In the new series romance Jana DeLeon's The Secret of Cypriere Bayou, horror writer Olivia Markham is thrust into a real-life mystery when cop John Landry turns to her for help. Now we "interview" Olivia Markham about writing, her belief in the supernatural and what her fans can expect next!
Olivia, you have a unique writing style when crafting a horror novel. Tell us what you do and why?
Atmosphere is a big influence on my creativity. Creating the right tone and setting for a horror novel is equally as important as creating the right characters and plot. In order to get myself in the right mental mode for a book, I rent haunted houses and stay in them to write my current novel. Each house is selected based on location, look and feel and weighs heavily into the story I craft. The house may now be a bed & breakfast or it may be empty and remote, like laMalediction, the house where I came face-to-face with the evil I write about.
Do you have any plans to write what happened to you at laMalediction into a book?
In a way, it's already in my last work - not the bad guy or the reason - but the feeling I had when I was in the house. That on-edge, unnerved feeling that I was being watched, that something was never quite balanced. For someone who is normally logical and fearless, it was disconcerting to find myself feeling the exact unrest that I'd written about so many times before. Writing about it does not prepare you for experiencing it.
Have you ever seen a ghost?
I've seen a lot of things I can't explain. Call it ghosts, residual energy...whatever you'd like. They weren't explainable by science or logic. This world is an incredible place filled with things that science has no answers for. Just because it can't be labeled or isn't present all the time, doesn't mean it's not there. I don't limit my belief system to only things you can find in a textbook. How boring would that be?
Of the books you've written, which is your favorite?
Usually the one I just finished. (laughs) But on a serious note, if I had to choose a favorite, it would be Hiding Places. The book features a small town that is seemingly perfect at first glance, but where evil has festered and is ready to strike. It shows how easy it is for evil to appear normal and safe and how devastating it is when someone realizes how close they've been to it for decades.
What's next for Olivia?
A new book, of course! I've promised my fiance and my editor that this one will take place at a bed and breakfast, far, far away from the Louisiana swamps.
Will you ever visit laMalediction again?
Maybe. The estate attorney is going to hire a historian to document the history and family of the house. I'm sure I'll talk with the historian about my experiences at the house. But rest assured, that if I visit the house, it will be during daylight hours only and never, ever if there's a chance of a storm.
Thanks for talking to us, Olivia, and best of luck with your next book!
Intrigued by Olivia? You can read all about Olivia Markham, John Landry and the mystery they are trying to unravel in The Secret of Cypriere Bayou, on shelves now!