I Didn’t Break the Lamp: Interview with Jade Black

Simple empty bed with white metal railing on three sidesJade Black is another author who is new to MSJ, and today she’s chatting with us about her I Didn’t Break the Lamp story.

DV: Tell us a bit about yourself!

Jade Black: I’ve held a variety of jobs that have influenced my writing topics; I’ve picked up bodies for funeral homes, dug deep into the limestone bedrock of Miami as an archaeologist, studied human remains and the process of decay at the original body farm in Tennessee, and currently I work as a 911 calltaker for a densely populated urban center in Florida. I tend to fall into employment that isn’t exactly marketing at job fairs and which cater to life after death, no matter how long it’s been.

DV: What inspired you to write “The Boy Atop the Bed” for I Didn’t Break the Lamp?

JB: Honestly I was getting kind of sick of the paranormal romance stories where the paranormal element is a masculine character saving a feminine one, and I wanted to turn that on its head a bit. I was looking for a reason that someone’s existence might revolve around someone else through no fault of their own, and the whole monster under the bed idea caught my attention even prior to this anthology being announced. When I started playing around with the idea I found that the lovesick hero being automatically rewarded with the attention of the victim just didn’t sit right either, so we ended up with Rella not being rewarded for being a little bit of a creeper, no matter how sympathetic she might be.

DV: Your story being told from the perspective of the imaginary acquaintance makes it very charming and sweet. Were there parts of the story that you found it difficult or very easy to write from this perspective?

JB: Thanks! I found it easier to write from the story of the imaginary acquaintance, especially one hovering around the high school age because it’s a time of emotional upheaval. You’re trying on new personalities, seeing what fits and what doesn’t, and trying to see who you are as a person outside the easiness of childhood where your clothes and who you see and what you do is pre-chosen for you. Rella trying on different appearances based on what she saw in magazines resonated with me because I saw so much of that in high school.

DV: Your story includes a character who is also an author. Does the book he’s writing have anything to do with his experiences in this story, or is it something entirely different? What do you imagine it being about?

JB: I think having an imaginary acquaintance necessitates having an imagination to begin with; it’s one of the reasons you see imaginary friends mostly in children, and then as they age and start to learn the boundaries of what’s real and what isn’t, you see the friends just dissolve into the ether. Authors have quite large imaginations by trade; it’s one of the things that lets us see beyond the life we’re currently living, and my character still being able to see his imaginary friend as a teenager kind of fell in well with being a fantasy-oriented kid, and by extension someone interested in writing. What he’s writing didn’t have much to do with his interactions with Rella, but being willing to believe in fantasy did influence his willingness to not run screaming for the hills.

DV: What’s on the horizon for you?

JB: I was recently published in the anthologies Magical Crime Scene Investigation, Mind Candy Too, and will be included in the anthology Chrysalis later this year. Recently I’ve gotten more involved in writing more military fantasy and supernatural law enforcement, and that’s been fun to play around with.

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