Laura Yirak Gets Jack’d

I now have the pleasure of Jacking paranormal thrillers and children’s books. And what a perfect time to have a writer of spooky delights than October. As the penultimate witching hour arrives, let’s get spooky!

JW: Paranormal is one of the hottest genres on the block at the moment. But just what is “paranormal”? The Merrium Webster definition describes it as such:

not scientifically explainable : supernatural

So, from my perspective, that would include ghosts, vampires, zombies, and other inexplicable monsters. The problem with that (and I say this mostly tongue implanted in cheek) is many of the more “monstery monsters” aren’t hunky enough. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make a zombie pretty and sparkly enough to get the attention of the female reader! And believe me, I’ve tried. But when the sloppy goo and rotten breath come in to play, the sexy just goes away.

There is an incredible force to be reckoned with that is the current love affair with all things vampire. As a long time fan of the fangy ghoul I can honestly say I’m thrilled about that. But at some point The Count is going to get pissy with the way his children have been betrayed.

But you, you have gone one step further (after my own heart) and placed vampires in kilts (see “Delivered to Eternity, An Alesta the Vampire Book”). At least the average man isn’t going to look at a vampire in a kilt and mock away. If they do, well … we know what happens next.

LY: Thanks for having me. The mystery of the kilt—what lies beneath? Not to worry, there are no fangs under there, but perhaps something a little more scary!

The perfect man in my world, wears a kilt, though not a standard at all in the U.S. –take a trip to Scotland and that is another story. I lived there for many years. I have walked the misty moors, ran from the headless nun, and heard a banshee or two.

Vampires fit this climate perfectly! If you ever see a vamp in plaid, it’ll take your breath away, or perhaps your life!

JW: That begs the question – are frights different in other countries? Certainly societal mores are different. What is taboo in one country is not in another. So, do people in Scotland fear the same things the people in the United States fear? Certainly other countries have far more history to pull from for their legends and their spooks; and with that in mind, one would think the people of that country would also be more inclined to believe those stories.

So, to that end, do you think one country might be (collectively) a bigger fan of a particular genre? Would England more enjoy the serial killer story over Ireland? Would Germany prefer a torturous killer over a vampire romance? It’s not an easy question, what with the boundaries of commerce making it challenging for authors to sell to other countries, but it’s an interesting hypothesis that would be fascinating to explore.

LY: I do think different cultures are afraid of different spooks and some are more acceptable than others. For example, growing up in Scotland, I felt it was perfectly normal to talk about ghosts and such. There were stories in every family.

In the U.S.—I find that it is not as acceptable to discuss ghosts—a lot of people just don’t believe in them or I find the odd person who is, but it is rarer indeed. I would say that is because the U.S. is a BIG melting pot and many ideas are tossed about, accepted or not.

As far as genre specifics in specific countries, I can definitely see that coming into play. Cracking that code would be a hard one indeed.

JW: But let’s get back to the kilt. What is it that called you to the kilt? Personally? I love the kilt and would wear one every day if I didn’t get strange looks. I guess what I really need to do is find a vampire to embrace me so my sparkly essence would have everyone in thrall.

LY: HAHAHAHAHA! Have you ever seen Braveheart? Did it move you in any way? The kilt embodies all that is Scotland—FREEDOM! That and it shows off a man’s legs?

JW: Believe it or not, I’ve not seen Braveheart. I suppose I should. But then my love of the kilt veers more toward the skirt, so I can see that in just about any film.

So…let’s get back to spooks. What scares you? I realize that question is loaded. I could say “What scares you as a writer?” to be more specific. For me, the hardest part was the constant wondering if my published works were living out there with mistakes. I’ve had some bad experiences where I thought what I was publishing was as close to error free as possible, only to find out there were issues. That scares me. Now I have a new editor and a new system and things have improved significantly. But that fear is always there…and I think that is so with all writers. We want our works to be perfect.

And, on a different level – what scares you as a human? Really, really scares you. Are those fears such that you’d be willing to work through them with the help of your books? I do that. One of my biggest fears is being brutally attacked for being true to myself. I use that as fuel for both my Fringe Killer and Shero series – especially Shero.

LY: As a writer, I’m afraid that my idea could just vanish into oblivion. I could write all of these books and then one day that’s it—over. That is a very real possibility. Right now they are out there, who knows what will happen?

I do hear you on errors as well. I’m not necessarily afraid of them. I did have a few when I first self-published, but have worked very hard to rid my works of them. There could still be one, sitting out there in the dark, waiting to rear its ugly little head and bite me in the ****!

On a more human level, I am afraid of spiders—yes, lame! They FREAK me out. I scream when I see them and I do cope by writing of them. I have a very creepy spider scene in Delivered to Eternity.

I am also afraid of ghosts. I have had an encounter and it pretty much terrorized me for quite a long time. I stayed in a cabin out in the woods with my husband and it (though ‘it’ was a he) tried to pull us both out of the bed. Not Cool!

JW: That is quite true Laura. One of my concerns is that the traditional publishers will finally find a way to repress the little guy and somehow keep Amazon from promoting or, gasp, even selling our work. The Big 6 currently has no idea how to deal with the situation, but I’m sure they are plotting and scheming as we speak. I would hate to think all of this hard work we are all putting into our books would eventually go to waste. After all, the public has spoken. They like having us around. We represent diversity, choice, freedom, and success for the little guy. We are not big-business, which appeals to the average human being. But that surely doesn’t sit well with the traditional publishers.

I can’t imagine, though, ridding the world of our kind would be an easy feat. If the Big 6 did manage to get us off Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I would guess more sites like Smashwords would start appearing and readers would just have to look in other locations for us. It’s a bit scary…but it wouldn’t be an insurmountable hurdle.

LY: There are so many self-published works now, that I can only guess that Amazon/ B&N will have to one day, tighten it up a bit. I mean, 1 million plus books on their sites? Visibility is getting harder and harder to grasp. I would not be surprised if they set up a system in the future, where if you are not selling, you may not be featured. I hope that this does not happen. In the mean time—Keep Writing!

Laura was born and raised in Scotland and moved to the US in her pre-teens. She loves having a cup of tea while writing and is an avid camper and hiker

In college she spent two years writing poetry and didn’t discover that she loved writing longer works till her late 20’s

She is currently working on a psycho-thriller, a new children’s book, and a book of poems.


Dreams of Diamonds