Saturday, 28 February 2015

Women in Horror: LORI R. LOPEZ

The Ambassador of Alliteration, The Queen of Quips, and the Princess of Prose, Lori has a crazy, unique style I adore. She is whacky, brilliant, imaginative, fun and has the most unique style of writing horror I have come across.


1. When did you start writing horror?

I have no doubt I was writing it from a very early age.  I loved it in every form, every medium, since I was quite young.  I do recall winning an award for a werewolf play in Seventh Grade.  It was called TERROR IN THE WOODS.  At fifteen I began a horror novel that was never finished.  I did write another tale a year or so later about the end of the world and finished that.  It didn’t end well for any of the characters.  I had written a number of stories and plays prior to that point, along with poetry, in various genres.  None of my early writing survived, but I did memorize the first line of that first novel attempt:  “It was the total dark of the universe.”  Its setting was very grim, very dark, a reflection of a tainted childhood.  My parents and I moved to Florida for my last two years of High School, and an English teacher was so impressed with my level of skills that he let me sit in the corner and just write all year.  I don’t know what I was struggling to write then, but I’m certain it was horror-themed.  I didn’t even have to show him what I wrote.  He just wanted me to have that freedom.  I will never forget it.  Other teachers in Wisconsin had encouraged my writing, including one who wasn’t my teacher at the time yet would read my stories, and a librarian.  The Florida English teacher, Mister Brown, also advised me to read Maya Angelou’s book I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, which amazed me as well.  It blew my mind and touched my heart almost as much as Mary Shelley’s masterpiece did in Fifth Grade.

2. Have you written in any other genre?

I write in many genres.  Horror will always be the favorite, my main one, but I like going in different directions.  Just as I always weave other genres into my horror tales, I also weave horror into my works for other genres.  I don’t really feel that I ever write in one genre alone.  My horror often contains some humor, suspense, fantasy, supernatural, thrills, and so on.  I am told I write prose poetically, and some of my poetry like prose, so I don’t even keep those two straight.  Being an artist, I guess I like to blend genres like paint.

3. What makes you uncomfortable?

Foul language is one.  Senseless and extreme content in books and films; material that is too explicit.  I don’t feel it’s necessary to convey a good story.  Cruelty makes me uncomfortable, especially toward animals and children.  Crudeness and cruelty, there you are.  And crud.  I’m kind of a germaphobe.  The three Cs.

4. Does your family read your work?

Some of it.  My sons were reading it, but they’ve been too busy lately, and they aren’t really horror fans.  So they’ve read most of my fantasy, stuff like that.  I have a handful of other relatives who have read a little.

5. Does your writing make you uneasy?

Now and then.  I never like to play it safe.  I take risks and experiment with characters, plot, themes, you name it.  Occasionally I tread beyond my comfort zone when a story demands it.  And then I will worry, how is it going to be taken by fans, by anyone?  I have to trust myself, my judgement and conscience.

6. Who would you say you write like?

I would be happy to write like Mary Shelley, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Shakespeare, Victor Hugo.  I haven’t read more than excerpts of Neil Gaiman’s yet, but I am already a big fan.

I’m not trying to write like any of them, however.  I’m just trying to write like me.  I think I do that pretty well, although I’m still working on it.

7. Who are your favourite authors?

I named most of them in the previous answer.  There are more, and I’m adding new ones, authors I have met, online and off.  There are many I still need to find time to read, and then those might be on the list.  It continues to expand, you see.  I never remove any.  I’m a loyal fan.  I just wish I had more time to read these days.  I’ve been so busy writing, doing my artwork and editing, publishing and submitting.  I have so many projects to wrap up, and days are much too short.

8. Who influences you as a writer?

My main influences have been Doctor Seuss and Mother Goose, Lewis Carroll and Mary Shelley, Shakespeare, Bram Stoker and Mark Twain.  Not to mention the illustrious Ray Bradbury; Stephen King, Victor Hugo and Poe.  The Brothers Grimm.  Their works really stayed with me, along with various others.

9. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?

