"A few years ago while lying in bed with my eyes still closed an idea for a book began to come to me. I was suddenly flooded with the story line for this book, title and all. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it because I had just broken through the worst case of writer’s block that had lasted over fifteen years; and just for a moment I cried tears of joy, but there is so much more to this story..."
Author Jacqueline Rainey knows no restrictions when it comes to great storytelling beyond our reality. A Georgia native now residing in Arizona, Rainey's journey has influenced her genre piece Dark Harmonie. Her poetic expression really comes out in her writing, which I would much rather not rattle on and let you experience it for yourself. For these 5 Questions, we wanted Rainey to invite us into a space of self discovery.
I have always been fascinated with the occult and scary movies and television shows such the original Dark Shadows series. Who could ever forget Simon Saintorian, Boris Karloff and Elvira Mistress of the Dark? I know that I’m dating myself here when I start mentioning the original Godzilla and Rodan, lol.
These shows and characters were the beginning of my journey into the world of the weird and strange. I will admit though that I have become a bit cautious over the past few years about what I watch in term of horror movies or television programs because I have had some interesting experiences that I will never forget. Some of those who watch horror movies and the paranormal programs think that it is just a show/movie, but that’s not always true. These things are real and do exist it’s just that some of us are able to see them and experience them and others are not.
In your novel Dark Harmonie, your main character who’s named after the latter word in the book’s title is sensitive to the imagined, spiritual world. As a woman of faith, how has horror infused itself in your story to create a narrative that is reflective of the genre’s conventions and your convictions?
A lot of what my story “Dark Harmonie” is based on true experiences and some of the things I wrote about can also be found in the Bible. Of course you will have people giving their own interpretation of what this word means and that line means in the Bible, but it is very clear.
Evil and witchcraft have been around since the dawn of time and this spiritual battle is still going on right under the noses of people to this day. It has become so intense, and I am sure that those who are spiritually sensitive have been shaken to their core. We all have a purpose and I believe that even those who were trying so hard to take Harmonie’s life just so that they could possess the gifts she was blessed with played their parts as well. That was their purpose, even if it meant selling their souls to the devil.
In your speculative (horror/science fiction/fantasy) work, how important is it for you to create Black women characters and how do they expand Black female identity within and outside of this niche space?
To be honest it never occurred to me that this piece was in a minority genre group. All my characters are strong African American females, of course they are struggling throughout the stories, but their strength and faith are what gives them the victory. I completely relate to my character Harmonie because she is me. You have to be extremely well grounded in your faith to face the constant attacks and still call out to God. There will be some who will know exactly what my character is going through and believe it and others will think that the whole thing is made up. But isn’t it our job as writers to make the readers wonder what is real and what isn’t?
I haven’t written for just one genre. My first two published books were a little difficult to place in a genre. I believe that “Through Whose Eyes: Rise, Child of God” is listed as Self-Help and “Toni’s Blues” is supposed to be listed as Inspiration/Spiritual. And here I am with “Dark Harmonie” in Occult/Supernatural and will follow it up with “30 The Dragonfly Catcher” an Erotic Drama. I write whatever I feel and it never occurred to me that I needed to stick to one genre. I think that because I have been writing poetry since the age of eleven I have never thought about boundaries. It’s that freedom and love of writing that has enabled me to unknowingly cross those invisible genre and minority lines. I’m a passionate writer and I love word play.
You’re very forthcoming about disclosing details of your personal journey. You are a survivor and that is a huge theme in contemporary horror films. Who are some of your favorite “survivor women” in horror?
By sharing my personal journey, I have removed the fear and shame and any power it could have over me. I’m free. As for my favorite “survivor women in horror” I would have to say first and foremost Elvira Mistress of the Dark because she was my first and she has just the right amount of scary balanced out with extreme sex appeal. She’s one, huge deceiving lore!
Nancy Thompson – A Nightmare On Elm Street
Carrie White – Carrie (The Original)
Selena – 28 Days Later
Michonne – The Walking Dead (This is one badass sister with a sword!)
Black women writing speculative fiction is an ever growing community that tends to work closely together by organizing events, workshops, etc. Have you gotten a chance to check out work by other Black women horror writers and their work?
I have not and the truth is that when I’m writing I prefer not to read the works of others because I want to make sure that my stories are coming completely from me and my imagination. I do however show my support to my fellow authors by purchasing their books and of course catching those free giveaways and contest for signed copies. Love them!
I have been writing none stop since 2010 and even as I’m completing these questions I have a three book series that I have been working on. I don’t think that the ink is even dry on the preverbial pages yet, lol. There is no rest for a writer especially those who love to write.
Dark Harmonie Official Book Trailer
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