Monday, June 4, 2012

Spotlight on Cinsearae Santiago

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

First, I just want to thank you so much for having me here again, Roxanne! :) I publish traditionally and independently; have been for quite a few years now :) . I’m also a cover artist for Damnation Books, LLC  as well as independent authors, and Editor/Publisher of award-winning Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine. I love photographing nature in her more ‘atmospheric’ conditions, or anything else that has an eerie or gothic appeal. I’ve always been inspired by anything that is *not* mundane or contemporary. There’s so much more to what we simply see, and I’m always the one to investigate, lol. My insanely, creative and creepy side makes it hard for me to write anything non-paranormal, lol.

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires (or insert the paranormal creature featured in your book here instead), that fascinates you so much?

I think the majority of us are drawn to the mysterious and the unknown. Vampires may be deemed fiction, but the ‘idea’ originated from somewhere, and isn’t most fiction derived from a bit of fact? *grin* Their immortality, persuasiveness, a domineering presence that demands respect (or at least your utmost attention), secretiveness, and that sensual allure… there’s many factors to these creatures of the night that makes us wonder ‘why’ and ‘can I get some of that?’ LOL!

Please tell us about your latest release.

In “Diary of a Vampire Stripper” a young woman named Audra pretty much forces herself to audition as a stripper in hopes that it will earn her some fast cash to pay her rent and bills. She feels a bit awkward about stooping to such a level, but ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’. She winds up being hired, and not too long afterward, a certain gentleman frequents the club whom she’s immediately smitten with. Once they get to know each other better and he invites her to his beach house for a weekend, it’s all downhill from there when she discovers he has turned her into a vampire. Now she’s stuck having to deal with this new situation, plus work her new lifestyle into the one she already has, with darkly comical results.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

Luckily, I don’t have to flesh them out often. They already come to me, even with their names! I already know their personalities, quirks, likes and dislikes, how old they are, their physical traits…it’s very interesting. I think Mel Brooks said it best in this quote: "Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him."

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

Actually, I have two! One is when she gives Paul (who later became her boyfriend) a private strip tease for the first time. The gaseous events that happened immediately afterward had Audra nearly running and screaming down the hallway where she works. Another one is definitely when poor Audra wakes up to find herself in a hospital morgue, then figuring out how to escape without drawing attention herself.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

To be on the safe side, readers would probably have to start from the beginning to find out how and why certain things have happened to the characters, which continues more in-depth in the second part. Part two to DoaVS will pick up exactly where the first one leaves off.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

When my muse decides to take a vacay, I simply do something else. I have other creative projects I’m working on at any given point in time, so I don’t really freak-out if a block happens. I have these ‘waves’ in which certain things will come into effect---when one wave ebbs, a new wave for something else follows.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
Other than having a cup of coffee in the morning to kick-start my brain or a glass of wine in the afternoon or evening to help loosen my muse up a bit, that’s probably about it, lol. I LOVE cloudy, rainy days for writing. Everything is so dead quiet, and I feel more rejuvenated during a rainstorm.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I love photographing nature, cemeteries, and anything else that catches my eye. I’m a stickler for carrying a camera with me. My last project involved compiling a photobook of scenes I’ve captured over the last 4 years, titled “Terra Mysteria: A look at life in a Darker Aesthetic”. I’m also that dorky person you’ll see raiding Halloween stores the moment they start appearing, lol. My Etsy shop, Mistress Rae’s Decadent Designs keeps me tons busy too. Going to horror conventions/alternative special events and raiding flea markets/thrift stores for anything I can upcycle or improve on are some of my other guilty pleasures, lol.

What can readers expect next from you?

I’m definitely working on the second part to DoaVS as we speak. I have another novel plus a second collection of short stories in the works too; hopefully some of them will be out by the end of the year or early 2013.

Where can readers find you on the web?  (my author website)
I’m also at LinkdIn and BranchOut, and you can also find me at Youtube under Cinsearae and CinsearaeS.

