Virginia Carraway Stark interviews Jen Duell, musician and Director of the National Paranormal Society.
1. What was the first thing that you remember writing?
I was about 5 years old, and I had written a very short story about the animals in my back yard. I wrote about a rabbit that grows 10 feet tall and saves the other animals from the big mean dog next door. I was really into nature, and pretty terrified of the neighbor’s barking dog they’d always had chained up; I would sit and imagine that the rabbits who ran away from the menacing animal would grow bigger and be able to defend themselves instead of run away.
2. What is your main inspiration to write?
My main inspiration for writing is music; certain masterpieces such as ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Igor Stravinsky can really set an entire world into motion for me. Everything from Steven Wilson to Pink Floyd can also grab me by the hand and run me into a forest of reveries without a moment’s hesitation and leave me there for a while as I explore the universe of creative vision within.
3. What is your story for Starklight press about?
‘What has Kenneth Done!’ is a prequel to a novel I’d authored last Autumn—the corruption of big business and deception play a damning role in the dark mysterious past of a small New England town that is trying to boom at the turn of the 20th century. As new sins meet old; we follow Kenneth Hargraves as he struggles with the ghosts while becoming a part of the town’s most gruesome secrets that lie at the base of its successes. From Native American curses to money driven murder … ‘What has Kenneth Done!’ invites you along for a look into the foundation of Ahbasauk! A Town that stands proudly on murder and sin!
4. Why did you choose this story/genre?
I really became friends with these characters then, and now. They are generally quiet and sometimes distant but as I opened that blank Office file and stared at the blinking curser it occurred to me that Kenneth had something to say. The first few lines came out smoothly and before I could escape it; the entire town sort of knocked at the ‘my turn to breathe!’ door. The paranormal/mystery genre is typically a go-to favorite of mine and has been for quite a few years and I am mostly comfortable while walking through these fields.
5. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Nothing that I am capable was ever learned in a classroom. One day I picked up a pen after reading and ideas began to build small homes that later erected to cities and eventually worlds. I do a lot of reading (I try at least a book per week) and I pay nature a visit at least once a day. If you really want to write, you will begin to learn
that it takes just doing it. Make it a habit to write something every day and it doesn’t matter what it is, just write what’s on your mind. Eventually everything will flow like a river and you’ll need a canoe to stay afloat.
6. What are some of your other hobbies?
When I am not dictating the direction of my characters I am either illustrating some scenes or maybe flirting with a synthesizer and when I set down the art, I am one of the directors at the National Paranormal Society and I am educating people about the paranormal.
7. How do your hobbies infiltrate your writing?
The paranormal is a plethora of inspiration. I read people’s encounters day and night and most of it is your common spiritual encounter but my mind can’t help but to be inspired by some of the situations and instances that people bring to us. My illustrating also opens doors; as I am drawing various styles of art, I am always wondering where these scene could go if I give it more blank paper to fill in.
8. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
My dream is to continue writing fiction and seeing it published; I would love for it to open a new path for me that leads to others like me who know and understand that little doors to other worlds are everywhere within our reach—we just have to open them and become the willing participant in their schemes and journeys.
9. How has your own past affected your writing?
I’ve always put a little bit of my truest self into my works and my past experiences tend to shine through a little in each piece. For the most part, I had a pretty normal childhood with a few scrapes and cuts and an occasional paranormal encounter. When I delve into emotion and turmoil, I dig deep within and pull out the pain of the past to aide in the guidance and direction.
10. Any other thoughts?
One of my first major inspirations was the Ballad of Reading Goal by Oscar Wilde. This particular poem had wrapped its loving arms around me and took me for a walk through various levels of dreams. Each time I had read the poem, I would go into a new adventure. Eventually I fell in love with this piece and so day after day I paid it a visit until I fulfilled the desire to write poetry like it. Literature of any form is an exciting, and growing life force that accepts us and welcomes us into its home and allows us to stretch out our limbs and float a while in that lake of dreams until we decide to dry off and return home. I hope that some of you may feel the same way that I do when you sit down and read all of us.
Fascinating interview with one of America’s most dedicated paranormal researchers. You can find the National Paranormal Society on Facebook.