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Julie Kusma on Suspense: “A Technique Where The Unknown…”

Julie has unique ways of telling the stories, in this interview with i'mBiking Magazine, she talked about her book, “The Poetry Mouse” and for her readers, she read her favourite poem. Moreover, there is good news for writers who love to write about horror and suspense. She talked about how her books ends leaving the readers astonishing, in a twist. ...
Lokeish Umak
Lokeish Umak

Julie has unique ways of telling the stories, in this interview with i'mBiking Magazine, she talked about her book, “The Poetry Mouse” and for her readers, she read her favourite poem. Moreover, there is good news for writers who love to write about horror and suspense. She talked about how her books ends leaving the readers astonishing, in a twist. Kusma also put her thoughts on difference between thriller and suspense according to her. Thus, she believes, unknown outcomes create a tension in any story. Therefore, learn from her why both, thriller and suspense are correlated to each other.

About Julie Kusma

Her paranormal, supernatural, and horror stories contain simple truths about our human experience, and she shines a light on shadows with weird situations, unexpected themes, and twist endings. She holds a Master of Health Education, a Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, and a Master in English, Creative Writing, fiction.

No matter what medium art takes; canvas, clay, or words on paper, the message isn’t so much what it means to the artist, but rather what the piece says to the observer. I hope my work speaks to you.

Julie Kusma

Moreover, every writer has his own way of gathering ideas. However, Julie get inspires is something unique.

What made you write about the book, “The Poetry Mouse”

The idea for “The Poetry Mouse” emerged in a conversation with my writing partner, Derek R. King. He shared several poems he wrote about hedgerow creatures and the idea of a mouse, Evie, anthropomorphized, took hold of me. I saw her living her ordinary life of doing what others thought best for her, and I realized this story had the potential to speak to children on so many levels. It is a story about authenticity and pursuing our talents and passions.

What was the first thought came to you before you begin to write the book? 

For me, my first thought was the visualization of Evie holding her notebook with Derek’s poetry written on each page. I then formulated a storyline and wove Evie’s tale around his poems. At the end of the story, Evie sends her work to a publisher in the city, so there’s a sequel underway.

How many books you have written until now?

Wow, I’ll have to look… I have short stories in three anthologies: one with two stories that won publication in a contest, one with a horror story from a contest, and the third with four horror short stories. I also have two meditation CDs, three solo children’s picture books, two children’s picture books written with Jill Yoder (my amazing editor), three children’s picture books written with Derek R. King, eight more collaborations with Derek, and finally, three horror collections of my own. 

So, the short answer is, I currently have 22 published works and 2 CDs. Additionally, three collaborated children’s picture books are slated for publication yet this year, along with another Keepsake book, Our Halloween all in collaboration with Derek, and a solo project of mine, The Crooked Crone & Other Mystifications, all scheduled for 2022 publication. 

Does each of the books reveals the suspense at the end? Would you like to share your experience behind writing the suspense? 

I do fancy a twist ending. My solo work, which is mainly paranormal or psychological horror, quite typically ends in this manner. I love taking the reader along on a ride and making that sharp turn at the end which reveals the destination is somewhere entirely unexpected. I love that. 

For me, writing suspense is about layering your story, and this is accomplished through the writer’s voice and the literary tools and devices employed. Diction, syntax, figurative language, and the tone in which the story is told, offer many layering options for themes and symbolism— all creating the story’s motifs. So, with diction, for example, when writing horror, choosing words that are morose and macabre pull the reader in. All part of setting up the story’s suspense.

How do you distinguish between thriller and suspense? 

Thriller is a genre where danger is present from the onset of the story: The thrill of the ride, reading the story. Suspense, although categorized as a genre, is really a technique where the unknown outcomes create a tension, a suspensefulness as the reader anticipates what happens next. Any story can be suspenseful, but not all stories are thrillers.

Are both of them correlated to each other? 

Sure, a great thriller is suspenseful, and in a non-genre definition way, suspense is thrilling.

Are you currently writing any book? If yes, would you like to tell us more about it? 

I am. This week, I will write the final chapter of The Crooked Crone, which began as a solo short story. I’ve expanded this into a novella by the same name, and it will release yet this year. Other than that, I always have at least a dozen projects going at the same time. Current open projects include two children’s books, a keepsake book— Our Halloween, and the above-mentioned solo project of mine, and dozens more just waiting to materialize. I seem to work best this way, as I can perform various tasks for the different stages of progress as suits my mood on any given day.

How do you get suspense ideas, what are the major sources, and why? 

Just depends on, really. Sometimes, nature inspires. Other times, it’s people. The things people say and believe are excellent fodder for stories. For example, I saw an appointment reminder card stuck to a drain pipe with cobwebs, and Derek took a picture of this for me. A creepy horror story began to emerge as I asked myself how long has that been there and why. Additionally, my current stay in Scotland has inspired an entire series of micro fiction pieces titled Scottish Gothic and is available on my website here.

What is your favorite poem you ever wrote? 

Probably “A Lover’s Silence.” I love the voice of this piece. It has been recorded for me by Jacqueline Belle and a video to compliment by Daniel Lacho of Guru Art Official. You can listen to this on my YouTube channel at A Lover's Silence or for all of my recordings, visit YouTube.com/c/juliekusmaauthor

But I’d love to share one of my published 50-word micros from my Scottish Gothic collection. This piece, along with a few others, is available to read on my website.

Do you love travel and meeting people? 

I would have answered no before, but last year I met my amazing writing partner, Derek R. King. He lives in Scotland and I visited him last December. We have an amazing creative spark and exchange between us that is very easy and enjoyable. I believe this is why we are able to produce so many books in such a short amount of time. I’m currently in Scotland, and have been here since the end of March. I head back to the states in September, but while I’ve been here, I have travelled, met many people, seen a lot, embraced new ways of living and being, as well as created a volume of writing. 

Would you like to tell us about your travel experiences that occurred funny, relevant to your writing or any sort of it, and eventually helped you a lot? 

I don’t know if I’ve had anything particularly funny, but that’s subjective, right? I find life in generally humorous, so there’s that. However, walking through a grocery store in Scotland is quite entertaining for me. Seriously, no salad dressings to speak of. No pickle relishes. What? Pancakes are freshly made in the USA, not precooked and sold in a package on the bread aisle. And ice, don’t get me started on drinking soda room temperature without ice. Lots of funny stuff regarding food and lifestyle tickle my mind while staying in a foreign country. I highly recommend venturing outside one’s known territory and truly seeing how others live, especially if you’re a writer.

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Lokeish Umak

Lokeish Umak

Lokeish Umak writes about his favorite topics, such as essay, poems, health, fitness, nutrition, etc. He also invites guests on his podcast show, "Chronicle Conversations."
View all posts by Lokeish Umak

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