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INTERVIEW: FTN interviews Joanne Reay, author of Lo’ Life: Romeo Spikes

November 12th, 2012 by Ash Comments


FTN: Firstly Joanne, congratulations on your first novel. How did it feel seeing Romeo Spikes published?
JR: It felt ridiculously good. I’ve had films produced, but they come and go. Nothing beats the solid feel of a book in your hand.

FTN: You’ve chosen a very dark subject for the basis of your debut novel. What drew you to write about self-harm and suicide?
JR: We might think of ourselves as an individual with one mind, but we are a complex knot of ego, unconscious thought and something beyond even that. Suicide is a prism through which we can see these multiple selves. On a more real-world level, the rate of suicide amongst young adults is now so high that the World Health Organization has declared it an epidemic. It’s a hard topic to tackle, so perhaps the Lo’Life series can raise it for discussion.

FTN: Where did the idea for Tormenta come from? They’re certainly a welcome change from vampires and werewolves!JR: I wanted to create an enemy that had to be smart. A vampire or a werewolf can simply over-power a human by virtue of greater strength. To survive and succeed, Tormenta need to be ultra-cunning. I like my enemies to have razor wits. It makes them so much more fun to write.

FTN: Did your previous work on The Discovery Channel provide you with inspiration for some of the subject matter in Romeo Spikes, such as the secret religious sects?
JR: The factual elements in Romeo Spikes are pieces of knowledge that I’ve collected over many years. I have the kind of memory that can store weird-shit forever but forgets my cash-card number. I never knew that I’d be able to deploy so much of this useless learning within Romeo Spikes, but I’m glad that, at last, it has found an out-let. Now maybe I can wipe it from my brain’s hard-drive and use the space for something more useful…

FTN: Although the book is bursting with some very colourful and wonderfully crafted characters, it’s the strong female protagonists that drive the narrative. I’m a little bit in love with Lola. Can you give any hints as to what she will be getting up to in Black Antlers?
JR: In Rome Spikes, Detective Bianco is taken deep into the supernatural world of Lola. In the next book, the roles are reversed and Lola becomes locked into the search for a bizarre and brutal serial killer. As the two worlds of humans and Tormenta once again collide, the investigation takes an unexpected twist into the realm of quantum theory.

FTN: Despite its dark subject matter, love/lost love does feature quite a bit in Romeo Spikes. Will any of the heartbroken lovers be reunited?
JR: I think love’s blade will sink a little deeper and hurt a little more in the coming stories. But I am an optimist when it comes to love and there will be some ecstasy with the agony, I can promise you that.

FTN: There seems to be a delicious little hint of what’s ahead for Alexis Bianco in the final chapter. Without giving too much away, will her son be playing a central role in the second part of the Lo Life series? Are her loyalties set to be tested to the very limit.
JR: Yes and yes (which, I think, gives not too much away). 

Thanks Joanne, we wish you all the best with Lo’ Life and look forward to the next part…

Read Ash’s full review of Lo’ Life: Romeo Spikes here

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Ash is a frustrated Nerd living in denial. Only recently has she accepted the fact that when you are passionate about books, especially the work of Stephen King and really especially The Dark Tower, then you are... a Nerd. She's a journalist and a fan-girl. She's right at home wth FTN