My first favorite book was WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak.  It had monsters in it.  Before I could read, I kept getting it from the Public Library.  When I learned to read, I continued to check it out repeatedly.  I remember, too, in First Grade a teacher reading Washington Irving’s THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW.  I was enthralled.  Some of the Grimm’s fairytales were pretty dark.  Genuine “Horror”?  I read FRANKENSTEIN in Fifth Grade and wept.  It was breathtaking.  Of course, it is also considered Science Fiction.  After that I read DRACULA by Bram Stoker.  These are all very special books to me.  I started reading a mystery series, ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE THREE INVESTIGATORS, around Fourth and Fifth Grade.  The books contained a generous amount of horror elements.  I consumed them eagerly, like candy.  The boys went on creepy adventures, a lot like the SCOOBY-DOO cartoon series.  I was a fan of that too.

10. How old were you?

I was about four years old when I encountered the WILD THINGS book.  Around six when I listened raptly to SLEEPY HOLLOW.  I met FRANKENSTEIN on the page at age ten, I believe, but I had fallen in love with Victor Frankenstein’s Monster on the screen when I was about five or six.  And there were wonderful shows on then, THE ADDAMS FAMILY and THE MUNSTERS.  Family shows, albeit peculiar families.  What a time to grow up!

11. Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?

I do have limits, yet I don’t feel my work is lessened by it.  My subjects are fairly broad in range, but I will not cross certain lines, as edgy and intense as I may go.  My fanbase can actually have a pretty wide span of interests, since I do write in multiple genres, with so much diversity of topics and themes.

12. What was the best advice you were given as a writer?

I think the best and worst advice is to write what you know.  While I do feel strongly that writers should incorporate bits of their lives, their experiences, into their work . . . it is just as important to be creative and make things up; also to not be limited by your range of knowledge and expertise.  Research!  Explore!  Even if you’re slightly fuzzy in the details, most readers will not be aware of it.  I strive for accuracy, yet atmosphere and effect can be just as vital.  I bend rules when necessary for my style.  Now and then it may be needed for the setting or another element.  And I do like to exercise my imagination, a lot.  I wish the rest of me could exercise more!

13. If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?

I’ve been writing close to five decades.  I would probably try much harder much sooner to make time for it, for sending things out and to finish more of the projects I started.  I was so busy with being a mother, homeschooling my sons, encouraging them creatively and otherwise.  I don’t think I could have done a lot more, but I do feel so behind schedule, like I need to catch up.  I finally carved out a tiny office for writing in Ninety-Eight.  I was always creative, between songwriting and painting, penning fiction and nonfiction.  I published some illustrated editorial columns in small San Diego newspapers in the Nineties.  I had been a journalist in the Navy for several years right after High School.  I just didn’t get enough projects done years ago, and I wish I had.

14. How many books do you read a year?

I read (past tense) voraciously, nonstop, since I was a kid.  I’ve had to slow down on reading over the past few years because I’m so busy writing and doing artwork.  Less than two years ago we started going to events, book fairs and conventions.  We haven’t marketed that much and still need to do a lot more of that.  I am not a fast writer.  I do my own editing and covers and illustrations.  It takes time.  I work seven days a week, mostly, and spend very long hours at my desk without making a living at it.  With very little earnings at this point.  I am driven.  I have to be.  There are sacrifices, and right now reading books has been one of them.  I manage to read a short story now and then, or poems.  Networking, keeping up online bites a chunk out of the day.  I feel I read a lot, ha ha.  But that isn’t books either.  I love movies and try to watch a film or a show before bed to wind down.  I might play cards or Scrabble to relax on occasion.  My brain is too fatigued after hours of writing to read for more than a few minutes without dozing.  Or else I can’t focus because I have too much on my mind.

I do miss books.  I enjoy reading my own while editing them, but I tend to know what’s going to happen.

