Lisa Vasquez designs horror with vivid, twisted dark stories that drag the reader into the pages. When she releases her grasp on them, her readers are left alone with those images. Some have even been reported having nightmares from the imprinted visuals inspired by her words. She takes this passion for writing horror to heart and spreads the love by mentoring, and volunteering as the Publisher’s Liaison for the Horror Writers Association. In January (2016), she took that commitment to the next level by opening her own independent publishing house, Stitched Smile Publications.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I always think I can come up with a good answer to this. It’s the dreaded question. Not because I feel I have nothing to say about me, but because I tend to tell everything about me in my stories and through characters. Every writer’s experience and knowledge is between the lines of what they write. Since I design book covers too, my “signature” is there. A person’s art is very telling and can only be seen by those that look for it. In order not to “dodge” the question I can tell you that I’m a girl who grew up in Chicago never really knowing what I wanted to do because I wanted to do *everything*. The world inspired me. Helping people made me feel good. Art and music are my air. My family is my heart. When I write, I am like a god(ddess) of the tiny worlds that live in my head. I give them life, I decide whose to take, and I destroy as indiscriminately as I build. I design stories. From the character’s backgrounds down to the color of their eyes and the size of their shoes. I know each of them intimately because ultimately…their facets of myself.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
These days? Sleep! But I love to read, I love to watch movies that drag me into their world, I listen to music and spend time with my family. I’d like to travel a bit more, but we’ll see how that goes. In a perfect world, I’d go to the symphony or ballet more (I was a dancer long ago), workout more, and soak in the sun on a beach someplace.
Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
I love the Fantasy genre. I’m a huge nerd. Throw down some Lord of the Rings, anything with Drow or Elves, Celtic Lore, Greek Mythology, etc and I’m clapping my hands and bouncing like a two year old on a sugar high.
What are the books and films that helped to inspire you as an author?
All of the classic horror movies, “Frankenstein”, “Dracula”, “Wolfman” and “The Mummy” are like gold to me. “Bride of Frankenstein” is very personal to me. Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles” made the fire unquenchable, and “Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King was the only book to give me nightmares. “Nightbreed” and “Hell Raiser” movies changed my life, seriously though. “The Exorcist” is the holy grail in my world, though. Holy inverted crosses, Batman. What a way to scare a recovering Catholic School Girl.
What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?
I am kind of biased and “proud momma” but I feel like the authors I’ve amassed for the Stitched Smile Publications line up are top shelf quality. If I named them all it would take up spa….oh OK you twisted my arm! I’ll give off a few names. My VIP authors I want to give a special mention to because they live for the craft and it shows in their work: Jeff Brown (A.J. Brown), Donelle Pardee Whiting, Mark Deloy, M.F. Wahl, Briana Robertson, James Matthew Byers, Ash Hartwell, David Court, Draven Ames, Robert Brown, and Veronica Smith. There are a ton of other up and coming authors who will make a splash, hopefully they aren’t offended that I didn’t call them out, but there’s a lot of them and the quality is getting competitive. It’s really good to see!
How would you describe your writing style?
This is a hard one. I write in an omniscient point of view. So I can pan around the world and give the reader insight into each character (hopefully) without confusing them. Some people love it, some people absolutely hate it. But I write for me and you can never please everyone… So I either have to love what I write or not waste time with it. I think I’m a little old fashioned in my writing style as well (to the chagrin of my editor who has to update my “grammar rules”).
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Oh boy…. I have the attention span of a squirrel. My mind thinks much faster than I can type, so sometimes I skip details and I have to come back and fine tune scenes. I have an entire book in my head before I write it. It’s almost like taking dictation rather than “writing it”. It’s already written. So the excitement of getting it out sometimes gets ahead of me.
Is there any subject you would never write about as an author?
There is no subject off limits if it is relevant to a story and done tastefully. Let me explain. You can touch on a subject. You can even add it into a scene. That doesn’t mean you have to go into details that leave trauma on the reader’s senses. Just the subject matter by itself and what you leave to the imagination is enough. With that said, I would try my best to avoid scenes of harming children (sexual in content), harming animals (I’d write about slaughtering a house full of adults before having to write about hurting an animal…something’s wrong with me, haha), and …*thinks*…yeah I think that’s it, really.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Something to write with. That’s it. You have to be able to put those ideas down as soon as they come. Everything else is “foof”.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
“Just write the f*cking book.”
Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you approached this subject?
You have to talk to people. I mean, you can’t just walk up to someone and shove a book in their face. You’re enticing them. You have to hook them in immediately or they’ve already lost interest. You must be engaging. Talk to your readers, listen to them, and love to tell a story — not write books — but tell them actual stories. Or just don’t bother. The world is your campfire, give it a story.
What piece of work are you most proud of?
The same one that I cringe the most at. The Unsaintly is my first attempt at writing a book. It took me 10 years to write 40k words and I thought that I had written the Holy Bible. (No pun intended) I still love that book. I love the story. I love the characters. I’m having it really broken down and edited because I believe who I am now as a writer will shine through and give the story the credit it deserves.
Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work?
“Condemn me to my belly, I’ll still walk all over you!”
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
Since The Unsaintly, I’ve written mostly short stories because of time constraints. I focus on the SSP authors before my own writing… and I don’t feel a lick of guilt. I love to take my time as I write. I research, I read, I go experience things so I can put them in my writing. I am about to release The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride — this has been in the works since 2009 when I was online roleplaying. I had the website and Facebook page started before I finished the first paragraph. I’m in love with this book …of course, I fall in love with every book I write. How can I expect readers to love it if I don’t, right?
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Okay so I’m going to pick a book that isn’t in the SSP catalog because I don’t think that’s fair.
1. BirdBox — 5 stars hands down
2. Rot and Ruin series — Couldn’t put it down
3. Hannibal series (Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, etc) — I read them once a year, repeatedly
4. Fight Club — No words necessary, awesome read
I think that’s more than one, sorry.
What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
If you had one wish regarding your writing, what would it be?
I wish I could travel around the world and write stories inspired by the people, and the culture of each place. I’d stay in old castles, live in the woods, walk through villages, and sit in old pubs. That’s my dream life 🙂
The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride by Lisa Vasquez
A plague has washed upon England’s shore, bringing death in its wake. While the sickness plucks the lives of the victims indiscriminately, something else moves in its shadows, using it as a cover. Victims without signs of infection have been brutally murdered and dismembered. Suspicions already surround the infamous Doctor Wulfe when his eccentric behavior takes a more sinister turn. His interest in the young Morrigan spirals into an unhealthy obsession. Angus manipulates her father, giving him hope of a cure in return for his daughter’s hand in marriage. But, when his bride-to-be awakens with an insatiable appetite, will she be forced to go through with the deal? Or will the plague save her from a deal made with a devil?
For your copy of The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride CLICK HERE
Interview by Jessica Ward – Author of E-Virus The Diary of a Modern Day Girl
Set in the familiar locations of Cheshire, the world of this tech savvy, shoe loving Cheshire Girl is thrown into complete chaos as the E-Virus spreads through the Nation, where she has to fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in a world where the dead just won’t stay dead.