Please welcome the gorgeous Jessica McHugh to my interview series.
Along with me, she’s one of 22 authors featured in the Allegories of the Tarot anthology, which just released yesterday and is climbing the charts!
Learn more about this fascinating woman, and be sure to connect with her.
Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction spanning the genre from horror and alternate history to young adult. A member of the Horror Writers Association and a 2013 Pulp Ark nominee, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, poetry, and playwriting. Jessica has had thirteen books published in five years, including the bestselling “Rabbits in the Garden,” “The Sky: The World” and the gritty coming-of-age thriller, “PINS.” 2014 will see the release of three more novels, including the start of an edgy YA series. More info on her speculations and publications can be found at: JessicaMcHughBooks.com.
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Telemarketing is a drag, and serving jobs are exhausting. Luckily, strip clubs are always looking for new blood. Eva “Birdie” Finch is fed up with the slim pickings in local employment, and the gentlemen’s club/bowling alley called Pins seems to be the only option left. But learning how to strip for strangers isn’t Birdie’s only obstacle, especially when fellow dancers start turning up dead. From Jessica McHugh, author of the steampunk adventure The Sky: The World and the bestselling psychological thriller Rabbits in the Garden, PINS is a post-modern coming of age thriller certain to titillate as much as terrify with a candid look at a dancer trying to find herself on a blood-drenched stage.
Inside Jessica’s Mind
[eden] Welcome Jessica, great to finally learn more about you! Please tell us what turns you on creatively.
I’m a story slut. Nothing turns me on creatively more than a new idea. So, I’m constantly cheating on stories with other hot, new stories. But I still have to keep my original tales satisfied while rocking a new book like its body ain’t got no spine. It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I had a few drinks before this interview.
[eden] Even better!
Tell us your idea of perfect happiness. A month in a secluded cabin with my husband, a neverending stash of craft (but calorie-free) beer, and a stack of stories to fill the times we’re not eating, sleeping, or making sweet, sweet love.
Or writing books and drinking rum while crammed into those secret underground Disney World tunnels. Whichever’s cheapest.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Whisper. Groan. Jessica McHugh.
What quality do you most admire in a man? The ability to deal with me, even love me, after all of my annoying writing talk. My husband is quite adept at this. I’m convinced he’s superhuman.
In a woman? I love a gorgeous smile on a woman—one of those sparkly, toothy killers that leave you questioning your sexuality. I also admire when a woman doesn’t mind if I tell her she makes me question my sexuality.
[eden] Nice. I think it takes an open mind to question about oneself, especially about one’s own sexuality.
Do you have any big regrets? Not taking my writing seriously earlier. It’s not a huge regret, because the time I spent writing stories but not submitting for publication was used getting to know my voice and style and bettering my skills. I think that time of learning and exploration was probably more important than being published before 25.
[eden] You’re way ahead of the crowd, Jessica.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My body would process alcohol as protein.
[eden] I love this picture of you below and thought it apropos to insert here.
What is your greatest fear? Facial disfigurement. When I was a kid, I was thrown off a bike and slid over gravel for several feet on my face. I only have a few scars from it, easily covered by makeup, but it definitely stuck with me. If you read my horror stories, you’ll find facial disfigurement is a common theme.
[eden] I admire how you turned a traumatic childhood incident into something that influences your writing.
Which living person do you most admire? It’s a tie between two people from my life: Britt Hill Saunders and Melissa O’Brien. Both of these women are intelligent, funny, beautiful, and most of all, they go after what they want, no matter how arduous the effort.
While Britt claims I inspired her to quit her job and pursue her passion as a photographer (please check out LAM Photography!), she really inspired me to quit my job to pursue writing full-time. She’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and I’m so glad we became friends. She has been a major artistic support to me over the past few years. I could never repay her for the strength and peace of mind she’s given me.
Melissa is someone I’ve known since I was 16, but as most people do as they age, we fell out of touch. Thank criminy we rediscovered our friendship because I don’t know what I’d do without her in my life today. She’s a multi-talented superstar, succeeding at everything she does. But she’s totally down to earth. There’s no one I’d rather get dolled up and drink cheap wine with.
What profession would you like to attempt? I always wanted to be Indiana Jones. So, I’d say I want to be an archeologist/teacher, but I don’t. That’s not what Indiana Jones really was. He was a badass, handsome, adventurer dead-set on finding “important” historical artifacts, saving the world from villains, and leaving tons of hot chicks in his wake. I want that job.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A (beloved) housecat. Sleeping, eating, playing, being scritched and petted. Yeah, I could deal with that.
[eden] Of all the people I’ve interviewed, “cat” is definitely the most common answer.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? This might sound cheesy or TMI (but if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve stopped minding my bluntness), but my greatest achievement is learning how to hug the people I love. My family was not big on sharing emotions, and we never hugged. It became so that casually touching my best friend since 7th grade weirded me out. I hit a point in life when I thought, “This is stupid. You love these people. Hug them. It’s normal.” For years, it was something I had to tell myself to do: “Hug her. Hug him. You love them. It’s normal.” I’m not saying that not hugging people isn’t normal—it was normal for me for a long time. But I wanted to be closer to my friends. I wanted not to feel awkward when they did what was normal for them; ie hugging. After a few years, it did become natural for me. Now I hug my best friend when I see her. I lean against her when we’re sleepy. I play with her hair. I have the intimacy I wanted for so long. It’s now part of my instincts. That’s my greatest achievement.
[eden] Great, honest answer and not cheesy at all.
Who is your favorite writer/musician/film director? Because most people know my favorite writer is Roald Dahl, I’ll speak about my favorite director. It’s a tie between Wes Anderson and Guillermo Del Toro for very different (likely obvious) reasons. Wes Anderson is the epitome of the wacky human nature storybook brought to the real world, and Guillermo Del Toro is the gritty genre story brought to a dream world. I dig a writer/director, which these guys tend to do most of the time. They’re both adept at creating their own worlds and sticking to their guns.
[eden] Let’s do a lightning round … go!
Trait you most deplore in others … Close-mindedness or ignorance, which are usually the same thing.
Your greatest extravagance … Beef wellington and champagne. Granted, the former is homemade (by my loverly husband) and the latter is the cheapest I can find, BUT I feel quite extravagant when I indulge in both.
The one thing you want to do before you die … Take an Alaskan cruise. Or go to Italy. Basically, I’d like to go somewhere with pretty things.
Your favorite curse words … “Jesus Fuck.” I learned it from Perry Samson, the main character in my novel “The Green Kangaroos.” Once he started saying it in the manuscript, it leaked into my normal life. I also like “cunt,” and although it’s not technically a curse word, I do say “balls” A LOT.
Finally, your motto in life … Think in Ink. I’m one of those hand-writers, so ink is my lifeblood. If I need to express something, whether it’s intended for a story or just word vomit, I head straight to a notebook and pen. Writing fiction has taught me so much about myself. It helps me manage and vent my emotions, and oddly, it’s also improved my interaction with non-fiction people. It’s probably better for the world that I frequently think in ink.
[eden] Fantastic way of seing things, Jessica and thanks so much for your honest sharing.
Readers, please say “hi” to Jessica and learn more about her. All her links are below.
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Connect to Jessica