Interview with Clarissa Johal

When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Some stories begin as random scenes, some as characters, and some are born from asking the question, “What if?” I was hit with the idea of STRUCK while running on a forest trail near my house. It was during a thunderstorm and I wondered what it would be like to be hit by lightning. I write about ghosts and things that go bump in the night and in essence, those entities are energy. What if a portal was opened by a lightning strike? And what if that portal allowed the energy from those entities to escape? The idea was intriguing and I went to bed still thinking about it. That night, I dreamt I stood in a field, with lightning striking the ground all around me. But the lightning wasn’t just releasing electrical energy, the lightning was releasing negative entities from the Otherworld. I woke from the nightmare in a panic, thinking those entities had somehow attached themselves to me. And so a story is born.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When a reader tells me my story was unique and stuck with them. That's probably the best compliment I could get. I love to pull readers into another world.
What are you working on next?
I just finished working with my editor on VOICES, which will be released May 19, 2015 from Permuted Press. The synopsis:

Sometimes the ghosts from your past...are real

Moira Flynn is arrested for attacking a door-to-door solicitor with a knife. She claims a voice told her the man was intent on assaulting her. The trouble is, she was the only one that heard that voice. Moira strikes a plea bargain and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for voluntary treatment. Dr. Richard Cassano is hesitant to treat her as schizophrenic, as she does not show the standard symptoms. As their sessions progress, Moira confesses there are two voices—and they aren’t voices in her head, but the voices of ghosts. Are they imaginary? Or are they actual spirits, attached to her for reasons of their own? As Moira’s doctor uncovers more of her past, he begins to realize that her ghosts are real. And one of them is determined to drag Moira into the afterlife with him.

I'm finishing up THE ISLAND and hope to have it ready to submit to my publisher by the end of January. I have yet to write my synopsis but it's situated on a remote island and there are demons involved...
Who are your favorite authors?
Neil Gaiman, Robert Holdstock and Gerald Brom
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My family
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm pretty active! I've been taking ballet for 20+ years. I run, fence and am an avid photographer. I also just finished taking a trapeze class. When I'm not swinging from the ceiling or writing, I do wildlife rehab and run my own pet-sitting business.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a rather gruesome short story about a shark attack. My parents took me to see JAWS and it probably ruined me for life.
What do you read for pleasure?
I can't read fiction when I'm focused on writing, it taints my writing style. I read a lot of non-fiction on world mythology and folklore.
Describe your desk
I hate desks! I write in a recliner. But I keep my laptop computer on a "sort of" desk in the kitchen. I have a ton of little toys and ridiculous things scattered all over it. I'm a bit of a packrat.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
We moved yearly, so I experienced a lot of different cultures and people. That was the good part! The bad part was that I was always the new kid. In a way, it gave me an understanding of what it's like to live as an outsider--much the same as a ghost or paranormal entity.
Published 2015-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Voices
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 68,120. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2015 by Permuted. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Moira Flynn hears voices. The voices of ghosts. As Moira’s doctor uncovers more of her past, he realizes that her ghosts, Jack and Isabella, are real. And Jack is determined to drag Moira into the afterlife with him. Will she be able to escape the ghosts that haunt her–or will they drive her to the edge of insanity?