15. Do you write every day?

Yes, whether it’s fiction or poetry or nonfiction.  Or even in my head, I’ll be working on the current project.  Writing never stops.  It is always with me.  I don’t drive, so I write in the car when my sons and I go somewhere.  I can’t remember when I last took a break from writing.  It’s second nature to me, maybe first nature.  It’s part of me, and right now I don’t do much else besides art.









Amazon Author Page:

http://amazon.com/author/lorirlopez 

Twitter:

https://www.twitter.com/LoriRLopez

Linked In:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/lorirlopez

Facebook Author Page:

http://www.facebook.com/lorirlopez.author

Facebook Profile:

http://www.facebook.com/lorilopez

Website:

http://www.fairyflyentertainment.com

Poetry Column:

http://fairyflyentertainment.com/category/category/poetic-reflections



ODDS AND ENDS:  A DARK COLLECTION

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RLYNC76

(Illustrated Print Edition) http://www.amazon.com/Odds-Ends-Collection-Lori-Lopez/dp/1505885108

POETIC REFLECTIONS:  THE QUEEN OF HATS

http://www.amazon.com/Poetic-Reflections-Lori-R-Lopez-ebook/dp/B00N7CS0ZA

(Illustrated Print Edition) http://www.amazon.com/Poetic-Reflections-Queen-Hats-2/dp/150236476X

SAMHAIN

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MRNRVEG

BEAUTY

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MWNSS34

SPOOKED

http://www.amazon.com/Spooked-Lori-R-Lopez-ebook/dp/B00HXC5148

SPIDER SOUP (Free)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZROEZQ


Some recent anthologies I'm in:

TERROR TRAIN

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KYWRWS2

DEAD HARVEST

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Harvest-Collection-Dark-Tales/dp/0692323384

JOURNALS OF HORROR:  FOUND FICTION

http://www.amazon.com/Journals-Horror-Fiction-Todd-Keisling-ebook/dp/B00MTB67GY



Women in Horror: KATE JONEZ

The incomparable Kate Jonez. I first met Kate when she accepted RED for DEATH TO THE BROTHERS GRIMM by Omnium Gathurum. This was my first stab at the Horror market in the USA. Previous to this I had only been published in Canada. Anyone who writes horror, knows the market is small... very, very small. And to break into the US is near impossible.

Kate was harsh, ripped the story to shreds. I was upset, not so much by the critique, but by some of the comments. BUT, Kate was right. I went and took some grammar and editing courses (thanks Kate) and it has cleaned up my writing considerably. Gerunds....frickin hate them. Regardless, Kate taught me something important. No matter how good you think you are, you always have something to learn when it comes to writing. 

I will never forget this moment for two reasons: Broke into the US, and the experience with Kate. Brings a tear to me eye.....



When did you start writing horror? 

I started writing fiction in 1995 or so. Before that I was a visual artist. When I moved from Rochester NY to LA I left painting behind. I wanted to tell more of the story than painting would allow. Except for a few attempts at non-fiction everything I’ve written has some element of horror.

Have you written in any other genre? 

I’ve used other words to describe my writing. Thriller, dark fantasy or urban fantasy comes to mind, but these are just code words for horror. The word “horror” has some tarnish on it from the glut of mediocre books published at the end of the 80s horror boom and the idea in the general reader’s mind that horror equals gore. The situation has improved in the last few years as horror has become more diverse. I suspect we’re on the verge of a new golden age of horror.

What makes you uncomfortable? 

I think it would probably be easier to answer what doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I hate ladders and stairs and hugging and waiting my turn, and just plain waiting, and trains, the desert, the dark, driving, parking, the way people in crowds move just like rats escaping a sewer, hair in drains, crows, hats on beds… I could go on but you get the idea. 

Does your family read your work? 

My husband is always my first reader. He is great at finding plot holes and logical inconsistencies. Other family members can read the stories when they’re finished, but I don’t want to know about it. 

Does your writing make you uneasy? 

Not everything I write makes me uneasy, but the best parts do. Whenever I feel like I’ve put something too personal into the story I know I’ve onto something good.

Who would you say you write like? 

I think I’ve been writing long enough that my influences don’t show as much as they once did. My early writing was influenced by Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love and Truck. And to some extent by Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn/Cancer. 

