Become an Insider           Login
Not an Insider Yet?

We no longer offer memberships.
Existing Insider Members may still login (right) and receive their benefits. Stay tuned for some major changes.

Reset Password - Forgot My Username

Remember me

Most Read Interviews

All TopShelf Interviews


Jennifer Anne Gordon is a gothic horror novelist, highlighting that per favorite perspective of gothic horror is that its pleasurable terror.  She’s always been drawn to the darker side of life. Her work includes Award winning; Beautiful, Frightening and Silent.  Jennifer is also one of the hosts and creators of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network, as well as the Co-Host Writer’s Showcase. 

You are known as a gothic horror novelist. What is your definition of gothic?

I am always torn between two definitions of Gothic, but I feel like they really go together in my work. The first being, that the past is still alive in the present. I just love that because it can mean so many things. The past being alive can come in the form of memory, of trauma, lost love, an old home that has been passed down trough generations, it can also mean ghosts, vampires, or a family curse. I tend to write more in line with memory, trauma, and ghosts instead of vampires, but there is room for all of it under the umbrella of Gothic. The other definition I love, is that Gothic Horror is pleasurable terror, and I hope my work can be all of those things. 

There are also Gothic techniques, and tropes that I just adore! I love using doubling and mirroring in my stories, creating a cast of characters that are separated by time and space, but because of similar things happening, their fates are inevitably drawn together, for better or for worse.

What appeals to you about the horror genre?

I love the scope of it, the fact that it can vary from literary horror to slasher. It’s been my go-to genre for reading, watching, and writing for years. Though to be fair I read almost anything except romance and most Syfy.

I think with horror I have always been drawn to the darker side of life, the surreal, and the sinister. I love the feeling of reading horror, to me it is like walking into a beautiful old house and realizing that the wallpaper does not quite line up, which everything is how it should be except it is not. THAT is what appeals to me about horror. The aching terror of the everyday world somehow gone bad. 

How has your background of studying art history and English improved or influenced your writing?

I think it has helped with my descriptions of setting, and of light especially. I can imagine what I am writing as an Edward Hopper painting, or the bloody scene as being textured like Jackson Pollack. I believe everything we chose to study helps us as writers. I find my degree in theatre/acting to be the most useful in how to create and explore a character, their emotions, what makes them tick. 

What inspired the book "Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent"?

This book in some way has existed in my head since I was in my 20’s (a long time ago). I remember chatting with a friend who was also a writer, and he mentioned that his Uncle (or Grandfather, or someone) was a police officer, and that a member of the police force murdered his fiancé and the rest of the cops had worked to cover it up. The man, the murderer was allowed to live a life, and never got caught. Now, if you have read Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent, you will know that is NOT the plot of the book. There is though the element of “getting away with murder” and what that really means. What would it mean to kill someone you loved, for “no reason” but then be haunted by it, by her…for the rest of your life, well into your elderly years? That was the basis of my antagonist for that book, and for the inspiration of the ghost at the heart of the story. Neither character is my main character, and in a way, it ended up not even being their story to tell, but that was where it started. With guilt, fear, revenge, and time. 

Can you explain the meaning of the title?

A lot of the book is written in free verse poetry. Especially the portions of the book that are from the ghost’s point of view. The title originally came from a poem I had written that was loosely about her. Later in the writing of the novel the poem was scrapped, but there were lines that stayed in there, and eventually my character Adam finally sees the ghost for himself, and that is his description of her.

What does this book have to say about grief, longing, loss, and guilt?

Well, a lot of those things go together, especially in this story. The guilt and the grief, the longing, those things are all plaited together so tightly that they end up defining the main character. It is the thread that ties who he was to who he wishes he could be, if only he knew how to let it go, and heal. I think the book treats grief, especially as not just an emotional feeling but as a physical thing that lives beside you, holding your hand sometimes, and holding you down other times.  I think the book deals with not only how painful grief is, but also how beautiful and ephemeral memories are, the relationship people have with grief and memory is so tricky and confusing. Sometimes you feel that letting go of grief is a betrayal. The book explores all of those things from the points of view of three very different characters.

You are the co-host of Vox Vomitus podcast. How did that creation begin?

I am lucky to have some close friends in the writing community, two of them being my fellow co-hosts, Allison Martne, and Trisha Ridinger McKee. We have shared a lot in the past year, and all had our first novels published within a few months of each other. So that being said, we were all working on new projects at the same time too. One day one of them asked how my current work in progress was going at the time, and I ended up saying it was “Word Vomit”. They both understood exactly what I meant by that. I think all writers do. Sure, I could say it more eloquently (and I have…) that the first draft is just me telling the story to myself, the drafts after that are when I start to tell the story to the reader. But at the end of the day all writers have had those “word vomit” moments. Our show is a fun and lighthearted romp through the art of writing. We get to talk to some of the biggest names that are publishing today (James Rollins, VC Andrews, Matt Ruff, Mary Burton, Wendy Webb, Carole Goodman, Tosca Lee, Paul Tremblay…and so many more). The fun part of the show is that we don’t always talk about the success, we talk about the mistakes, the times we doubt ourselves, the times that others doubt us. It is a very humbling, and funny, and great experience. Every week has been like taking a master class.   

What have you loved/ learned through hosting your podcast?

Ha-ha I think I may have answered that above…I know that I have found out that I really do love to interview people, and I think I along with my hosts have a flair for it. I also have found out how quicky many authors can whip up a cocktail when we tell them during the 5-minute pre chat “If you want a cocktail, go for it.”

What unique talents do you have, outside of writing?

I am a professionally trained actor, though I have not been on stage in a play in many years. I am a professional ballroom dancer and choreographer. I also had a burlesque and cabaret troupe for many years. So, I am a great dancer, and an empathic, and caring dance teacher. I also love to do photography, specifically urban exploration, and architecture photography. Also, I am really good at teaching my dog useless tricks and being able to find the best pizza places even when I am in a different country. 

Jennifer takes us on a dark ride through her life, including word vomit, the elements of getting away with murder, and being haunted by it for the rest of our days, and tip toes through her extra-curricular activities such as her burlesque and cabaret troupe. Definitely worth checking out her work.