Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meet horror's dark queen Suzi Albracht

I am petrified of my first guest in The Most Excellent Worldwide Book Tour so let's give a terrific chilling welcome to Suzi Albracht, who's only happy when she's frightening her readers. Be warned: this is a writer not to be scorned. 'Scorn Kills.' Children and scaredy-cats like me should not be reading these books so I'm hoping I can make it through the interview without hiding behind the cushions.

Contact Suzi: 
email her if you want to be alerted of new book releases.

Pull up a chair and tell us about yourself, Suzi.

I love to write horror thrillers with intense personal relationships between characters. I started reading earlier in life than most of my friends and spent many hours hidden in closets and under beds, sneaking in just another ten minutes of whatever book I was reading. As soon as I was old enough, my mother would send me to the library to pick up books for her. This delighted me because it opened up a whole new world of books not available in school.

I read everything I could get my hands on but was drawn to sci-fi, horror and thrillers. As I matured, I would say my main influences became Stephen King, Dean Koontz and William Faulkner. My writing definitely reflects those influences.

I can honestly say my twitter bio describes me to a T - Write, scare myself, turn all the lights on, write some more. Take a break, play pool, kick butt/get butt kicked, go write more horror, double lock door.

Stephen King, Dean Koontz and William Faulkner. What impresses you about each of these writers? How do you think they influenced you?

I fell in love with William Faulkner first. I love the way he makes music with words. From the moment you first open my favorite Faulkner book – A Light in August – you find yourself swept away with the melody he plays. Sometimes that tune is dark and gloomy, other times it is wistful and longing. He fills me with emotion. Dean Koontz captivates me with his stories. To me they could be happening right next door. While he is totally a horror writer, he is also a writer of human experiences. 

But Stephen, oh baby, he speaks to my heart. He takes Faulkner’s melodies and Koontz storytelling to a new level of heart wrenching, soul stomping, in your face horror. He weaves his stories of horror in such a way that I feel they are happening to me. The first SK story I read was Salem’s Lot. By the time I read The End I was hooked for life. I felt the desperation, the fear, the need for normalcy, every emotion the characters felt. He also surprises me with this stories. Each is unique and none of them are cookie cutter Stephen King. I especially love him because he hasn’t resorted to the slasher novels that are so trite to me, instead he relies on the readers imagination. He takes you to that dark place where you fear going and then leads you into even darker places. Because my writing is in the style of Stephen King, I only hope I never get boring and can capture your imagination the way SK has captured mine.

How do you think the horror genre is perceived by other writers?

Interesting question. I think true writers, no matter their genre, respect the horror genre. They know the hard work everyone puts into their writing and they know that includes horror writers. There are some writers who look down their noses at the horror genre but to be honest, those individuals are not true artists. Just because someone puts a few words on paper and even self publishes a book on Amazon doesn’t make them a true writer. They authored a book, that’s it. True artists study the craft. They grow with each sentence they write. Each word they put to paper is critiqued in their minds and shined to perfection before it is allow to stay there. A writer like that appreciates other genres because writing is a gift that is earned.

Why do you think people actually want to be scared? Isn't fear a negative emotion?

Let’s start with the negative emotion aspect. Isn’t every emotion that makes you feel something good? Some people just go through the motions of life without feeling anything. No joy, no anger, no fear, nothing. They think they are happy but are they? I say no. As human beings, we were designed to feel emotions. Sure love or happiness make you feel secure but fear makes you feel alive. Once you experience fear in a novel, the emotion of love will be richer and more vivid than before. 

I can’t speak for anyone else but when I write or read a novel, I can experience things I’d never experience in real life. And that means emotions too. While I’m not a thrill junkie, diving out of airplanes or jumping onto moving trains, I can get that same heart pounding thrill in a novel. When a novel is really good and puts goosebumps on my flesh, it gets me so pumped up that when I close it, the sheets on my bed feel silkier, the perfume of my shampooed hair hangs in the air and my own breathing is reassuring to me. I feel ALIVE.

I think there are many reasons for people to want to feel scared. As I just mentioned, it makes me feel more alive. For others, it is an escape from whatever boredom they live through every day. For still others, they need to forget their car that needs a new transmission and their looks that are leaving them at a rapid pace.

You've said that what you most want is for readers to feel the emotions of your characters. Do you identify with your characters and their situations? Any that you specially drew you in?

Actually, I don’t identify with any of my characters or situations. I do wish I could meet some of them in person. Mikael, for instance, is someone I could admire. He is loyal to a fault and has the kind of compassion more people need. He’s also funny and fun to be with. He both loves and adores his wife and son. Hey, I could date him! Teasing, but seriously, both Mikael and Jake are men who are interesting and multi-layered. To be fair, Carl is a very complicated person who would be fun if he wasn’t such a jerk. I think there is more to Carl that will come out in future books. I hope before he meets his end. I like all my characters, even snarky Bill. I find every dimple, every character twitch to be interesting, and even when they are being total d**ks, I want to know more about them.

