When I first put the call out on Twitter asking for woman horror writers to contact me because I wanted to interview them, I have to say…I didn’t expect this turn out. I’ve learned a lot from these talented ladies.
This week’s interview focuses on Jennifer Brinkmeyer. She’s currently seeking representation for her manuscript: SEED OF BODY. We all wish her the VERY best of luck!
1. What does the word “horror” mean to you?
Horror means being scared by the what-if and the what-would-I do-if. A lot of times I’ll make fun of what’s happening in a horror story, and say, “I would never be that stupid!” But this is an elaborate cover for a terrified me. I might be that stupid, and if nothing else, I’m thankful that the characters are muddling their way through the what-if, so I can be scared for them instead of me. Horror is all about experiencing vicarious fear to get a break from your own.
2. Why write horror? What draws you to writing in this genre?
I write horror to discuss what scares me about the world and to accept that there is more to our world than what we see. By examining the world through a speculative lens, I understand it better, even if it still troubles me.
3. What reactions have you received after telling people that you are a writer of horror? Any interesting anecdotes to share?
In general, most people say, “That stuff gives me nightmares.” Every once in a while someone thinks it’s cool. I recently launched my blog, and my grandma posted, “Gross,” about my March Toward Madness Horror Movie Villain Tournament. I guess she’s not a big Chucky fan.
4. I always tell the traumatic story of my first viewing of Poltergeist when I was in third grade and how it scarred me for years. Do you have any stories of fears to share? This has been a huge topic on our blog.
When my grandma called my blog gross, I told her that it was my cousin’s fault. One day we were both home sick from school and staying at her house. I was nine, and he was thirteen, so he suggested we watch the 90’s version of Night of the Living Dead, because he thought it would be funny. I acted very cool through the whole thing, but I could not sleep for months. I kept imagining the little girl who kills her mother coming into my room to get me. I even lined up my stuffed animals in a defensive position with my least favorite ones near the front lines in case she attacked.
5. What is your favorite horror novel? Horror movie? Why?
Misery by Stephen King, because of the dread it inspires. There’s so little Paul can do to get away from Annie. The psychological “what-if” terror combined with that grotesque hobbling scene helps the novel hit on all cylinders for me.
The Strangers, because of how authentic it felt. The story happens in the context of the couple’s conflicted relationship, which existed outside the movie. The acting was strong, with emotional development as the plot thickened. Throughout the movie I was entranced with a sense of longing for them. They had to survive and resolve their relational conflict. The callousness of the home invaders made it impossible for me to feel comfortable alone in my own home for years.
6. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I like to speculate, starting with subconscious beliefs that we hold which should in fact make us afraid. My other source is observations—what I see, hear, and read—that I can use as a springboard into the conversation about humanity and fear.
7. We love music here at The Midnight Society, especially when it helps us to write creepy stories. Any songs or playlists you can share that have inspired your writing?
I’m one of those nerds sitting in silence most of the time. Sorry.
8. Any writing tips you can share with us?
a. Find a critique group. I leave every session feeling excited and empowered to write, even if it wasn’t my week to share. Having that live audience response not only helps with motivation, it helps me anticipate revisions before I even take pieces to the group.
b. Protect your writing time every day. I have the most energy in the morning, and I’m less likely to cancel a writing session due to a bad work day if writing is the first thing that I do. Even if you can only do a sentence, keep the channel open, so it’s easier to dive in each day. You’re only a writer if you write, and building a routine shifts the conversation from “Should I write?” to “What will I write?” Also, when I know I’m going to write, I use spare moments throughout the day to think about my writing. I’m more mindful about collecting ideas without even making a point to do so. A friend and I text about our writing time everyday. That accountability has kept me going on the hard days.
9. Add anything else you feel is important to your writing, reading, and other experiences:)
I’m seeking representation for my current project SEED OF BODY.
To face her greatest fear, Dr. Evelyn Adams will first have to create its antidote…death prevention in powdered form. When a desperate wife uses the new probiotic to resurrect her dead husband, he returns, mind trapped in a nightmare, body attacking those around him. When the spreading bacteria causes others to attack also, Evelyn must cross the United States to get to the lab she needs, convincing the survivors she doomed to help her along the way.
The fog invaded Evelyn’s eyes, and no matter how much she blinked, she saw white, as if they had made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. Enveloped by clouds, broad daylight trying to burn through, Evelyn and Hugh followed the shadow ahead. Beside her, Hugh found every tree root along the way. The snapping threatened the sanctity as she walked toward the moment, the ground rising beneath her feet. She gasped when a hand grabbed hers and pulled it through the mist to a plant unseen. “Here,” said Marie. Evelyn wrapped her hand around a flower no bigger than a tube of lipstick, covered in petals, the kind Marie said revived the old woman. Evelyn traced over the thorns until she met the milky pollen. Hugh slid his fingers down her arm to reach the plant. He sucked in a bit of air—of course he found a thorn. Evelyn sighed as if she had been holding back the progress of the world until this moment arrived.
Thanks to the Midnight Society for doing this interview series! It’s been great to get to know other female writers in the genre.
Want to know more about Jennifer? You can find her here: