Author Interview – L.E. Turner

A while back when I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them, I was elated with the responses I received.  (And if you would like to participate, please feel free to contact me.)  I asked thirty-five questions and gave the interviewee the freedom to answer only what they wanted.  My friend and fellow-blogger, L.E. Turner, had some very interesting responses which I’m sure you will find as fascinating as I did.  When you’re done reading the interview, please hop on over to her blog and make sure you follow her for more entertaining tales.  And now, please allow me to pass the torch to L.E. Turner …

*.*.*

ABOUT YOU:

Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:

I write as L.E. Turner and I live in Bristol, UK the setting of my novel About the Nature of the Creature. I describe myself as a nerd, feminist, performer, blogger and slightly surreal writer of supernatural fiction.

On my website I list “Interesting Facts of Interest” about myself that you are welcome to check out – http://mybrainonapage.wordpress.com/about/

Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):

The website for my novel can be found at http://aboutthenatureofthecreature.com/ but I also have a blog where I post about lots of things that interest me and also some short stories – http://mybrainonapage.wordpress.com/ But you can also find me on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/LE-Turner-author-of-About-the-Nature-of-the-Creature/155330601207274) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/robot_tiger)

What is your preferred reading method?  (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.)  Why?

Up until recently I mainly just read paperbacks, but I was have started to get in touch with a lot more self-published and independent authors I decided to purchase a Kindle as the best way to access their stories. So far this has been great on my back, as I normally carry at least two books and often some comic books in my bag everywhere I go, but now this has been reduced to one book, the kindle and maybe some comics.

Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books? 

I read constantly – on the bus, on the train, on my lunch break, even whilst walking – a talent I have honed over many years – so far I have I have only caused one serious accident (I am of course joking). I tend to go through phases of reading one genre then switching to another. But sometimes I need to take a break between particularly strong books because I know the next book I read won’t get the justice it deserves. However, on these breaks I tend to read comics and graphic novels instead.

*.*.*

ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK:

What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?

My most recent self-published novel is called About the Nature of the Creature (http://www.amazon.co.uk/About-Nature-Creature-L-Turner/dp/1456446339/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1319981835&sr=8-2), a dark urban fantasy with elements of Gothic horror, which turns the English city of Bristol into a home and haven of a variety of supernatural Creatures.

I am currently working on finishing the About the Nature of the Creature trilogy, and also have a couple of other urban fantasy and Dystopian projects I am currently researching and working on.

What is your novel’s genre?  Would you say there is a sub-genre?  What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

About the Nature of the Creature is primarily a dark urban fantasy but also has strong elements of gothic horror. It is this combination that makes it different to a lot of other books in the urban fantasy genre – because although it is set in the modern day the gothic horror elements are set in flashbacks to over a century earlier.

The story itself is quite different to a lot of the popular urban fantasy novels on the market, firstly as it is set in the UK and with that is a little grittier – grey days all round! Secondly, it has a completely unique and unusual take on the vampire and werewolf mythos, that will be expanded to include other supernatural creatures in the sequel.

Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?

The story focuses on protagonist Constance, a Creature who left Bristol in exile over a century earlier but has felt compelled to return. As the story unfolds flashbacks tell the story of how Constance came to be a creature and why she had previously left Bristol. On her return Connie finds her fellow creatures have abandoned the laws that governed them and has to take responsibility for the part she may have played in that in her past. It’s not long before more dangerous elements of her past start to resurface, including a threat to her kind from a secret sect of the Church. Connie finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her life and her very existence.

*.*.*

ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE:

How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?

For About the Nature of the Creature the dwelling place of the creatures was always “Purgatory”. It just popped into my head and immediately fit – somewhere between the human world and the beyond. The location took a bit more consideration because when I first started writing the story I set it in London in order to make it more accessible to non UK readers. But as I continued to write I knew I had to change it to Bristol, a city I know well and fit the story much better. In fact this change opened up a lot more interesting possibilities, both for the first book and the sequels.

I am fascinated with names so enjoyed researching for this novel the kind of names that were popular at different periods of history. Weirdly I also like finding inspiration for names from grave stones in cemeteries – some names can be beautiful and lyrical, but wouldn’t be immediately obvious to a modern reader.

Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing?  If so, how do you feel about that?

I have written stories since childhood, it’s always been that has been part of my life so for many years I didn’t even think of having a routine because it was something I just did naturally. When I left university I realised I needed to make a routine if I was ever going to finish what I was working on at the time – About the Nature of the Creature. And that was the case for a while until life got in the way.

