"Charlee Jacob...is clearly one of the best new writers working in the horror field today..."
- Edward Lee, author of City Infernal and Dahmer’s Not Dead
"If horror literature has a queen, it is without a doubt Charlee Jacob."
- Brian Hopkins, Bram Stoker Award Winning Author
"She has a fevered imagination, flashes of which would certainly give Clive Barker a run for his money...."
- Brian Hodge, CyberPsychos AOD
"[Charlee] drapes her fiction in mysticism, dives deep into the unexplainable, the enigmatic and the totally insane."
- Tom Piccirilli, Author of A Lower Deep
Charlee Jacob - Bio
Interview with Charlee Jacob
Q: When doing some background research for this interview I found you to be quite an enigma in terms of your online presence. Aside from a handful of interviews there seems to be only a small amount of information available about you and your work. As a fan I find it hard to believe that such a prolific and gifted award-winning author is not better known. Does this frustrate you as an author or do you prefer to let your work speak for itself?
A: I was beginning to do a lot more about that when, about a decade ago I was declared fully disabled with Fibromyalgia and several other problems that made it nearly impossible to sit up, to walk, or perform most daily functions. Several MRI’s and Neurologists later and they diagnosed me with Parkinson’s. I have also developed Narcolepsy. It is this difficulty that frustrates me, the constant ten out of ten pain level and the inability to stay awake.
Q: Could you please tell the readers some things about your upbringing and how this led to you becoming a writer (of primarily horror fiction)? How much of your childhood, for example, informs the themes and motifs that are threaded through your work?
A: My upbringing was very baby boomer; cold war, and keep your mouth shut about the condition of your family’s dirty laundry. My work appears to be about 80% Post Traumatic Stress. Post Toasties Serial). As experts are fond of saying, “Write what you know.” –and if you don’t know it, all of the ink and your blood put together…well, this is why it’s called fiction.
Q: What I have read of your work gives me a very strong surrealistic impression with the dreamlike prose imbued with such vivid imagery. Do you intentionally write in order to invoke the surreal or otherworldly, or would you just consider it a by-product of your style?
A: Half is written in the liquefied flat line brains of all who have been and will be victimized by the beasts of this and other worlds. As for any of it being the by-product of my style, well, by-products are often the organ meat, gristle, and waste that society rejects.
Q: Do you think that the genre of horror is undervalued by potential readers who have preconceived negative ideas about the genre? Have you ever tried your hand at other forms/types of fiction and do you read much horror fiction yourself?
A: In the early to mid forties and fifties, people did have preconceived notions, dealing with horror not as spiritual (Seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts bake sale style), nor as noirishly chic as Mickey Spillane’s racy parts. I may interject that I write science fiction and used to read it all the time- like Mary Shelley’s ‘Modern Prometheus’.
Q: Your prose is quite often very poetic in the way you use language and the visually imaginative worlds you create. Do you find that when you write a poem it will morph into prose and/or vice versa? How important is the writing of poetry to you in terms of how you write prose – does one influence/inform the other?
A: Yes and Yes. Twenty two years ago everything I’d published was in poetry. Sometimes I even think and/or talk consciously this way. And as for morphing, what else do you call going to bed one kind of person and waking up almost ten years later as if born again into some persona from a long dream.
Q: Could you please tell us about your writing process? How do you come up with the ideas for your stories and how do you go about writing them? Do you outline your novels or is it more of an ‘organic’ process?
A: Most of my stories originate in nightmares. For others, I start out as I do often to write poetry, meaning I flip through a thesaurus, point at one word with my eyes closed, write that down, repeat the process—and the writing finger having written moves on. This Symbiotic Fascination started this way… first there was the ugly little man. My long poem ‘Taunting the Minotaur’ began in my head with one sentence- “How do I stop the bleeding”? I do outline some novels but always end up changing them.
Q: You write poetry, short fiction, novellas and novels – do you have a preferred medium or form? Do you have any favorite poets?
A: My preferred form is absolutely any path the piece feels like it needs to go down (or up). Three of my favorite poets are Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Ann Sexton.
Q: Edward Lee has said you are “armed with a talent to write the most beautiful prose yet [use] that talent to examine the most unspeakable and detestable horror.” Do you use your writing to examine issues that are important to you? Is there any underlying message/s you try to impart to the reader, or do you prefer to think of your work as ‘art for art’s sake’?
A: I have never been able to write on a project if I didn’t care for the subject. If I can’t manage empathy for at least one character, how will I get the reader to do so? I need to write as a form of therapy and catharsis.
Q: As part of WiHM (Women in Horror Month) can you point to any female authors in the horror world that stand out to you? Who are your favorite female authors in general and why?
A: I always liked Melanie Tem, her work being studies in both controlled and free emotion (at least to my repressed obsessions). Lucy Taylor also, facile in her use of degradation that has somehow morphed into great beauty when we were sidetracked by the plot.
Q: What does the future hold for fans of your work? Are you working on anything new that you would like to share with the readers?
A: I have plans for two novels if I can manage to use my hands long enough and make my notes legible. My collection, ‘The Myth of Falling’ is due out any day now.
|Cover art by Nick Gucker - http://www.nickthehat.com|
It has been an honor to interview you for WiHM. Thank you and I wish you all the best for your forthcoming ventures.
Free Reads from Charlee Jacob
Download a free PDF of the short story "Flesh of Leaves, Bones of Desire," click here.
Download a free PDF of the poem "Why the Journey's Far," click here.
Buy Charlee's Books