Interview with Leigh M. Lane, author of Finding Poe

WiHM2013SealThis 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:

http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/

The Author

Leigh M. Lane

Leigh M. Lane

Leigh M. Lane has been writing for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and twelve published short stories divided among different genre-specific pseudonyms. She is married to editor Thomas B. Lane, Jr. and currently resides in the beautiful mountains of western Montana. Her traditional Gothic horror novel, FINDING POE, is currently a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Awards in horror, and has also hit Amazon’s paid bestseller list.

Her other Leigh M. Lane novels include THE HIDDEN VALLEY, inspired by Barker, Bradbury, and King, WORLD-MART, a tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut, and the allegorical tale, MYTHS OF GODS.

For more information about Leigh M. Lane and her writing, visit her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.

The Book

Finding Poe

Finding Poe

When reality and fiction collide, there’s no telling what horrors might ensue.

In the wake of her husband’s haunted death, Karina must sift through the cryptic clues left behind in order to solve the mystery behind his suicide–all of which point back to the elusive man and author, Edgar Allan Poe.

Karina soon finds that reality, dream, and nightmare have become fused into one as she journeys from a haunted lighthouse in New England to Baltimore, where the only man who might know the answers to her many questions resides.

But will she find her answers before insanity rips her grip on reality for good? Might a man she’s never met hold the only key to a truth more shocking than even she could have imagined?

The Interview

Q. First of all, I want to thank you for being a part of the Women in Horror Month interview series. Does it surprise you that women are still underrepresented in the genre? What do you think we can do to change that?

A. Thanks so much for having me.  I’m amazed that the stigma surrounding female horror writers still exists as strongly as it does.  I know it’s been a common practice for women to adopt male pseudonyms or use initials in place of first and second names.  I think the first step toward change is for women to embrace their place in horror—and ending the practice of hiding their gender is paramount.  There are so many women who have just as much to offer, if not more, to the genre, and it’s time we took our rightful place as strong, provocative, and fear-inspiring writers.

Q. Your book, “Finding Poe”, is a 2013 EPIC Awards finalist in Horror. Are you pretty excited about that, and what can you tell us about the award?

A. I’m very excited and, moreover, deeply honored.  EPIC (the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) was founded in 1998 to promote and validate electronic publishing.  It offers free resources, such as model contracts, pirating takedown notices, and warnings about scams and poor business practices.  Each year, it holds awards for electronically published novels, novellas, short stories, anthologies, poetry, and cover artists, welcoming publishers ranking from well respected to Indie.  For more information on EPIC and its annual awards, go to http://epicorg.com/.

Q. You’re the second Poe fan we’ve had this month – well, third if you want to include me, but we just interviewed Wendy Pini about her take on “Masque of the Red Death.” Why do you think the enigmatic horror writer has had such an impact on the genre?

A. Poe’s contribution to the Gothic horror has been unparalleled.  He had a gift with language and a knack for constructing immersive, sensual works, which he built in carefully crafted layers filled with an amazing level of depth and symbolism.  I think his greatest contribution to the horror genre was his use of the “unreliable narrator,” a trope I employ in Finding Poe.  Through the unreliable narrator, Poe was able to explore his own fears of insanity and loss of order and control.  He used it to dig deep into the psyche—both his and his audience’s—creating stories and poems that one not only reads, but also experiences.

Q. “Finding Poe” isn’t your first venture into the horror genre. What are some of the other horror stories you’ve written, and what attracts you to the genre?

A. Most of my horror is in the form of short fiction, a handful of which I have published as anthology contributions.  I have a novella titled The Corruption, my cyberpunk take on the zombie subgenre (with integrated technology being the culprit rather than a virus or similar mechanism), and I have a couple of dystopian novels that are scary in a much more realistic fashion, most notably my commentary on corporate America spun out of control, World-Mart.  Under Lisa Lane, I have an erotic horror trilogy titled The Darkness and the Night, which features the darker side of vampire fiction and is not for the faint of heart.

What attracts me most to the genre is the opportunity it offers to explore and make sense of humanity’s many evils.  Through imaginary monsters, we can take a closer look at the monsters in real life—the rapists, the murderers, the wife-beaters, the con artists—and we can put them in their rightful place in the periphery of the civilized world.  I’ve known my share of human “monsters,” and I’ve seen my fill of social injustice; those are what drive me to continue writing what I write.

