Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Su Halfwerk, horror and paranormal romance author

Today, my guest is Su Halfwerk writes in the horror and paranormal romance genres.  She's here to discuss her latest release by Damnation Books, Intricate Entanglement.
1.     1.     Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

Intricate Entanglement—a horror thriller novella released by Damnation Books—takes place in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. These are stories of the patients, each told by them. Seven or eight stories in total—depending how you look at it—that touch on such topics like growing old, sexual preferences, and obsessions. The central character, Doug Pinkham, is an opportunistic reporter who got more than what he bargained for. Literally. 

You can watch its trailer on YouTube here;
Or find out more about the book here:

  1. How long have you been writing?
All my life, but writing fiction, and seriously, started in 2005. It came after long years of reading books for entertainment and then going after reference books about writing.

3.     What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book? 

Reading got me interested in writing, the need to see if I have what it takes to create fictional worlds in which people either got scared to death or fell in love from first sight. It’s like you see someone cooking with so much ease, and you think to yourself, I can do that, looks like fun. Well, it isn’t easy sometimes, but it sure is fun. 

The inspiration for my first book hit me the same way it did, does, and hopefully will do for my other books; the “what if” game I love to play in my head. It starts simple and then develops into characters, plots, and worlds.

  1. Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
I do outline, mainly to remember the idea. I forget a lot *blush*
Then I break down that outline into chapters and go at it. 99% of the time things change drastically. Heck, in one book a character had a sex change. I allow my imagination to ignore that outline and spring around my head.

Having a character change gender after the initial outline doesn’t make me a planner. Does it? *scratching head*

  1. What comes first: the plot or the characters?
It varies. Sometimes a simple situation develops into a plot and characters. One time, a song got a story going.
However, when I sit and get ready to write, I can’t write a word without seeing the characters, and for that I need to know where they are and what they’re doing.
*sigh* I guess we have here the “which came first” situation.

6.              6.  Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

I will consider your question to include the characters from all my books. Here’s the list:
  • I love Jeremy from His to Possess; there is something very decent about him. I like that in a man.
  • I don’t hate any, to be frank. It’s like being ungrateful to my characters.
  • I fear Professor Lloyd from Zuphreen. He is a self-serving, good for nothing opportunist willing to sell his mother at the drop of a hat for his own benefit. You can’t feel safe around that kind of people.
  • I pity Doug for what happens to him in Intricate Entanglement. I fear more things happened to him after I typed THE END.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Switching between characters, their disorders, and their points of views. Also, I over indulge myself in the worlds I create as I write them. So, in Benita’s story, I felt tired all the time. Butch’s story gave me some incredible cravings. For one story, I pulled all the curtains shut and switched off the lights, to feel what my character felt. I have the bruises to prove it :-)

The funny thing though, I never did or went through all that for any of my other books. I lose myself in them, but not this far!

8.                     8. Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

Intricate Entanglement required a lot of research, online and otherwise. I tried to explore mental disorders from the patients’ points of views. In some cases, hardly known facts about a mental illness intrigued me enough to include in the book. However, the focus in Intricate Entanglement remains on the stories.
The period of time it takes me to finish a books depends on two things: my chores and my muse. One won’t finish and the other is moody.

  1. What are some of the challenges in your writing process?
Remembering where I wrote or recorded my notes. An idea might hit me at 2am and I reach for my cell and mumble into it, only to discover next day that I haven’t recorded a thing!
Also, I find myself resisting the urge to explain things to the reader. Lousy habit I grew out of by the final refined copy. In first drafts though, it was tough to stop explaining. Dear reader, I trust you, I truly do, but sometimes the mother in me wants to preach. I hate it when authors assume a reader got it, but on the flip side, as a reader myself, I love the “aha” moments when I figure things out on my own.

  1. Describe your writing space.
A cozy nook in our apartment, it used to be a storage room until I commandeered it. There are no windows in my space, thank God for that. I get distracted easily like “Dory” in Finding Nemo.
Beside my desk, which hosts a 17” monitor connected to my laptop, I have a bookcase divided into: To be read Horror shelf, to be read romance shelf, Done Horror shelf, Done Romance shelf, and a reference books shelf. In the back of that crammed space, I keep my easel and painting stuff. Still have hope the muse might swing that way and push me to paint again. You can see some of my paintings here:

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Spend time with my family, read a book, or design a book trailer. Mostly, I restrict my reading to bedtime; the perfect lazy end to productive days.

