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Starting off, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to participate! These were some amazing, thought-provoking questions, J.D.! I appreciate the effort you went to tailor the interview specifically for me.
1. Who is Larysia Woropay and what can people expect when they read something by you?
I’m a Canadian Amazon from Edmonton, Alberta who believes in lifting, self-improvement, and writing. My day job is a telecom Assignor. I work with systems in regards to logical provisioning and assignment of wireline services.
With that said, I’m a huge nerd and bona fide geek. I love research. I could spend hours learning about politics, religion, history, languages, science, and more. The way I see things, it’s a massive world and beyond out there. It’d be a shame to not learn about and experience it.
Being a pop culture junkie I adore movies, videogames, books, comics, and music spanning across decades. I’d have to say my main influences are Sam Raimi, Dean Koontz, and Alan Moore.
When it comes to my writing, horror, fantasy, and sci-fi are my staple genres. With anything from over-the-top space mutants to wars fought against ethereal beings, I love the fantastical and outrageous. My dark, dry, and generally inappropriate sense of humour is embedded in my prose, too. Expect something twisted, fun, and appropriately dramatic when it comes to my content.
2. You have a finished manuscript for a novel called Lucidity. What’s it about?
High school senior Breanna Greer dreams of a warrior named Driad, Guardian of the Astral Plane. He heralds that the world of dreams exists, governed by him and his ethereal siblings. However, one of their own went rogue, attacking the plane of unreality. Using the transformational energy of the dimension, their turncoat sister has given Nightmares life, warping Dream into unspeakable sentient horror. But his sister won’t stop there. No, she’ll encroach on the real world, too. Maybe even others. It’s only a matter of time. To save their worlds, the Guardians enforce a draft. Anyone who can control their dreams has been selected. But they need leaders at the helm. They need Generals, the chosen few who will remember their dreams to keep vigil in both worlds.
Driad extends to Brea the offer of becoming a General. She accepts. It’s a dream, after all. It can’t be real. But soon Brea discovers a myriad of coincidences lining up with the dream world and her own. Is the trans-dimensional war actually happening, or is she just pulling from her subconscious? Who is the strange young man she sees in dream and consciousness alike? Most importantly, can she lead an army to victory against the greatest threat to existence the universe has ever seen?
3. You’re currently querying, how has that process been? What are some of the challenges you have found along the way and tips you can offer people?
Honestly, this question is worthy of an entire blog post! (Certainly an idea for the future!) However, I will just share an abridged version.
Querying has been a great learning experience and a test of my patience. The challenges are plenty. Let me rattle them off!
A. Finish your book. This includes editing! Common sense, but …
B. Write a great query letter tailored for each agent you’ve researched
C. Have a 1-2 page synopsis
D. Make sure your opening pages are enticing
E. Follow submission guidelines
All of that is a ton of hard work. If you’ve done those to the best of your availability, congrats! You’ve done everything in your power to snag an agent, but keep in mind that …
i. Agents receive hundreds of queries so wait time for a response can be high
ii. Agents may reject something that is well written if they don’t think it can sell
iii. Generally, the rejection to partial or full request ratio will be much higher than you’d like
iv. Even if you get those magical requests, that still doesn’t guarantee signing a contract
v. It may take a couple years (and manuscripts) for some writers to get signed
The most difficult part of querying for me personally is letting go of the fact that once I’ve done my part the rest is up to an agent to fall in love and want to sign me.
A plethora of variables I can’t control go into this, such as:
Does the story resonate with the agent? The industry is highly subjective, so what one agent loves another may not.
Is the manuscript right for the market at this time? Basically, will it make money? Publishing is a business, after all, and an agent’s livelihood depends on the author’s.
Has the agent just signed something similar? If so, that means that they probably won’t take on a project that’s closely comparable.
I’m sure there’s an endless amount of reasons, but those are the top.
So, I remember when I get stressed about things I can’t control is that it’s all a part of the process. Almost every single author has gone through it. The ceaseless waiting, rejections, and insecurities rearing their heads. I don’t stop writing. I keep improving.
When I get rejections and notice a trend, I’ll rework aspects. Like tweaking a query letter or opening pages. When I get antsy waiting for replies, I dig into another project. When I get down, I have supportive and encouraging friends to remind me to keep my chin up.
Work hard, adapt, and keep a positive (but grounded) outlook, are the best nuggets of advice I can offer. Besides, of course, be professional when you do get a rejection because no one likes a crazy snotty-pants bent on committing career suicide.
… Hard to believe that was abridged, right?
4. You’re from Canada, give us five reasons why we should visit your country.
i. Canadians are a friendly bunch in a cultural mosaic. That means if you visit, we’ll be welcoming and if you don’t speak English (or French) well, there may be someone nearby to help you out!
ii. With oceans, lakes, mountains, forests, plains, and even desert, there is endless beauty to be found in nature. I won’t even get started on the wildlife!
iii. Food and drink! Staples like maple syrup, poutine, Alberta beef, BC fruit, seafood from any coast, multiple beers, and the great Canadian Caesar (my favorite cocktail) mean you’ll be wonderfully merry your whole trip.
iv. Banff, Alberta. Seriously. Just. There.
v. The Canadian accents! There’s the generic “no accent” accent found in most urban areas, the traditional Bob and Doug McKenzie accent found in the rurals and folks over 30, and the Newfoundlander “Newfie” accent which, frankly, is like an Irishman and Scotsman had an unholy union with Bob and Doug McKenzie.
5. On your blog, there are some videos of you doing commentary while playing Deadly Premonition. What is that like? What can people find when they check those videos out?
