Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Green Water Lullaby" by Lori Titus

I first met Lori years ago, when I did my first radio interview. She maintains a blog that publishes short stories called "Flashes in the Dark" (you can click on the link in my blog list). "Green Water Lullaby" is a collection of short stories. Here's the blurb:

Vengeful lovers return from the grave. People die from “animal attacks”. And a young family fights for survival. Welcome to Chrysalis, South Carolina.

I really enjoyed these stories, but I found myself wanting more. I wanted to know more background about the characters. I wanted to know more about what they did after their lives were changed forever. For example, what did the guy do after he was turned into a werewolf? How did his brother react? I also wanted to know what the "natural" witch did after she was discovered. How did the woman cope after her boyfriend was killed by a ghost?

Making the reader want more is the mark of a good storyteller. They make you care enough about the characters to see what happens to them. Sometimes, they'll take you there, but sometimes they just give you a snapshot, a moment in the character's lives, and it's up to your own mind to decide what happenes next. Lori does a great job of giving the reader that snapshot in her collection.

My favorite story was the title story, which happened to be the last story in the book. It had a universal quality to it, and I think anyone reading it could relate in some way. It was heart-touching and sad, but also uplifting. (I don't want to tell you too much because I want you to experience it for yourself!)

If you have some time, I recommend checking out these stories. They are a great introduction to a talented writer.

Lori was also kind enough to answer some interview questions for me. Here they are:

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
Green Water Lullaby was a challenge that I set for myself. I had focused most of my energy on The Marradith Ryder Series for several months, turning out about three new episodes every week. Because the story involves so many characters, time periods, and back stories, it can be time consuming. To keep myself from getting too stuck in that universe, I decided to start writing one short story a month that had nothing to do with the Marradith serial.

I wrote Brotherhood first, and created the fictional town of Chrysalis, South Carolina. I decided that I wanted to develop more stories in this locale, and they all flowed from there. The theme of water and wooded areas made nice recurring threads through all the stories.

Q) How long did it take you to write the book?
It was pretty fast. I’d say the first draft took about four months or so , with the title story taking the longest . After that it was a matter of getting some distance from the stories before I was ready to show it to an editor, and that process took a few weeks.

Q) Can you talk about the book's evolution and publishing history?
Yes. Green Water Lullaby was originally published in 2010 by Sonar4 Publications. Unfortunately, the company only sold the book on their website, with no availability on Amazon or other internet retailers. After the publisher refused my requests to try different sales venues with the book, I requested my rights back. Green Water Lullaby is getting it’s second breath of life through Wicked Nights.

Q) What are you trying to get across or understand as you write?
Emotion. I am always fascinated by what makes people feel the way that they do, and how feelings and perception, in turn, effect their actions. I like being able to create a character that people can identify with, no matter how different they may be from the reader. I like characters with depth, flaws, and contradictions.

Q) Why do you write?
I started writing as a way to exorcise my fears, and sometimes that is still the reason. But more than anything, it’s fun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s work. There are times when you can’t get a fix on what you want to write, and other times when the words are coming so fast that you’re rushing to type them. There is just something that is satisfying about the process. You get to reveal your dreams, your inner world to your readers, and hopefully they come in and enjoy themselves for a while.

Q) There seems to be a focus on paranormal/ghost stories in the book. Was that intentional or do you just have an affinity for the genre?
I do have an affinity for the paranormal. It fascinates me for some reason. In Green Water Lullaby, I wanted to make sure that all the stories had a pervasive uneasiness. I like stories that are psychological enough to make you wonder if the character could have imagined it, even though the evidence indicates the contrary.

Q) What other kinds of genres do you write?
I have written mysteries and sci-fi as well, but horror is always where my heart is. I find that when I write other genres, usually a hint of the fear manages to creep in, despite my best efforts at keeping a distance from it.

Q) Do you have a favorite story that you've written?
It’s a hard question, not because I don’t want to name one, but because my favorite changes, depending on my mood. Of my short stories, Green Water Lullaby is my favorite. There was a story published in Jim Bronyaur’s #12 Days of Christmas last year called Four Little Birds, that’s a very close second. Lazarus was my first novella, and it remains a favorite for many reasons.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have three new novellas coming in the near future. Hailey’s Shadow will be the first, which will be released in September 2011. It’s about a young woman who claims that she can see and hear “shadows” that foretell the future. In November 2011, the first novella from the Marradith Ryder Series will be released. It’s called The Moon Goddess, and it takes place outside the time period of the web series. The story revolves around a young woman named Lenora and her doomed romance with Percy, a man who will do anything for money and prestige, including murder.

The third novella is called Marradith, Darkly, and will be released in February, 2012. It’s a re-imagining of The Marradith Ryder Series, a sort of upside-down universe. In this story, Marradith is on the side of the bad guys. And there are a lot of other surprises people who have read the serial will find. Readers who have never been exposed to the online story will be able to go along for the ride and enjoy it as well.


Sean Monaghan said...

Cool interview Lori - looking forwards to those other books. I know I'll enjoy them after GWL and Lazarus.

jim bronyaur said...

Awesome! Lori is amazing. :)