Again, thanks to Eric S. Brown for bringing us another terrific interview. This time, we are honored to have Gina Ranalli join us at NSP Books.
Gina Ranalli is the author of several novels, including Praise the Dead, House of Fallen Trees, Suicide Girls in the Afterlife, Chemical Gardens, Wall of Kiss, Mother Puncher, Sky Tongues, and Swarm of Flying Eyeballs. Her collection, 13 Thorns (with Gus Fink) won the Wonderland Book Award for Best Story Collection of 2007. Her short stories have appeared in numerous publications including Bits of the Dead, The Beast Within, Horror Library Volume 3, and Dead Science, among others.
Gina lives in Washington state where she is working on her next novel. Visit her online at www.ginaranalli.com
ESB: Wow, you have a lot of books out there. When did you start writing?
GR: I started writing as a kid. I still have the first "story" I ever wrote. It's called "Horses" and it's truly terrible. I was seven years old.
ESB: What got you into writing?
GR: Well, at first it was just a way to entertain myself. I had a lot of crazy ideas in my head and in order to get them out, I put them on paper. It was a great cure for boredom and very therapeutic. Still is.
ESB: Is there one book that's your favorite above the others?
GR: One of my own? House of Fallen Trees is definitely my favorite. I think I pulled off some genuinely creepy things with that book. I got the mood and the atmosphere right. I'm pretty proud of it.
ESB: Do you see writing as a career or a hobby for yourself?
GR: I see it as both. I like to be paid, obviously, but even if I didn't I'd be doing it anyway. Maybe not for publication, but I'd definitely still be writing, no matter what. I tend to get a little insane if I'm not working on something.
ESB: What advice would you give other writers on any level?
GR: It's a cliche, of course, but reading everything you can get your hands on is still the best advice for anyone wanting to write. Beyond that, it's pretty simple: just write. Write as much as you can as often as you can. Work harder at it than anyone else you know. Always push yourself.
ESB: Praise the Dead sounds like a truly cool concept for a Z novel. How did you come up with the idea?
GR: Thanks! So many things came together for that book. I've always wanted to do a classic good vs evil book and I also really wanted to write a book with a kids as the protagonist and antagonist. And, I'm inspired by the story of Joan-of-Arc and wanted to incorporate a little bit of that in as well. So, those things combined were the genesis of the book.
ESB: If you could hang out with any zombie writer (and yes, only a zombie writer) for an evening, who would it be?
GR: Hmm. Wow. Just one? I don't know if I can answer that. I'd like to hang out with most zombies writers, probably.
ESB: Do you think the zombie genre is still growing?
GR: It doesn't seem like it's letting up at all. I hope it continues to grow, especially if writers and film makers figure out ways to play with the genre and change it up a bit. As long as creators continue to do new things and explore the boundaries of where they can take it, I think zombies will be around for a while more. Like ghosts or any other sub-genre, as long as it's kept fresh (no pun intended) it'll do fine.
ESB: Who are your heroes in the writing world that you look at as peers and just go, if they can do this, so can I?
GR: There are way too many to mention by name. In a way, anyone who writes a good book is a hero of mine, because it's not an easy thing to do. There are thousands of terrible books, but if a writer can make me care and entertain me, I'm a happy camper. If I close a book and think the writer told a really great story, that person becomes my hero, at least for a while.
ESB: And lastly, what are you working on now?
GR: Right now I'm working on a new horror novel. I don't want to give too much of it away, but it's called Dark Surge and it should be out sometime next year from Dark Regions Press. It's simultaneously been both the hardest book I've ever worked on and the most fun. It's full of creepy-crawlies and I think people will really enjoy it.