We love conducting author interviews here at Literative. It allows us to showcase amazing authors and help our readers learn something new. This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Julie Ann Hacker, author of The Dead Dance Faster series. She writes both fiction and nonfiction and devotes time to her blog, which focuses on help people with depression. A force to be reckoned with, she is not only an author, she’s a giver.
Let’s dive into Hacker’s world:
You describe yourself as the “author of true-to-life horror—dark and literary—tales portraying life’s fiery masquerade through fiction and nonfiction.” Would you mind describing what you mean by “fiery masquerade”?
The fiery masquerade. Wow, yeah, this is my way of saying—at times life isn’t pretty, maybe it’s never exactly pretty. Some wear masks to cover the scorch life has thrown at them. Writing can uncover the burns and scars whether they’re your own or another’s you’ve observed. We all wear these masks to one degree or another. I prefer to take mine off, albeit slowly, to allow the truth to soothe who I really am. I hope this shows through my writing.
For myself, in the past, I’ve believed life to be somewhat cruel and unfair only to realize that when I cease masquerading with those who love charading, the most interesting and inspiring parts of life appear. My creative job is to uncover the hidden that doesn’t want to be seen.
You tend to write darker stories, is there a particular reason? Would you say that they’re your favorite, dark stories?
Dark stories are my favorite. They hold secrets and mysteries that run deeper than most others. Not that I don’t like others. I do. I love a good book of humor. If a person can write something that makes me laugh or feel a little lighter inside, I swear they’ll have a fan in me for life. I appreciate all forms of literature, but dark stories shine on the parts in which people loathe to inspect. Kind of like lightning during a storm. The less obvious the story, the more fun to dig—and write.
You wrote The Dead Dance Faster series and are working on your second book. Could you tell us a bit about how the overall concept came to you? Did you go into it expecting it to be a series?
I didn’t go into writing The Dead Dance Faster with thoughts of the book becoming a series. But, when I started writing, I realized the story couldn’t be held in one novel. Some of the themes in The Dead Dance Faster are heavy. It can become tiring writing under the strain of heavy themes and concepts. After writing book #1, Unsacred Awakening, I needed a break. Book #2, Spirit Breaker, will be released this summer and contains heavier themes and intensity than the first. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
The religious concept of The Dead Dance Faster – Unsacred Awakening came to me first. I’m a very spiritual person, but in no way religious. I enjoy freedom in spirituality, wanting to spurn the rules, regulation, and dogma I’ve observed in religion. Writing The Dead Dance Faster stands as a loose, true-to-life horror interpretation of that concept.
We’ve recently been writing about how short stories can lead to a novel if done correctly. It seems you’re doing it yourself, with a short story you’re making into a novel. Would you mind describing why you chose the particular story, and what you hope will come of it?
My Name Is Sacrifice came to me one night while lying in bed. I got up and pumped out thousands of written words, pencil and paper. Once I transcribed what I had written into Word, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt there was much more to the story even though I wasn’t sure what it was. I decided to put the short out there to see how people reacted to it, as a test of sorts. Believe me, it is in raw form. I left it this way on purpose, unedited. I don’t advise anyone to do this because now when I read it, I see my mishaps—but so much potential. I like the mishaps and the potential. It keeps me in love with the story. Please, I don’t think anyone should approach writing this way, but for me, I never follow rules, especially when someone tells me I should. Ha, ha. Maybe a better place to do this would be on Literative or Wattpad, not an out-and-out upload to Amazon. At any rate, I offer My Name Is Sacrifice for free if you become a Screaming Ego Books INSIDER. It may be a good idea for some of Literative’s writers to read it in the raw form.
Now, I will tell you, I chose this story because I can see the possibilities of the protagonist’s emotions and her journey through the concept of sacrifice. What’s happening to her will turn her life upside-down and run a full three hundred and sixty degree circle. I’m almost finished with the second part of My Name Is Sacrifice. It is now a full-blown novella working its way into novel form. It’s been easier for me to write this story in parts because of the deep psychological nature.
Unlike so many of us, you have the luxury of living in a great, inspirational place – the Laurel Mountain foothills. Has that inspired your writing at all? Do you even get writer’s block?
Where I live inspires me to the nth degree. No matter where I go, on the trails, off the trails, through the woods, beside the rivers and streams and lakes, my mind takes off. Figuratively, if I roll down one hill, I’m in the city; if I roll up another, I’m in the mountains. So many different types of people and inspiring ways of life and lifestyle. I’m constantly jotting down ideas. I have enough for at least this lifetime already.
Your blog is wonderful, and it seems you also spotlight other authors. Could you tell us why, and how this came about?
It would be impossible to read every good author and all their work, so, when I come across a short story or novel or poetry that impacts me in some way, I want others to know about it too. Recently, I added a new page to post reviews of other writers and their work. I want to continue doing this because as independent authors we all need help. I guess it’s my way of giving back to the writing community. I also have a page for authors at Depression Dimension. If any writers at Literative would care to share their experience through writing or any kind or art, they can drop me a line from the site.
You write Depression Dimension, a blog dedicated to surviving and overcoming abuse. It is not common knowledge, but a great way to hone who you are, and overcome obstacles is to write, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Would you say writing has helped you, or others that you know of?
DepressionDimension.com is my personal take on depression and other mind matters. I’m in no way a counselor or anything, but I do enjoy sharing my experience and what has worked or hasn’t worked for me to allow others to know they can make their own decisions when it comes to their own circumstances. Some people need traditional treatment; others need something else. I’ve healed from all of my issues because of a lifetime of experience and study in such areas. My passion is to be able to share my stuff, and, hopefully, encourage others to share theirs if they feel it will help them.
I’ll give you a for instance. For instance, many years I went to see many doctors, counselors, etc. I’ve always had a lot of trouble sleeping since I was a child. Traditional medicine practitioners would always prescribe some kind of medication. I think I tried them all, and all failed. It wasn’t until I became desperate enough to try meditation—yes, that’s meditation, not medication (of course I thought it was a little hokey at the time) that I actually learned to calm my mind enough to fall asleep and then eventually stay asleep meditating. I don’t know. Different things for different people. I’ve learned to not judge what makes other people healthy and happy.
Writing keeps me digging inside myself. It holds me accountable and responsible for my own feelings whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction. And, it’s part of the reason it takes me more time to write. I hold myself accountable to my own words. After all, each word plays a part in life.
We have a large aspiring writer following. What advice would you share with them, preferably advice that you wish you had gotten upon starting out?
Don’t be afraid. Fear is a killer. Your voice is important. Write freely. Writing is beautiful and handsome, fluid and structured, love and hate. Take time for yourself to develop the writer you want to become. Never, ever allow anyone else to control what, how, when, or why you write.
Who would you say is your greatest inspiration? What keeps you motivated?
Virginia Wolfe and Sylvia Plath inspire me. But, honestly, I find new inspirations all the time. I never drink from one well. There are just too many inspiring people in the world to do that—from little-known poets to the darkest horror writers. Never limit yourself. One of my mottos: Write it True and Write it Raw. Just keep writing. The world won’t be the same if you don’t.
Where can our readers find your books?
There are few times when we can honestly say we found not only a writer, but a true force of independence and inspiration, to interview for the site. This is one of those rare gems, our interview with Julie Ann Hacker, author of The Dead Dance Faster series, available now on Amazon. Her memoir, titled Underground Neighborhood, will be available on Amazon soon, as well. If you care to contact her, collaborate on her blog, follow her on social media, or pick up her books, don’t hesitate to check out the links provided!