Be afraid, ladies and gentlement of the Jack Verse, for I have a very special guest here in the land of Jack. That’s right, I’ve managed to lure Kindra Sowder into my web of darkness, so that you might bask in all that is her glory.
She is a writer of dark, urban fantasy and much, much more…everyone, give it up for Kindra!
<insert massive crowd noise here>
JW: Darkness. Let’s talk about darkness. Why? Because it’s something on the mind of every horror writer at every moment of every day. We daydream about the ugly, we fantasize about the horrific, we dream of the nightmare. We are the purveyors of the damned and we are that which hold tight to truth in fear.
And yet…we most often lead normal lives (inasmuch as a writer can lead a normal life). We aren’t killers, demons, monsters, or shadows lurking in the night or under the beds of children and nuns. How do we manage such a feat when our words dive deeper and deeper into the darkest psyches of human kind?
It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie.
I mean…book. Right. It’s only a book. But there’s some odd creature comfort in the knowing that someone is going to read our work and slink farther and farther under the covers as they do. In that knowing, there is joy and order…even if we’re talking the Order of the Gash.
KS: Darkness is a part of the human condition, which is one reason I have a tendency to focus on that when I write. And, if no one has noticed this trend already, I tend to sway towards writing about the duality inside of us all. That inner struggle between the dark and the light, the right and the wrong. Usually heavy on the extremely immoral. That’s just the nature of who I am.
As far as normalcy, I don’t know the meaning of the word. My mind is a very dark, twisted, and sadistic place where that word doesn’t exist. My work should be an indicator of that. The Executioner Trilogy was my first journey into that darkness that lives inside of us where Robin lives with an inner beast that creates fire, literally. The Miss Hyde Novellas are about a woman who has a very dark and murderous side that can only be satiated with death and a human heart.
So many of my other creations hinge on that darkness and my characters are by no means normal. Not even close. For me, that is simply boring. I want a character that is extraordinary in some fashion, whether it be a supernatural ability or extreme intelligence or an inner strength.
JW: I had a bracelet made a long time ago that had “Conformity’s For Zombies” engraved on a silver plate. It was very much how I felt back then…and to this day. I still wear it to remind me not only how much I differ from the blue and khaki army, but how I must always walk the untrodden path when it comes to my work.
There are a lot of people out there writing the same thing over and over and over and over. There are a lot of people out there writing only what’s safe. There are a lot of people out there looking for the “quick fix”. In my vision, that doesn’t work as a long-term goal. And that is something all horror writers much seriously consider. The genre of our passion is, if we’re being completely honest, niche. So hoping for the “big bang” sell to skyrocket a writer’s popularity is going about it all wrong. That’s exactly how the zombies thinks. Instead, you must align your thought process with the vampire and think long term.
Mu. Ha. Ha.
KS: I always strive for that difference in my work, which happens to explain a lot about my current works. I want to stand out. For me, while having a massive spike in sales is nice, I had stories to tell and each of them unique from what’s already out there. The Miss Hyde Novellas are my first very unique example of my work. I love Stevenson’s work, and I wanted to take it and twist it into something different, which I believe I have accomplished. I took the story and put it in a modern setting in New York City and our killer is a woman. Also there is no elixir that turns her into a killer. It is a curse that has been on her family lineage for thousands of years, plaguing one in a generation.
My other two works in progress are equally as intriguing and distinctive. The Permutation is a nice mixture of science fiction, dark fantasy, and Dystopian fiction. Think of it like a combination of Heroes, X-Men, and Divergent and you have it. I am tapping into some very primal fears in this one.
I have also been working on a short story called “Hiding behind Angel Eyes,” which I am expanding into a four part series because my beta reader was begging for more on the world I was creating. I am taking something most in this country hold dear and twisting it into something completely warped. Religion. I am going there and making God and his angels the bad guy, and the devil and demons our heroes. Yup, yup.
JW: I did the same thing with The Nameless Saga. Way back when I was in grad school (cough, cough…early nineties), I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d been lied to over the centuries and what came of those lies would eventually damn the human race to unthinkable horrors. I sat on the idea for a while and finally, when the publishing industry itself drove me to the brink of madness, I poured that idea into Hell’s Muse. It’s a dangerous game we play, toying with such fundamental belief systems, but it’s an important one. I’ve never been one of those writers who only writes to entertain. I want to make people think and, quite possibly, even change their point of view on a thing or two.
I believe it’s part and parcel to being an artist…the desire to incite change on a social and even global scale. Is it arrogant to think we can? Maybe. Is it crucial that we try? Certainly.
KS: I don’t think it’s arrogant at all. I bring all of these primal fears and twist common and even set ideals for this reason. I want to make people think about what it is that they actually believe. It’s not because I am trying to get them to think the same way I do. Far from it. We have become automatons who believe what we are told and don’t think for ourselves. That’s why I do it. Do we need to try? Abso-frickin-lutely!
I was raised Mormon. Very rigid in their belief system and I started to think for myself and left the church. I am now Agnostic and like to really push the envelope. I’m sure the new series will cost me some friends, but if they can’t tell the difference between fiction and real like I believe they have a whole other set of issues they need to contend with.
Where to find more Kindra