Gena Mantz – Woman In Horror
Q. I don't know many horror authors from Kansas, although I have spent some time there and know a few interesting legends of my own. Could you explain to the folks how you manage to use the great state of Kansas to your advantage when writing your tales? Also, do you miss not having a lot of horror authors in your area that you can physically sit and talk to?
A. Kansas is a very interesting place. I do miss having others of my genre to talk to, but I do have several groups in different places of various authors. Some of the groups I can only attend a couple times a month, and some I try to attend weekly. I love the unique qualities of my home state and it is fun to show this to others.
Q. I love how you write of Vampires and Werewolves. And, you are able to weave them together and even toss in some erotica. Quite an achievement.
A. Thanks. I have a “what if” attitude. What if there were not just people of different faiths and races here in Kansas, but fey folk, paranormals, and other folk too? I want my characters to have depth, problems, and have to overcome obstacles while living a somewhat normal life.
Q. Now I come to a part of you that I find most interesting: Gena Mantz and Angel Edenburn, one and the same and yet perhaps not. A rather interesting paradox, might I say. Does this ever confuse any of your readers?
A. Sometimes. I started writing a few years ago. I live in a very small but lovely town and have ties to my even smaller home town. I wanted to separate my spicier stuff from my sweeter stuff. Angel lets me fly- so to speak. I can push the limits and not worry. Gena has to be a little more conventional and more proper in a way.
Q. In Light Shards and Shadow Dances , both Gena and Angel share the spotlight. I find this way cool!
A. I occasionally merge my personas. I am one or the other, and sometimes both at once. I wanted all of my readers to have a chance to view me in a different light.
Q. Back to your home state once more. Yes, I'm intrigued. Could you explain more about your vision of A Darker side . . . of Kansas ?
A. I want people to see that Kansas is just more than a bunch of lines on a map. There are unique geographic features and here be monsters as well as heroes. Kansas is complex, and so are the beings who live here- no matter if they be human or paranormal. The lives of my characters are sometimes complicated, occasionally dark, and even a bit messy. Just like real life.
Q. I love your Isys The Vampire posts. Very intriguing. Funny and refreshing. However, it must have taken a lot of work to re-do things when you changed the name due to events beyond your control.
A. Well, I have been developing her for several years now. Isys was not happy about the name change thing, but agreed it would be best. She wants her story told in hopes it helps others heal. She is the most vocal of my characters and has a mind of her own.
Q. How soon before Flip Side comes out? Could you tell us a little about it?
A. My editor has the draft right now. She will go through it, and hopefully in a few weeks, I will have the rewrites done and be working on the cover. I want to have Flip Side out before summer.
It is the second book in the Kansas Vampire Chronicles. We will get to learn more about some of the other characters, as well as Isys herself. This may be a hard book for some to read, but it also shows some of the complexity of the relationships of Isys and her clan. She has a hard road ahead of her.
Q. Kansas Library Association's Authorpalooza sounds like a ton of fun. What say thee, my friend?
A. If I get the chance, I would go again in a heartbeat! I not only carpooled with an amazing author, Jo Mach (who has children’s books about ABILITIES instead of disabilities), but I was exposed to book lovers from all parts of Kansas and beyond. So many interesting people who love books!
Q. You are the only horror author I know who is also a belly dancer. Wow! What got you interested in this form of dance? Sounds like a lot of fun.
A. A friend of mine suggested I take a belly dance workshop. I did ballet, tap, and jazz when I was younger. I was looking to shed a few pounds, so I took a belly dance workshop workshop, then another. I was almost 40 when I started belly dancing and have kept up with it. In fact, I sometimes dance with my first belly dance teacher.
I have had teachers who are over 60 wear me out at a workshop! I think that is a very good indicator that I will be able to keep on doing this for a few more years. I am in better shape now than I’d been in for a very long time.
Q. In addition to dance, you ride horses, four-wheelers, motorcycles, and you also work on classic cars. Then, too, you have a day job. Do you have any time at all for sleep?
A. I am woefully underemployed in my day job but I love what I do as a home care worker. I refuse to give that up because I make people smile. Sometimes, I am the only face they have seen in days.
The other stuff I do in fits and spurts because of finances, weather, and needing funds for parts.
I sleep when my energy runs out.
Q. I found your experience at Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore to be quite exciting. Could you explain to us what happened?
A. A friend had found it when he and his wife were lost in the Flint Hills on a day trip. He went inside and pitched his books. When we had lunch a few days later, he told me about his discovery. It took me a few days to gather my courage, but I finally grabbed one paperback copy of each book and marched inside. Marcia and Michelle and everyone there is so helpful and friendly. The selection will surprise you!
Q. Like me, you are a seat of the pants author. Do you find this to be an exhilirating way to write a story?
A. It just sort of happens. I know where I want to start and where I need to end. The middle seems to sort of fill itself in when I let the characters talk to me, when I’m not throwing more problems at them!
Q. Little Apple Comic Expo is coming up soon. How are you preparing for it?
A. PREPARED?! Still working on that! I’ve restocked my selection of books. The “Great Writers, Right Here” in Topeka this year was a success, and I sold half of my stock of books in one day!
Q. I really love your attitude about strong, real women, with real size. I wish more folks felt the same way.
A. I do too. I got so tired of the cookie-cutter ideal female characters and decided to write some of my own. Yes, I am guilty of “doing a Mary Sue”, because I know how to be 5’5 and a size 12-14 with an attitude. I know how to be a woman who sometimes ends up in a difficult situation and has to handle it by herself, as best she can.
Q. Who are some of your favorite authors and books? Any genre.
A. Oh, my! Jeanne Kalogridis is one of my heroines. I fell in love with her “Diaries of the Family Dracul” series at a very difficult time in my life. Dennis E. Smirl’s Prime Trace series is good hard-core scifi, while his Sandeen novels are Chandler-esque detective fare. Aimee Gross and D. Dalton each have their sword and sorcery YA tales. Mark Bouton’s detective, Max, is a very good read. R.L. Naquin’s Monster Haven series and Mount Olympus books are as close to touchy-feely, emotionally feel-good reading as I get.
It's your turn now, Gena. Tell the world whatever you wish to say about anything.
I appreciate you for having this interview with me, and for all of my fans. Without support, I would not be where I am today. THANK YOU!! And support your favorite authors. Leave a review. Tell others about their books.
Share whatever links you wish to share.
My Isys the vampire blog can be found at: isysthevampire.com and my author blog is: angeledenburn.com. My books can be found online at Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Gena-Mantz/e/B009P8O7VQ and https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Edenburn/e/B013217GNM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1488852783&sr=8-1
It's been a real pleasure having you visit today, Gena!
Thanks again, Blaze. I appreciate your work and continued support of women horror writers.