Who are your favourite authors? 

This could be a really long list so to narrow it down I’ll just mention a few favorites recently. I love Swamplandia and the short story collection Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. Russell is truly masterful at crafting place and character. The First Bad Man by Miranda July is a stunning book with characters unlike any I’ve ever encountered in fiction. Fatal Journeys a collection by Lucy Taylor. The horror in these stories is made so much scarier by the author’s ability to transport the reader to foreign settings so well described they feel familiar, Malediction by Lisa Morton, has wonderfully vivid details about historical Los Angeles in this tense thriller. Mr. Wicker by Maria Alexander delves into a fascinating and original mythology. I recommend them all.

Who influences you as a writer?

 Lately I’m finding that my work as an editor has changed the way I write. Working with talented authors as I do at Omnium Gatherum, I get an inside perspective on why and how others craft stories. 

Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read? 

When I was 12 or so I borrowed my mother’s copy of The Exorcist and read it under the covers with a flashlight. That was the scariest book I’ve ever read. I was absolutely sure the bed was lifting up off the floor.

How old were you?

12

Is there any subject you will not touch as an author? 

Everything is potential subject matter for stories. I do try to avoid clich├ęs. These tend to be the first idea a writer comes up with, especially when writing quickly. When I’m writing, I’ll solve a plot problem or give a character an attribute then I’ll flip it around and ask what if the opposite happens? Sometimes that’s interesting. Sometimes it’s not. When it’s not, I’ll make a list of options. This almost always adds a unique twist to plot or character.

What was the best advice you were given as a writer?

I seem to always be the one giving advice for some reason. 

If you had to start all over again, what would you do different? 

If I had to start over I’d be a scientist. I want to be in the room when computers gain sentience. 

How many books do you read a year? 

Last year I pledged to read 2 a week and failed. I managed to read 77. This year my goal is one a week. This is still challenging, but it is absolutely crucial to keep up with what’s going on in publishing. I have mixed feelings when I hear writers say they don’t have time to read. On one hand this is sad because they are setting themselves up to fail, like a doctor who doesn’t know all the latest procedures. On other hand they are setting themselves up to fail and that means more readers for me.

Do you write every day? 

My new year’s resolution this year was to devote one week a month to writing. It’s early, but so far I really love this idea. I also try to devote several hours a week to writing during the non-writing weeks.







Twitter: @k8jonez

Blog: http://katejonez.com

Friday, 27 February 2015

Women in Horror: MERCEDES MURDOCK YARDLEY

Hi. I'm Mercedes. I have two broken laptops, three kids, a husband and no time to write, although I try my very best. I like to write stories. I like to write poems. I like to write essays and sometimes they're funny, sometimes they aren't. 

I know how to throw a tomahawk and I wear red corduroys because they make me happy. That's also why I write: I like being happy.
  1. When did you start writing horror?

MMY:  It took quite a while to realize I was a horror writer. I never thought I could write in this genre. I had a mental block about it, because I didn’t truly understand what horror was. I mistakenly thought it was blood and gore, when really it’s about pushing boundaries and making the reader feel. So I have always been writing horror, but only felt enlightened enough to call it horror within the past five years or so.


  1. Have you written in any other genre?

MMY: I also write magical realism and nonfiction. Most of my work tends to be slanted toward the beautiful and melancholy. There’s darkness in almost all of it, but that’s how I see life. It’s scary and tragic and absolutely wonderful. Writing about the things that hurt us is a natural process for me.

  1. What makes you uncomfortable?

MMY: Things that hit too close to home. Things that could really happen. I’m more terrified reading some psychological fiction about the sick twist next door than I am reading about ghosts. Graphic rape definitely makes me uncomfortable. I don’t need to read that part. “S/he was victimized” is enough for me. I don’t need all of the horrible details. Much of this comes from working in a sex offender home for a while and being forced to read the client’s files. I can never erase certain things from my mind, no matter how I try.

