You can listen to it here.
A: “Voodoo Mayhem” was created mainly because I wanted to get “Beneath the Mausoleum” out to my fans because it was a sequel to “The Mortician’s Daughter.” As I concluded “Beneath the Mausoleum,” I thought I had enough ideas left for a third book, so I created a cliffhanger ending. Recently, I combined the two under the title “Voodoo Mayhem” and am awaiting word from a publisher.
Q: Still in the darkly delightful arena is your latest release: “Waverly Hills Incursion.” How did this book come about? And, have you ever visited the Waverly Hills Sanatorium?
A: The idea for this book started when I watched the film “Session 9” and later heard that the building featured in that movie, Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts, was being transformed into apartments. I started wondering, what if a place like that was haunted? What would happen to the people living there? I wrote a rough draft about an asylum in Northern Kentucky that had been abandoned and later turned into apartments. I ran out of gas on that one, and revisited it several times, and then eight years later, I thought about visiting a place in Louisville that my students at Northern Kentucky University had introduced to me. Waverly Hills Sanatorium had been an abandoned tuberculosis hospital for years. I decided to make a trip to the Hill with some friends and do some ghost hunting. Mainly, I wanted to see the place a get a sense of it and so I could describe it in a complete rewrite of my original rough draft. The history and the paranormal activity of Waverly Hills gave my novel the specific details and background information that it was originally lacking.
Q: Many popular television shows have attested to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium being haunted. What are your thoughts about the possible hauntings? And, if so, by whom?
A: I’ve watched many episodes on YouTube about Waverly Hills, and walking through the building gave me much to consider about possible hauntings. I got strange feelings in certain areas like when I entered the solarium and the surgical room. I heard the faint sound of children screaming like they were on a playground, and only one other person in a room of fifteen could hear it. I saw the dark images of what is proposed to be the Shadow People who seem to live on the fourth floor. One of the Shadow People even seemed to transform into a large black mist that grew slowly, taking up most of the hallway. Upon leaving Waverly Hills, I was convinced that many souls and entities made this their home. I even believed what the tour guide said about it being a portal to the “other side” where entities can come and go. But, I remain skeptical, because nothing we heard or saw could be proven as evidence of paranormal activity. Seeing the Shadow People relied upon seeing them at the end of a dark hallway and from the corner of your eye. As eerie as the total experience was, we came away with no convincing evidence. I did, however, capture an image on my digital camera that shows what looks like someone with a skull-like head walking across the hallway and looking directly at me as I snapped the shot. I had to zoom in on the shot to see it, and it is so faint that you can only see it in near or total darkness. A photographic expert couldn’t do anything to enhance the image and refused to declare it as evidence of paranormal activity. That picture still challenges my skepticism.
Q: Amazing! Changing the subject, what have you learned from being a nontraditionally published author? What are your thoughts about being traditionally published in this day and age?
A: I know that many people are trying their hand at self-publication, and this angers many traditionally published authors. I don’t think it hurts traditionally published authors. People will purchase what they want to read. In my case, I wasn’t having luck with publishers, so I decided to try self-publishing to see if anyone found my work interesting. I was surprised and overwhelmed by the response to my first novel, “The Mortician’s Daughter,” so I decided to keep on trying. The most difficult aspect of self-publishing is marketing. I have not put much money into marketing, but I have relied upon social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. For “Waverly Hills Incursion” I decided to create my own book trailer on YouTube and share it on social media as an ad for my book. I used images, video footage, and sounds from my trip to investigate Waverly Hills, and I created a simple, creepy soundtrack with my iPad and my computer. I reversed some of the video footage sound to make the sounds of entities trying to communicate from the other side. The video has been a big hit and has helped to advertise my novel. I am still sending work out to publishers, because I want to see what that experience is like.
Q: Great work! Readers can view it here . Changing the subject again, I know that you and I share a love of music. So, did you listen to any of your favorite bands/musicians while writing your “Waverly Hills Incursion?” If so, then which one(s)?
