Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Interview with A.L. Peck,

author of  “Abstract Murder”

This is the first in a series of interviews with women in horror fiction.
I hope you will enjoy this interview is with psychological horror/suspense writer Andie Lee Eames, who writes under the penname A. L. Peck. Today we will talk about writing, perceptions of women and women of color in the horror genre, and why female writers would still feel a need to use a gender neutral penname 150 years after the Bronte sisters did. 

The Book:

Abstract Murder (Paperback)
Abstract Murder
Abstract Murder is a disturbing psychological suspense tale told from the viewpoints of various characters. The characters speak directly to the reader taking them into the dark recesses of dangerous minds while calling into question the validity of good and evil.
If you liked "Pulp Fiction Silence of the Lambs" then you'll love Abstract Murder, which is told in flash forwards, backs, and present time.
It is a high concept thriller not for the faint of heart and one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride. There are three different killers and you'll get to see what made them that way.

The Author:

Born in Washington D.C., Andie Lee Eames is a free-lance journalist and author. She wrote the well-received novel “Abstract Horror” under the pen name A.L. Peck.
Abstract Murder is her first novel, and she is currently working on a prequel. Links to other writings by the author that are available online can be found at the bottom of this page.

The mother of two teens, Andie Lee Eames is an American of Irish, Mexican and Caribbean heritage, and divides her time between the US and Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Interview:

Sumiko Saulson:
How did you get started writing?

Andie Lee Eames
I began writing seriously with my cousin Sarah in Ireland on Bebo where we've created an epic sci-fi fantasy Carpe Ominous=Take it All! That's where I got the idea of building up a fan base and writing on line.

Sumiko Saulson
When did you start writing, and what were you doing before?

Andie Lee Eames
I was once a fire fighter/ medic, but once I got married and had kids I started
Paula Patton
In Andie's Dream Cast for the book, Paula Patton plays FBI Supervisory Special Agent Lenie Larson
writing. I released Abstract Murder published by Authorhouse September 2008 It took me two years of research to learn the correct terminology and I got assigned an F.B.I agent to help so it was cool and frightening to be at Quantico

Sumiko Saulson
Women in horror are rare; women of color in horror are exceedingly rare. I wanted to do the interviews as a way to bring exposure to women in the genre but also, to encourage others who are just getting started. What advice would you give to other ladies getting started in the genre, what do you think?

Andie Lee Eames
I know when I looked up horror writers/directors etc. and they stay within their race and that's fine but to me there's only one race and it's human but with religious and cultural differences

Sumiko Saulson
It is true that there is only one race, scientifically. Prejudice is not a construct of scientific fact but human perception - the hateful comments about the dark skinned girl in Hunger Games being played by an African American actress all over Twitter are a good example. The fact that there is no scientific reason for a culture bias or, in that case; one called colorism (which is bigotry against a skin tone) doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Andie Lee Eames
Exactly, I wish more people viewed the world that way. So what the little girl was black does that really make a difference?

I want to break down these racial barriers

Sumiko Saulson
What was it like releasing your first novel back in 2008, and how did you like working with Authorhouse?

Andie Lee Eames
AnnaSophia Robb
AnnaSophia Robb plays Meghan McHugh in the dream cast for "Abstract Murder".
It went really well and I recommend authors who go the self-publishing route to try them out. I've a cult like following around the world and recently found out that the book as reached Japan and been translated for them

Sumiko Saulson
It must be exciting to have readers as far away as Japan.

Andie Lee Eames
It is, I'd no idea but it's really cool. Most of my fan base is UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand and now Japan; it's strange how it works out

Sumiko Saulson
Women in the horror genre are still rare; women of color exceedingly rare. I wanted to ask you: what made you decide to write in the genre of psychological horror?

Andie Lee Eames
I wasn't aware of how rare we are until you mentioned it. I like to understand the reason that people do horrible things to one another and the best way for me to do this without sounding preachy was the horror genre

Sumiko Saulson
And as a follow up... do you think there is any reason that mostly men have been writing horror? Such as do you think women have any cultural identities that make us believe it's not ladylike to write scary things?

Andie Lee Eames
I honestly don't know why it's a predominately male dominated genre but I
Zoe Saldana
In Andie's dream cast, Zoe Saldana plays Detective Mena Vincent.
plan to change that. Women have so many ideal thrust upon us as to what constitutes being a lady. I think it limits some of us in what we think we should be instead of who we really are. I do not like that double standard

Sumiko Saulson
So if I understand you correctly, you believe that in an ideal future, we would begin to be motivated internally by what we care about - such as figuring out why people do horrible things in your case - and not externally by what we think society believes we should care about?

