Publishing company Winlock Press has proven to be a one-stop shop for horror, adventure, and apocalypse. Readers will find themselves consumed by unique and wonderful stories of vampires, werewolves, zombies and monsters. I found an overwhelming sensation of excitement that filled my body when I was introduced to the book A Jar of Fingers: Book One in The Complicated Life of Deggie Tibbs. The thought of reading a book about a modern witch had me spellbound!
Author Cindy Lou Hernandez brings an exciting new interpretation to witches and black magic when young witch Deggie Tibbs is introduced to readers. Deggie is young and independent, who right from the start, finds herself in a complicated situation. Deggie makes the quick decision to leave her cheating boyfriend and relocate to an old house that has caught her wandering eye. Deggie quickly finds out that the house has a mysterious history and is inhabited by a ghost and a demon. The basement is unlike any other, and one item collecting dust is a jar of human fingers. Deegie will be pushed to the limit, and her magical skills and spell-casting will be tested to its fullest. Deegie along with her friends will attempt to send this demon back to hell and help the ghost that has inhabited this old house for many years. Deegie’s world will become a part of yours as Author Cindy Lou Hernandez places you under her spell, you will realize that all of us have a smidgen of Deggie within.
Cindy Lou took the time to develop her characters, especially lead character Deggie Tibbs. I could not help but to fall in love with her. Deggie has had the daunting task of overcoming a difficult past, and I could find myself giggling at her sense of humor that I found endearing. The character held together the story and out shined the others. Cindy Lou brought a distinct new look to witches, magic and the spells written in the book were outrageous and fun! This book flowed very easily, and I was able to stay focused without any trouble. I finished the book in two days time and found myself wanting more as the end of the book drew nearer. If Cindy Lou uses the same formula, I know that the next two books in this series will be just as practical and magical as this one.
Cindy Lou has completed The Witch War of Fiddlehead Creek: The Complicated Life of Deggie Tibbs II. The book is expected to be available within the next couple of months. Cindy Lou is currently writing the third installment to the series; Seven Deadly Ghosts.
We here at iHorror are very excited for the opportunity to speak to this wonderful author about her career and her witch! Enjoy this iHorror exclusive magical interview.
iHorror: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to becoming an author?
C.L. Hernandez: I am almost 52 years young, and I have been writing for roughly 40 of those years. Creative writing was one of my favorite subjects in school, and I even took a few writing workshop courses at a junior college when I was in my late teens. Friends used to tell me I should try to get my work published, but I never thought I was “good enough” for that.
After I became disabled in 2010 and had to quit my job, I had nothing but time on my hands, so I decided to try my luck with self-publishing. I wrote two short horror story collections, Cobwebs and A Half-Dozen Horrors, and before I knew it, they were getting some great reviews. I decided to write a novel for National Novel Writer’s Month in 2012, which I managed to complete in 28 days. I polished it up and, on a whim, sent it to a publisher. It was accepted, and I was amazed beyond belief. Imagine that—a brand new author getting my first official novel accepted by the first publisher I sent it to! (by the way, that novel is called The Curious Case of the Tuscan Plague Doctor, and it will be released in 2016 by Barking Rain Press).
By now I was hooked. I wrote A Jar of Fingers, which was accepted and published by Winlock Press in May 2015. The second book in The Complicated Life of Deegie Tibbs series is called The Witch War of Fiddlehead Creek, and it will be available soon.
I guess one could say I’m on my way, but I still kick myself for not pushing myself harder when I was young. Better late than never, I suppose!
iH: Is The Complicated Life of Deegie Tibbs going to be a trilogy? Or can fans expect more?
C.L.H: Yes, there will be three Deegie books, unless my readers demand more. I am currently working on the third book, Seven Deadly Ghosts. I’m hoping there is a call for more Deegie books in the future, because I adore my quirky little witch, and I love writing about her.
iH: How could anyone not adore your “quirky little witch?” I really do believe readers will demand more!
iH: What inspired you to write A Jar of Fingers? Is your character Deegie influenced on anyone in your life?