A: While brainstorming and writing, I listened to Gary Numan’s newer gothic/industrial works such as “Pure,” “Jagged,” “Exile,” “Dead Son Rising,” and “Splinter.” The atmosphere and sounds of the music put me in an eerie and otherworldly state of mind but also influenced my writing to a certain degree. In a couple of his albums, Numan mentions a little black box as a kind of metaphor for a place to hide your fear, or as something to store bad emotions in and to give them to someone else as a kind of evil present. I liked the idea so much, I used it in a couple different ways and it became part of the central image for my novel. It also made it onto the book cover. I used it as a kind of Pandora’s Box which the character Scarlet Snow gives to the main character Ben Clausen and tells him to open. Upon opening it, Ben tells Scarlet that there’s nothing in it. She replies that it doesn’t have anything in it, now that he’s opened it—implying that whatever was in it has now escaped. Later, another character, Kayla, claims to have seen Scarlet conjuring a fiery entity from the box. Sometimes the music I listen to can directly influence what I’m writing, but I let occur consciously so that I’m creating something new from the idea and not just copying someone else’s idea.
Q: Now for a random and fun question: Have you ever gone through a period of binge- writing?
A: Yes, when a scene gets really good, and when I don’t want to stop writing and forget to write something down, that’s when the white-heat writing kicks in. Also, when I get close to the conclusion of writing a novel, I get so excited that I can’t stop writing. During the conclusion of “Waverly Hills Incursion,” I used this kind of writing to increase suspense. Hopefully, the reader will sense the conclusion approaching and feel the suspense increase as the novel comes to an end.
Q: I know that I did with “Voodoo Mayhem.” What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2014? And, do you plan on attending World Horror Con in 2015?
A: I want to go back to writing short stories for a while and send some out to publishers. Then I want to start working on another novel. I have many ideas for it already, and I know it will encompass conspiracy theories and government control. I am hoping to attend the World Horror Con 2015 in Atlanta. I’ve been to Horror Hound Weekend in Cincinnati and Scare Fest in Lexington, KY. I’ve always wanted to go to the World Horror Con so I could meet some of my favorite authors and publishers.
Q: Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work?
A: My author page at Amazon (which includes my book trailer) can be found at:
You’re welcome, Bryce!
“Wendy Potocki lives and writes in NYC. If that isn’t scary enough, she writes in the genre of horror. She feels creating good horror is an art form. She religiously devotes herself to pursuing it over hill and dale — and in the crevices of her keyboard.
Named one of the Top Ten “New” Horror Authors by Horror Novel Reviews, she has seven self-published novels. Book trailers for many of her works may be found on her official website http://www.wendypotocki.com/. Her newest frightmare is THRILL. It’s a non-stop chillfest and has been attracting a lot of attention. Her next planned projects are The Witch’s Stone, The Virgin, and ZaSo, a Gothic tale of horror. Please subscribe to her mailing list for updates and giveaway information.
In her spare time, she loves to go for long walks, drink Starbucks Apple Chai Lattes, make devotional offerings to her cat named Persephone and be stilled by the grace, beauty and magic of ballet” (Amazon).
You recently held a successful event/giveaway on Facebook, et cetera. Please tell readers about it, and do you plan on having another one this year? Or, in 2015?
Yes, I hosted a fantastic event entitled The Danse Macabre Giveaway. Here’s the link to it on Facebook.
The event was centered around my paranormal mystery called Black Adagio. The book combines horror and ballet into a scary, suspense-filled thriller. I had a number of brilliantly insane authors participate and give away free copies of their books. I also gave away book swag, t-shirts and skull necklaces. Since skeletons feature prominently in Black Adagio, skulls fit perfectly into the theme.
Yes, I am planning on hosting a new giveaway come October. It’ll be called Halloweenpalooza II. I hosted Halloweenpalooza I last year, and it was so much fun that I decided to do it again. Last year, the participating authors wrote blogs on their scariest paranormal experience. We got some great stories. This year we’re back with another theme. I’m not going to say any more about it other than Halloweenpalooza II will be bigger and better. Here’s a link to the Halloweenpalooza I blog:
And Halloweenpalooza I Official Event page on FB:
The links will give the readers that didn’t attend a chance to sample what you’re in for if you do join our next party. And please read the blog. Some of the personal experiences with ghosts and the supernatural are mind bending! I had no idea I’d get that kind of response, but the authors were very forthcoming in dishing up true encounters.
