An Interview with JH Moncrieff
I met JH Moncrieff over two years ago at a writer’s conference in Surrey, BC. I had signed up for a master class with the one and only, Jack Whyte, where my writing would be read and critiqued in front of strangers. I was already nervous, but when I entered the room, I remember asking myself, “What were you thinking?!”
Luckily, I spotted a woman with gorgeous red hair sitting in the third row. I decided to be brave, sat down beside her, and said hello. Together, we made it through, and both received some great feedback.
The rest, as they say, is history!
JH Moncrieff is not only a wonderful friend, she is also an incredible horror writer. Her words have a way of keeping you on the edge of your seat, wondering what the hell will happen next, while her characters simply leap off the page. If you want a sample of her work, check out her website. She is currently doing an A-Z blog series on all things spooky (just remember to read with the light on!).
Her novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave will be available in May. If the title doesn’t give you an idea of how creepy it will be, check out the book trailer:
While you’re shaking off those goosebumps, read on! I asked JH Moncrieff some questions about why she she writes, and she was gracious enough to answer.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Q: Why do you write?
Q: Where is your favourite place to write?
Q: What element of writing do you find you focus on the most (Character? Description? Places?) and why?
My novels and stories begin with a general idea and a character. The character starts talking, and I write down what he or she says. How my stories end surprises me as much as anyone. Since I’m an organic writer who doesn’t outline, I don’t intentionally focus on one aspect or another, but character is very much key for me. And in my last novel, setting played a huge role, as it takes place in China.
I have noticed reoccurring themes in my work. My protagonists usually go on a journey of some kind–a mental/emotional journey, but also a physical one. And human rights almost always play a huge role in my writing.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I always burn a scented candle while I write…it’s become a ritual. And I do all my writing in one sitting per day, whether it’s for a certain amount of time or a certain number of words. Now that I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, my goal is 2,000 words per day, which usually takes me 90 minutes. I try to take weekends off, but not during NaNoWriMo. I used to hate NaNoWriMo, but now I love it. It’s a great way to get into the habit of writing everyday.
During my first NaNo, I did endure one 12,000-word writing session in order to “win.” That was pretty nasty!
When I heard Samhain Horror was calling for novellas about childhood fears, I was excited because I thought it would be a really fun theme to explore. I’ve always loved stories about cursed toys, so that was the direction I took, although my story has a twist. Is the bear really evil, or do Josh’s reactions to the bear dictate what happens in the story? It’s up to the reader, but I had a good time playing with the idea of our xenophobia and how these irrational fears shape the world we live in.
Q: What was the hardest part to write and why?
Q: What are you working on now?
I’m working on a commissioned novel called Monsters in Our Wake. It’s a new twist on the sea-monster story, and two publishers want to see it once it’s finished. Hopefully one of them will want it!
Keep in touch with JH Moncrieff by signing up for her newsletter (and receive a free e-book!). You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. Pre-order The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave at Amazon.com OR Amazon.ca.
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