Friday, May 19, 2017

Interview with novelist Jennifer Ott

Novelist Jennifer Ott joins me today to chat about her new historical paranormal book, Desperate Moon.

Jennifer Ott graduated from Albright College in Pennsylvania with a degree in Fine Arts. She also studied at the Syracuse London Center, filmmaking at NYU and screenwriting through Gotham Writer’s Workshops in New York and at Austin Film Festival. Full length novel, Saying Goodbye was honorable mention of Best Beach Book awards for romance in 2014, and novella Edge of Civilization received critical praise from the Vietnam Veterans Association. She has written numerous books of several different genres from satire, historical fiction, thrillers and literary fiction.

In the real world, away from her writing, she works as a product developer in the garment industry, which has offered her the opportunity to travel around the world. When not writing or working, she enjoys yoga, meditating and relaxing on the beach.

Welcome, Jennifer. Please tell us about your current release.
The story is about a woman vampire who lived 600 years in Eastern Europe. During the mid-1800’s she meets and falls in love with a naturalist scientist who takes an interest in researching her vampire condition, and discovers an antidote to help cure the cravings for blood. During her romance with the doctor and while trying to hide her affair from her Prussian officer husband, she divulges her past to her lover as a vampire through the centuries and all the horrors of mankind she has experienced.

What inspired you to write this book?
I started writing the book nearly twenty years ago. I can’t remember what sparked the actual story, but I was inspired by the song “Possession” by Sarah McLachlan, and there was a handsome German painter I used for my muse.

Excerpt from Desperate Moon:

Standing in the doorway, she glanced over his appearancedisheveled, his hair uncombed and his spectacles fixed firmly on his nose. There was something about him that attracted her like no other man. Perhaps it was his carelessness in appearance. He made no attempt to conform to society norms. Instead he lived by his own measure. When desire flooded her body, she flared her fangs at him.
He looked at her and asked with a chuckle. “Have you come to kill me?”
Katerina shook her head slightly. “No. May I come in?”
Siegfried backed out of the doorway and gave her a wide entryway into his office. “What can I do for you, Countess?”
“Katerina,” she corrected as she entered.
When he helped to remove her cloak, he noticed she was only wearing her chemise and robe, hardly dressed to be outside at this hour and presenting herself to another man. “Countess…Katerina, I am not sure this is appropriate.”
She walked away giving distance between them. “Nocturnal like me, I see.”
“What are you doing here?”
“You are not happy to see me. I almost anticipated you would have company, unless you are expecting someone.”
“No. No. I just did not expect you or anyone tonight,” he replied and found a seat across the room from her.
She tapped her fingers on the arm of the chair. “It gets very lonely, you know.”
“I can understand.”
“I know you do. That is why I came.” She looked past him to the books sprawled across his desk.
“So you are here to tell me you are a vampire?” he asked.
“You do not believe?” she questioned.
“Mythical creatures of the night, no. Pathological killers, yes,” he said.
She shot him a glance. “Is that what you think of me?”
“I am not sure. Why do you not enlighten me?” He rose from his seat, poured himself a glass of wine and offered her one. “You killed the Mueller boy,” he said, assuming her guilt.
He took a sip of wine and responded. “The farm boy. Why him?”
“I found my husband fornicating with my loyal servant.” She drank some wine and looked to him for the compassion she had been sorely lacking for her many years. “I want you to know, I am not a monster, not more than some.” She crossed her legs and sat awkwardly in her chair, meek for the demeanor of a vampire countess. “It is ironic how many can accept the brutality of men and their wars, yet I am considered a monster.”
Siegfried reclined against the back of his seat and sipped his drink now more comfortable in Katerina’s presence. “I happen to agree with you there,” he gave her a soft smile. “I do not think you are a monster, just a woman who found herself with a rather unusual condition.”
“It is rather unusual. I am rather unusual in a world of normal people,” she said.
Her comment brought out a chuckle in Siegfried. “What is normal? I would hardly consider myself normal.” He retrieved his journal. “Do you mind?”
“What?” she asked curiously.
“I want to document your condition. I find it helps me understand fully. When I reflect on a subject, I have something to refer back to.” He laughed at himself. “When I can read my own handwriting.”
Katerina hesitated fearful her identity would be exposed. “I do not know if that is a good idea.”
“Do not worry, Countess…Katerina, I use initials for my patients. No one has to know it is you. I just want to be able to understand you better.”
“Alright,” she replied quietly.
“Tell me about your condition.”
“I need blood to exist and to thrive.”
“What happens when you do not get enough?”
“I feel weak and empty…lifeless.” She paused. “It is not what you think. I do not kill for pleasure or power. I kill because it lessens a pain inside me. If I could find any other way, I would.”
“Tell me when…how did it happen?”
“Six hundred years can create havoc in one's memory.” She smiled, her eyes drifting off to a distant time and place. “His name was Petru, an aspiring poet.” She sat back in her seat. “Ironic how men use either words or swords to woo a woman. Both are equally dangerous.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am also currently promoting the favorite book I have written, “Survivor of the Clan,” which is a story about a Scottish doll maker who witnesses the murder of her husband and abduction of her daughter. Taking matters into her own hands to reunite with her daughter, she finds herself the focus of a battle between two genetic scientist cloning master races. Personally, I have a fascination with cloning, DNA and genetic memory.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I believe I always was a writer. I always felt it, but I believe it was when I wrote my first novel when I was twenty-four. It was terrible and was never published. I didn’t give up. When I moved to New York City, I studied screenwriting for several years. The biggest benefit to learning screenwriting for a novelist is to understand story structure and character development, which I believe are my strengths as a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No. Unfortunately. I work in the garment industry developing workout tights. LOL. I spend an hour at a coffee shop writing before work, my lunch hour and of course weekends. I wish I could write full time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am a day dreamer and often my head is way up in the clouds. I tend to be somewhat of an airhead, which seems to entertain my friends.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Archaeologist. I wanted to be a female version of Indiana Jones. I guess that would be Lara Croft Tomb Raider. LOL. I loved digging in the dirt looking for treasures. I also love ancient history.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Desperate Moon is a different take on vampire books. Years ago, I wrote it as a screenplay and submitted it to a contest. Part of the contest was a personalized critique. I had a guy rage against me for forty-five minutes because “I broke the vampire rules”. I was shocked. I didn’t realize there were rules for vampire books. What I attempted to do is humanize a vampire, in a sense make mankind the monster. Something to think about.

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Thanks for being here today, Jennifer!

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