I was happy to have been included in your event—with the group of “brilliantly insane authors!” *cue crazy-sauce laughter here* Plus, I know that you and I share a love and respect for felines. My cats are certainly some of my muses. Is your cat, Persephone, one of yours?
Of course! Cats provide the perfect dichotomy needed to write. By that I mean, they’re very grounding, but in giving us sure footing, they allow us to soar. I use this unique combination to my advantage. When writing, I constantly glance over at my Persephone. The sight of her all curled up on the couch or kitty condo (yes, she does have her own carpet-covered home inside the one I provide for her), centers me. It gives me a pleasure that all is right in the world, and the relaxation derived from that sense of well-being is used as momentum to get back to work and stop ogling my beautiful furball.
I do have an upcoming series of books where Persephone comes out of the shadows and onto centerstage, but that’s all I’ll say about it right now. Persephone, honey, I’m gonna make you a star!
Can’t wait to read that series! Please tell readers about the wonderful work that the Golden Paw Society of NY is doing to help rescue animals. And, where can readers go to learn more about the Golden Paw Society?
So happy you asked me about this! *drags over soapbox*
Golden Paw Society of NY is a rescue organization that I’ve come to know through Facebook. The have a unique positioning and I believe their mission statement says it all. It is: www.goldenpawsociety.org — GPS: Helping Shelter Cats Find Their Way Into Forever Homes.
To break that down, it means that every few weeks they perform something called “Shelter Runs.” It involves members of GPS going to municipal shelters and pulling animals that have either been housed there for too long a time or that are at risk in terms of being euthanized or succumbing to untreated health issues.
Can I tell you that these Shelter Runs are my favorite times of the month? I get so delighted and have kicked in a few dollars to aid them in getting these abandoned kitties (and sometimes dogs), out of harm’s way. They always post pictures of the animals rescued on these runs. You can find many those pictured on their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/goldenpawsociety/info.
The other thing I love about Golden Paw is that they’re very proactive in posting updates so you can see the before and after shots of these rescues. The difference a little love, nutrition and needed medical treatment make is astonishing. These animals flourish and blossom in such short periods of time. Once the animal reaches a state of good health, they’re put up for adoption … and here’s where the real magic comes in. I simply love, admire and respect the matches Golden Paw makes. I don’t know how they do it, but they do not put the animal through the trauma of giving them to just anyone who asks. The process is way more selective and they seem to weed out those who would only dump the animal after a few weeks. Instead, the matches made are solid, lasting, and, yes, forever! There are tons of updates on the little furballs in their new homes after a few weeks, months and years of arrival! These animals have found safe, loving homes and people who care. For me, that’s what it’s all about!
Four paws up for Golden Paw Society of NY! They’re the best of the bestest!
So AWESOME! Please go into more detail about helping our canine friends, too. Please tell readers about the wonderful work that the Big Dog Ranch Rescue is doing. And, where can readers go to learn more about the Big Dog Ranch Rescue?
Big Dog Ranch Rescue is another organization I found through Facebook. Here’s a link to their page:
I admire BDRR for the same reasons I do GPS. BDRR is also very transparent. They post pictures of new arrivals as well as after shots of the dog once it’s been cleaned up and fed decent food for a few days. Because you get to bond with the dog in this way, it’s very emotional when they announce the dog has been adopted! It’s always accompanied by a nice picture of the new family with their new four-pawed baby. Often these families will send BDRR photos of how the dog is adjusting to having a home. Usually it’s very well. Who wouldn’t like their own space, tons of love and good food? Then there’s the couch privileges! Pictures of the dogs sprawled out on their doggie bed or going for a walk on the beach for the first time are so precious! I love that BDRR makes such great matches. In fact, I love that GPS and BDR make such successful matches so much so that put together a video that pays tribute to them and all organizations that show compassion and kindness to our four-pawed friends! Here’s the video for those that are interested:
That’s great…thanks for sharing! Switching gears, when were you named one of the ‘Top Ten New Horror Authors’ by Horror Novel Reviews? Congratulations, by the way!