Andie Lee Eames
Yes, in a way but we're visual creatures by nature. I think that more women will change from the horror vixen to more powerful positions. The reason I published under A. L. Peck is because I didn't want the reader knowing I was female. I wanted the book to stand or fall based on its contents not because I'm female. There’s a bias about women in horror most are models or actors who are paving the way for the female writers of psychological horror.

Sumiko Saulson
Understood. That's why J.K. Rowling published “Harry Potter “ under a gender-neutral name. It's also why Emily Bronte published Wuthering Heights under a masculine pen name Ellis Bell. But isn't it interesting that 150 years later women still have to do as Ms. Bronte did in order to be taken seriously? Do you
James McAvoy
In A.L. Peck's dream cast, Brian Thomas is played by James McAvoy.
think this will at some point change?

Andie Lee Eames
I hope that it will change at some point but it's going to take for more women to succeed before that. I actually had someone tell me that if they'd known I'd written Abstract Murder they wouldn't have met me and I thought that was pretty messed up because you don't say that to a man who has written horror...people choose to see what they can process and right now it's easier to be gender neutral.

Sumiko Saulson
That is an excellent example of gender bias in horror - and the stereotypical thinking that suggests that a woman isn't as capable as a man of creating a terrifying character without being disturbed - no one seems to think Dean Koontz is disturbed, or Stephen King.

Andie Lee Eames
Exactly and it's not a fair assumption for people to make but they do it anyway. I want to be able to change that because when people realize that Abstract Murder was written by a woman some give you that doe in the headlight look. Some people not all

Sumiko Saulson
Different writers have different processes. Notably regarding you and your process: I see that on your popular Facebook page, you role-play your character Mr. Nobody. That is a unique approach. Do you think this kind of thing is part of your creative process, as well as an effective marketing tool?

Andie Lee Eames
Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murpy - Andie's ideal actor to cast as "The Artist/Mr. Nobody" if Abstract Murder were made into a movie.
I've tried role-playing on other sites with characters from different stories that I've written and it worked out really well so I figured to try it out here on FB. In this market you have to be competitive and try new things, so I thought by putting an actual face and speaking in the voice of the characters was worth a shot

Sumiko Saulson
And the face is of the actor you envision playing the role?

Andie Lee Eames
Of Mr. Nobody?

Sumiko Saulson
Yes. Because that's who you currently use on Facebook. But I also notice you had photos of the actress you had in mind for the young female detective, so in both cases.

Andie Lee Eames
In the book he doesn't really have a face so when I decided to do the behind the book series. The first face I saw when writing was Christian Bale then when I
Christian Bale
Christian Bale - in the Dream Cast as FBI Special Supervisory Agent Michael Hallard
decided to do this I had to find the actors that I saw in my mind when I was writing the book
In developing Mr. Nobody referred to as The Artist in the book I wanted a face that could easily do or get what he wants and be forgotten as easily by those who have seen him
I wanted an actor who could pull this off and Cillian Murphy was the first actor that came to mind to be Mr. Nobody

Sumiko Saulson
I see. And I notice that in your writing, you trying to emphasize the frightening notion that this serial killer could be anyone - the reader's next-door neighbor - and that really underscores the menacing nature of this character. Is the way he looks part of this unnoticeable persona as suggested by the book?

Andie Lee Eames
Yes, I am because when you break it down and this is going to sound jaded but it's anything but. I don't think that we can ever truly know someone and that instills horror and awareness. In the book he's a much less likeable characters who isn't really one of the primary characters but one of three killers in the book. I decided to develop him and the other characters more without spoiling the book for those who haven't read it yet while keeping those who have further entertained. Thanks I don't have many reviews on Amazon but I hope that the information on Amazon is enticing and insightful

Sumiko Saulson
It's been great speaking with you. Before we wrap this interview up, can you let my readers know where they can find you on the Internet, where they can pick up a copy of your book, and things like that?

Andie Lee Eames
Thank you. Abstract Murder can be found on line around the world on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Other Writing By Andie Lee Eames

A tale of erotica, horror, suspense and viciously biting comedy
This is a behind the book and fan site where you'll be able to interact with other fans and the author
The story of mixed up young girl whose journey through her life is brutal and unrelenting.
This is a behind the book and fan site where you'll be able to interact with other fans and the author on Facebook

Dream Cast Video

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