For a long time performing and producing, took over a lot of time in my life to the point where I realised my writing was dwindling to an end and the only thing I was writing was posts of a performance based website. I recently made some massive changes in my life by retiring from performing and producing in order to dedicate more time to writing. I had to make this change for my sanity because I need to write in order to stay sane. I am now developing a balance that will allow me to finish my next book in hopefully less than the ten years it took me to finish the first.

*.*.*

ABOUT YOUR WORK:

If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I think I’d like to be Father Roan McInerney from About the Nature of the Creature, a priest who becomes mixed up in the events that unfold when Constance returns to Bristol. It would be interesting to see those events through his eyes and with his mindset. Also, I know what’s in store for him in the next two volumes so if that day were to be in two books time, I know he’d be an even more interesting character to look back on everything that happens from the moment he learns about creatures. As soon as he meets Connie his life changes forever.

What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?

For About the Nature of the Creature I had to research a lot about diseases. Although it isn’t something that is detailed greatly in the book, I wanted to have it clear in my mind what makes the creatures who they are. This included quite a lot of really disturbing images.

I also spent a lot of time researching some really obscure ancient deities, some of whom are very odd in themselves. But very interesting to research and hopefully interesting for the readers to discover as the story unfolds at the end of the first story and will continue into the second.

*.*.*

Thank you, L.E., for allowing me to interview you.  I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.

~Rachel

 

Advertisements

Enough to Reduce a Grown Man to Tears

Well, friends, today is our last Throwback Thursday in May, and I want to wrap up our discussion about “truth is stranger than fiction.”  This month, I’ve picked on myself and my own poor judgment (which I hope gave you a few good laughs), and I’ve tagged my sister for some funny stories, as well as some of my previous landlords and some of my wedding photography clients.  But today, I’m going to share a strange-yet-true story about my son.

jeremy six

As many of you know, my son is Autistic.  One of the characteristics of his Asperger’s Syndrome is that he has an incredibly high tolerance for physical pain.  When he was only six years old, we lived in New York.  Jeremy started running extremely high fevers, and I took him to the pediatrician.  The doctor didn’t find any evidence of infection, so he did some blood work.  As it turned out, Jeremy’s white blood cell count was exceptionally high.  The doctor put him on antibiotics and decided to run more tests before he was going to admit him to the hospital.  Of course during this time, I was frantic with worry about my baby.

The new tests also came back bad, and the doctor said he suspected that Jeremy had leukemia.  He scheduled Jeremy for a battery of additional tests over the next few weeks.  During that month, Jeremy went to school only once a week so that he wouldn’t be retained and have to repeat kindergarten the following year.  I was in danger of losing my job because I was missing so much work, and though I didn’t care if I was fired for being with my son, I needed to keep my health insurance to see that his medical needs were covered.

The fourth Friday after Jeremy’s fevers had started, he was at school his one day that week.  When I picked him up afterward, he casually told me that his teacher said he should see a dentist.  I replied that his teacher should mind her own business!  (I couldn’t believe the unmitigated gall of that woman who knew my baby was scheduled to go Albany the following week for more blood work through the Center for Disease Control.) I figured the class must’ve been talking about the importance of flossing or some such nonsense that was insignificant in light of what we were facing.

The rest of our afternoon went smoothly, and Jeremy ate dinner then went to bed with his fever medicine and antibiotics.  However, late that night, I was woken from a deep sleep by the sound of my son weeping at the foot of my bed.  I sat up startled and asked him what was wrong, and he said his tooth hurt.  (This was the first he had ever complained of it, and I figured that since he was so sick and miserable with his fever, that the minor toothache had gotten the best of him, since he never really cried.)  I ran out in the middle of the night and bought some tooth numbing medicine and made him an emergency appointment at the Saturday dentist the following day. I felt so bad that with all he was dealing with, he had to visit the dentist as well.

So as poor Jeremy sat in the dentist’s chair the following day, I explained all about his month-long ordeal with being tested for L.E.U.K.E.M.I.A. and how I hadn’t yet told him why he was being poked like a pincushion so many times and was missing school and feeling so miserable with his fevers.  The dentist listened sympathetically and promised that he’d be as quick and painless as possible once he looked in Jeremy’s mouth.  As soon as Jeremy opened his mouth, however, the dentist let out a loud gasp and yelped something to the effect of, “Oh my Gawd!”  A dental assistant ran in to see what the problem was, and I jumped up in a panic.

