Horror Author Teri Jacobs
By Shane P. Carr
Shane P. Carr
(photo by Bob Meyer)
Teri Jacobs is
writer of horror and dark fantasy. She is the author of numerous short stories
and has just recently published her first novel, The
Void. Teri was kind enough to take time out of her increasingly hectic
writing schedule to be interviewed and give us a glimpse into her dark mind.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
At what moment did you discover you actually were a writer?
Teri: I first announced I wanted to be a writer when I was thirteen
years old, and the moment I realized I was actually a writer happened in June,
after The Void appeared on the shelves. Newfound fans wrote
me letters of praise and expressed interest in my next book. Wow, reality
struck then. Suddenly, others had expectations of me to bring them
"the next book." Readers saw me as a writer, and my ideas about
myself and my work took on new meaning.
: You have published numerous short stories and your
first novel, The Void, in
the Horror/Dark Fiction genre. What attracted you or inspired you to write in
curiosity compels passersby to gawp at the twisted heaps of cars for that
glimpse of smashed bodies; others to gather at brawls for the sound of flesh
whapping and battering flesh; and the rapt-eyed to watch the nightly news with
those highlights of war, murder, kidnapping and all other heinous acts.
And it makes me attracted to dark fiction. . . So that I can dangle
the horror and hook an audience as well.
Are there any other genres you are interested in that you
could see yourself writing for sometime in the future?
definitely. My Muse is quite fickle, and I've outlines for other novels in
fantasy, science-fiction, thriller, and mainstream literary fiction. Hopefully
the future holds enough time for me to develop all the stories in my head.
classic question -- Where do you get your story ideas?
Teri: Obviously from my Muse. She is the air that I breathe, and
consequently the energy in my blood and brain. She brings the imagery, and
the hints in what everyone calls sparks or flashes of insight, that wonderful
sensation of "a-ha." Anything will trigger this. Even an
unsuspecting woman in her car is fodder as my mind conjures a life she's never
lived. But she will live it in my fourth novel as my main character.
Something about her clicked in my head, and I saw her weathered hands not
on the steering wheel, but on the pottery wheel shaping clay. I knew her
thoughts and dreams and her appreciation of the quiet world -- knew her
struggles as well, financially and emotionally, all of her as beaten up as her
car. Yet strong. Strong enough to handle whatever haunting thing I
would throw at her, and survive.
I cannot understand how inspiration works, nor explain it.
I can only accept the mysterious force and allow my imagination to fly
wild with it.
tend to be a superstitious lot, with good luck charms and other objects they
need to have nearby when they write. Do you have any such item that must always
be with you when you write (e.g. Favorite Pen, Certain Music, Statue of a
Drooling Gargoyle, etc.)?
do have a little statue of a gargoyle with his head thrown back, mouth open wide
and his tongue stuck out to catch computer viruses, but the only thing I must
have is my computer. And usually some music.
you could offer one bit of advice to your fellow writers what would it be?
In turn, what would you tell them not to do?
luck and talent, a writer needs three things for success: passion, perseverance,
and perspiration. The thing a writer should never do is give up
Tell us about your recent novel, The Void. What inspired you
to write it? (e.g. Initial idea, Where the idea came from,
The Void alternates between the real world of Leslie Starr, a
photographer plagued by shadows and a haunting legacy, and the underworld of
Xibalba, where a Mesoamerican pantheon of dark gods and demons torture the dead.
There's something special about her that these ancient powers want. The
dreaded lords order Coatl, the Dark Man who stalks her dreams and preys upon his
victims by slipping into their minds and then steals their souls for sacrifice,
to bring Leslie into Xibalba. But first he murders her best friend, the
first of many, and lures her back to the lake, the place where it all began and
The novel started out with the simple idea of a woman and her
stalker, but became more complex and original as elements of shamanism,
mythology, and spirits (all subjects which interested me) unfolded into the
outline. After watching a program on the Discovery Channel about psychic
spies, I created the creepy character of Coatl. And somehow this strange
mix came together.
have been to a few horror conventions. Do you feel that going to these
conventions has helped your career as a writer? If so, in what way?
Teri: Yes, attending horror conventions has helped my career.
Without that initial meeting with Don D'Auria, I doubt I would have
striven for such an ambitious and challenging first novel, nor would I have
gotten myself off the bottom of the slush pile. I've also met countless
other writers who have given me a wealth of advice and support. Granted, I
would've learned the ropes on my own, but the climb would've be harder, longer,
and not as much fun.
you feel any other authors have influenced your writing? Have you gained
anything from reading a particular author's work that has helped better your own
Teri: Although I believe I have a distinct voice of my own, Edgar Allen
Poe, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Thomas Ligotti, and Charlee
Jacob have certainly influenced my writing because I aspire to attain their
level of skill, whether with atmosphere, mood, language, style, character,
structure, or poetry. Lately I've picked up works by Joyce Carol Oates for
that understated yet richly poignant writing. Hopefully I can incorporate
an ease and vivid simplicity into my style without sacrificing art.
What can your readers expect next?
Teri: I am currently editing my second novel, Shadow of
Jezebel, which, if all goes well and meets my editor's approval, will be
due out June 2003. Shadow of Jezebel deals with a group of fallen
angels called the Grigori who've escaped their prisons in heaven and have
returned to earth to bring back their sons, a race of giants called the Nephilim
who were destroyed by God, his Archangels, and the Flood. The Grigori force Rani
into becoming the mother host of horrors. In the course of the book, the readers
will venture into Hell and Heaven, into battles between the Grigori and the
Archangels, and into the venues of murder, necromancy and Enochian magick.
Lilith, Asherah, Ba'al, Solomon, and Jezebel will have their parts as well. But
mostly, the novel involves Rani's sorrow and terror -- the murder of one infant
son, the monstrous and unnatural incubation of another son, and the threats of
her son's murderer, who wants her as dead as her boy.
I've also begun my third novel, tentatively titled Virtu
in Flesh, which is about an artist, his art, and the seductive evil that
creeps from the frames.
As a horror author you have written some pretty terrifying scenes.
What really scares Teri Jacobs?
Teri: The threat of falling from great heights, drowning,
suffocating, being mangled in a car wreck, child predators, the destruction of
this planet as well as the depletion of its natural resources and life, the loss
of loved ones, death as in the total annihilation of my self, my soul if you
will, so that I never ever have another thought or feeling for all of eternity.
Teri Jacobs' book, The
Void, is available in bookstores everywhere. Those interested in
contacting Teri or finding out more about her and her upcoming books can due
so via her website: http://terijacobs.darkgriffon.net