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Tuesday 20 September 2016

ℚ♫ Dead Souls - J. Lincoln Fenn

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about her latest release, freshly published today,  Dead Souls (, Gallery Books, 352 pages), a Horror Thriller.

“....this book is one of the scariest and best to come down the pike in ages....The narrative twists and turns are reminiscent of Dean Koontz or Stephen King at their finest. This story is horribly, horrifyingly awesome.” -- publishers weekly starred review

“A wild, well-written novel that fuels suspicions about what might be going on in our oh-so-unbalanced world.” -- Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis | Teaser | Author Q&A | About the Author |

A very warm welcome to J. Lincoln Fenn; thank you for joining us!

Here at BooksChatter we love music, so J. Lincoln Fenn has shared with us her music playlist for Dead Souls - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Dead Souls?
"A Buddhist idea I’ve always been interested in is a term called kleshas, basically a false, negative thought that creates a negative situation you can’t escape from. For instance you’re at work, and your boss comes in, says something terse that hurts your feelings. It’s not fair, and you begin to perseverate about all the other times they were unfair, or even someone else who was unfair to you. You feel really, really wronged. And then maybe you do something to vent, like you reveal something about your boss to a co-worker, something damaging. And you feel better in the moment, because they got you but you got them back.

Only you didn’t know something important. Your boss has been short with you lately because her daughter is dying. Maybe you don’t tell the people who are supporting you this one, key fact, because you don’t want to lose face. So now people have this view of your boss which is negative, and you can’t correct it without looking bad. Maybe internally you justify what you’ve done by finding examples where she was hypocritical too.

Eventually the negativity builds, and your boss is fired, or her reputation is permanently damaged. Even if you wanted to take it back, it’s gone too far. And that’s the situation Fiona finds herself in, although it’s a bit more extreme. Okay, make that way more extreme."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Hopefully not too much. I have worked in marketing and public relations, mostly for non-profits where I feel I use my evil powers for a good cause, but I get a bad, bad feeling about companies collecting data and selling it, with or without your consent.

I was in a large staff meeting once for a fortune 500 company, and the marketing dudes literally said they wanted to know everything about a person from when they’re drooling to when they’re drooling (from infancy to old age, funny ha ha). This was in San Francisco – at least no one laughed at the joke. But that kind of cynicism, which Fiona has a love/hate relationship with, is a big part of her character."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Dead Souls - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I love this cover by Richard Yoo.

When I write I like to have art to help me anchor the tone, and for Dead Souls I was inspired by the work of Jeremy Mann, an artist in San Francisco. I think Richard captured that tone perfectly with his design. It’s urban, and gritty, with a moody smattering of uneasiness."
Jeremy Mann, Cityscapes Jeremy Mann, Cityscapes
Why should we read Dead Souls and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"My agent says there’s this one thing she can’t do anymore without thinking about the book. I can’t tell you what it is (spoilers), but I like the fact that readers are telling me it’s crept under their skin. For an author, especially a horror author, that’s like breaking the fourth wall – getting people to actually look over their shoulder in real life, unnerved. It did that to me. I mean, can you ever pass a storm drain without thinking there’s a killer clown down there? I can’t."
:) True!
Can you tell us something quirky about Dead Souls, its story and characters?

"If you look really, really closely, you’ll see some shades of House of Mirth in there."
Who would you recommend Dead Souls to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I’d recommend it to fans of Chuck Palahniuk, Joe Hill, Ania Ahlborn.

It’s very relatable on a human level - I wanted it to feel real, like you could know someone like Fiona, which makes the more gruesome scenes even more horrific. If you can make it through an episode of Game of Thrones you should be okay, but yeah, a warning for graphic violence. There’s a liability release form on my website for people with heart murmurs."
If you could / wished to turn Dead Souls into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Well I hear some folks are looking at it, and if those folks are reading this, YOU. I WOULD LOVE YOU TO TURN THIS INTO A MOVIE/TV SHOW.

If I’m thinking about casting, for Fiona someone along the lines of Carey Mulligan, Kaya Scodelario, or Dakota Fanning would make me very, very happy.

I don’t know how they’d handle Scratch since in the novel no one ever sees his face, but Aidan Turner would be great, or Robert Sheehan."

We have our fingers crossed for you!

What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I think there’s always going to be some kind of fantasy/dark element in what I write, and I’m interested in seeing how I can infuse that in different genres.

I read exclusively fiction, but beyond that I’m up for anything. Most recently I re-read Oryx & Crake and The Great Gatsby, and currently I’m alternating between Disappearance at Devil’s Rock and Night Film. I just love a great story, well told."
What is your writing process?
"Pretty much like anyone else’s – sitting down at a keyboard, typing. Trying to stay off the internet, failing.

An idea for a novel can originate with a title, or the first paragraph. Poe started out that way with a single paragraph. Dead Souls too.

I’m currently working on The Nightmarchers, which started out as a short story, but it felt like there was too much of a mystery there to be contained in fifteen pages."
What is in store next?
"I could definitely see Dead Souls having a sequel, although it really is written as a stand-alone novel. If people like it enough, I’m open to giving poor Fiona more heartbreak. In the meantime I’m at work on The Nightmarchers, which is a creepy, Lovecraftian novel set on a strange island in the South Pacific."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I should probably have a human skull or something, but instead I have an ice cream scoop.

Growing up in New England, you learn to use things until they’re worn into dust. The scoop was my grandmother’s, and since ice cream is one of my favourite foods, and it’s sturdy enough to survive a nuclear holocaust, it holds sentimental and practical value. In other words, a perfectly Yankee item."
I love the old scoop! That is also the Italian way :-) And it feeds into several of my obsessions ;-D

Dead Souls
Available NOW!

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