Night Terrors: Author Interview with Jocelyn Baxter

To celebrate the launch of Aphotic Realms second issue; Banished I 'm talking to Jocelyn Baxter one of the many uber talented authors featured in this magazine.

Aphotic Realm is the new home for dark and sinister fiction and are really going places. Their first issue, Apparitions  was released in July with really positive reviews and now they're back with their second instalment which features ten stories of people forced to fight for their survival after being betrayed or banished.

Banished is out now from Amazon

1) Hi Jocelyn thanks for joining us, how long have you been writing for?

Since I was a kid I guess. I'm one of those Millennials who read Harry Potter and fell in love with storytelling. But officially I would say since high school. I was lucky enough to have a high school English teacher who is a Canadian author (Leo Brent Robillard). He created a Creative Writing class and I fell immediately in love (taking it three times!). Before I graduated, he encouraged me to take a writing workshop when I went to college. (I wanted to be an interior designer decorator). So instead, I ran off to Montreal and and worked for a few years.

2) Who are your favourite authors?

Stephen King (obviously), Phillip K.Dick, Chuck Palahniuk and Margaret Atwood.

3) What draws you to horror? Can you remember the first horror book or film that you encountered?

I'm drawn to horror for the same reason I think a lot of people are; the fear of the unknown. At 29, I'm still afraid of the dark (and will rush to flip all the lights between me and the bathroom). There's something about growing up in a 100+ year old farm house in rural Ontario that still gives me the heebiejeebies!

As for books/film/TV. "The X Files" was definitely my favourite show when it first started to air. I was like 6 and I thought Dana Scully was the coolest character ever. It was also around this time that I saw "A Nightmare on Elm Street". Neither resulted in nightmares, just wide-eyed fascination. Other shows include "Goosebumps" obviously, "Are You Afraid of the Dark" when I had access to cable. Also, my mom is like the BIGGEST nut for ghost stories. So through her I was exposed to a lot of books/TV shows about it.

4) Have you any upcoming projects?

I do! But it's not horror. It's a post-apocalyptic sci-fi comic book I'm co writing with a friend. The progress has been slow, as he's a new dad. But Issue 1 has been written. It's just revisions now. Other than that, not really. My day job consumes a lot of my creative energy.

5) It says in your bio that you work as a video game writer. That sounds amazing, how did you get into that? Do you feel that computer games influence your writing or it is vice versa?

Through a lot of luck. It's kind of like a unicorn job and I still can't believe I do what I do. It's fucking surreal and awesome and challenging and fun!

I started as a QA tester, and went through the wringer of a harsh development cycle. Then I went to university with a plan to become a game writer. And then, after a lot of hard work, failure, and people taking chances on me, here I am!

As for your question its both. My video game writing puts me through harsh feedback loops. In the last four months alone. I've seen my work jump in quality. It's one of the benefits of having access to seasoned writers reviewing your work daily.

As for influence, as much as any other media I consume. Although games are more useful to my job than my personal writing. But that may have to do with game writing being a different beast from fiction or film. How it's approached and realised is based through the lens of interactivity and player choice. Your pacing, your triggers, the linearity - this is all determined by a 2D/3D space and an audience/camera you do not have full control over.

About the Author

Image result for jocelyn baxter

Jocelyn Baxter is a professional video game writer, copy queen, and self-ascribed keybard. She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec with her fiance and two cats, enjoys long walks on digital beaches, cheap wine, and singing in the shower (badly). She's released 5 mobile game titles and is currently working on her first AAA title with an award-winning game studio


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