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

I awoke in a cold, hard, metallic, oblong compartment of some sort. It was completely silent --- and felt very claustrophobic.

Why was I covered with a sheet?!

I tried sitting up, quickly banging my head on metal. Ow.

Raising my arms to rip the sheet down from my head, I noticed there were only inches between myself and this… box I was in.

W… T… F.

I looked down, unable to see anything but pitch blackness. I could tell I wasn’t in a coffin, but after watching too much C.S.I. in the past, I deduced I was in a hospital morgue.

Good grief.

How I got here was the biggest question on my mind, not to mention how I’d get the heck out of here undetected.

So, if I was on a metal slab, then these things slid outward. Pressing my hands against the sides of my icy, metal cubicle, I pushed myself forward, my feet hitting the square door before popping it open.

Light! And no one tending to the place, thank God --- could you imagine me literally scaring the piss out of whoever happened to be down here? I kept guiding myself forward until I was able to sit up, and swung my legs over the slab. I jumped down, realizing I was buck-naked, and wrapped the sheet tight around me. I looked at my left wrist and noticed my ID tag. I guess using toe tags was out of fashion nowadays? 

I snatched it off, reading the info on it -- Name of Deceased: Claudia, last name unknown. Age: 27. Sex: F. Race: H. Weight: 185. Height: 5’7”. Date of Death: 2-18-11. Place Of Death: Commercial Residence. Cause Of Death: unknown. The Funeral Director and Physician spots were left blank, but in the comments section were the words, “Call Joshua” and two phone numbers. I balled it up, about to chuck it in the nearest trashcan, but held onto it. No sense in leaving evidence behind. I looked around. Okay, I was wearing clothes before I wound up here, so where would they keep the possessions of the deceased?

On the opposite side of the room, I spotted what looked like small filing cabinets. Each had a number on them. I put two-and-two together and looked at my case number on the tag, matching it with a cabinet. I snatched my stuff out, which was placed in a clear, drawstring bag.

Okay. Next thing was to get the hell out of this hospital. I thought of putting my clothes back on, then paused. I was one of the ‘dearly departed’, so no need to draw attention to myself by walking out in the outfit I was brought dead in. What I really needed was a hospital gown, but I frowned at the notion of putting on one of those cheap, ass-exposing pieces of material. But hell, it would look way less suspicious than wearing an entire sheet.

Passing by an unlocked medical supply closet --boy, were the Fates in my favor that evening!-- I found pair of typical, pale green, sterile-colored scrubs, a surgical mask, and a hair cover. I dressed in the closet, leaving the sheet there, then made my way to an elevator and pushed the ‘ground level’ button.

The doors opened, and I poked my head out. No one around. Good. This would be a piece of cake… as soon as I found the main doors.

I felt like a mouse in a disinfected maze, passing by one orderly and a nurse in my travels. Was that the front desk I saw up ahead?

The woman there didn’t even look at me; she was busy playing some kind of online game on her computer. Wow. Glancing through the windows, I noticed the sun had just set. The hospital seemed pretty low-key at the moment.

“No one sees me… no one sees me…” I kept chanting to myself. The main doors were getting closer as I maintained my not-too-suspicious fast pace.

My hands were on the doors, and then I was free. I’m sure there were cameras around outside, but I kept on walking until I was completely out of sight of the building, then ran like hell to the nearest bus stop. Fortunately, one was just rolling up. As I hopped on, I was glad I was wearing scrubs instead of a gown ---it would have caused too many whispers on the bus. I probably wouldn’t have made it out of the hospital in the first place. Besides, folks who worked in those places often wore their scrubs home, anyway. The only thing that looked odd was the clear bag of my possessions. Some folks looked at the bag, then to me, then looked away. I wondered what kind of stories they were assuming in their minds. This was one time I was grateful for their ‘don’t know and don’t care’ attitudes. If there was one thing you could count on was their craven, disassociated nature. There were the elite few who actually gave a damn, don’t get me wrong, but they were rare. For the random, typical person, forget it. (Yay for humans! Can you hear me giving a raspberry right about now?)

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