The dentist said that Jeremy had the most infected abscessed molar he’d ever seen and that it was bad enough to reduce a grown man to tears weeks prior!  Being so far in the back of his mouth, there was obviously no way I could’ve known this without Jeremy ever having voiced a complaint.  (Suddenly it made sense to me why his teacher said he should see a dentist… He must have mentioned that his tooth hurt in school the day before.)  The dentist further went on to say that the antibiotics the pediatrician had him on weren’t designed to work on a tooth infection.

(I should interject here that in case you don’t know it, tooth infections are very serious and can also lead to death.  In fact, I personally know someone who died from an infected tooth, so that was also scary news, but of course it doesn’t sound nearly as frightening as leukemia.)  

The dentist said typically he’d need to put the patient on antibiotics and pull the tooth later, but because Jeremy’s infection was already so severe, and because he’d suffered for so long with fevers and was also being tested for the mysterious blood illness, he wanted to extract the molar right away.  The dentist pulled the tooth and put Jeremy on a very strong dosage of a different antibiotic.  By the time the weekend ended, his fevers had disappeared.   And when he had his doctor’s visit the following week, the day before our appointment at the CDC in Albany, his blood work came back nearly normal.

So there you have it.  This story is completely true, yet if I included it in a book, wouldn’t you think it was far-fetched, or at minimum, a sci-fi story of the childhood of a superhero?

Have you ever known anyone with a mysterious illness that baffled doctors?  What’s your worst dental experience?

It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding (And I Don’t Mean the Song by Billy Idol)

Well, we’re drawing a close to the month as well as to our truth-is-stranger-than-fiction series.  I hope you’ve found my anecdotes humorous and entertaining.  This week, I’ve been sharing true stories of weddings that were just unbelievable.

My sister Michelle and I were contracted to shoot the wedding of a professional baseball player and his fiancé.  Because of the groom’s public persona as well as the nature of the wedding-gone-wrong, I’ll simply refer to the couple as Alex W. and Kristin Z.

More than anything, Kristin wanted her wedding photos at a certain park.  However on the day of her wedding, the park was closed to the public because the TV show Bridezillas was being filmed there.  (Little did the producer know that we had the real Bridezilla!)  That very same day, here in Central Florida, it snowed!  (Yes, really!)  We don’t get snow here very often at all (maybe once a decade), but when we do, as you might imagine, people tend to freak out and don’t know how to drive.

So, Michelle and I went to the church to photograph the groom and groomsmen.  But they weren’t ready on time, and it took them nearly another hour before they were dressed.  After we got the men out of the way, we had to drive to the hotel to photograph the bride and bridesmaids nearly 30 minutes away.  However, because of the snow and the bad drivers, it took us nearly an hour to get there.

By then, we were late, but it didn’t matter because the bride wasn’t ready anyway.  The hairdresser had spent so much time on the bridesmaids and flower girls and had saved the bride for last, so we couldn’t even take any photos of the bride alone while the girls finished getting ready.  Worse yet, when the hairdresser realized she was running long, she threw the bride’s hair up in what can only be described as a cotton candy machine disaster.  The bride, who was not otherwise unattractive, looked hideous.

After all that, we got only a couple of photos of the bride before we all had to rush back to the church where the ceremony started almost two hours late.  Afterwards, we attempted to do family shots, but half of the families were outside smoking and couldn’t be bothered to come in when we called them.  Then we went to make up some of the missing bridal party photos by taking them all outside and doing some fun photos at the church.

Kristin was very unhappy because it was snowing outside, and her girls were freezing in their strapless dresses.  She was also displeased because the outside of the church was not aesthetically pleasing, and she just wanted her photos in the park.

After we left the church, we all made our way to the reception which was across the street from the hotel.  But the same bad drivers made it take much too long for the drive.  On the way, the car containing the groomsmen got a flat tire and had to stop, which of course postponed the start of the reception.  By the time the whole bridal party was there, the guests were already leaving because the reception venue didn’t have heat, and it was freezing inside.

Worse yet, the caterers ran out of food, and guests were grumbling.  Loudly.  The deejay had to change his timeline drastically because everyone kept leaving, and the bride had to chase down elderly guests who were stealing the centerpieces that were rented.  When we took the photos of the groom removing the garter, there was a pantyliner stuck to the bottom of the bride’s shoe!  To add to the disaster, the elevator in the venue broke, and elderly guests had to walk down snow covered cement steps outside in the cold.

We had a photo backdrop station set up where we attempted to get Alex and Kristin for some romantic photos, but because of the chaos, they didn’t make it over until after they did all their dancing.  Then she was unhappy because by then, she was sweaty, and her hair looked even worse.

