Book Review & Author Interview: Wife ‘n’ Death by Theresa Jacobs

My Review: 3.5 of 5 Stars

After killing her husband, Angelica brings the muzzle of her .38 special to her temple to end her years of heartache, but once she pulls the trigger, she finds herself trapped in a new cycle of misery. From that fateful day the ghosts of Brian and Angelica become stuck in a seemingly endless loop of torment until a woman and her five-year-old daughter move into the house, providing fresh victims for Brian’s rage. Angelica attempts to warn Crystal, and tries to protect the young Eden, from her husband’s wrath, but her spirit may not be strong enough to save them all.

From the very first pages of this novel, I was hooked. The author’s writing style is easily digestible, full of sharp images, and portrays vivid characters, making this book hard to put down. Each chapter is told from the viewpoints of both the living and the dead, providing the reader with a unique perspective. While in most books the characters know more than the reader, here Jacobs has carefully crafted the opposite, so the reader understands more than any of the characters, which was refreshing and enjoyable.

The characters are what really shine in this haunted house tale. While the exact circumstances of Angelica’s past are not fully revealed, there’s enough on the page that I sympathized with her and understood her fear of Brian’s ghost. As soon as Crystal and Eden are introduced to the story, I could feel their bond and understand their hardships, which made their interactions with Brian even more terrifying. There are also several side characters who are well rounded and add a very realistic feel to the story.

However, I had a difficult time rating this work because of the plot. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline is strong and engaging. By the time I had finished the first two-thirds of the novel, I was certain I’d be giving this a five-star review, but the last third felt too rushed and did not provide a satisfactory climax or resolution. The main conflict was resolved so conveniently that it felt like a deus ex machina moment (which I do not enjoy) in an otherwise well-grounded novel.

Setting aside my personal dislike of the ending, I would still recommend Wife ‘n’ Death. I’ve read a few anthologies which include excellent short stories by Theresa Jacobs, and I’m excited to read other works by the author.

Interview:

WS: Wife ‘n’ Death centers around a haunted house and a possession. Have you always been interested in the supernatural?

TJ: HI, thanks for having me. Yes, I have always been fascinated by the darker side of life. I believe the obsession comes from wanting answers to all the unknowable questions about life and death. From as young as I can remember I was interested in death and decay. My mom would even take me to gravesites to do headstone rubbings, how cool is that!

WS: At the heart of this novel are two strong female characters, Angelica and Crystal, who are both trying to escape tyrannical men in their lives. Was it a conscious decision to have both leads feel trapped by their relationships, or did this grow organically into the story as you wrote it?

TJ: At first, I had not intended to have both women running from a past. As I pondered the story line, I needed Crystal to have more than just a haunted house for interest. And it hit me, a haunted past fit perfectly with the theme. I was a bit hesitant though, would it be too much? As I began writing however, the suspense in her life coalesced with Angelica’s and it fit perfectly.

WS: You’ve written in multiple genres, including horror, science fiction, poetry, and children’s books. Which genre challenges you the most as a writer?

TJ: The toughest for me to write is sci-fi, as I never intended to, or thought I’d want to. I just had an idea one day that intrigued me; what would happen if humans were striped of everything that makes us human? This tiny thought began my venture into sci-fi. Truthfully, the story KEPT is really a psychological study of mankind, but it’s set in space, with aliens, and that makes it sci-fi.

WS: Which of your works are you most proud of?

TJ: I am proudest of KEPT, as it was the hardest to write. It was a challenge to write a story where all you have are humans interacting with humans, without possessions, or props. The characters had to be interesting enough to hold their own and because I’m not a plotter-writer, I didn’t know where they were going to lead me. I put a lot of thought into every move they made and it gets the best reviews, so it shows.

WS: In November 2018 you released a sci-fi mystery novel titled The Used, which was a collaboration with your dad. Did working with a partner change your writing process?

TJ: I actually didn’t work directly with my dad. After I wrote KEPT and he saw how great I did with sci-fi, he handed me his beginning to a story. He had wanted to write his idea for years but struggled with it. He asked me if I could finish it for him. I took his main character and his basis for the plot, and with his permission, made it my own. I also wrote it in Google Drive so he could edit or comment while I was writing. Now I write all my stories in drive and let him read while I work. He’ll text me if I don’t write for a couple of days and tell me to get cracking! It’s inspiring to know someone is watching, caring, and egging me on.

WS: What do you hope to release next?

