Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jennifer Rainey - These Hellish Happenings

 Today, we have Jennifer Rainey with us. She is promoting her book These Hellish Happenings.
Where do you currently live?
Southern Ohio.

Tell us a little bit about your life.
I have an English degree and a minor in Spanish, and I work at a well-known department store (college is expensive; make that degree count!). I’m also in a folk band where I sing and play the piano. I’m a cat person, I occasionally go ghost hunting, and my favorite movie is A Hard Day’s Night.

When did you first start writing?
I’ve been writing in one way or another since I was about twelve and I started writing fan-fiction. Yes! Go ahead! Laugh! But it was actually a really nice way to learn the ropes of storytelling and get feedback on my writing very early on. I’ve been writing original fiction predominantly since I was about sixteen.

What was your very first story about?
The first piece of original fiction I remember writing was essentially Robin Hood in Hell! It never had a title, I’m afraid.

Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
I would be horrified if anyone found the aforementioned Robin Hood in Hell story, haha! Also, like I said, I used to write a lot of fanfiction. I’d cry myself to sleep if some of that made it into the light of day.

Did you experience anything you’ve written yourself?
Little bits and pieces of things I experience make it into my writing all the time! Like I said, I work in a department store and one of the short stories in my upcoming collection was seriously inspired by my experiences, both good and bad. My writer eyes are always open no matter where I go. I’m always paying attention because I never know when I’m going to run into the next situation or little detail that I could fit into my writing.

Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?
Aldous Huxley, Neil Gaiman, F. Scott Fitzgerald and recently Ray Bradbury immediately come to mind.

What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?
I have my BA in English from The Ohio State University (and no, I don’t care about football!). When I was studying at university, I tried to take away a writing lesson or two from many of the writers I studied. I was never simply looking at a piece from the standpoint of literary analysis; I was also looking at it as a writer.

How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
That depends on the project, I’d say. For These Hellish Happenings, I did a lot of research on Hell mythology, and then ignored it. Haha! For that book, I was really focusing on reinventing Hell, but it helped to have done the research.

Who is your favorite literary character?
Sherlock Holmes. I’ve been on Team Sherlock since I was about 11.

Who is your favorite character of your own creation?
I’ve always been fond of Alex Ridner, my demon character in These Hellish Happenings. He’s this outwardly snarky and arrogant go-getter who secretly wants nothing more than to abandon his position in Hell and be human. He’s always fun to write, but recently I’ve been falling in love with Erasmus Bramble, the protagonist of my next novel, Green-Eyed. He’s a very anachronistic character and something of a mad scientist, and I adore writing him.

If you were ever to write an autobiography, what would its title be?
“Jennifer Rainey Who?”

Tell us about your featured book.
These Hellish Happenings is about the poor sap who has to work at the Registration Office of Hell. The book follows Jack, my protagonist, as he lives, loves and works in Hades. The book is darkly comical, and it’s definitely good for someone who is looking for a read that’s a little quirky.

Why did you write that?
I wrote it for so many reasons. For one, I love Hell and Hell mythology. For another, I love writing comedy. The idea of the book really appealed to me. I loved humanizing this place that’s supposed to be very scary and epic. The Hell in the book is very similar to our own world, but with these little hellish touches. It was so much fun to write!

What is your favorite season of the year, and what makes it so?
Autumn. The food is great, the fashion is great, the weather is great and it’s got Halloween going for it. It’s perfect!

When you think of the word “Writer” what comes to mind?
A lonely individual hunched over a typewriter in a cramped apartment. That is the very first thing I think of. Is that horrible?

If you could pick one thing about yourself that would be passed onto your (imaginary/actual) child, what would it be?
I have a fantastic bullcrap detector. I don’t buy into things that are “trendy” or “the flavor of the month.” I can see what’s really important in a situation. I’m not planning on having any kids, but if I did have one, this is what I’d want him or her to get from me.

How about one thing about yourself that you absolutely wouldn’t want passed on?
I am a massive worry-wart! I would not not wish my compulsive worrying upon anyone!

If you had to live in another time period, which one would you choose?
The 1920s. I’ve been positively in love with that decade since I was a teenager and I discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Of course now we know what comes at the end of the 1920s, so if I retained that knowledge when I went back in time, I doubt I could be terribly carefree!

Name one movie that always has a huge effect on you. Why do you think that is?
A Hard Day’s Night. I first watched it when I was 11, and I felt at the time that it was the first movie I had ever watched that was “adult,” purely because I didn’t understand half of the script! I felt classy watching that movie when I was a kid, and I as I grew up, it really affected my sense of humor and my sense of what is aesthetically pleasing. I still love black and white movies and early 60s style, and it’s still my favorite movie. I’m a huge Beatles fan, though.

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to try, but never have?
Poutine. I can’t tell if I think it’d be awesome or bizarre or both.

What is your favorite thing to do when you have a day to yourself?
I enjoy just writing! When I know I’m going to have a solid block of time to myself with no interruptions, I just want to write. It can be very difficult finding time to write.

First thing you’d do if you were handed a million dollars?
I’d ask, “What’s the catch?”

What was/is your favorite thing about your childhood home?
Its location. It is only 20 minutes from downtown, but also only 20 minutes from parks and nature trails. So, when I was growing up, I really got to experience the best of both worlds. I could go see a concert one night and head out to do some hiking the next day.

Our thanks to Jennifer for being with us. Please find her work below and don't be shy with your clicking finger.

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