Interviews

October 29, 2014
by Seregil of Rhiminee
of Risingshadow: Beyond Reality
http://www.risingshadow.net/

[Note: The following is a snippet from a larger interview. To read the full article, please visit Risingshadow here: http://www.risingshadow.net/articles/416-an-interview-with-scarlett-amaris-and-melissa-st-hilaire.]

An interview with Scarlett Amaris and Melissa St. Hilaire



Could you tell us something about yourselves in your own words?

My name is Scarlett Amaris. I'm currently living in the south of France in an amazing 500 year-old village ch√Ęteau. I'm an esoteric researcher and writer by trade. I spend a lot of time tracking through old ruins and decoding legends and ancient manuscripts. I've co-written  movie scripts for the well regarded horror anthology THE THEATRE BIZARRE ('Mother of Toads' segment, director Richard Stanley, 2011) and the award-winning feature length documentary L'AUTRE MONDE (THE OTHERWORLD) (director Richard Stanley, 2013). I've also co-written an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE which is in pre-production and REPLACE (director Norbert Keil) which is also in pre-production. Some of my more esoteric work and experiences with the mysteries, legends, and portal areas in the south of France can be found at Terra Umbra – Empire of Shadows: www.shadowtheatre13.com, www.terraumbra13.blogspot.com and www.fiatluxfirstlight.com. I'm also a pagan soul who keeps a foot in both worlds and who has a nose for the supernatural.

My name is Melissa St. Hilaire. I live in Los Angeles, land of dreamers, but I was born and bred in Massachusetts and return to my roots once a year to reboot myself. From the East Coast to the West Coast, I’ve had so many careers in my life that I sometimes feel as though I’ve lived multiple lifetimes. I’ve worked in film as a PA, grip/electric, and even a cat wrangler once for James Gunn. I’ve been a live band photographer, read Tarot cards, and designed websites, movie posters, and album covers. However, through it all there was one constant: writing. In college I wrote film and music reviews and had multiple poems published. Later in LA, I chased the Hollywood dream by writing various screenplays both freelance and for Tone-East Productions. Then, after a particularly difficult year wherein I had the proverbial rug pulled out from under me and I had to rebuild myself and my career from scratch, I revisited a decade old memoir, rewrote it with the late Amy Wallace, who I miss every day, then released it, and so began my latest career as a writer of books.

What inspired you to become writers?

Scarlett: Good question. I don't know. I've always written stories from as far back as I can remember. I've always been a voracious reader as well and I think growing up in the strange commune/cult type situation I was subjected to, both allowed me a form of escapism which was sorely needed.

Melissa: My grandmother, Vera, was a positive force in my early development as a writer. She taught me how to read and how to write. She told me countless stories of her own invention about such things as the fairies who lived in the moss and danced in the sunshine or used mushrooms as umbrellas when it rained or the Indian ghosts who lived in a large rock down the lane deep within the forest behind her house and how you could hear them whisper to you tales of days gone by if you listened closely. She also encouraged me to tell my own stories. I will never forget the gift of words she gave me.

 Have any books, TV series or films been a source of inspiration to you?

Scarlett: Oh yes. Algernon Blackwood's 'The Willows' or 'Ancient Sorceries' or 'Sand' are short stories which I constantly come back to because I know what an adventurer he was and there is an element of distinct truth in his writing as if he experienced the dark forces imbued within the various landscapes of his stories first hand. Another is Shirley Jackson's 'We Have Always Lived in the Castle' . The book is clever, hilarious, heart-breaking, terrifying, and neurotic. It really is an amazing piece of work  I love Ray Bradbury's 'The October Country'. Probably the most influential book for me is Peter Straub's 'Shadowland'. No matter where I've traveled to in my life (and that's a lot of places) I've always kept a copy of the book with me since I was about 13. Films are always an inspiration. I love movies like THE MIRROR (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975) or DERSU AZALA (Akira Kurosawa, 1975) because the play of words and images in these films has the ability to literally tear my heart out and leave me sobbing on the floor. Through some alchemical process of light and shadow they create magic and something which transcends the medium itself. Someday I would like to be able to do the same with words. I haven't seen too many T.V series as I don't own a television and I am 'that' person who is still on season 2 of GOT (although I've read all the books so I already know what happens). I did some research the summer before last on 17th century witchcraft traditions in France and how they connected to the New World for a friend of a friend who was developing the TV show SALEM which was still in its infancy. Some of what I found at the time (namely 'The Affair of the Poisons' 1677-1682) was so fabulously outlandish that we incorporated elements of it into the latest 'Saurimonde' book. Although I haven't seen the show yet, I did get a chance to hang out with Elise Eberle recently who plays Mercy Lewis on the series, and show her some of the mystery spots in my very strange neck of the woods and introduce her to some olde world magic. I hope to see SALEM soon and wish them all the luck in the world with season two.

Melissa: I just wanted to add David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. I watched that show every day after school when I was younger, then devoured the book, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, by Jennifer Lynch. I’d stay up late nights reading passages over and over. Both heavily influenced me. I would be remiss if I didn’t also add Anne Rice. I’ve read all of the Vampire Chronicles, as well as the Mayfair Witches, and some of her tales written as Anne Rampling or A. N. Roquelaure. They would carry me away to exotic places when I needed a break from the day to day.

