ABP- Thank you for taking this interview Heidi. Eight months ago, ABP had the privilege of releasing your novel “The House”. This was one of the first fiction titles we ever released. Please tell us about this book.
HB- Well, Red, “The House” is a culmination of years of learning about the paranormal in my day to day life. I think I read every book out there about the paranormal. I’ve seen every ghostie show in existence. I’ve studied Ed and Lorraine Warren, Hans Holzer, and many other famous ghost hunters and demonologists. When I turned my focus towards writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month in November of 2017, “The House” was the natural reply from my brain.
ABP- I can see that you have also released some poetry books. In 2011 “Should the Need Arise” came out. Can you tell us about this collection. Also, do you have a preference between writing poetry or fiction?
HB- If poetry is a sprint, then writing a novel/book length work is a marathon. “Should the Need Arise” is the last poetry book that I put out, but I have never stopped writing poetry.
I prefer writing poetry because the payout is instantaneous, but I try to write a novel now and then to challenge myself. It really is a different frame of mind. And when I’m working on a novel, no poetry can come through. I am 100% focused on the novel.
ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?
HB- I think I gravitate towards writers who give no fucks. People who just say what needs to be said. I am a voracious reader, and I know that I am influenced a lot by what I read. News stories hit me pretty hard. They stir up a lot of topics to write about. As far as authors that influence me, I’d say Stephen King for sure. I started reading his horror books at age 12 and they have stuck with me. Feminist writers like Gloria Steinem, Mary Daly, and Adrienne Rich are favorites. I also love Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Richard Brautigan, and virtually anyone who writes about the paranormal or serial killers.
ABP- In the anthology ‘Masks Still Aren’t Enough: More Poetic Responses to the Art of Marcel Herms’ you wrote what is in my opinion one of the most visceral lines in the book; “The hand man eats fingers for breakfast, and knuckles for lunch, he flosses with fingernails, and uses bones for toothpicks, maybe I should just give him my hands as a kind of offering, maybe he’ll let me keep my skin”. Can you take us through what that means to you?
HB- I think it’s primarily a guttural response to Marcel Herm’s art. In “Masks Still Aren’t Enough: More Poetic Responses to the Art of Marcel Herms,” I had a basic process for each of the poems I contributed. I would stare at the art and just sort of let it talk to me. I tried to look into the art and figure out what was going on in the picture. “The Hand Man” made sense to me. A sort of horrifying reality in the art. So it came out on the page!
ABP- Do you have anything planned that we should look out for in 2019?
HB- Well, I have a new poetry collection called “Neurotica” that I’m working on. I also have half of a novel written. It’s called “Cook or Die!” It’s about a woman who ends up on a cooking competition show, but it goes horribly awry and gets crazy.
ABP- It really is wonderful to feature you here, Heidi. The floor is yours. Please take this time and space to share anything you would like. Anything at all.
HB- Thank you for the interview and the many opportunities you have afforded me over the last year. I have a great time coming up with work for the ‘zines and collections that Alien Buddha puts forth. I love the anything goes, punk rock mentality of the Alien Buddha family. I think with that license to freedom, true art can emerge. And it does. As I always say, “Viva La Alien Buddha!”
also, here’s a poem:
writing a novel
is a bitch
you have to pull the string of language
out of your chest
sometimes one line
at a time
minutes pass in hours
and the pain of it
pages come out faster
than your conscious mind
it’s a rat race some days
a Cancun beach some days
flip of a damn dime
if I can ever tell how
it’s going to
BIO: Heidi Blakeslee lives near Pittsburgh, Pa with James and her seven cats. She is looking forward to publishing a new poetry collection, “Neurotica,” in the coming year. She has been featured in “Duck Lake Books,” “Winedrunksidewalks,” “Nixes Mate,” and other publications. Her works include the Alien Buddha publication, “The House,” as well as another novel, “Strange Man,” a memoir, “The White Cat: A Paranormal Memoir,” and two poetry books, “The Empress of Hours,” and “Should the Need Arise.”