So Fiona, welcome back! This is the second book release in 2011, with The Banishing having launched this past March. (Click here to read my first interview with Fiona.) Congratulations.
Give us the “elevator pitch” of Obsessed. The title conjures up an array of possibilities.
Well, Obsessed is essentially a story about a haunting. My main character, James Barker, witnesses a suicide on the railway tracks of London, and he begins to see visions of the dead man in his nightmares, in his home. He eventually visits a therapist who assures James he is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. However, James isn’t convinced. He believes he is being visited by a spirit, and, in order to find out why, James begins to look into the dead man’s past. What he finds there leads him into a spiral of obsession and mental disorder.
You chose to remain with Damnation Books for both titles. Tell us what you love about DB that kept you there for your follow-up novel.
I love DB because they love horror, they support horror as a genre, they support horror writers. They’re all about the fiction, and the love of scary books. I couldn’t have wished for a better home for The Banishing and Obsessed. The cover-art, editing, support and help I received was so valuable to me.
How did the editing process go a second time, coming into it with some experience? Was it still nerve-wracking, or do these sorts of processes get easier over time?
I’d say it was easier, simply because I knew what to expect. I wasn’t so nervous. I was able to approach it without the nervousness that preceded the release of The Banishing.
What did you learn from the marketing of The Banishing that you took with you in preparing to market Obsessed? What worked? What’s not worth an author’s time or investment?
Well, The Banishing had a lot planned for its release. There were full page ads placed in some magazines here in the UK. I did two radio interviews, had several successful and positive reviews. I took part in blog tours too. I tend to think an online presence works the best, which is my primary focus for Obsessed. Online is magic, because you can reach the larger numbers. One magazine ad, or one newspaper interview is great, but it only reaches its specific audience – at least online you can move about, spread the word in various places.
Part of the process of book promotion is building an audience which you take with you to follow-up projects. How do you balance the joy of hearing from readers with the pressure of knowing you have fans who now have “expectations”?
It’s difficult. The Banishing was a surprise to me, because it was my first novel, I was so nervous. I half-convinced myself nobody would read it, and then convinced myself that those who would probably wouldn’t like it! I was a mess. However, once it was out there, I began to get very positive reviews. People seemed to enjoy it. I had emails from random readers, just because they wanted to tell me they loved my writing, that they had loved the book. It was a fantastic feeling, and something I feel positive about. What comes with that is the hope that you can do it again. I’m approaching Obsessed with an open mind. I believe it’s a good book – or I would not have put it out there – but I am open minded and sensible enough to know that not everyone who reads it will love it. Some will love it, though, and that makes it worthwhile.
How will Obsessed play to your readers who have expectations from you? How will it confound them? When you write, do you concern yourself with such things, or do you just write to the story?
I just write. I try not to think too deeply, or worry what people will think too much. As I said in the answer above, some people will love my work, others will not. That’s life – that’s human nature. I can’t write a certain story or in a certain way to impress people. I have to be honest. I always do the best I can do, and that’s what I’ve done here. People who read it and come away happy, having enjoyed it, are what it’s all about.
I know in writing The Banishing, you dug pretty deep into subjects most people would find uncomfortable–an abused spouse who chooses to remain with her abuser. Did you do the same “digging” in this book?
Nothing makes me happier than exploring those dark places of human nature! The Banishing explored domestic abuse and demonic possession – two great twins of evil. Obsessed is no different – I this novel and I explored and studied suicide, post-traumatic stress, and spiritual hauntings. Really fascinating subjects. I love to write about such things. I can’t do light and fluffy, I’m afraid!
What’s next for Fiona Dodwell?
I have finished my third novel, The Shift, and am currently submitting it to publishers for consideration. My fourth novel – as yet untitled – is at the very, very early stages, but I’m excited about it!
FACEBOOK: Search under “Fiona Dodwell Horror Author” and you’ll find me on Facebook.
Trailer for Obsessed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=malbnCYxAUk