Jenner Michaud ushers in our third day of celebrating Women in Horror Month. Michaud will be appearing in the upcoming release of Paying the Ferryman with her story, “Maze Walker”. We sit down with her today to discover more about the author behind the story.
Charon Coin Press: What drew you to the horror genre?
Jenner Michaud: It took me a long time to find my genre but horror definitely feels like home to me. I’ve tried to write everything from comedy to rosy fairy tales but there is always an ominous cloud shadowing my work. Someone once told me “Your story is funny but I had goose bumps the whole time.” Horror is not a conscious choice, it’s simply what comes out.
CCP: Do you have a favorite monster/horror character?
JM: I can identify with the regular Joes and Janes much better than with any monster. I like stories where ordinary people are thrown into extreme situations forcing them to act outside, way outside, of their usual comfort zone. I love Carol in The Walking Dead and how she has changed and embraced the apocalyptic world she is in – I hope I can be like her if zombies ever overtake the world (though I think I would have shot Lizzie much sooner).
CCP: Do you have any advice for other female writers who want to write horror?
JM: Write stories that are itching to come to life, let the characters and stories clawing to get out of you come out without trying to control it too much. To me, horror is a feeling more than anything else, that voice in the back of your head warning you something is off. The more one writes, the easier it becomes to find that feeling of unease where horror lies.
CCP: What do you look for in a good horror story?
JM: Originality. The unexpected. A new twist on an old idea. The speedy zombies in World War Z were terrifying to me because all zombies I had ever heard of had always been slow. That was the one consistent thing I knew about zombies: if you are clever enough, you can outrun them. This completely took me off guard in WWZ and effectively threw that old concept I had taken for granted right out of the window. I loved that.
CCP: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
JM: I’ve always wanted to write and I can’t remember a time when I had any other ambition. But it was a goal for a long time, more than anything concrete as I only started writing seriously a few years ago. When I am at a keyboard and a story is flowing out of me, there is no other feeling like it. My only regret is that I didn’t start writing seriously sooner.
CCP: Who is your favorite horror author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
JM: Stephen King is a lot of people’s favorite horror writer, and with good reason. I admire how he can stretch out moments for several pages. His style is so direct and immediate, it grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the book is done. I am currently enjoying Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga’s The Walking Dead series. The Governor’s backstory is so layered and interesting it’s made me appreciate the TV character even more.
CCP: What are your favorite horror films? What book would you love to see on the big screen?
JM: I’m drawn to post-apocalyptic stories that have to do with plagues or viruses, such as movies like 28 days/weeks later. The Mist is a classic and I watch it every time it’s on tv. I love The Walking Dead. As for what horror book could be adapted, I would have said Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain but that came out as a tv series last year so my wish has already come true and I’m looking forward to Season 2.
CCP: What are three “Good to Know” facts about you? Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details.
JM: Piranha is the first horror movie I ever saw and I still can’t let my naked feet hang off the bed for fear that they will be chewed off, like it happened to the guy who let his feet dangle in the water in the movie. My sister even gave me a stuffed piranha (hid it under my bed, actually), its jaws extended and razor-sharp teeth on full display. I know for a fact that my big toe fits perfectly between its jaws.
I have a vast number of notebooks with clippings and notes about story ideas, characters, dialogue, etc. I have new ideas every day so I never even have the need or time to dig back for inspiration. As a result, I’m not sure what will ever become of all the ideas in those boxes of materials, or if they would even make sense if I read them today.
I am a huge Metallica fan. I was the Canadian Editor of a fanzine for many years.
CCP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
JM: I have an endless supply of story ideas but I will never have enough time to explore them all. I have to write the story that is clawing to get out at that time so perhaps that’s why I have difficulty writing on spec, or following specific prompts. I wish it weren’t so mentally restrictive for me but those tend to be the only times I suffer from writers’ block. If I don’t try to control my creative instincts too much, it is much easier, and a lot more fun.
Did you enjoy the first interview today? Check back on the other features from this week and learn about some of the other authors such as: Susan Hicks Wong, Claire C. Riley, Amanda Hard, and Heidi Lane. We will be featuring multiple authors each day in celebration of Women in Horror Month. Now, lets learn a little more about Jenner Michaud.
Jenner Michaud’s Bio
Jenner Michaud is a speculative fiction writer with a leaning towards the dark recesses found at the edge of reality. She finds pleasure in weaving stories that push the boundaries of the possible, even if they go bump in the night and keep her up.
Jenner works in the field of innovation research and education, and spends most of her free time exploring innovation in the field of writing.
An all-around Canadian, Jenner was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, spent most of her childhood in Quebec, and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario.
“All of a Heap” appears in Plague: Aftermath, now available on Amazon. “Maze Walker” will appear in Charon Coin Press’s Paying the Ferryman anthology, due out in Spring 2015.
Follow Jenner on Twitter (@JennerMichaud), learn more about her by visiting her blog (jennermichaud.wordpress.com), and check out her page on her writers’ group website, The Scrawling Narwhals (scrawlingnarwhals.weebly.com).