August 21, 2015

For the Love of Vampires: an interview with Jeanne C. Stein, contributing author to "Nightmares Unhinged"

Nightmares come in many forms. Some rend the veil of sleep with heart-stopping madness. Others defy sanity to leave a helpless corner of your mind twitching for release. Sometimes, hours after waking, a nightmare drifts across your memory, tainting your day with wisps of discomfort. NIGHTMARES UNHINGED reveals horror in all its mutable forms—abject to absurd—through twenty tales of terror.

Contributors include Mario Acevedo, bestselling author of the Felix Gomez vampire series; Nebula Award winner Edward Bryant; New York Times bestseller Keith Ferrell; Jeanne C. Stein, bestselling author of The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles; Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, Black Quill and Colorado Book Award finalist Stephen Graham Jones; Bram Stoker Award winner Steve Rasnic Tem; Hugo Award winner Jason Heller; Colorado Book Award winner Warren Hammond; Gary Jonas and many others. New York Times bestseller Steve Alten will pen the book's foreword. NIGHTMARES UNHINGED is edited by USA Best Book Award winner Joshua Viola and is the first anthology from Hex Publishers.

A portion of the book's proceeds will be donated to Rocky Mountain Cancer Assistance in honor of Melanie Tem. (source:

Jeanne Stein is the national bestselling author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles. Her character, Anna Strong, received a RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist in 2008 and was nominated again for the 2011 book, Crossroads. Anna Strong was named one of Panaromal Fantasy’s Top ten Ass-Kicking Heroines by Barnes and Nobles’s reviewer, Paul Goat Allen in 2013. Jeanne also has numerous short story credits, including the novella, Blood Debt, from the New York Times bestselling anthology, Hexed (2011). Her series has been picked up in three foreign countries and her short stories published in collections here in the US and the UK. The ninth in the Anna Strong series, Blood Bond, debuts in August. Cursed, the first in a new series written with Samantha Sommersby under the S. J. Harper pseudonym, debuts in October.

Jeanne lives in Denver, CO where she is active in the writing community, belonging to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (where she was honored by winning the Writer of the Year award in 2008 and is nominated again for 2011), Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Horror Writers of America. She has taught at numerous conferences and on-line academies. (source:

Gef: How was it you came to be involved with this anthology?

Jeanne: Dean Wyant is a longtime friend of mine and he introduced me to Josh Viola. From there, the rest is history.…

Gef: When did you discover you had an affinity for monsters and nightmarish creatures?

Jeanne: I love vampires, from Bram Stoker to Anne Rice to Charlaine Harris to Buffy
the Vampire Slayer to me.…

Gef: I haven't experienced too many nightmares in my life. How have you fared in your dreams with that? Are they experiences that dissipate as soon as you wake up? Do they drudge up ideas for stories? Do they have any kind of influence on you?

Jeanne: I, too, have never been bothered by really horrific nightmares. Mostly, my dreams involve people I know (or want to know - last night it was Clint Eastwood). I have gotten story ideas from dreams, though. I wish I remembered more of them.

Gef: How much of a gear shift is it for you between writing short stories and writing novels?

Jeanne: It was very difficult the first time I wrote a short story. But then I realized that it’s much easier than writing a novel - no subplots, just the few main characters necessary for the story, far fewer words. I’ve enjoyed writing them and some of my favorite stories are the short ones.

Gef: How much emphasis do you place on setting as character?

Jeanne: I do use setting in both the Anna Strong novels and the Fallen Siren stories (written as S. J. Harper). I enjoy using real settings and it’s a joy when a reader visits one of the places and tells me about it. One reader even put together an Anna Strong tour of San Diego. It was a great compliment.

Gef: What do you consider to be the saving grace of the horror genre?

Jeanne: It’s a safe way to visit terror upon ourselves and others. Or to explore questions like who are the real monsters? Vampires or werewolves or humans who prey on each other.

Gef: Who do you count among your writing influences?

Jeanne: Actually, the writers I mentioned above. And Buffy’s creator, Joss Whedon. Also, the late Robert B. Parker. His books taught me more about telling a story through dialogue than any writing class I ever took.

Gef: What's the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Jeanne: Write what you know. Stupidest advice ever. There’s a world you can learn about without even leaving the confines of your room. Most books would be dreadfully dull if we only wrote what we knew.

Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?

Jeanne: I’m working on an Anna Strong novella, a third Fallen Siren novel, a biography I’ve been contracted to write, and a couple of new ideas my writing partner and I hope to sell soon. I can be reached on and all my shenanigans can be followed of fallen I’m also on Facebook (moderately active) and twitter (once in awhile ) @jeannecstein.

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