  1. Does your family read your work?

MMY: My father reads pretty much everything I write, and I love that about him. He even gives my books and magazines to his buddies at work. My mother, not so much.  My husband listens when I read to him on long car drives when he’s a captive audience. But not of his own choice, no. 

To read me is to love me, and my family obviously doesn’t love me. ;) 

Ha, I’m kidding. But they are a sensitive, light lot and I’m so lucky to have them. It’s a joy to be surrounded by such positive people.



  1. Does your writing make you uneasy?

MMY: My writing occasionally does make me uneasy, yes! Sometimes I’ll delve into something exceptionally dark. My latest novella, called Little Dead Red, goes into some pretty frightening, realistic areas, and it was difficult to write. But there’s power in that, in facing something that makes you squirm a little. It forces you to push through some of the things you usually gloss over and come out the other side with something real and raw. It’s opening a bloody wound and examining it. Uncomfortable, yes, but also honest.

  1. Who would you say you write like?

MMY: I would say that I write very much like myself. But I’ve been compared to Neil Gaiman, Aimee Bender, Roald Dahl, Joe Hill, and Clive Barker. If that isn’t a delightfully eclectic list, I don’t know what is. I’ll take these comparisons gladly.

  1. Who are your favourite authors?

MMY: I love everything I’ve ever read by Kirsty Logan. She has such a lovely style. I adore Aimee Bender and her magical realism. Todd Keisling has some strong work out, and I like what I’ve read from Joe Hill. Lee Thompson is always a favorite. I haven’t been disappointed by that man yet, and his literary output is phenomenal. 


  1. Who influences you as a writer?

MMY: I think I tend to be inspired more than influenced. I’ll see that somebody has put out a new book and I think, “Wow! They really put their nose to the grindstone. I need to do that.” My literary voice is my voice and it isn’t really based on anybody else. I finally got out of my own way and allowed myself to write like Mercedes, instead of thinking that I had to try and write like Somebody Important.



9. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?


MMY: The one that I really remember was Stephen King’s IT. Dad had borrowed it from the library. It was in a big basket next to the chair in the living room. I’d sneak out at night and read it, and it was terrifying. It really left a big impression on me. I was absolutely terrified to walk to school and pass the storm drain. I’m sure there were others first, but that’s the one that basically traumatized me.

  1. How old were you? 

MMY: I’d say I was about eight years old or so. Old enough to understand the situations mentioned and young enough to have an astronomically wild imagination. 


11.  Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?

MMY:  I’ll explore any subject that I deem necessary for the work, but I’ve chosen not to go into great detail concerning some. You won’t see that graphic rape scene from me that we discussed earlier. I try to treat tender subjects with respect. Although this is a work of fiction, somebody out there lived through some of the experiences that I’m discussing. I want to handle it as delicately as I can for them.

12.  What was the best advice you were given as a writer?

MMY: There were two wonderful pieces of advice that have impacted my life. The first was by Mort Castle, who is an exceptionally wise and kind man. He told me to release myself from the clock, that writing will always be there and the window of opportunity doesn’t close forever. I was in tears when he told me that. I felt I had to dedicate every spare resource to writing and I was falling miserably behind. Writing is part of life, not life itself. Real life will pass us by.

The other piece of advice came from fellow writer Ray Veen. He told me to celebrate every victory. Instead of getting a partial request and then hoping for a full request, just celebrate that partial. Savor it. This advice has made the process so much more enjoyrable.


13If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?

MMY: I don’t know that I would do anything different. This path has been uniquely mine. Perhaps I would have felt more confident in myself and sent manuscripts out a bit earlier, but I don’t know if I was ready for it. I was dealing with a very sick child and lived out of a Go-Bag in the ER. I’m learning something new every single day.  Right now I’m learning more about the business aspect of writing instead of focusing solely on craft. I’m taking the right meandering pace for me.

14How many books do you read a year?

MMY: I shoot for 52 books, which is a book a week. I usually make it or come close, but I still feel guilty. I wish I could read all day every day! I find that I choose mostly nonfiction books, and they take a bit longer to go through. This doesn’t count the short stories and the manuscripts from friends that I read. So 52 is my goal, and someday I hope to do more.

15.  Do you write every day?

MMY: I’m definitely working every day, that’s for sure. I might not be putting new words down, but I’m creating or marketing or doing something to move forward. In a perfect world, I would write every day! Perhaps when the kids are older and aren’t all sitting on my lap at the same time. 






Website: A Broken Laptop

http://abrokenlaptop.com/

Amazon Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/Mercedes-M.-Yardley/e/B006B9MFA2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1425068847&sr=8-2-ent

Twitter
@mercedesmy

Facebook Personal Page
https://www.facebook.com/mercedes.murdockyardley
Facebook Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mercedes-M-Yardley/259448987862

Women in Horror: LILY CHILDS

Lily Childs is a writer of dark fiction, horror and chilling mysteries.

*New! WITHIN WET WALLS, is a short, gothic ghost story which undulates through time within the wet walls of Wealdstone House. Slip into Eliza Lundy's Victorian sub-existence of servitude and debauchery, laced with opium and absinthe. Taste the terror. Embrace life... while you can.

Eliza's wandering spirit will take you by the hand, by the throat, by the lips. Enter her darkness to discover the beautiful horrors that reside there. She's waiting. She's always waiting. For you. Out in chapbook and ebook formats. (30 pages)


Lily Childs
Thank you for inviting me to take part in the Women Writers in Horror Month interviews. It’s an honour to be amongst such stellar dark voices.

1. When did you start writing horror?
I think there’s always been an element of horror to my writing even from my school days (a very long time ago). I was fascinated by ghosts, psychic phenomena and anything supernatural from a very young age. I discovered tarot and the occult as a teenager which affected my outlook (and output, I guess) on everything. I loved the thrill of the unknown, the tease of terror. I recall an English Lit./Lang school report that praised my grammar and writing style but was concerned about the perpetual dark subject matter of any fiction project I worked on. It was the same with artwork.
I’ve dabbled with fiction throughout my life. But writing horror seriously? Around 2004 I reached that stage where ideas, concepts and opening lines – you know them; the entities that have lives and voices of their own – wouldn’t leave me alone. The number of notebooks and laptop folders I was filling grew rapidly, then in late 2008 I finally made the decision to start submitting work. I was first published in 2009.

2. Have you written in any other genre?
Crime and psychological thrillers – which aren’t too far removed from horror where human behaviour is concerned. I rather enjoy the crossover, even though some publishers and bookshops struggle with cross-genre because such works don’t fit easily on their limited category shelves.
I won a comp in one of the big UK Sunday magazine’s in 2009 with a ‘love story’, Summer Breeze – set in the mod revival days of the late 70s/early 80s. But of course it was a bitter sweet tragedy. I’ve since written a follow-up, Girl Don’t Come, which is a far more sinister crime thriller.
I have written several stories for children but never sent them out. Maybe one day, under a different name.

3. What makes you uncomfortable?
What a wide-reaching question! Speaking in public, particularly to a room full of suits has me gibbering, shaking and dwelling on my inadequacies forever after the event. I also hate confrontation of any kind in real life, although I’m quite happy to stick it into fiction. Oh, and hen nights (bachelorette parties) full of screeching women. The very thought makes me want to curl up and die of embarrassment.
If we’re talking horror, then it’s zombies. It’s not because they eat your brains and are relentless, or how they still manage to catch you even when they’re shuffling in that slow stagger of theirs. No, what completely unnerves me about them is that there’s nothing behind their eyes. No emotion. They’re in a place you simply can’t reach – like heroin addicts, but with no hope of ever turning back. That said, I’m still a massive Walking Dead fan.

4. Does your family read your work?
Some of my immediate family do, and they’re very supportive even if the content is a bit much for their tastes. More distant cousins have surprised me by letting me know they have bought and read my stories and books; I find that really touching. My husband reads as much as he can; he’s an esoteric artist and we’re hoping he can illustrate some tales I’m working on in the next 18 months or so. My daughter is only eleven; I’ve never actively shown her my words but she knows where all the books are and tells me how proud she is that I’m a writer (such a sweetums). She’s as excited as I am when there’s a new launch or I get a good review.

