with Jess Landry:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Jess: It’ll sound cliché, but it’s true — I’ve been writing my whole life. My first short story was one I wrote and illustrated in kindergarten called “Lady and the Night” — about a dog who goes trick-or-treating. Truly, my finest work.
My first influences are also going to sound cliché, but I think given the generation, a lot of us writers who are currently in our 20s to our 40s first found inspiration in Stephen King. The first book I read of his was “The Drawing of the Three” from the Dark Tower series (out of order, I know), but I instantly loved it. I became a voracious reader of his work, and eventually found myself branching out to other horror authors, where I found the work of Clive Barker. I remember being blown away by his writing, so I quickly seeked all his work out, and I loved it all. He remains a favourite of mine to this day — his books, his films, his paintings, I love it all.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Jess: Clive Barker is definitely still at the top of my list, but as I’ve grown, I’ve searched out more female authors (something that was definitely lacking when I first threw myself into reading horror in the 90s). Today, I’m influenced by older authors, such as Shirley Jackson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Ray Russell (not a woman, but a great writer); and current authors, such as Gemma Files, SP Miskowski, and Helen Oyeyemi, to name a few.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Jess: I don’t think so. The urge to write and create has always been there, but I only started to take it seriously in my 20s when I felt like I actually had something to say. Since then, every day has been something new — sometimes the words flow easily; other days not so much. But I write every single day because I feel like if I stop, I might lose my ability to put coherent words down on the page.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Jess: Everyone in my family helps in their own little way, whether they realize it or not. I have a five-year-old daughter, and I find it interesting to see the world through her eyes — something that I’ve started considering while writing younger characters, and something I wouldn’t have properly considered before I had her.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & have any travels away from home influence your work?
Jess: I grew up (and still live in) Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We’re in the middle of the country, with nothing but prairie flatlands surrounding us as far as the eye can see. I was lucky growing up in that we travelled a few times a year, so being exposed to different parts of mainly Canada and the US showed me what rested beyond the prairies and opened my eyes to things I’d only seen in textbooks at that point. I have a story that’s influenced by the cobblestoned streets of Paris, and another influenced by the Rockies, but most of my stories take place in a city like Winnipeg, in the lands as flat as Manitoba. I think this part of the world often gets overlooked in fiction, which is a shame because it’s really the perfect place for terrible things to happen.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Jess: Everything I’ve written has a little piece of me in it, so each story is meaningful in its own way.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Jess: Watching movies helps me relax — that’s probably my favourite thing to do, just zone out and watch a good movie. I also love to read right before bed. Listening to music is another good relaxer — I usually put Spotify on shuffle while playing computer games.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Jess: The first thing that came to mind is “That which is imagined can never be lost,” which is a line from Clive Barker’s novel, Weaveworld. That’s a definite favourite because it’s so true.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Jess: My debut collection, The Mother Wound, was released in May from Independent Legions Publishing. As well, an anthology I’ve co-edited called There Is No Death, There Are No Dead, is out August 27th from Crystal Lake Publishing, and I have a short story in the upcoming Aliens Vs Predators: Ultimate Prey anthology, out December 2021 from Titan Books.
Links: Amazon link to my collection, The Mother Wound: https://www.amazon.com/MOTHER-WOUND-Stories-Jess-Landry-ebook/dp/B09451ZCSY/ref=sr_1_12?dchild=1&keywords=the+mother+wound&qid=1628610999&sr=8-12