The Horror Club talks to Lori R. Lopez, who, while mainly a writer, works across a number of different mediums including film and music. To date, she has sixteen titles in print, forty+ e-books available, while her poems and short stories have been published in a number of magazines and anthologies.
Tell us about yourself?
I’ve always been a bit strange. An oddball. My work reflects it. And you should know I wear hats. I love hats. Beyond that, I consider myself an author but also an artist. The ability never quite burned inside of me like the flame to write. I design my covers and illustrate my books when I can stop writing long enough. The artwork comes in handy and could not be denied, stuffed in an attic box or basket, shoved in a corner to gather dust. Okay, it does get dusty on occasion. This year I might be drawing more than writing. It should be fun. I feel inspired. But writing is a powerful force that draws me to it. I am equal parts a poet and weaver of prose, usually a storyteller even with my verse.
I have two grown sons and five cats. I’m vegan and a member of the Horror Writers Association. My first book was self-published in 2008 after homeschooling my kids and supporting their interests, their talents. Now we support each other.
At the moment, I’ve published sixteen titles in print and more than forty e-books. I concentrated on poetry a lot in 2017, releasing the digital version of Darkverse: The Shadow Hours. That is one of the projects waiting for me to switch from Tophat to Beret for an Illustrated Print Edition. Other titles include The Dark Mister Snark, Leery Lane, An Ill Wind Blows, The Fairy Fly, Odds And Ends, Chocolate-Covered Eyes. Poems and stories have recently appeared in the pages of The Horror Zine, Weirdbook, The Sirens Call, Bewildering Stories, California Screamin’, Grey Matter Monsters, and Fearful Fathoms (Volume I).
You seem to be stuck in lots of different media platforms, such as writing, film, and even singing. How do you balance it all?
Books are and always have been a major part of my existence, yet I do have other creative compulsions . . . Music and acting are desires I would express or suppress through the years. They can be demanding. I need to let them out more often. It’s a continuous struggle, juggling the hours in a day between a range of impulses and the many ideas, projects, passions clamoring for attention.
What is Fairy Fly Entertainment?
That is me and my sons, a company of artistic souls who work in a variety of related fields that tend to overlap. Our main categories — which all of us are involved in — are Literature, Music, and Film. Art is incorporated. The three of us form a collaborative team, yet primarily work on individual projects.
I wrote a number of songs over the course of a couple decades and plan to record some of them with my sons, who are equally driven to create. Like me, they have multiple talents. So we are combining these interests and obsessions. We’ve produced author videos and book trailers. My eldest son, Noel, composes original scores, records audio, handles the sound-engineering. He will be releasing original songs of his own and taught himself computer programming, so he handles a lot of the tech duties. My youngest son, Rafael, is our chief cameraman (also for still photography) and taught himself computer graphics. He has two Epic Fantasy collections of verse published, with other projects in the works for book and film. We are only just beginning to work on short films and would like to do some feature-length movies together.
What was your first published work (short story, etc.)?
I got a late start. I had been writing and illustrating since I was a little girl with giant dreams. Always writing on my own. Adding artwork to school projects and reports any chance I could. But I did not seriously set up a tiny closet-sized office and work on a career until age forty.
I sent a screenplay version of my first novel (written for my sons as the main characters) to studios and production companies, with interest from several. I sent manuscripts out to publishers and agents, even to a couple of magazines. I was noticed but nothing came of it, so I signed with an agent who literally did nothing, telling me to do his job. Projects were stacking up. One editor held a book manuscript for a year. I decided to go Indie. With encouragement and technical assistance from my sons, the first release came at age forty-nine: Out-Of-Mind Experiences, an offbeat collection of stories. The next year, in 2009, I released a fantasy-horror-adventure novel — the book that received attention from studios, publishing houses. And this was followed by the first volume of my Poetic Reflections series in 2010, based on a column I had been publishing monthly at our company website. After five years give or take, the column was paused to focus on other endeavors. It had been growing an audience, so that was a tough decision. I also began to publish poems and stories in anthologies, magazines, on other websites in 2010.
Why did you decide to go into the horror genre? Who influenced you when you started off?
Horror has been a lifelong craving. My first favorite book, before I could read, had monsters in it: Maurice Sendak’s classic about “Wild Things”. I was enthralled and still checked it out of the library repeatedly after learning to read. When that amazing story came out, there had been warnings to parents it might be a bad influence . . .
Other childhood favorites: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Victor Hugo’s Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. Poe, Bradbury, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain. A book series: Alfred Hitchcock & The Three Investigators. I found Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub as an adult.
Growing up, the classic Universal horror films. Hammer. Godzilla. Made-for-T.V. movies written by Richard Matheson. Old shows: Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Hitchcock, Night Gallery, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Later on, The X-Files.
Do you think song and storytelling can go hand-in-hand?
Oh, definitely. Songs and any form of verse can tell a story. Much of my poems certainly do, with very odd and interesting characters. Some of my poetry crosses the line into prose and vice-versa. It’s a dance between the two for me. As I said earlier, art forms tend to overlap. Music is often essential to film as to me, verse is to prose. You will find traces or pieces of verse in many of my stories, in my novels or novellas. Even in the phrasing of my prose tales.
What are the plans for 2018?
Some date back to previous years, things that did not get wrapped up. There is Darkverse: The Shadow Hours to illustrate; Leery Lane to illustrate. These will be published in print this year, being already available as E-books. Then there is Volume Three of Poetic Reflections to format and illustrate, and my first art collection to put together once those are out. I may work on more sequels, plus a new idea and a couple of special projects I’ve been trying to get to. I submit for magazines and anthologies when something of interest catches my eye, as time allows. And I do a monthly flash project with other female horror authors hosted on Nina D’Arcangela’s blog Spreading The Writer’s Word.
My sons and I plan to attend events, record and film a few things. Right now we are upgrading our website and thinking of ways to enhance formatting while we transition the print books to a service that provides hardcover along with paperback. It’s a big process, but it should be an improvement that enables us to move ahead with other goals, like being in bookstores. We’ve had our company’s titles in one so far, a little shop in Old Town San Diego.
To find out more of Lori R. Lopez, check out the following: