Interview With Author, Actor and Filmmaker Laura Lee Bahr

I met Laura when we did readings together. She instantly charmed me with her radiant smile and amazing talent.  We've since become good friends and she will have a story in Jessa Marie Mendez and my upcoming anthology Rough Magick.

FLB:Tell us about your novel, Haunt.

LLB: Haunt is a modern, fractured Los Angeles noir; much of it is told in second person, Choose-Your-Own Adventure style but one where you read straight through and see what the results of your seemingly inconsequential choices.  Your apartment is haunted, and the spirit of the woman who died of mysterious causes is trying to influence what you will do.   

FLB: I think you mentioned it was translatede into  Spanish?

LLB: Yes, it was recently translated and published in Spain (June 2015) under the title Fantasma, through Orciny Press. (orcinypress.com) The translation is wonderful, and I couldn't be more happy with how it turned out. Also, I was fortunate enough to get to travel there and do some book events.  I loved it so much it would be difficult for me to overstate.  Any excuse I can have to return...

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FLB: How would you describe your writing style? 

LLB:  I have been a voracious reader since I was very young and this has made my conscious mind a storm of words. Sometimes, before I can write anything fiction, I have to purge by just writing out all the words and ideas I have in a deluge. From there, I go and find what cool stuff is floating around that I can use. It has been this way as long as I can remember. So, I would say my style is making gardens out of the jungle of words and ideas.  

FLB: You’re an actor, screenwriter and director, as well as a novelist. Tell us about your work in those other areas. 

LLB: I love the creative process, and all of these feed different aspects of me.  Being an actor has been a life-long passion.  I love being able to breathe another character, and to explore how another person thinks and feels through a map of my own innards.  Being a director for me is about serving the vision of the project, and putting all the pieces together.  Screenwriting is creating a blue-print for a giant dream.  And writing a novel is handing over a polished piece of my brain and heart, and hope that when it someone reads it they catch feel the fire of my neurons and the beats of my heart that are captured in those words.  I love all these things for different reasons, and they all feed my soul. 

FLB: Who are some of your favorite authors and filmmakers?  

LLB: In terms of authors I honestly have so many favorites I need to categorize them. The moment I start to make a list, I shudder at all that is omitted. But I can say that without a doubt Kurt Vonnegut has probably influenced me as a writing the most. The summer after my freshman year of college, my best friend loaned me Slaughter-House Five.  I loved it so much, I binge-read everything I could get my hands on of Vonnegut, and then read them all again.  His heart, and humor gave me faith in fiction as an act of humanism. In terms of filmmakers, my new favorite is Roy Andersson. The Cinefamily (an amazing non-profit organization that screens wonderful and rare-find films, cinefamily.org) has been doing a retrospective of his work, showing things like his commercials and shorts. Andersson's newest movie, A Pigeon sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence has inspired me more than any movie I can recall in the last decade. 

FLB: What inspired the story for Rough Magick?

LLB: This moment when I was making love with someone with whom I was obsessed and caught my own eye in a mirror.   

FLB: How do you approach writing a short story?  

LLB:I have an image in mind and a feeling, and from there sculpt the words and story around that.  I love writing short stories; I feel about them the way I imagine a sculptor feels about a piece of rock.

FLB: I’m excited for your new book Long Form Religious Porn which I described as  "A funny, sexy, weird, scary book about vampire cults, murder, kinky sex, quack therapy and making movies in Los Angeles, all told with Laura Lee Bahr’s blend of pants-offing charm and wicked genius." When does it come out?

LLB: Long Form Religious Porn will be coming out this October through Fungasm Press as part of an entire launch of Fungasm titles, which I am thrilled about.   

FLB:  I noticed quite a few music references in LFRP. How does music influence your work and life? 

LLB: I live a very musical life.  There is a constant sense of music buzzing around me.  I hear it when I sleep, I hear it in the wild sounds of traffic and the drone of lights, and there is usually a rotating playlist in my head.  Music is a constant to me, and creates time, space, and atmosphere.  

FLB: What else are you working on now? 

LLB: I am collaborating on a couple of screenplays with one of my heroes and best friends, John Skipp and I have a couple of directing projects. Also, inspired by my visit to Spain, I have the goal to make a perfect Sangria and Tinto de Verano before the summer is over. My much neglected blog is where I usually post the results of my drink-making quests (aka The Donny Osmond) so check lauraleebahr.com for updates.  What does the term Rough Magick mean to you?  It immediately conjures up sex and sorcery to me.  It makes me think of haunted bordellos and giant posters of Carter the Great in secret turrets of the Magic Castle.  I love this anthology and am thrilled to be part of it.

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Laura bringing me roses and a delicious quinoa dish when I had my recent surgery. Beatific smile with a twinkle in the eye.

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