Do you have any little writing habits?

I just keep a supply of a special brand of pens in purple and hot pink nearby. I can’t go without my neon colored index cards. Whenever I am starting a new book, I start jotting snippets of the story on my index cards. I carry those cards everywhere with me and jot down my snippets in the weirdest places. Once I get enough, maybe three inches, I type them into the computer. I’ll juggle and re-juggle them until I get the backbone of my story and a flow of potential chapters. After that, it’s all champagne and roses as I begin to flesh out and write the story. That part is euphoric for me. I feel all the emotions the characters experience, smell all the scents, even hunger if they do. It’s like living my own personal story.

Tips for new writers, especially of horror as a genre?

Develop a thick skin. There is an abundance of critics who are quick to offer suggestions that may or may not work for you. You have to learn how to decipher whether a criticism is deserved and should be taken to heart, or if that person just has a different opinion from you. It is also critical to your own sanity to keep in mind that trolls are everywhere, even among your fellow writers. You should still keep an open mind, unless it is an out and out attack. 

Most importantly, if someone says you have typos in your story, say thank you and fix them. If you are putting your book out there, even if it is free, you are obligated to provide the most honest product you can. That includes giving your reader an enjoyable read that is not marred by typos. 

Lastly, always, always be true to your character and story. Just because you write horror does not mean you can feel free to throw in gratuitous slasher scenes or gross-out sex lines to sell your story. When you do that, you are lying to yourself and your art. Only put in what moves the story along and tells your story as it is meant to be told. Oh, and have fun. I do every single day and I love it.

Thank you for joining me on my blog, Suzi. Your passion really makes me want to read your books. Perhaps a peek. In daytime...

Scorn Kills, Death Most Wicked and The Devil’s Lieutenant are all part of The Devil’s Due Collection

Book link
Book Description
The thing Evil craves most is innocence. When small children disappear, you can be assured that Evil has crawled out of its dirty corner. And when those children turn up dead, Evil has clawed its mark on humanity.

What if you were a homicide detective and little girls were suddenly being kidnapped and murdered by a devious pedophile? And what if that pedophile left no evidence behind except for the broken bodies? What would you sacrifice to save just one innocent child? Would any sacrifice be too great? What if it cost you someone you loved? What if, by saving that child, you unleash a horrific monster into your own life?

Mikael Ruskoff was living his dream. He was a highly successful, homicide detective working a career he loved. He had a mother who adored him, a son he took skateboarding, and a wife he loved more than words could express. He played a mean drum set every Thursday night with his best friend on guitar. His life was comfortable and pleasurable. Then he caught a case that would change his life forever.
Here are some reviews of Suzi's books to make up for the fact I just can't read or watch horror. I get nightmares and I avoid anything that might spark them off. However, I have every respect for the genre and for those of you who like to feel the fear and read it anyway, these are for you!


Death Most Wicked
By B. Martin 

This is one creepy novel. First you have a man who wants a little sister so desperately he's willing to kidnap children, only to kill them when they refuse to live inside his shed. Then you have this hellish substance that turns victims into puddles of bloody liquid. And in the middle of all this is Mikael Ruskoff, a homicide detective who's charged with solving a seemingly never ending string of murders.

Suzi Albracht has a fantastic imagination, and she does a wonderful job bringing this disturbing tale to life. Twists abound. Characters are connected in ways you least expect. And it's all presented in a way that will leave you on the edge of your seat. (or in my case, my bed) Definitely a novel horror fans will want to check out.

Book link
The Devil’s Lieutenant
By Glen Barrera 

After reading and enjoying Albracht's Scorn Kills, I knew what was in store when I began reading this novel. I wasn't let down. In fact, after the first few pages I was convinced the author had taken this tale of horror to an even greater level. Like any good novel, horror or not, it's the well written characters that drive the story. 

In this department, Albracht didn't skimp: Jake Holyfield and his pregnant wife, Caroline; his brother Bobby and friend Max - the good guys - pitted against evil in the form of Carl and Dimitry Ivanovich. Quite simply, the bad guys want the good guys on their team, by whatever means. And they do have interesting means. 

But this story is also about the frailty of the human condition. What moral price would someone pay for unlimited money, youth, or the woman of their dreams? This is a fast paced read, with unexpected twists and turns, leading to a well-done ending. I definitely want to read Albracht's next book.
Book Link

Watch the Book Trailer if you dare: The Devil’s Lieutenant

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