Thank you! It was quite the honor. I had run across Horror Novel Reviews while web surfing. I loved the site so I read their review policy. I decided to go ahead and send my chiller-diller THE MAN WITH THE BLUE HAT to them, but was unsure if they’d even review it. Believe me, I would have been happy with only that.
Well, a few weeks later, I’m on Twitter and I see a tweet from Matt Molgaard of Horror Novel Reviews and it’s directed at me. I RT’d it. I automatically RT these kind of things so I hadn’t really digested what the tweet was about. I guess I just assumed it was about the review. I went off of Twitter and was opening my email when I did a double take. I’m guessing the morning coffee kicked in at that point! Sometimes it takes a while. Anyway, it was like … duh! What did that tweet say? I scrambled back to Twitter and looked through my Notifications and sure enough, the tweet was something about me being named one the Top Ten New Horror Authors. I was like … wha’?!!! So I punch in the link to Horror Novel Reviews and find the article and … *drum roll* … I’m in it! Yes, there I am named as one of the Ten Best of the 2013. I can’t tell you the thrill that elicited, and the carpet still bears traces of my happy dance.
How many novels have you written? And, are they all classified as horror reads?
I’ve written over ten novels, seven of which can be classified as horror. The others are written under pen names. They include mysteries and fantasy thrillers.
I’d also like to state that although the seven books (THRILL, Black Adagio, The Man with the Blue Hat, Adduné: The Vampire’s Game, Adduné: The House of Cards, The White Lady Murders and The Horns of September) tuck into the horror genre, some do cross over into other categories. For instance, Black Adagio neatly fits into paranormal mystery. Also Black Adagio and my latest frightmare THRILL are suitable for both Adult and YA audience. I don’t write for YA’s, but it just worked out that way.
I know that I’ve been reading a lot about “narrative flow” recently. So, how important do you think it is to good storytelling?
It’s everything. If you don’t have a flow, you don’t have a book—you only have an idea or outline for a book. It’s like comparing a bunch of dots to a drawing where the dots are connected. By drawing that stick figure, the picture begins to emerge. But compare that stick figure to a finished painting. There’s quite a difference—a depth that adds richness and complexity. It’s in the shading, use of nuances and colors that the true beauty comes into focus and can be considered art and it’s the same with the written word.
I’ve always written to a rhythm that runs through my head when penning a tale. No one told me to do this, it came naturally to me. I don’t know if it’s because of my dance background that this happened, but each story I write has its own unique tempo. Therefore, the way I write each story is different and adheres to this pace.
I experimented with this rhythm in Adduné: The House of Cards. It’s the second book in my vampire trilogy. In one chapter, I literally choreographed the words and action to a song. I must have written that passage over at least thirty or forty times until I got the timing right and the crescendo matched the one in the music. I was so happy that I nailed it. When I read the final version, I cheered and knew it was worth the effort.
I love that musical connection. So, what’s in the works for the rest of 2014?
Right now, I’m in the midst of editing a new frightmare. It’s called Trillingham and can’t wait to publish it. I hope to have it released this summer. After that, it’s back to working on the third and final entry in the Adduné vampire trilogy. The Reckoning will complete the tale begun with The Vampire’s Game and continued in The House of Cards. The Reckoning has a very complicated storyline and I’m taking my time in getting it right. I am making sure all the questions are answered and that Miranda Perry’s journey into the dark world of vampires leaves readers glad that they were part of the adventure.
Where can readers go to connect with you (social networking sites, blog, et cetera)?
Oh, cheesh! Where can’t they find me? I’m all over social media!
They can twitter me at @WPotocki. They can also find me on Facebook so please show me some love and like my page:
I have several blogs:
I also have a mailing list that you can join so you won’t miss out on anything.
I love to hear from readers, so don’t be shy. And thank you, Gia, for allowing me this opportunity!
My pleasure! Love what you’re about!