Meet Jessica Raney
Join us in welcoming Jessica Raney to the Cursed Dragon Ship crew. We told you a bit about her when we introduced the Misplaced Adventures authors but there’s so much more.
Jessica Raney grew up in the hills of southeastern Ohio looking for the Mothman and every other thing that goes bump in the dark Appalachian night. These days she resides in Houston, Texas and translates her love of Appalachia and dark things into stories that combine crime, fantasy, and horror into Appalachian Supernatural Noir. Her genre-blending series, Tooth and Nail showcases her love of all things creepy and quirky. When not writing, she’s navigating Houston traffic and enjoying the Gulf Coast with a weird little dog named Gimli.
Jessica adds a horror bend to Misplaced Adventures with The Ties that Bind, the first book in her Huntress and Harvester series set for release in September 2023. In addition, Jessica has some unique elements up her sleeve in her Appalachia Supernatural Noir style with the prequel series Spencer Sisters with the first novel Root and Bone set for release in May 2024. For anyone who enjoyed her first novel, this will be a special treat for you where we get to see the family that helped form Del into the badass she became. If you’re unfamiliar with her popular first series, you can check it out here.
Let’s ask Jessica some questions and learn a bit more about what makes her tick.
Asked and Answered
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved books and writing stories. I made up plays as a little kid and wrote odd stories about shape-shifting witches who hate the patriarchy and high taxes.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I fancy myself an artist. I love to create and craft. I also love movies, especially old classics.
What do you think makes a good story?
Conflict. Without conflict there’s no story. The trick is creating interesting conflict and resolving it in a way that satisfies the reader and you as an artist.
If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
Stay weird. Don’t get bogged down in what other people think you should do.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
It’s got to be a coyote, specifically Wile E. Coyote. I’m always making an elaborate masterplan that generally ends in me blowing something and/or myself to smithereens.
How do you select the names of your characters?
It’s legit my least favorite part of writing a story. I hate it. Sometimes I use random name generators. Most of the time I just curse about it.
Why did you choose Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing?
Cursed Dragon Ship is dedicated to quality. They don’t publish things they don’t believe in, and they challenge you to bring your best work to the table.
What was your hardest scene to write?
It was a loving sexy-time scene. Erotica is easy; conveying deep love is hard.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, although I think it mystifies them. Frankly, it mystifies me as well, so … yes.
How would you describe the genre you write?
I’m a lover of monsters. I am unabashedly in love with werewolves, vampires, zombies, cryptids, ghosts, whatever. I also love crime, as in a good caper or anti-hero. I grew up in a small town in southeastern Ohio where everyone knew everyone and everyone was a quirky character and we weren’t fancy. So I combine all of that mess into what I call Appalachian Supernatural Noir. It’s got elements of fantasy, horror, and crimey-wimey goodness.
How do you create your characters?
Observation. I was lucky to grow up around plenty of strange, lovely people. I’ve always had a wide-range of friends, so I have a solid bank of characters to write about. The key for me is hearing their voice and knowing what ticks them off and what they love.
Where do the characters in the Spencer Sisters come from?
My great luck in this world was to be raised by strong hard-working people, and among them, my maternal grandmother was the strongest influence. She was the oldest of twelve children and had mostly sisters, so seeing those relationships sowed the seeds. There’s a closeness between sisters that I envy (I have only a brother) and at the same time sisters pull no punches with each other. The sisters in my book, Leona and Jewel are each other’s best friend; they also drive one another crazy. I think of my Nan and her sister when I write them. They’re not copies of real people but I used that bond.
Why did you choose to set your series in the 1950’s?
I wanted to write a prequel to my Tooth and Nail series and explore the world and magic. The protagonist in Tooth and Nail, Delilah Monroe was born in the 70’s, so if I was going to tell her grandmother’s tale, I knew I was going to have to go back. It’s interesting to think of strong women in that time. They were not in a powerful position; at the time a woman couldn’t even have a bank account in her own name. So these powerful women navigate this world of men as best they can without much ambition of changing it, which is fascinating because Leona and Jewel are total badasses.
Please join us in a CDS welcome to Jessica Raney, the newest member of our horror crew. If you want to follow Jessica and her adventures, make sure to check out her website https://www.jessicaraney.com.