Leigh M. Lane has been writing for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and twelve published short stories divided among different genre-specific pseudonyms. She is married to editor Thomas B. Lane, Jr. and currently resides in the beautiful mountains of western Montana.
Her traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe, was a 2013 EPIC Awards finalist in horror. Her other novels include the supernatural thriller, The Hidden Valley Horror, inspired by Barker, Bradbury, and King; World-Mart, a tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut; and the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a bit eccentric, reserved and reclusive, although I’m also painfully empathetic and honest to a fault. I sang in a few bands in my younger days, even sang the National Anthem for the opening of a Dodgers’ Game (with my twin sister, with whom I spoke a “twin language” during childhood). I’m married to a wonderful man who also happens to be an editor (which works well for a writer) and we have an extremely spoiled Maine coon cat named Kadie.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I think each really describes its own subgenre. Horror evokes a thrilling sense of shock or fear. Weird fiction explores the bizarre; it’s the brain teaser that uses the twisted and unusual to elicit the shocking and the profound. Dark fiction doesn’t have to be particularly scary or bizarre, working instead to disturb on a more subtle level.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
On the top of my list are Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell, H. G. Wells, Louise Erdrich, and Roald Dahl, although I also enjoy Lisa Mannetti, Trent Zelazny, Dana Fredsti, Billie Sue Mosiman, Bryan Hall, Dan O’Brien, Robert S. Wilson, Jeffrey Kosh, Michael Meeske, Clayton Bye, Rob M. Miller, Tom Piccirilli, Peter Giglio, Joe R. Lansdale, Lori R. Lopez, and Jaime Johnesee.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Christine Sutton’s The Prodigal Son.
How would you describe your writing style?
I would describe half of what I write as dark, psychological horror, the other half twisted political or psychosocial thriller, with both containing a literary slant.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t really have a typical writing day. Some days, I stare at the screen for a while, labor over every sentence as though trying to squeeze blood from a turnip, and then retreat to Facebook in defeat after only a few hundred words. Other days, the words flow like water and I lose track of the hours, forgetting to eat and writing until I can’t see straight. In the past, I’ve written an excess of 8000-12,000 words during these “writing binges.” An average day is around 1000 words. No matter which type of day I happen to have, I must have my coffee.
What’s your favourite food?
Fresh steamed crab … or maybe baked salmon.
What’s your favourite album?
Bowie’s Space Oddity.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Be true to yourself. Write what you feel compelled to write, not what you think might be marketable. I made the mistake once to try to write something mindlessly mainstream, and I will never make that mistake again.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
Hands down, respect.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my Gothic horror, Finding Poe, which integrates bits and pieces of his best works into an original story that takes place during his dying days. I spent months studying Poe’s works, his language, and his style before writing it, and I believe the novel did justice to his legacy.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last published book, The Hidden Valley Horror, was that attempt at mainstream horror I mentioned above and, while it’s not terrible, I’m also not especially proud of it. I’m currently shopping my latest novel, titled The Private Sector, which is one of those twisted political thrillers I mentioned. It contains some elements of horror, but is more disturbing that terrifying (for the most part). I’m currently working on a series of dramatic horror novellas, which I hope to sell as an on-going episodic saga of sorts.