(Read more from Scarlett & Melissa here: http://www.risingshadow.net/articles/416-an-interview-with-scarlett-amaris-and-melissa-st-hilaire.)
June 22, 2013
by Kristi Chambers
of Kristi's Book Readery
http://kristisbookreadery.blogspot.com

[Note: The following is a snippet from a larger interview. To read the full article, please visit Kristi's site here: http://kristisbookreadery.blogspot.com/p/author-interviews.html. Also, take a look around the rest of Kristi's blog and be sure to tell her hi from Scarlett & Melissa! She has more author interviews and reviews there, plus free giveaways on her Facebook page here, https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kristis-Book-Readery/461915803894133. (Thanks again, Kristi!)]

Saurimonde Authors Scarlett Amaris and Melissa St. Hilaire


Two very interesting and very talented women. I really enjoyed their interview answers, they are very inspiring! :)

Melissa St. Hilaire


How are your book/books doing right now in comparison to what you hoped?

Well, on one hand I'm happy if even just one person reads our book and it moves them, on the other hand I'd love for even more readers to get to experience Saurimonde. Regardless, the reviews we've received thus far have been very favorable, which makes my heart sing.

Most important thing about being a writer?

For me, writing is like breathing - I couldn't live without doing it. So, I guess the most important thing about being a writer is actually being a writer, and having the confidence and opportunity to live the dream, which actually took me a long time to get to despite having known most of my life that I wanted to be a writer. For years I was crippled by fear and insecurity, but then I experienced a traumatic, life-changing event that made me realize life is short and only you can make your dreams come true so I then grabbed up the reins and pushed ahead publishing my first book, In The Now, a deeply personal and candid memoir about my childhood and college years. Scarlett Amaris, my co-writer on Saurimonde, read In The Now and immediately realized I'd be the perfect person to help her tell Saurimonde's story. At the time I was stuck on a project and welcomed the fun distraction of writing paranormal romance and soon fell in love with the story. It's a dream come true to finally have it published.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I think I get most of my inspiration from nature, be it the quiet majesty of redwoods or the roaring of the ocean pounding the shore. However, I live in Los Angeles - a concrete jungle - so I don't often get the chance to be in nature, but I grew up between a cornfield and a forest so I crave it. Driving along the coast this past week, we took a detour through redwoods in Northern California. They're so tall and old; it felt amazing to stand amongst them. If you listen long enough, they'll tell you their tales... I find inspiration in music and art, too, so if I can't get to nature I lose myself in a playlist while surfing the internet for paintings and photography that move me. Also, I love to people watch. All growing up, my Mum and I would ride the T from Riverside to Boston and, to entertain ourselves on the journey, we would point out fellow passengers making up whole complicated back stories. We still do this. Just last week we were in a diner somewhere near the coast concocting wild tales. Sometimes, though, inspiration will hit me out of nowhere. A couple weekends ago I was cleaning the kitchen when an idea I had been mulling over for months suddenly collided into a fully formed short story in my brain, so I grabbed up the nearest notebook and wrote 9,000+ words about a possessed ovary while sitting on my kitchen floor.

How do you cope if you get a bad review?

To be honest, I haven't gotten a bad review (yet) but I suppose I would initially feel hurt but then tell myself to let it go.

Occupational hazards of being a writer?

Probably a combination of being super moody when the words aren't flowing and the loss of social graces after being isolated awhile working on a project.

What book or film character would you say you were most like?

Probably Lewis Carroll's Alice because I grew up in a pretty sheltered rural town in Massachusetts then followed my dreams to Los Angeles like naive Alice following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole to the strange and fantastical Wonderland.

What makes you laugh?

Everything. I laugh a lot, especially at really inappropriate times like when people hurt themselves or during horror flicks when someone gets slashed. I just can't help myself. When I'm feeling down and need a pick-me-up, I search "Schadenfreude" on YouTube - hours of entertainment!

Which has been the hardest to write?

I've been juggling a few different writing projects lately, one of which is called Medicated and it's about a truly frightening experience I had after having an allergic reaction to a prescription medicine wherein I completely lost my mind and hallucinated off and on for a couple of months. That book has definitely been the hardest thing I have ever tried to write. Revisiting that time in my life is emotionally draining and embarrassing. I frequently have to stop, bury it in my desk, and work on fun stuff like fantasy or sci-fi to shed the bad memories and feelings.

Any hints as to what lies ahead for your characters?

More magic, more mayhem, more bad decisions, and more accidental happiness.

Do you have any weird quirks you'd like to share with the public? :)

I think my weirdest quirk right now might be my obsession with the TV show Ancient Aliens. My dad read Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods when I was a kid, so I always saw it lying around the house, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that I finally picked it up and read it myself after marathoning several episodes of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. The whole concept of ancient astronauts fascinates me. Recently I met Giorgio Tsoukalos at Monsterpalooza and I'm such a big fan that I was nervously shaking like a leaf in the wind the whole time!

(Read more from Melissa here: http://kristisbookreadery.blogspot.com/p/author-interviews.html.)

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