Sunday, May 6, 2012


Today I’m honored with the presence of one of the best new promises in the Horror genre. She’s not only a brilliant writer and my best pal, but also a pretty Michigander with a heart of gold and a resolute attitude. Author of the acclaimed anthology ‘Oh, the Horror!’, a former zookeeper, and greatest mom of her hood.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to interview the next to be winner of Bram Stoker’s Award:


Jeff: First of all, welcome to my blog. Now, please introduce yourself to our public –
Jaime: Hi my name's Jaime Johnesee and I'm a horroraholic.

Jeff: When did you start writing?
Jaime: When I was seven or eight the teacher had us write a little book. I've been creating my own little worlds and scenarios ever since. I didn't write my first novel until I was knocked down with an illness. I had to leave my 14 year profession as a zookeeper and wrote my first novel a few months later.

Jeff: What’s your actual job?
Jaime:  Which one? I'm a mother and wife first, then author, and finally a zoologist. I may not be working with animals but that part will never leave me.

Jeff: You were a zookeeper. Tell us something funny which happened at the zoo.
Jaime: I have a lot of those moments, like one that occurred during my internship at Mobile Zoo. I had been kicked in the hip by a zebra, spit on by the llama, then the camel, and a fiesty rhea. It was like a regurgitation conspiracy.
All I wanted when I was done for the day was to go back to my studio apartment on zoo property and take a shower.
As I turned on the faucet to start warming up the water a spider rappelled down from the ceiling and missed my hand by nearly a quarter inch. I jumped back and grabbed the oven cleaner from the kitchen (works quicker than bug spray) and started spraying the large arachnid.
I was cleaning his corpse from the shower floor when another came down. I looked at the ceiling only to find a swarm of about twenty black widows right there on the ceiling above the stall. That is one of those days I look back on and laugh.
At the time it wasn't so funny.

Jeff: How many languages do you speak?
Jaime: Well I speak English and Behavior which is its own interesting language in my opinion.

Jeff: What’s your favorite genre?
Jaime: To read, horror and dark fantasy. To write, I like horror, dark fantasy, and mystery.

Jeff: I see a difference. Why don’t you read mystery?
Jaime: I read mystery occasionally but most of my pals are also horror authors so I'm lucky enough to be surrounded with brilliant stories to read and reread.
Jeff: Feeding the Urge’ notwithstanding, what’s your favorite book of ever?
Jim: I have so many. The one I love and cherish most is The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe. I've had it almost fifteen years. As for current books, Finding Poe is up there. I've actually read it twice now and will probably read it again.

Jeff: Lisa Lane’s ‘Finding Poe’, huh? Did you read some more of her stories?
Jaime: I have some of her other work but I haven't quite gotten to it yet. She's a wonderful lady as well as a great author.

Jeff: Lingerie or Nightgown?
Jaime: Neither, sorry guys not like that, I'm a t-shirt and boxers kind of girl.

Jeff: Favorite author?
Jaime: Well I'm torn between Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I know Poe's character Dupin disparaged and disliked Doyle's Sherlock Holmes but alas I love both detectives and their worlds.

Jeff: Tea or Coffee?
Jaime: Tea. Straight up orange pekoe.

Jeff: Is your family supportive of your writing?
Jaime: Yes, my husband is amazing. The kids are also wonderful, we sit together and make up stories around the table all the time. Kid appropriate stories of course.

Jeff: Fast or Slow?
Jaime: Depends on the moment. Sometimes fast is good, but sometimes slow is much better.

Jeff: Something about your current work in progress?
Jaime: I'm editing a novel that will be released as soon as she is as beautiful as I can make her. It's about a former sniper turned Vigilante. She's got a bit of an odd life but it was fun to write.
I'm also writing a novel about a werejaguar FBI agent. Having fun with her too, she is quite the smart ass.

Jeff: Zombies or Vampires?
Jaime: Well as I say in a short story 'Horde equals family' but there is something visceral and inherently attractive about vampires, except the sparkly ones. I don't think I can decide.

Jeff: Do you believe in the Supernatural?
Jaime: Yes, and no. I've had some experiences I can not explain. At the same time though, I look at those instances with a skeptical eye. We know so little about our world, I just think more research is needed before we say, 'Hey that's a human spirit' rather than look at all the possibilities. Isn't it possible what we see as ghosts are not just glimpses into the past rather than actual deceased souls?

Jeff: Any suggestion for starting writers?
Jaime: I want to tell people not to give up on their dreams.
It is possible to make your dreams come true. It takes lots of hard work and faith in yourself but you can do it.

Jeff: Thank you for bearing this, Jaime. I kiss your cheek and wish you all the best.

Buy at Amazon

Shifters by Jaime Johnesee.

On my way to work I'd had some time to think about life and what I want from mine. What I decided was there are a few things in life that bother me greatly, one of them is all that crap out there about shape shifters losing it during the full moon. Seriously, the moon doesn’t have any more pull over us than it does you humans. But I guess it’s like the stupid ‘vampires need an invitation to enter’ myth. Some things become what I like to call a Hollywood-fact. Mainly it’s those little things you see in all the monster movies.

I can tell you honestly that vampires are free to enter any dwelling, place of business, or warehouse that they choose. They are also just fine with garlic, crosses and holy water. Mainly because vampirism isn’t some demonic curse, it’s a virus. So too is lycanthropy. The bite from a were-beast causing it’s victim to also become one is the only thing
Hollywood got right.

Unfortunately it’s one that has caused many humans to fear us. What the myths don’t say is that the virus can only be transferred during an outbreak. Like most viruses, if the host isn’t infectious at the time, the infection is not transferred. Basically we have to be furry and feverish to bite you.

Another interesting fact is that lycanthropy didn’t exist until scientists in the early 1900s got together and tried to cook up a serious bug for germ warfare purposes. Before that it was only a myth; wolves native to
Hungary and Romania were blamed for anything bad that occurred. As time went on they felt stupid blaming animals and thus created the wolf-man stigmata to attach to villagers that were disliked.

A fuzzy version of
Salem’s witch hunts, if you will. The were-wolf virus was born in a lab in 1910 and as the decades went on many other strains were created. Basically our DNA is similar enough to every species of mammal for DNA manipulation to occur. I know all this because I just happen to become a black panther once in awhile.

Like other viruses, it flares up more when I am sick. Apparently my panther virus doesn’t much care for the common cold, or the flu. When I fall ill the shifter virus takes over and I turn. When I turn back (usually four hours and a raccoon or two later) I’m completely cured of the rhinovirus or influenza. I think that’s where the whole ‘turning into their animal heals a Were’ myth came from. It heals us of some illnesses and disease, but not gunshots.

Oh and the whole needing silver to kill us thing is also a myth. A regular bullet will end us as easily as the next guy. Our pain thresholds are higher than humans so you might have to get a head or center mass shot to stop us, but hey, we’re killable.

Another myth that annoys me is how we turn into mindless beasts when we change. When I’m a panther I am fully conscious and aware of what I’m doing. True, my animal urges sometimes overrule my common sense. While I normally don’t chase, kill, and consume rabbits; my panther can’t resist.

Mind you, I don’t go into a pet store and chase bunnies there. I have some land attached to my house. It’s not as much as I wish but 25 acres is damn helpful when you turn into a giant Disneyesque panther.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful interview! OH, THE HORROR is on my (albeit lengthy) TBR list. I wish I were a quicker reader. So many books ... so little time!