Jason Parent is an author of horror, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, and dark humor, though his many novels, novellas, and short stories tend to blur the boundaries between these genres. From his award-winning first horror/mystery novel, What Hides Within, to his widely applauded police procedural/supernatural thriller, Seeing Evil, Jason’s work has won him praise from both critics and fans of diverse genres alike. His work has been compared to that of some of his personal favorite authors, such as Chuck Palahniuk, Jack Ketchum, Tess Gerritsen, and Joe Hill. Jason grew up near Fall River, Massachusetts, the setting for several of his novels. He has lived in New England most his life, currently residing in Rhode Island.
“Wonderfully original tales of horror … Wrathbone and Other Stories gets my highest recommendation.“ – Cemetery Dance
What was the impetus for writing this story?
JP: Victoria is a spin-off of my first novel, What Hides Within. It takes the story well into the future, following a major and minor character from that book. But other than writing it in the same universe, the similarities pretty much end there. Victoria is like an action adventure mixed with horror, and I wrote it with my niece, Victoria, in mind—something she might like to read. After all, the character was named after her.
The first book contains a malicious spider living in the head of a jackass, which leads to a dark comedy. Victoria is much smarter than the lead character in What Hides Within and snarkier, which leads to a different kind of humor and a stronger adversarial relationship. And it was this conflict between an immovable will and an unstoppable evil that I wanted to explore.
What lessons—good and bad—did you learn writing this story?
JP: I tend to write across genres. I learned from this that I have not yet found an end to the varied genres in which I wish to write. I also learned to back-up my work on the cloud.
If you were to write this again what would you do differently?
JP: I am happy with it the way it is. I did toy with the idea of an epilogue that gave more detail into the fate of a certain character, but I think the story is better off without it. The answers are there.
Describe your writing routine whilst writing this story and how long did it take you from first draft to final edit?
JP: I don’t write daily or have any sort of schedule. I try to write whenever I can fit it in. When I am deeply into what I am writing, I disappear for hours on end, so I would say my writing is like doing an interval workout—sprint, break, sprint, break, and try not to collapse. I am easily distracted, so I write in silence with a blank wall in front of me.
JP: This story wasn’t really influenced (consciously, anyway) by other media. The part about a spider in the ear came from real news, but I do remember the football helmet scene in Arachnophobia (great movie). As for the setting, I’ve always wanted to go to Venice, particularly during Carnevale. So if I can’t go there, I might as well send my mind out that way.
What were the biggest challenges you faced writing this story?
JP: The biggest challenge was to write a story that might be attractive to young adult readers and fans of my thrillers but still appeal to fans of What Hides Within. In the end, though, I just wrote the story the way that felt right. I can only hope people enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
What do you hope readers get out of this story?
JP: I want readers to be able to escape from the stresses of their lives into a world of action and suspense, of playful wickedness, and just enjoy the ride. If it makes them feel, reflect, wonder—even better. And if it makes them want more … well, then I’d be happy to oblige.
Victoria Menard has had a hard life. She’s an orphan and a thief… and perhaps even a murderer. Worst of all, her only friend is a talking spider named Chester that lives in her head.
For the last eight years, Victoria and Chester have traveled the world, seeing the sights, learning half a dozen languages, and terrorizing communities indiscriminately. Now sixteen, Victoria wants her independence. But the parasite inside her won’t let her go.
Chester has big plans, but Victoria’s brain may no longer be big enough for the both of them. How can a girl rid herself of an unwanted guest when that guest refuses to leave?
Victoria is a stand-alone novel set in the same universe as the EPIC award finalist novel, What Hides Within.
BOB PASTORELLABuy Victoria by Jason Parent