Friday, October 8, 2010
An Interview with Author and Publisher Joan De La Haye
Joan De La Haye is the daughter of diplomats, educated partially in Vienna, fluent in four languages, qualified in hypnotherapy, holder of a degree in Art and Creative design, a devout lover of animals and ecology, co-owner of Rebel ePublishers who tackles Marketing and Operations, this golden-haired woman is also an outstanding, veteran author of… horror. And not your everyday chew-your-fingernails-to-the-elbow horror.
Joan, amongst other works, wrote the incomparable SHADOWS, an intense foray into insanity that leaves the reader wondering, questioning their own grip on reality. If you've ever wondered 'is it me, or is the world crazy?' – SHADOWS will leave you with a most disturbing answer.
Her next novel REQUIEM IN E SHARP (due out early 2011), a battle between a haunted cop and killer in Pretoria, South Africa, promises its own serving of madness and mayhem.
Q) Your mother and grandmother played important roles in your life. I really can't imagine your bedtime stories were tales of the occult and paranormal. What books did catch your attention as a child, and what sparked your interest to immerse yourself in the horror genre?
A) My Grandmother used to read the tales of King Arthur and his knights to me at bedtime and then as I got older I discovered Alexander Dumas and The Three Musketeers. My Father was a huge Dennis Wheatly fan, so I grew up with his books as an introduction to horror, but I must admit I never thought of the Wheatly books as being Horror novels. It was only in my twenties that I discovered Stephen King's Misery and was well and truly hooked on horror. I never looked back.
Q) Why start your own publishing company now when the literary world hasn't settled yet from the explosion of ebooks? Some may view this as risky, but I suspect you and your partners didn't enter into this lightly. I have to add; the quality of books and authors Rebel handles is most impressive.
When Caroline and I had both finished writing our books, we took a look around at the publishing industry and the problems that other publishers were having and decided to take our literary future into our own hands. We were also lucky enough to have Jayne Southern, a wonderful editor, join us on our venture. We started with ebooks and learnt a lot about publishing, we continue to learn something about this complicated industry every day. After a year of cutting our teeth on ebooks we decided to broaden our horizons and branched out into Print on Demand which really opened things up for us. Our books are now available all over the world in both ebook and paperback format. The decision to start our own Publishing company was a risky one, but it was definitely worth it.
Q) A question to satisfy my own curiosity. No doubt, once friends learned you turned to publishing, you had to learn the word 'no.' How did it feel to have to break the news their work wasn't up to Rebel's high standards?
A) Luckily I haven't really had to worry about it. My friends are all incredibly talented and most have contracts with big publishers, so in order for them to send me their manuscripts I'm the one who has to beg and plead. I also think they're waiting to see how Rebel does in the future.
Q) Even though you are besieged with work, you take time to readily communicate with fans you endearingly call "Freaky Darlings." That's an indicator of someone who truly enjoys people. How do you recharge your energy when you need a break?
A) I've never really thought of myself as a workaholic and if you love what you're doing it doesn't matter how busy you are, it doesn't seem like work. I love hearing from fans and aspiring Authors. It always makes me feel very special when someone goes out of their way to tell me how much they loved my book. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. But I will admit that in the middle of the day I sneak away from my laptop and veg out in front of the TV with my lunch to watch Supernatural or Castle and then it's back to work.
Q) How do you juggle publishing and writing without dulling the edge of either one?
A) I try and divide my day up. In the morning I focus on publishing and organising publicity for my Authors. Once I've handled all the emails and queries and whatever else has cropped up I then try and focus on my writing. After I've worked on a chapter or two I go back to publishing and deal with whatever has cropped up while I was working on the book. It seems to be working.
Q) For those who have a story to tell, but have yet to write it, what advice can you offer?
A) Just do it. Get writing! A book doesn't write itself, you have to open up that blank word document and write that first sentence and that first paragraph and keep at it until you have that first finished draft. I would also suggest going on a writing course. The people you meet and the things you learn on a good writing course is invaluable. Also join a writing group, whether it's in person or on-line. You're going to need the support of other writers, they're the only ones who truly understand what you're going through when you're having a problem with a plot twist or a character that has cropped up out of nowhere. And read Stephen King's On Writing. It's a book I read over and over again.