We felt bad that this poor bride had a rough time of her dream day, but what happened after the honeymoon was incredible.  She attempted to sue us because she claimed her photos were bad!  The fact was, the photos were very good, but they very accurately depicted a less-than-desirable wedding day.  She associated her bad memories with the photography (as if us capturing those moments actually made them happen that way).  Of course the lawyer that first agreed to represent her took one look at the photos and told her she had no case.  (Besides the nasty emails we received from her during this process, she blabbed everything to her deejay who also happened to be a friend of ours.)  So, she then wrote us a letter and said we no longer had to worry about hearing from her and that she’d be praying for our souls because we were certainly demons who were destined to burn in hell!  (Yes, really!)

The really funny thing was, about three months later, we got a call to do a maternity session.  During the session, the mama-to-be told us that Kristin Z. referred her to us after we took her “amazing wedding photos.”

Have you ever been to a wedding that went wrong?  If you read about this in a book would you find it believable, or would it seem more like a comedy of errors?

 (NONE of the photos below are from the wedding described above.  However, I was the photographer for each of these shots.)

blog-3 (1)

blog-3 (2)

 

blog-3 (4)

blog-3 (5)

 

blog-3 (7)

(*Please note that 99% of the weddings we shoot are wonderful, and we enjoy them very much.  But the rare, bizarre ones like this do tend to stick out like a sore thumb.)

Return to Mayberry

This month we’ve been discussing how often truth is stranger than fiction.  This week, I’m sharing unbelievable yet true stories of weddings I’ve photographed.

My sister Michelle and I were photographing a wedding once for the daughter of a pastor.  It was in a tiny town which was quite comparable to Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show.  However, when we got to the address that was on the contract, there was a small church administrative office with a postage stamp sized yard.  We knew that couldn’t be the place, and that the mom (who filled out the contract) must’ve accidentally put her church’s administrative mailing address rather than the actual wedding location.

Of course, we tried to use our cellphones to call the bride and get a correct address, but being such a small town, there was no reception.  So we drove around until we found the local police station.  However when we went to go inside and ask for directions, the door was locked, and there was a sign on the door that said “Closed Today For Wedding.”  (Yes, really!)

We drove around aimlessly a bit looking for the church.  (Luckily, we left in time to get there very early in case of bad traffic.)  When we still couldn’t find it, we went to a convenience store to ask for directions.  The cashier said, “Oh, y’all must be going to Brittany’s wedding.”  (And of course, we were.)  So she pointed us in the right direction.

We found the church, then since we had an extra couple of hours to kill, we went to a diner.  The waitress apparently overheard us talking about the wedding and said, “Oh, are y’all going to be at Brittany’s wedding?”  We chuckled.

When we got to the wedding, outside the church was the largest tent I’ve ever seen!  It was about the size of a city block!  When the pastor told us that everyone in town knew her and would be there, she wasn’t kidding.

We got out of the car and walked over to the outdoor reception area to check on everything, and that’s when we noticed that there was a baseball bat propped against each of the seventy-five tables.  We assumed they were planning a massive softball game or something of the sort, so we were shocked when someone came to tell us that the bats were in fact to use after it got dark when the wild boars came out of the woods!  (Yes, really!)

Well, when we finally got to photograph the groom and his groomsmen, we were surprised when the (one and only) sheriff was actually the best man!  No wonder the police station was closed.  And then when we photographed the bride and bridesmaids, two of the girls were none other than the clerk from the convenience store and the diner waitress!

The wedding was beautiful, and I have no doubt that indeed the entire town actually did show up at the ceremony.  Furthermore, yes, more than a dozen wild boars did come out of the woods that night when they smelled the food, but we were relieved that the boys that chased them away didn’t actually strike them with bats.

So tell me, have you ever been in a town so small that everyone literally knows everyone?  Have you ever encountered wild boars at a wedding reception?

 (NONE of the photos below are from the wedding described above.  However, I was the photographer for each of these shots.)blog2 (1)

blog2 (2)

blog2 (3)

blog2 (4)

He Spit What Where?

This month, I’ve been discussing how truth is stranger than fiction (TSF).  This week, I’m going to be talking about the most unlikely events you might ever imagine that happened at at weddings.  I don’t just mean stuff like you might see on the TV show Bridezillas (although I’m here to tell you those are not far from the truth in some cases).  As many of you know, I’ve been a professional photographer for several years.  So needless to say, I’ve photographed more weddings each year that most people attend in a lifetime.

At any rate, my TSF story today is about the very first wedding I shot professionally that was for a complete stranger and not as a referral of a friend or family member.  At that point, I’d shot weddings for strangers for my BFF’s studio for several years, but this one was all mine (and my sister’s – we’re business partners in photography).

