This week’s featured author is Herika R. Raymer! I’ve had the fortune of talking to Herika for a few months, and she’s amazingly involved in the writing scene. Writing, editing, and doing work for Imagicopter – she’s involved in it all. I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed, because I love all the genres she works in and find her ideas innovative and charming. So without further delay, let’s see what she has to say!
SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?
HRR: I basically write when the Plot Bunny pummels with an Interdimensional Pen/Pencil. Sounds corny but it is true, and anything can set it off – a scene from a movie or series, a song, even something I see my family do. There is no telling when that little fluff tail is going to whap me over the top of the head and say “Write Darn You!” In some cases I will do a general outline, but I have found that meticulous outlines do not help. My method is basically just writing it out, hopefully beginning to end. Most often than not it will be a beginning and middle, or even a middle and an end, but the story does develop eventually into a full tale. Having a deadline helps, I will admit, although most times I write because I like spinning yarns.
SJ: Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?
HRR: Although I am looking for a wonderful quirky writing habit, and hoping one will find me soon, right now my most reliable routine is to have some background music or movie going that keeps me on theme. For horror I choose horror, science-fiction will be sci-fi, you get the idea. The catch is to select something that I do not mind tuning out, not something that is my favorite because I will spend time watching or dancing rather than writing.
SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?
HRR: I believe in a muse, planning does not always work. As mentioned before, anything can spark and idea – from daily routine to recalling a particularly vivid dream to wondering what would happen if you did this with that scenario of a scene from a movie. Some times are opportune, and most times are not. I cannot count the times I have been caught without my notebook. I swear the Plot Bunny just waits until I am unprepared. Unfortunately I have not written anything to catch the attention of a dark power… yet. (smile)
SJ: Bonus question – If your muse had a physical manifestation, what would he or she look like and how would she or he act? Is it a sexy superhero version of Callisto? A sharp-tongued rogue? A reptilian alien? Do they have a catch phrase?
HRR: Mine is still forming, so right now the appearance is anywhere between the darkly deviant depiction in Danny Darko or that uber cute bunnie I see singing children’s songs in a strange language on YouTube.
SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?
HRR: I have to pick one? Drat! The first one that almost always comes to mind is John Brunner’s Traveler In Black. Love that book!
Oh you mean of my own! Well, since I have mostly only done short stories, let me see if I can think of just one… I would have to say my dragonelle story in Dragons Composed from Kerlak Publishing. Not only was it my debut piece, but it was also written for and because of my children. So I would have to say, yes – I am playing favorites with that one.
SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?
HRR: Horror, mainly because it is the genre I am most familiar with and because – for some reason – you can do quite a lot with it. You do not have to be reasonable at all, which works for me.
SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?
HRR: Procrastination, but let me get back to you on that one. Downside is always having writer’s block. Undoubtedly there is one, but I cannot think of just one at the moment
SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?
HRR: If I could get stuck in one of my stories, it would have to be one of the (as yet) unpublished works. That goes for me and my loved ones (plural). Why? The vitality of it, no complications of technology as we know it, and the possibility of seeing things I cannot (or will not) see in this reality. To be able to be a part of that and share it with my loved ones would be extremely enjoyable – so long as we did not get killed.
An enemy would often find themselves amid my horror genre, though I do not have a favorite to put them in just yet. However, my soul-drinking Couseuse might like them.
SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?
HRR: No, and I would not want to. In my opinion it does take the art and fun out of it, not to mention the challenge. Granted most people say just figure out what the trend is and cater to it, but this works only to a certain extent. Apparently there is a bit more to it, like blind luck and being in the right place at the right time.
SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?
HRR: Find a publisher who would not mind you reading through their slush pile and recommending stories to them from that pile. Writing is not easy, and looking through what publishers have to read through definitely gives a better perspective of the world. I know it helped me. It is not for everyone though, because it is work. However, I think it is a good experience.
SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.
HRR: Horror delights, science fiction excites, and fantasy enchants
SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?
HRR: Dragonelles! Still working on that though, since I have to get the work finished and published – look to Kerlak Publishing for that!
SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!
HRR: One and the same! I am working on a collection of dragonelle stories meant to delight readers of all ages. Dragonelles are tiny dragons, think the size of a squirrel, who live in a group known as a ‘charm’. They can run, swim, and fly – and do their best to avoid the sapiens, or humans, as well as natural predators. This often leads to misadventures, which can be fun. Wonder what happens when a dragonelle discovers beer? Or perhaps what they do when confronted with a toy boat that is run by steam? You can learn this and more when you read the book – hopefully to be offered sometime next year by Kerlak Publishing. Send me good vibes to get the thing finished and on its way to the printer!
Want a taste of them? There is a story called ‘Little of Stature, Big of Daring’ and it is in Dragons Composed. Check out the book, read the story, and hopefully you will want to read more. The feedback certainly was good enough for Kerlak to say ‘write more!’
So I am! Keep an eye out for it!
Herika R. Raymer grew up consuming books – first by eating them, later by reading them. Her mother taught her the value of focus and hard work while her father encouraged her love literature and art; so she has been writing and doodling off and on for over 30 years. After much encouragement, Mrs. Raymer finally published a few short stories and has developed a taste for it. She continues to send submissions, sometimes with success, and currently has a collection of stories in the works. She is the Assistant Editor for a science fiction magazine and Lead Editor for a horror magazine. A participant of the voluntary writer/artist/musician cooperative known as Imagicopter, Herika R. Raymer is married with two children and a dog in West Tennessee, USA.
Her website is at: herikarraymer.webs.com
Be sure to come back tomorrow to view a great guest post by Herika!