Interview with Anne-Marie Ormsby, Bestselling Author
I am pleased to introduce Anne-Marie Ormsby, author of The Tower and the bestselling Purgatory Hotel, and a contributor to Dark London: Volume One. Because there is no better way to write her bio, especially the beginning, I'm going to quote it.
"On a warm day in July 1978, a mother was admitted to hospital, awaiting the arrival of her new baby. She was reading Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and the midwives thought it a gruesome choice for an expectant mother. A story of a long forgotten murder and repressed memories. As it turned out her new baby, Anne-Marie would grow up and find herself drawn to all things macabre, and would one day herself turn out a story of murder and memories lost."
All great stories have interesting beginnings, no? And what stories Anne-Marie has produced! Some say, "Dark and intriguing" with "liberal dash of chills." If you are looking for books of the sort, look no further than this author, folks!
Without further ado...Anne-Marie, what is the first story you remember telling (not necessarily writing)?
When I was 3 my parents recorded me telling a story about a whale that lived in a wardrobe. Not sure on all the details now but I was very certain it made perfect sense.
So you were a very imaginative child! What was your favorite game to play when you were younger?
I’m not a huge fan of games, mainly because I don’t care about winning, but I used to enjoy playing trivial pursuit with my family when I was a teenager. I’d love to play it again with my brothers and sisters now – we don’t get to spend much time together as we all live far apart, but that would be really cool.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak English and a tiny bit of german from school – English is my favourite because I don’t instantly feel I need to ask the way to the town hall (which is the first german phrase that pops into my head every time).
I'm pretty sure I could ask for a beer, but that wasn't a phrase I was taught in school.
Who inspired you to write your debut novel?
Ray Bradbury has inspired me to write pretty much everything I’ve ever written in the vain hope I’d be anywhere near as talented as him. But Purgatory Hotel was also inspired by a Nick Cave song, so I guess I should thank him too.
Ray Bradbury is quite the storyteller! He has published more than 30 books. And his short stories are quite impressive - over 600! My favorite short of his is Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed.
You are asked what your least favorite color is, knowing that it will forever be erased from existence. Would you give your answer?
Any pastels….too insipid.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Both please. Only thing is I only really liked the first three Star Wars movies whereas I’ve liked pretty much everything connected to Star Trek, so perhaps I’d have to say I’ll stick with Captain Kirk.
If you were to be gifted a superpower that you had to use continuously for 8 hours every day, what would it be?
The ability to concentrate 100% on administrative tasks and not get distracted by my own brain.
Hmmm, many of the authors I've interviewed want concentration, the ability to freeze time, and the ability to write 8 hours every day. Clearly, authors love to write!
What are your hobbies (besides reading and writing)?
Making my own clothes, listening to music and watching a ridiculous amount of true crime documentaries.
What is your favorite sport to play?
I do not play sports, I am 100% not sporty.
I find it very hard to narrow down a favorite book or author, so this might also be a tough question for you. What is your favorite author/book?
The impossible question. I recently narrowed it down to three books – The Collected stories of Ray Bradbury, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and On the Road by Jack Kerouac.
Have you ever played kubb? Did you have to look it up before answering?
No. And yes I had to look it up because I thought you were referring to the band Kubb….
Alrighty, I had to look up the band!
So, the zombie apocalypse will happen in two days. You are fully stocked with food, water, and toilet paper. What is the one thing you will have stocked up on as your guilty pleasure?
If you could have authored a book, which one and why?
The Haunting of Hill House. Its beautifully written and when I get to the end I feel my heart break a bit. The goal of writing is surely to make people feel something deep in their soul, hurt or happiness, either way I’d want to make someone have an emotional reaction to a story.
What movie sequel would you erase from history, and why?
Alien Resurrection. Even the presence of Ellen Ripley couldn’t save it from being dull as dishwater and totally pointless.
You won the mythical lottery and are granted the use of a magical creature for one week. What creature would you pick, and why?
A Unicorn, because it would make my daughter incredibly happy to have a pet unicorn.
Unicorns...I wonder what one would smell like. Sugary candy and rainbows? Deer/Horse and hay?
Strangely enough, I'm a bit peckish. What is one food you could never bring yourself to eat, and why?
Oysters. Just no.
I am in total agreement with you there. And I am no longer hungry.
Tell us your favorite "dad joke."
I don’t actually know any jokes, I can’t ever seem to remember them, which would devastate my father as he loves jokes.
Ever hear this one?
Why did the cowboy carry around a dachshund?
Because he heard someone say, "get along, little doggie!"
Cake or pie?
I’d be happy with either to be fair – but right now I could murder an apple pie with custard.
Tell us about your latest book.
So my last book was The Tower, which is the story of a young woman who is being haunted by a rather nasty ghost. She’s got some stuff in her past which she is keeping buried and has been trying very hard to enjoy her new life in east London. But as the book cover says – ‘Sometimes the dead come back, sometimes all they want is to hurt you.’
It took me a long old while to write, twenty odd years to be honest. The guts of the story have been with me for a long time and I kept writing it in different ways but wasn’t ever happy with it. After I moved away from London and wanted to write a story set there, the old story merged with a new one and became The Tower.
It might not change your life but it might make you question if there’s someone else in the room with you. Someone you can’t see.
Do you have a favorite character that you created? Why or why not?
I’m very fond of Jackson Shade from Purgatory Hotel, he’s not a great boyfriend but he has great taste in books and music and he loves hanging around in graveyards. His morals are questionable, but I can’t help but love him. He’s the typical guy who is no good for you……
When residents on an east London housing estate start dying in gruesome ways, housing manager Ada begins to worry that her past is coming back to haunt her.
Once a powerful medium, able to talk to the dead with amazing ease, she became more comfortable with the afterlife than real life, and with that openness she attracted something dark from the other side. Terrified by the experience she swore she would never communicate with the dead again.
Ten years later at the scene of an apparent suicide, her long closed-down connection to the dead is reopened, and she begins to receive information she shouldn’t know about the victims’ final moments.
Stalked in her dreams and in waking life by an angry male presence, Ada begins to relive the dark days when something from the other side wanted her to end her life.
But as the bodies stack up and the visions intensify, Ada realises that in order to stop more people from dying she has to let the dead back in to find out the truth of what is driving her residents to violent acts – and face up to her own ghosts.
To see more of what Anne-Marie is up to, check out the following.
Thank you so much, Anne-Marie, for the interview opportunity. Best of luck with your writing ventures!