The Fun Stuff:
What part of the world do you come from?
I live in Pretoria, which is the capital city of South Africa.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer, but since that wasn’t a very practical job I also thought about being dentist, a profiler, a psychologist, or a journalist. I ended up studying art and design, but didn’t end up doing any of that.
List three words to describe yourself.
Independent, creative, and neurotic.
Who would play you in a film about your life?
I’m not sure I’d want my life turned into a film. It wouldn’t make for a very good one. The plot would be all over the place and would leave the audience very confused. That being said, I would like to say Angelina Jolie, but with my luck it would end up being Sarah Jessica Parker.
What’s your favourite snack food when writing?
I must admit I don’t snack while writing. I drink coffee or wine.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
There are so many to choose from. But I think if I could only choose one, I think I’d like to be able to instantly heal myself and basically be immortal. A bit like Wolverine, but without the metal attached to my bones.
The Sensible Side:
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I’ve been writing stories since I was a little girl. It all started in my mother’s office during a school holiday, when she handed me some pen and paper and told me to write something so that she could get some peace and quiet. I wrote my very first story that day and have been writing ever since.
I’m not sure a writer is ever not writing. Even when we’re not physically typing or putting pen to paper, we’re thinking about the story we’re working on. But I also have a day job at the University of Pretoria working as the administrator for a grant programme.
Where did the inspiration for Fury come from?
I have no idea. Seriously, I have absolutely no clue where this story came from. It just kinda surfaced at the back of my mind like an itch that just wouldn’t go away. That itch turned into Fury.
What do you like most about writing horror and thrillers?
There are no real rules when writing horror like there are with most genres. Plus I basically get paid to come up with ways to scare people, to push them out of their comfort zones and make them uncomfortable. I love my job!
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I don’t think so. I think that part of being a writer is tackling those uncomfortable subjects. We can’t shy away from something just because it’s taboo.
That being said, I tend not to write romance. I’ve tried and failed miserably. Every time I try to write a romance novel, I end up killing a character off in a rather spectacular way or the romance ends very, very, badly. So I guess I should probably just stay away from writing the warm and fuzzy romance novels and stick to horror and thrillers.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead characters?
Ooh! That’s a tough one. I think Jennifer Lawrence would be great to play Alice, if she can perfect a South African accent.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The thing about writing horror, even though I enjoy coming up with new ways to mess with my already screwed up characters, you still end up having these difficult characters in terrible situations stuck in your head for an extended period of time.
Working on a really violent torture scene is incredibly difficult because you have to be there in that moment, you have to see it in your head in order to describe it properly for your reader and those images stay with you. Those scenes always take me a while to write, but I can’t shy away from them because then I wouldn’t be true to the story or the characters.
Can you give us a brief excerpt from your latest novel?
A cold wind brushed her cheek. Her fingertips touched the loose ground, and fumbled in the dark, clawing at the cold earth beneath her. She touched something hard and rough, a rock, but it was real, something she could hold on to. She gripped it tight. The knowledge and memories of her short life came flooding back. She stood up and realised she was naked. Her feet and hands were gone. Blood covered her ruined body.
The sound of crickets and other insects buzzed around the surrounding bush, but she couldn’t hear the sound of her own heartbeat, yet it called to her from across the city. The mind-numbing realisation dawned on her slowly, at first, and then slammed into her stomach. She was dead, yet she was standing at the top of Klapperkop hill, overlooking Pretoria’s city lights. The lights winked at her. If she hadn’t been in so much pain she would have laughed at the insanity of it all. It was a cruel joke.
The memories from the night before, painful and bloody, screamed at her.
She took one step and then another on bloody stumps, towards the rocky edge; each step making her stronger.
With revenge on her mind she made her way down the narrow footpath towards the lights and those that had to pay the ultimate price for their crimes.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a novelette called The Race. After that I’m planning on getting to work on my first series called The Cursed Witch. The first book will be called Awakening.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
You can find me on my website
And on my Amazon author page
Joan De La Haye writes horror and some very twisted thrillers. She invariably wakes up in the middle of the night, because she’s figured out yet another freaky way to mess with her already screwed up characters. Joan is interested in some seriously weird stuff. That’s probably also one of the reasons she writes horror.
Her novels, Shadows and Requiem in E Sharp, as well as her novellas, Oasis and Burning, are published by Fox Spirit.
She has had short stories published on Wily Writers and in Graveyard Rendezvous, Jozi: Reflections on Johannesburg, Bloody Parchment Vol 2, Tales from the Nun and Dragon, Afro Sci-Fi, Noir Carnival, Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets, European Monsters, African Monsters, and Tales from the Lake Vol 1.
She has also written a non-fiction article for Horror 101: The way forward.