – except the blood lusting that is. I loved the Lilith stories. I read as much as I could about the legends. I was brought up Catholic so it was never mentioned to me as a child, but to find out that there was another story to what I’d been taught was fascinating. Lilith wasn’t someone who was going to lie down and let Adam walk all over her; she was strong and independent and was cast out for being so. At least that’s the story.
Q: How do you feel writing a novel differs from writing a short story?
A: Oh you can lose yourself when you write a novel. You travel with your characters and meet different people and you have adventures. You get to know each and every character and their personalities and you feel as though they are your friends who travel with you and keep you company. Writing short stories means that you have to get into your story quickly, tell it and get out just as quickly. You have no time to get to know your characters, to know what makes them tick. But it’s also harder to write. There are things you want to say but if you do, you face the danger of writing another novel instead of a short!
Q: Do you plan on writing other novels in the future?
A: As soon as I finish the JOS trilogy I plan to write a few stories about Rachel and Daniel being occult archaeologists and working with the Righteous. It’ll be a stormy partnership, vampires will always hate the Righteous and they will never trust each other, even though they may appear on the same side. But I hope it’ll work.
I do have another story that I plan to write about a serial killer and a woman who dreams about him and his murders – that’s for another day.
Q: Some authors who’ve started out writing short stories later released short story compilations – Steven King certainly comes to mind. Do you see yourself doing something like that in the future?
A: I don’t plan on it. Once the story is done, it’s done. Why go back and
re-do them or collect them to put in one bigger book? I may write a few more short stories if I have time in between the novels but there are no plans. But then – never say never!
Q:Is there any advice you’d give to new writers, just starting out, who might
read this interview?
A: Don’t give up. If you have a story that is dying to be told, then work hard to tell it. But make sure you are doing your best work and you get an editor that can help you make the most of your manuscript.
Don’t give up even though you may get rejection letters. We all get them! If everyone thought like that there’d be no books, no films. Keep writing, even if its dribble! Then read, re-read and edit. Try and write a little each day. One hundred words a day is seven hundred a week, twenty-eight hundred a month and one hundred words a day is so simple!
And carry a Dictaphone or a notebook and pen!
Q: Finally… is there anything you’d like our readers to know about you that we haven’t covered yet?
A: I love living in Cardiff because, for all its modernisation, there are still remnants of an old Victorian city. I love writing and base my stories in Cardiff because it has such character. When I can, I go out to the coast and take photographs, mind you, we have a lovely castle in the city centre and a fairytale one just on the outskirts, so when I feel I can’t write anything, I take a ramble to those locations and it clears my head. I suppose it was inevitable that some day I would write a novel. My teachers at school used to limit me to no more than ten pages. I am Gothic; I love the fashion, the architecture and the music. The club in my novel is real. When I was writing Judgement of Souls 3: The Kiss at Dawn, I got all my club material and clientele from a club called Bogiez, I wouldn’t have finished that section without them.
I’m not one of those authors who have no time for people. If you want to ask me anything, go to the JOS Facebook Page (<–link) and ask. Whether you want to know about me or the characters in my book or you just want to come by for a chat, if I’m online we can talk! Or send me a message on Twitter @felicm60, but so you know, I’m hopeless on Twitter, I much prefer Facebook.
~ by Sumiko Saulson on June 18, 2012.
Posted in Interviews, WiHM 2013, Writing Advice
Tags: advice, Author, Cardiff, Daniel, fiction, Horror, Judgement of Souls, literature, Margarita Felices, novel, novels, Paranormal Romance, psychic, Rachel, supernatural, The Psychic, The Righteous, undead, vampire, WiHM 2013, women in fiction, Women in Horror, Women in Horror Interview Series, Women in Horror Month 2013, writing