TJ: I have finished the first draft of another new venture, a mystery/thriller about a serial killer. It’s set in Toronto and I even have some real locations, all of which gave me permission to use in the book. I will be sending this one to Canadian publishers in hopes to get picked up and become a household name. Therefore, I am working even harder on making it the best I can, with the assistance of another writer, who is detailing all my plot holes and weak points. I wish this was a quick process but it’s not, it can take up to a year just to get a response, so I don’t know when it will happen. In the meantime, I’m writing specifically for another online publisher that will help cover the costs of editing and the cover. I’m aiming for early summer on that one. Fingers crossed, this is my longest hold back on publishing yet. Though always keep watch, I have anthologies on the radar too.

WS: What prompted you to become a self-published author?

TJ: I began self publishing because I knew I could achieve results quicker than waiting on a publisher. I’m impatient – hence the rush on the ending in Wife N’ Death. I do tend to get excited and push myself to end one book and get onto the next. This is where the short stories submitted to anthologies is really helping. I can write new stories constantly and focus harder on making the novels better.

WS: What’s been the biggest challenge as an indie author?

TJ: The costs. Currently I spend more than I make and it’s frightening because I don’t want to stop, but I can’t afford to keep going. Which is also why I’m beginning to seek publishers.

WS: Who are some of your favorite indie writers?

TJ: There are a lot, here’s a few who I always buy in paperback – Zane Dowling (my first editor and toughest mentor) David Kummer (a teen you must read) Mike Senczyzak (a fellow Ontarian) Matt Snee (just amazeballs) Isreal Finn (I named my main guy in Kept, Finnegan after him) Lucy Lombos (Biggest bravest heart you’ll ever met).

WS: I know you’re also a huge horror movie fan. Do you have a favorite movie? Or a favorite horror sub-genre?

TJ: Comedy horror is my all-time fav. Someday I’ll challenge myself to write one. The Frighteners, the original, is my go-to movie.

WS: You’re a regular contributor on 1428elm.com, reviewing horror movies and TV shows. How did you become involved? (For a full listing of Theresa’s reviews, follow this link 1428elm.com/author/tjacobs/)

TJ: Ah, thank you! I actually recently stepped down, as the research time needed was taking away too much creative writing time. But my posts will live on for a few years, so please yes check them out. A fellow writer, Susan Leighton (who is also amazing) and I met in google+ and we shared/read/critiqued each other. She is big into movies, tv, and article writing, and she first discovered 1428elm was hiring and sent me the link. I was terrified, I’d only ever written fiction, but thought I’ve got to at least try out. I took the tests, wrote them an article and to my surprise I was accepted. I contributed for a little over two years I believe, my main gig was re-capping Z Nation and Santa Clarita Diet – my favorite horror comedy shows. But I’m happy to be off the deadlines and free falling again.

WS: Speaking of films, I know you’ve recently been involved with a cinematic project called Death Game. What can you tell us about your script writing experience?

TJ: I am extremely lucky to know an amazing woman named Lisa Crawford, who wanted to start her own production company in Hamilton, Ontario. She asked me if I would want to write her a 15-minute horror short to submit to film festivals. I said I’d try, I googled how to write a script, and the next day I handed her Death Game. It’s based on the demon I created in my novella Sudden Death, which is a campy-b horror style book. I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone by giving her a film and my book a boost. She loved it and rolled with it. Script writing is both easy and hard. The writing is simple as it’s mainly dialog, the formatting is a huge pain in the! Plus, as a novelist it’s hard to let go of all the scene setting, movement and descriptions of everything. But it was fun too. I’ve written four other ½ hour scripts for amazon prime, however I can’t tell you what they are by contract, until they air – if ever – there is no guarantee in filmmaking 😊 Now my good friend Jackie Leahey and I are writing a sitcom. We hope to film it someday.

Thank you for having me Jennifer, it was a pleasure, Theresa Jacobs.

I’d sincerely like to thank Theresa Jacobs for taking the time to speak with me. I hope you enjoyed this interview, and if you would like to know more about the author and her works, feel free to connect with her on the following social medial platforms:

Website: https://theresajcbs.wixsite.com/authorpage

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Theresa-Jacobs

Facebook: @writerTheresaJ

Twitter: @writerTheresaJ

Blog: https://authortheresajacobs.wordpress.com/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/theresajcbs

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14738222

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/theresajcbs/videos

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.ca/theresajcbs/

Instagram: @theresajcbs

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