Walking Casino and I do joint vlogging on his YouTube channel by the same name. We film random updates on our lives and gaming commentary videos known as “Let’s Plays.” The idea is that the viewer watches us play a game and listens to us beak off. However, our commentary isn’t entirely fluff. We also share a lot about ourselves, discuss current events, and give shout-outs to talented folks. It’s another great way to get to know us better and discover other awesome content.
Now! As for Deadly Premonition …
It is a horror game heavily inspired by David Lynch’s television show Twin Peaks. When the teenage Anna Graham is murdered, FBI Agent Francis York Morgan is called to the quiet town of Greenvale to investigate. The eccentric big city agent delves deep into the town’s secrets, discovering not only a sinister plot, but a supernatural one, as well. Along with the mysterious Zach, York tracks the killer.
It’s one of the strangest games around with quite a polarizing effect. People either love it or hate it. But most fans adore it for its peculiar nature, low-budget struggles, and off-key brilliance from its developer Swery. Definitely check out our Let’s Play of it at https://www.youtube.com/user/WalkingCasino!
6. You often do videos with Walking Casino, if you guys were a wrestling tag-team, what is your entrance song and walk us through your signature move.
I’d have to say it’d be Queen’s Princes of the Universe.
The signature move would be “The Blood of Kings.”
WC and I would bounce and discombobulate the opponent against the ropes until he would close line them. Then WC would grab them, lift them up and hold them splayed open facing a corner I’d be perched atop of. I’d flip off it, land on the opponent’s torso and roll them into a full-body submission.
7. You have a beautifully intricate tattoo of the cabin from the Evil Dead series. What can you tell us about that?
Thank you kindly!
The tattoo I have is of the iconic cabin in the woods from The Evil Dead franchise Sam Raimi created.
Now, this actually does have a blog post.
See here for more: http://larysiawrites.blogspot.ca/2015/08/of-ink-dreams.html
See here for more: http://larysiawrites.blogspot.ca/2015/08/of-ink-dreams.html
But the TL;DR version is that it isn’t just ink featuring a demon-infested murder-cabin in the middle of nowhere. It’s a cabin bathed in darkness, symbolizing the primal fear found in the woods that has inspired storytellers for generations. It’s my love for a genre that sparks my creativity. Most importantly, it’s the reminder that with hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm dreams can come true. (It won’t be easy, but that’s part of earning your stripes.) And, of course, that with great friends, anything is possible.
8. You are commissioned to coordinate a fine art gallery tribute to the kings of horror, name 3 pieces that would be in this exhibit.
For Sam Raimi – “Retreat”
A modern art take on the innards of the cabin. The walls and floor would be stark white with featureless mannequins torn apart. Lighting would be dark, allowing shadows to make haunting shapes. Rich crimson would be the room’s main colour, spilling off the designated platform and onto the floor. The only other colours would belong to a rusted chainsaw and sawed off shotgun propped up in the centre.
For H.R. Giger – “Mostly Mythical”
It’d be a statue of a xenomorph queen crossed with a winged dragon. It would be massive, fifteen feet tall, with the classic features of an Alien, except more reptilian. It’d have scales instead of being smooth, ridges of bone running down its back, and leathery wings.
For Clive Barker – “Versailles”
A mural of a beautiful and opulent ballroom. Rich creams and gold, but a sinister red is invading the picture around the kingdom’s queen, who is as demonic as she is lovely. Crown atop her head, she’s bound in white leather, marked in extravagant scarification, and holding chains belonging to every collar in the room. Every subject in her court is at her clawed fingertips as they writhe in pain.
It’s a tall, violet Victorian mansion with a tower, veranda, overhanging eaves, and ornate windows.
Inside is a massive foyer with great ceilings and a wrought-iron candle chandelier. The living room is large and empty, except for macabre art hanging on the walls and faded Persian rugs on the floor. The kitchen is dimly lit and fully stocked with rotting supplies, contrasting with the scent of fresh baked bread in the air. Bathrooms have polished mirrors, clawfoot tubs, and cabinets with many a bottle of snake oil. There’s a wooden stairway spiraling up to the second floor.
A massive library is beyond oaken double doors. The room has heavy drapes, worn velvety couches, and enough books to last a lifetime. Whispered shushing can be heard. Bedrooms have four-poster beds with sheer canopies and dressers with perfumes and colognes adoring them. There’s full wardrobes and clothing from many lost eras.
The layout is straightforward until the house decides otherwise. Hallways will bend, rooms will vanish, and doorways will take you to where you don’t want to go—places impossible to reach by any logical means. It can become a labyrinth, the only clues of escape from long-passed former residents. Some will be helpful, but most want another guest. Never accept a drink from them, and stay away from the wine cellar, whatever you do. The residents’ subterranean shindigs can last an eternity…
10. What plans are there in the future of Larysia and where can people read more of your work?
My poems, articles, short stories, book reviews, and more can be found on my blog LarysiaWrites.
As for the future, I am working on Transparency, the sequel to Lucidity. I’m also writing an adult urban fantasy novel, The Malebolge Plague. The story takes place when a voyeuristic office slacker spies a plague doctor in a back alley. Shortly after, he wishes he minded his own business.
Thanks again for the interview! Was a pleasure, J.D.!
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Thanks again to Larysia for her time and her in-depth answers. It was a delight to see another great writer really dig into answers and honestly, keep an eye out and you'll get to enjoy some great writing.
As is the case with my latest interviews, I also sent her a prompt for an upcoming collaboration. For those curious, here's the prompt:
We are investigating a haunted mansion and we split up. When we see each other, we’re scared senseless. What did we see?