Q.  While “Finding Poe” is a gothic horror novel, your protagonist Karina has her sanity severely tested and often doesn’t know whether the evils she is facing are imaginary or real. Do you think that there is an element of psychological terror involved, and if so how do you mix the two subgenres?

A. Psychological terror was one of Poe’s specialties, so it was only right that I based my homage to him around that.  Like I said, one of the most horrifying prospects to Poe was the possibility of losing one’s sanity.  If you look at some of his most notable works—for example, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”—you can see the running theme of meshing reality and imagined horrors.  “The Sphinx” and “The Spectacles” offer commentary on individual perception.  I think it’s the psychological aspect to Poe’s works that make them so memorable, and I strove to emulate that in Finding Poe.

Q. One intriguing aspect of your plot is that you have woven in many elements of Poe’s stories into the narrative. How do these elements play into Karina’s story?

A. I’m glad you asked, as those elements are more important to the story than many readers have realized.  The weaving of Poe’s works into the plot is actually a clue about Karina’s true nature.  A good percentage of my readers have assumed that either Karina is crazy or I’ve expanded upon Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream,” and this is not the case.  There is a reason Karina experiences these pieces of Poe’s fiction, all of which you’ll notice have been distorted or twisted in some way, and once you find the reason behind it, the enigmatic ending goes from puzzling to philosophical.

Q. Do you consider the novel a sort of tribute to Poe?

A. Definitely.  I had been revisiting some of his works when the idea came to me, and I took several months to read and re-read every piece of his I could get my hands on in preparation for the novel.  I even went to great lengths to write it in a voice as similar to his as I could manage, hoping to achieve the effect that perhaps I had borrowed his muse for a couple of months and, in effect, allowed him to continue his work from beyond the grave.

Q. You write in other genres under other pen names – do you find it challenging to change genres or does it come naturally?

A. I feel compelled to write in multiple genres.  When an idea hits me, I have no choice but to pursue it.  Beginning a new story in a genre drastically different from the last requires a period of transition, but once I find a particular work’s “voice,” the rest typically falls into place without any extra effort.  It’s like finding the harmony to a song’s melody; once you figure out a few of the notes, the rest comes on its own.

Q. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know that we haven’t covered yet?

A. In response to so many readers requesting a sequel to World-Mart, I’m doing the next best thing by writing a prequel.  I had considered picking up where the story had left off, but given the dystopian nature (and the uncertainty I strove to leave with the abrupt but provocative ending) I decided against it.  I don’t want to reveal much about it at this point, but I will say that most of the world building bridges the gap between society as we know it and the corpocracy featured in World-Mart.

Oh, and hidden in one of my answers above (beyond my answer to question #6), there’s one more clue to the puzzle of Karina’s true identity….

Find Lisa Online

For more information about Leigh M. Lane and her writing, visit her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.

She also has a Facebook author’s page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLeighMLane

And her Amazon page is here http://www.amazon.com/Leigh-M.-Lane/e/B0055DSE6Y

 

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~ by Sumiko Saulson on February 23, 2013.

7 Responses to “Interview with Leigh M. Lane, author of Finding Poe”

  1. Thanks so much for having me, Sumiko!

  2. I really liked this interview. Especially the part where Leigh says, “perhaps I had borrowed his [Poe’s] muse for a couple of months.” Writing fiction is such a mysterious process. I like to think that writers can time travel just a little bit with the spirits of the dead.

    • I’m glad you liked the interview. If a writer’s muse could be borrowed, I definitely think Poe’s would be a good choice of muses.

    • I like to think the inspiration behind Poe’s work played at least some part in FINDING POE–even if it was merely the inspiration I gained by reading all of his poems and short stories.

      I am currently shopping a novelette about a woman who borrows other authors’ muses when she writes. 😉

      • Oh wow! That sounds amazing. I look forward to hearing more about your novelette in the future (and I totally want to call it a novella. 😛 never could figure out the difference).

      • Typically, a novelette is around 10,000 words, while a novella is around 20,000 words, but definitions do vary a little between publishers. 🙂

        I’ll keep you posted. I almost sold it for use in a horror anthology (the editor really liked it, but didn’t have enough room). 😦

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