Laurell K. Hamilton (LKH): I listen to Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Nickelback and now Korn. I have lots of that. I also have Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos. I have Audioslave, She Wants Revenge, Flyleaf and The Fray. A lot of the bands that I really like, like Breaking Benjamin, are recommendations from fans. A fan made me a CD with them on there and they said if you like it promise me you’ll buy. And I loved it and bought their album. Tori Amos was a recommendation from a fan. I had never heard her music before. And now of course there’s Pandora Radio. I can pick a band that I like and want to listen to and it’ll bring up other bands that sound like them. It’s a great invention.
S.MAG.: What do you enjoy doing on your free time?
LKH: I don’t have a lot of time off, first of all. The idea that you have lots of free time in between is false from my experience. We just got back from going to some place warm. We like to go on a couples’ long weekend. I like to spend time with family and friends, spend time with my daughter and our dog. I’m like most writers, if you plan to take time off you can’t. If writing is really your calling as it is for me, it’s all consuming. My husband is fine with that and understands. But not everybody is lucky enough to have someone who does understand that. I actually know some writers where the spouses make rules: “no writing talk tonight”. A group of writers cannot NOT talk about writing. It’ s impossible. My work is very much who I am.
S.MAG.: It’s our understanding that you were a biology major. How did you become interested in that field?
LKH:I have a degree in Biology and English Lit. I went into college with the idea that I would get my degree in Creative Writing. I’ve always been interested in Biology. I wanted to be a wild life biologist or a writer. Then at around fourteen, I read my first collection of fantasy and horror and that was it for me. I realized I wanted to do that. I was kicked out of my writing program in college for being a corrupting influence to other students. The head of the writing program took me to her office and that’s what she told me. She kicked me out of the program. I realized she wanted to "cure” me of wanting to write horror stories. And when she couldn’t “cure” me, she was out to destroy me. She said I couldn’t write, that I would never succeed. She wanted to crush me.
S.MAG.: What is your message to those who were not supportive and didn’t think that you would succeed?
LKH: This particular person—the head of the writing program—didn’t think I couldn’t write. She actually believed I could and she made a moral choice. She believed what I wrote was evil. And I have done what she feared I would do. I have gone on to corrupt millions. The thing is I believe in corruption. Everyone has a choice on what they read and everyone should have choices. Other than her, no one else didn’t believe in me and if they didn’t I really didn’t care. I am very self-motivated and very focused. At fourteen or fifteen, I realized that if anyone was going to save me and I was going to get out of the small town I was in and the circumstance I was in, it would be me. So I had to go to college and get my degree because no one else was going to save me. People can be very negative. You have to be constant in your own self. You have to believe in your own dreams. You have to believe! Why did I think a little girl from the middle of nowhere in a small town of a hundred people could go on to be a writer when I didn’t know anybody? I don’t know. I wanted to tell stories. It is my path, it’s what I wanted to do. When you have something that strong usually you have a sense of surety. There’s something about a bad experience that just makes you stronger. Just to prove to people. I guess I’m just stubborn in that sense. Tell me something I can’t do, and I’ll go ahead and do it.
S.MAG.: You were inspired by horror stories, so what frightens you?
LKH: I don’t scare easy actually. I can tell you what I don’t watch. I don’t do grotesque movies. I was never very fond of it. Doing research on real life crime and real people killing others takes my taste away from it. Once you’ve seen it and know it can happen it doesn’t scare you. Real life crimes scare me a lot more than fictional.
S.MAG.: If you could help solve a crime would you?
LKH: I would. I’ve had police officers say I would be a great detective but bad in uniform. I have trouble with chain of command. I think like a policeman. I had to stop doing the research on real life crime. I’m not Jessica Fletcher. I’m not going to be solving crimes. It’s not what I do. If I could I would. In real life, police frown on that. I’m really hoping I have seen the last dead body. I much prefer my dead on paper.
S.MAG.: The Anita books are about vampires and the Merry books are about the Fey. Why have you decided not to combine these two worlds?
LKH: Book five in the Anita Series had Fey and I thought I knew about the Scottish and Irish folklore about the Fey since my family is Scot and Irish. When I started doing more research for that book and the first Merry book. By the time I got done researching, I would have changed what was done because I found new stuff I had to separate the worlds. I was already in grunts. Anita and Merry are written in first person narratives. So who would I talk through? It’s that old saying, if I walked into the room I was already there. I actually don’t think they would get along well.
S.MAG.: You have a large number of male followings. Have you thought about writing from a man’s perspective?
LKH: I have actually; well I’ve done a few short stories. I have an idea for the future that seems to demand a male protagonist. That would be interesting to see if I could do it justice because I’m not a boy. Men and women are different beings, they really are. And I don’t have that masculine energy, being a woman. So I’m a little hesitant to do a whole book. Also, it being me I don’t know if I could behave myself the whole book. So if we have sex then it’s going to be how men see sex and how men see women. And I don’t see women that way. I have performance anxiety just writing from the women’s perspective for all the men’s parts. Men want to do well so if I were writing from the male perspective then they’d really want to do well. And also if I do this, the character is physically tall and I am not. The problems are a lot. If you have friends that are over six feet tall, what they see is not what you see. It’s a different way of walking the world. For men in general, there’s a sense of security that women don’t really have. Most men don’t see themselves as potential victims.