Normally, I like to meet the bride and groom in person and have them sign the contract when they’re here.  Then I like to take them on an engagement session so that I can get to know them, and they can get to know my poses, style, etc., which will make things flow smoothly and quickly on their wedding day.  But this first wedding was not that simple.  The bride and groom lived several hours away but were getting married here in the groom’s parents’ yard.  I’d talked to the bride several times on the phone and explained things thoroughly, and I asked several questions until I felt that she understood what I’d be doing and I understood what she wanted.  Unfortunately, that was not to be so.

The day of the wedding, the bride, who we’ll call Mandy, wasn’t ready on time.  No big deal as brides seldom are.  We started shooting the groom and groomsmen.  The groom, who we’ll call Tom, didn’t want to spit out his wad of chewing tobacco to take his photos.  I begged and pleaded, but he was unyielding.  Finally, I said, “Come on, Tom.  Mandy wants great photos of you, and she won’t be happy if I can’t get any.”  (His lip and cheek were literally bulging with tobacco not to mention the nasty brown flecks on his teeth when he smiled!)  So, finally deciding to be compliant, he spit the tobacco out… right on me!  Yes, really!  (Don’t worry; his groomsmen yelled at him.)

Though it didn’t seem possible, the day got worse.  While I wanted to cry and leave, I didn’t.  After we shot the guys, we went back in the house, and Mandy still wasn’t ready.  So while we waited, Tom’s grandma asked us to help hang decorations.  We were younger then and not as comfortable telling someone that we weren’t hired to do that.  So we helped.  My sister Michelle followed Grandma to the porch, and was instructed to stand on a stool and hang something.  But when Michelle opened the stool, she sliced open her hand and blood started gushing everywhere!  Worse yet, Grandma then started yelling at her not to mess up the floor or table!

We then had to photograph Mandy and the bridesmaids (who seemed oblivious to the fact that I had a big, smelly tobacco spit stain on my shirt).  Except not one of the bridesmaids wanted to be photographed.  At all!  No matter what fun poses we instructed, whenever one of us would raise our camera, the girls would hold their hands up in front of their faces!  It was like we were trying to capture a group of participants in the witness protection program!  So literally every single photo of the girls that was not just the bride alone was ruined because Mandy’s friends were too selfish to think that she might want to commemorate her special day with photos.

By now, we really wanted to leave, and the ceremony hadn’t even started.  Fast forward an hour or so, and the backyard ceremony was underway.  However, so was the rain.  We specifically asked Mandy beforehand if she’d made provisions in case of rain, and she assured us that she had a tent.  But the tent was not a tent.  It was an open canopy which wasn’t even large enough to accommodate the entire wedding party, much less anyone else!  It’s not that I was afraid of getting wet. (In fact, I’d have welcomed a shower to wash the tobacco spit off me!)  I know I’m not sugar and I won’t melt.  But you can’t get thousands of dollars’ worth of photography equipment wet or you’ll have nothing more than a glorified paperweight.  Furthermore, with raindrops falling in front of and landing on the lens, the pictures will look horrific.  So Michelle put away her camera then stood over me with an umbrella while I captured the rest of the ceremony.  The Grandma made it very clear that she didn’t want guests inside her home, so people started to leave shortly thereafter.

But Florida being Florida, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.  So we waited, and the rain stopped.  It was time for the formal family photos.  However, Tom’s mother didn’t like Mandy, so she refused to come outside.  (She watched the entire ceremony from a window inside.)  Needless to say, however, when the couple got their photos back, they complained very loudly that in our incompetence we failed to capture a single photo of Tom’s mother.

Immediately after the ceremony, Mandy’s father ran like his bed was on fire inside the house and changed into a Hawaiian shirt, cutoff jeans, and flip-flops.  So as I bet you’ve already guessed, that was what he wore in the family photos as well as in the father-daughter dance.  Well, you probably aren’t surprised by now that we were blamed for that as well.

All this on top of the fact that Tom kept loudly referring to us as “those F-ing photographers” (and various other expletives that I’ll restrain myself from repeating).  Luckily, this horrible day was not a bad omen of what our studio would be, but about once every two years, we do run into a wacko who we just can’t wait to be rid of.

So tell me, have you ever known anyone who was so blatantly rude to their wedding vendors?  

(NONE of the photos below are from the wedding described above.  However, I was the photographer for each of these beautiful weddings.)

(*Please note that 99% of the weddings we shoot are wonderful, and we enjoy them very much.  But the rare, bizarre ones like the one I described above do tend to stick out like a sore thumb.)