  1. What books or authors have influenced your writing?
In the Horror genre, Stephen King. He has a way with words that makes me feel as though he’s reading them to me. A master storyteller, indeed.

In the paranormal romance genre, I have two authors. Kresley Cole who creates fantastic worlds, and Gena Showalter who creates flawed, rib-tickling, and believable characters.

13         13.  What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Before attempting to write your first book, read a lot. Learn from others’ mistakes and successes; find out what works for you and what doesn’t. When you decide to write, consider a practice. Overtime that special thing called your own voice will develop, you’ll know it when it happens. Even then, don’t stop learning, we are never too old or too good to learn new tricks.

Author Bio:
Su Halfwerk writes in the horror and paranormal romance genres. From a tender age, the written word left a strong impression on her, later on terrifying, blood-chilling books became the object of her interest. Su’s style in horror combines shuddery terror with elements of surprise; some would even call it an enigmatic twist. In the world of paranormal romance, she transforms the desire to scare into a quest to seduce and tantalize.
When not writing, Su is designing book trailers for herself and other authors.

Intricate Entanglement is Su’s latest release from Damnation Books, a mix of a thriller with an overlay of maddening darkness.

You can find Su online in any of these places:
Follow her, friend her, or simply say hi J

Trapped in a lunatic asylum and compelled to listen to the stories of the deranged patients, Doug Pinkham becomes entangled in the twisted mind of a cold-blooded killer. As the reporter tries to get to the bottom of a mysterious murder case, he gets more than he bargained for. He must separate truth from fiction as he realizes he no longer controls his own world. Will Doug manage to escape the asylum, or will the killer’s stories lure him into an enigmatic world full of mazes, each so fascinating that he can’t stop listening?


  1. Great interview Su! I enjoyed reading it.
    Fiona x

  2. Penny, I loved your questions.
    Fiona, thanks for stopping by :-)

  3. Su, my pleasure. I know more people stopped to visit, than bothered to comment! Good luck with the book.

  4. Interesting interview. I checked out the book trailer for Intricate Entanglement. I'll be adding this book to my TBR book list. I think this is one of those books that I'll be reading with all the lights on!

  5. Su, I loved what you said under "Challenges." Losing/misplacing notes/ideas is such a frustration! I keep a pad and pen by the side of my bed rather than recording, but then the next morning there's the problem of deciphering my writing. :-D

  6. Susanne, as always good to "see" you here. I'm sure Su will appreciate your purchase of Intricate Entanglement.

  7. great setting for a set of connected stories.

  8. James, thanks for sharing. I keep a pad by my bedside and can empathize with you. I can't decipher my scribblings in the morning either.

  9. Hi Charles, It's nice to "see" a new reader. I hope you stop back again.

  10. @Susanne: Thanks for stopping by and for adding Intricate Entanglement to your TBR pile. I don't think this read will disappoint you :-)

  11. @James: Thanks for visiting. I used to have a notepad and pen, but my cat kept moving them around. Even when I found them at the right place, I never deciphered my hand writing, not totally. So, I thought the recording will do. Ha! Tough luck there. Either I didn't *really* record or I recorded mumbles of a mummy from behind its wrapping. *sigh* I'm still looking for the perfect solution to this epidemic. will share it when I find it :-)

  12. @Penny: You're a sweetheart. Thank you again for the interview. It took me a while to get back and comment because I had the Internet button on my laptop switched off while writing. A nifty trick that keeps Facebook and Twitter at bay.

  13. @Charles: Thanks for your kind words. I had fun writing Intricate Entanglement. A mental hospital made a perfect setting for twisted realities that plunged the reader further into my world.
    Or so I hope :-D

  14. Su, it's been a pleasure. Thanks for the tip about the Internet button. I didn't realize that was an option. I've seen the button and just ignored it! Ah, technology...