5. Does your writing make you uneasy?
Nope! Mostly it exhilarates me, the darker the better.  I do have some (human) characters whose heads I can only stay inside for short periods of time. I’m working on two characters in a novel at the moment that fill me with dread and disgust; they fascinate me with their attitudes and behaviour but I can only sip at them, rather than drink them down in one go. 
Demons are a different matter; poor darlings, they’re so misunderstood.

6. Who would you say you write like?
I’m not sure I can answer that. I’ve been told I write like Clive Barker, Le Fanu, M.R. James and even “the impossible lovechild of Barker/Poppy Z. Brite”! I don’t try to emulate anyone’s style – it just comes as it comes.

7. Who are your favourite authors?
Top three: Joanne Harris, Clive Barker, Sarah Waters
Current faves: Gary McMahon, Adam Neville, Angela Slatter, Mark West, James Everington and Luca Veste.
To watch (because I love their writing and the world needs to): Anthony Cowin, Phil Sloman, Magenta Nero and Erin Cole.

8. Who influences you as a writer?
The collective effort of many genre authors, rather than one individual influences me to write and keep writing. Most are hard-working and committed, often offering support to fellow writers by way of beta-reading, guidance, encouragement and promotion. I hope I do the same in return.
But as for influence by way of inspiration, I’d refer back to my short list of favourite authors; these are writers that truly evoke awe and wonder with their words. They make me shout out loud at their expression of beauty, the delivery of twists and their way of needling into your senses, your very core. What can be more inspiring than wanting to move readers in the same way?
And the Women Writers in Horror, of course. Badass.

9. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?
I think it was Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, followed by Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby. But I was also reading Grimm, Perrault and other fairy tales in their original form; now that’s what I call horror.

10. How old were you?
For the Bradbury and Levin novels, eleven or so. They were on my mother’s bookshelf at home; I picked them up – and everything changed.

11. Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?
Sexual abuse of a child (I really, really struggled to even write that.)  I can manage to refer to how characters have been affected by abuse but the acts themselves – no, no, no.
War; I’m a pacifist. I don’t like it. I don’t agree with it. Politics, power, religion, oil, territory, ignorance – a human sickness. That’s not to say I’m not supportive of those that defend their countries. I’m just never going to write about it.

12. What was the best advice you were given as a writer?
Can I have three?
Write for yourself. 
Don’t worry about style or editing as you write – just let it pour onto the page and edit/review afterwards. Then edit again. And again.
Never submit anything that isn’t the best you can possibly make it.

13. If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?
If I could go back in time I’d start writing seriously from a much younger age – probably my 20s, taking the confidence and lessons I’ve learned with me. I’m 50 now – that’s a long journey, but hey – I’m no sci-fi writer; the whole time-machine concept scrambles my brains!

14. How many books do you read a year?
Not nearly enough. Probably no more than two dozen. These will be mostly horror – novels and anthologies – but British crime too, maybe one Katie Fford romance (yup!) and a pile of research books.
I’m currently reading Kim Newman’s ‘An English Ghost Story’, which the author signed for me at a mass signing organised by the mighty horror editor Stephen Jones at London’s Forbidden Planet last year. The novel is a true masterpiece in storytelling, a sparkling tale that grows slowly darker with each page, dragging you in with insidious suggestion of what is to come until everything twists and warps and you wonder whose reality you’re really a part of.

15. Do you write every day?
I try to. I do a lot of writing and editing in my day job in digital content management so I sometimes get a bit tired of typing and staring at a screen all day, but of course writing fiction is a completely different matter, not to mention the perfect escape from churning out dry corporate copy. 
I’m more of a morning writer these days and can get anything from a few sentences to a thousand words done before the school-run or starting work. I mostly write on Saturday and Sunday
mornings from about 8am into early afternoon – most unsociable; I’m sure my family would agree.





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