Monday, April 9, 2012

The interrogation of Geraldine Clark Hellery

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Geraldine Clark Hellery. On the plate suspended above that puddle by wires is an entire lemon/lime cheesecake.

Don’t let the dripping walls or dangling wires concern you. The electricity comes and goes… nothing to worry about. I’m sure you’ll make it to the cheesecake before the next big power surge. If I were you I’d avoid standing in any puddles while reaching for the cake.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a floatation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.

Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.


Oh yes, sat at my desk, looking out at the garden trying not to get distracted by the birds.

What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)

Indian. I’m extremely predictable and most often have a korma but we’ve just discovered an amazing Indian take-away in Exeter which is encouraging me to explore new culinary delights.

Describe your current mental status.

Too many voices in my head are demanding my attention. I should add that this is my normal mental status.

I know how I do what I do… but how do you do what you do?

It depends on the story.  As with all writers, it starts with an idea - perhaps a flash of dialogue or an image, something overheard or read and grows from there. I’ve got a notebook which ideas are written in, then once they’ve germinated, I pour it all into the computer. I don’t use apps like Scrivener, preferring to work like I did at uni with pieces all written out of sequence, then fitted together to make some sort of sense at the end. I also try to keep notes of my characters at we go so I remember if they have a favourite phrase, or are allergic to nuts or something. However, normally once I’ve started typing, things can flow in some sort of order. I’m not a great planner. An author I met described writers as fitting into two groups, those who stick to the Sat-Nav and those who go off road. I can’t read a map in real life so it’s definitely off road for me. 

Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

I like to try and write outside of my comfort zone so at the moment I’m trying a little poetry and attempting to scare myself with a horror story. I’ve a number of projects at the moment, depending on which voices are shouting the loudest. I’ve a dystopian fantasy involving an estranged brother and sister who have to work together to bring down an evil dictator, a trilogy of books (was a standalone at first, but it’s slowly growing into a series!) involving a bodyguard who’s protecting a vampire. I’m loving this because the vampire is a real bitch which is allowing me to channel all the negative things which have been said to me in a work situation. I’ve also got a set of short stories set in a forest. They’re all written in a slightly different style but all interlink.

Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?

Earl grey in the AM. Coffee if it’s a bad day or I need perking up and always with hazelnut syrup.

 Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

I’m currently working as a temp so I don’t have a typical day. If my agency call me, I grab my mug and tea stash and head out to whichever office needs me (if I was a superhero, I’d definitely have a mug blazoned across my chest as my badge. Have tea, will temp is my motto).

However, if I’m having a ‘writing’ day, then I generally procrastinate in the morning with many cups of tea before settling down in the afternoon to talk to the voices in my head and see what they have to say. Generally, they say that I should have cleaned the bathroom better and what was I thinking dying my hair purple. Early evening is a good time for me to write and if I’m not temping the next day, I’ll keep going late. Only problem with this is the voices get a little too excited and I then can’t sleep as they keep me awake with dialogue or directions for their story to head in, so I have to keep making notes.

Who would you turn gay for?

If you’d have asked me 10 years ago, I’d have said Angelina Jolie, but she’s got far too skinny. Now, probably Rachel Weisz or Kate Beckinsale. However, I do absolutely adore Miranda Hart - we could boob slap together!

Who are your favorite writers?

I read as much as I can so it’s ever changing but writers I keep going back to are Edgar Allen Poe, Derek Landy (I’m LOVING the Skulduggery Pleasant series), Mike Mignola, Maria V Snyder, Andy McNab, Celia Ahern, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Tolkien. For TV shows and movies I love Jane Epenson, Joss Whedon, Guillermo del Toro and I adore Miranda Hart.

Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm homemade cheesecake.)

Hubby. If I get stuck on a story I’ll talk it through with him and he’ll always have ideas or comments. He’s the first person I’ll show any work to for feedback and I value his opinion. He’s also the one who’ll nag to me stop procrastinating and get on with actually writing and he’s currently encouraging me to finish editing my work and get it sent to agents.

Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

No. I have however named my laptop, iPad and Mac. My laptop is covered in stickers from various countries I’ve travelled in, as well as an important one from NaNoWriMo which tells me it’s a noveling machine.

Describe your perfect day.

Any day where I get to focus on my writing while having a giggle with hubby is a perfect day.

Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?

I’m a big fan of the Joker from Batman. Every incarnation, from Jack Nicolson, Heath Ledger, the various graphic novels has seen him develop in ever more crazy ways. I love/hate his desire for anarchy for no other reason than to promote craziness. And lets be honest, he’s also a snazzy dresser.

Do you have any quirks?

All my notes have to be written with a special pen I got from NaNoWriMo, or I panic.

All-time favorite movie and why?

Wow, that’s a really hard question. If I could only watch one movie ever again, it would probably be Serenity. For me it’s got it all, fabulous characters, evil government agents, space ships and hilarious dialogue.

Do you enjoy the editing process?

No. That’s why I’ve written lots and it’s still waiting to be edited.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Another hard question! Ask me again tomorrow and I might reply differently but on a recent trip to Cornwall we visited a medieval town called Boscastle. It made the news in 2004 when the whole town was flooded. Incredible images of water literally tearing homes and businesses down and pouring them into the sea. Much of it’s been rebuilt and there’s an incredible walk to the harbour. It’s the most beautiful place and so peaceful.

What is one thing you know about New Zealand?  (Please do not mention LOTR or The Hobbit. Do you have any idea how many short people are in NZ right now? It’s freaking terrifying. Seriously grow legs or get out!)

There’s a town called Geraldine!

It’s true, there really is - isn’t that awesome?

Favorite Pizza topping?

Spinach and ricotta, or roasted vegetables. However, there was a time when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where huge (sadly I’m old enough to remember them the first time they came out) when the only pizza I would eat was chocolate with marshmallows. I remember it was incredible.... now where are those plain pizza bases and my tub of nutella?

What were you before you became a writer?


What is the most random thing you have ever done?

I’ve run away and joined the circus, learned to scuba dive despite being terrified of open water, swapped clothes with a local so I could join a parade in Peru, moved to Cardiff because it looked cool on Torchwood, but the most random was when I answered an email asking if I wanted to contribute to the Girls Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse.

If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Reading, playing Plants vs Zombies or telling the voices to shut up.

Who is your ultimate character?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Whiskey or Bourbon?

Neither, rum all the way.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? And if not, why not?

Yes, hubby and I spent six weeks there in 1999. Highlights include staying on a friends sheep farm, river surfing down the same river they would later use in Lord of the Rings, Mount Cook (it’s just stunning), doing a crazily long walk in the south island which left me unable to move the next day, the stinkiness of Rotorua, shark diving in Kaikora (also flew a plane there as well), whale watching, climbed Franz Josef glacier (didn’t get very far because the weather turned nasty). So all in all we loved it and hope to come back one day.

What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

In my bag I have my notebook and pen, tissues, mini med kit, purse, camera, water bottle, leaflet for the Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse, my iPad, mini make-up kit (got to look good for the zombie hoards) and gum.

Laptop, PC, tablet?

All three.

Ebook or tree book?

Tree book but people are trying to drag me into the 21st century by sending me their ebooks.

Favorite apocalyptic scenario?

I love the idea of/am terrified by the bunny apocalypse.

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like whipped cream with that large slice of cheesecake?

 You can find out more about Geraldine over here.

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