C.L.H: I really don’t recall what inspired A Jar of Fingers. I might have been looking at a jar of pickles and imagining they were fingers. Yeah, I’m weird like that. Deegie Tibbs has lived in my head for quite a while. A few years ago, I was involved in creative writing roleplay on Facebook. It’s basically writing a story with another person using characters from one’s imagination, or from a book, movie, or TV show. Deegie was one of my characters—from my imagination, of course!
iH: What books, stories, and authors have been the most influential in your life?
C.L.H: I have been influenced by many books, stories, and authors. When I was a kid, my favorites were Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell; The Little House Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder; and anything by Edgar Allen Poe. Favorite short stories were The Whistling Room, by William Hope Hodgson (written in 1909); Second Night Out, by Frank Belknap Long (1933); The Inexperienced Ghost, by H.G. Wells; and Sweets to the Sweet, by Robert Bloch.
My adult years were influenced by Peter Straub, Stephen King (naturally), and Gord Rollo’s The Jigsaw Man. I love that book! I’ve read it at least 20 times! Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone is another favorite, as is Augusten Burroughs’ Running with Scissors. Stephen King’s short story, 1922 is an absolute masterpiece. It’s definitely my favorite out of all his stories.
iH: What other books or stories have you written? Do you see yourself going back and continuing with those stories in the future?
C.L.H: In addition to the books mentioned above, I have written a short story called A Woman’s Touch. It’s about a haunted house I lived in many years ago—a true story! I’ve also written a few novellas over the years using ball point pens and spiral bound notebooks. These were lost somewhere during several changes of residence, but I still recall what they were about, and I will probably resurrect them as future novels.
iH: References were made In A Jar of Fingers in regards to black magic, remedies, and spells. Did you do any type of research to help aid in your writing?
C.L.H: Not much research was required at all. I have studied Earth magic and natural remedies for 20 years, so that part of Deegie’s story just came naturally. The spells used in the Deegie books are entirely fictional, though.
iH: Is there any part of the writing process that you find difficult? If there is, how do you overcome these obstacles?
C.L.H: For me, the most difficult part of writing is the feeling that I’m just not good enough. In fact, it gets so bad sometimes that I imagine an evil little gremlin named Mr. Knotgudenov is sitting on my shoulder whispering, “You suuuuuck! Give uuuuup! You’re making a foooool of yourself!” Oh, how I despise Mr. Knotgudenov! I can usually escape his evil clutches, at least temporarily, by imagining my cats eating him for breakfast, or something equally ghoulish. Unfortunately, Mr. Knotgudenov always comes back sooner or later.
I also have issues with writing love scenes or sex scenes. I’m actually quite good at writing mushy or steamy scenes, but I just hate them.
Self-promotion is also an issue, but I’m working on it. We can blame Mr. Knotgudenov for that, too.
iH: I am sure many of us can relate! I think your Mr. Knotgudenov has come to visit me a few times recently!
iH: Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
C.L.H: The covers for the Deegie books are done by the incomparable Dean Samed. I love the way he brings Deegie to life, and the creepy vibe is sensational! The covers for my self-published books are done by yours truly. Hardly professional quality, but they don’t suck too badly.
iH: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
C.L.H: My goal for A Jar of Fingers, and the rest of the Deegie books was to create something entirely different from any other witch book. By giving Deegie a unique disability, and incorporating other supernatural elements, I believe I have achieved this goal. I am very proud of this series. (Shut up, Mr. Knotgudenov)!
iH: Future projects?
C.L.H: As soon as I finish the third Deegie book, I will be rewriting and expanding a novel I wrote last year for National Novel Writer’s Month. It is called Zuri, and it’s about a very unique werewolf. This one will be much darker and more horrifying than the Deegie series. I will also be self-publishing another short story collection, most likely in 2016.
Cindy Lou, again, thank-you so much ! Your fans and future fans will definitely want more!
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