G'day Candace and welcome. I appreciate you dropping in on a Sunday. You won't regret it, I hope. I just finished reading your novel The Breach last night. Wow your imagination is CRAZY wild. In the best kind of way. That Soul Eater is my favourite beast of 2021. Yes, I know its early days but it looks to be a strong contender. OK, lets get this going so you can check on your Jack and Jill Flies.
From where do you hail? And what is your modus operandi with the blood soaked pen?
I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Been here all my life. Since I am just getting started in horror, for now my writing tends to follow the darkness in life. That which makes us uncomfortable, nightmares, trauma, irrational fears, the things that humans can do behind closed doors.
A mother isn’t meant to have favourites, but tell me, what is your favourite story that you have written? And why? Just so all those other stories know.
As a new author, I only have a couple of stories to choose from, but my current work in progress is becoming my favorite story. It is a story about a man called Hank Flynn and old Hank is quite a keeper of secrets. Very few people will have ever read a story that plays out like Hank Flynn and that pleases me a great deal.
If there was one thing you could change, improve about your writing or writing process, what would it be? More coffee and less cake are not acceptable answers.
LOL, more coffee cake? I always look to improve, on all levels. I would like my writing to become more eloquent perhaps, something a bit more prose-like. I love to read beautiful sentences but not all horror brings out the ability to interweave beauty into its telling. There are a few people that have become rather adept at that ability and I would very much like to get to that level of beauty hidden within the pain.
All of our characters have elements of ourselves woven into them. Which poor character is most like you?
My first novel, “Breach”, tells the story of a young woman named Laraya, plagued by nightmares. During the course of her story, she finds the power, and courage within herself to face those fears, and to face her past. By the time, her story ends, she finds that she has grown into a fierce, capable young woman ready to face the world and all it brings, in spite of her fears. I believe that Laraya is very much like me, many of her traits reflect my own and her courage and independence are things that I am currently after in my own life. I have had to face my own fears and my own past trauma several times and have emerged better for it.
Imagine I am filthy successful agent (I did say imagine) we are stepping into an elevator. Hit me with your top elevator pitches for pieces of your work.
“Breach” and the sequel “Beyond the Breach” follow the story of a young woman named Laraya, that has been plagued by nightmares most of her life. During a camping trip with her closest friends, one of those nightmares comes to life and slaughters her friends. As Laraya flees the scene, she stumbles through a breach between our reality and one ripped from her nightmares. Consumed by grief and fear, she must discover where she is and why; all while surviving long enough to get home. All of this happens in this strange world, while she is being stalked, and hunted by the very same monsters that made up her childhood nightmares.
What is the greatest challenge to women succeeding in horror?
Just being seen and heard as equal talent, being able to write and share horror that doesn’t rely on the pretty half-naked girl being victimized or the usual tropes that we all know and love. Women are writing more horror than ever before and its truly awesome and evil stuff. We are writing about the deeply disturbed, the depraved and the sick. Both the ghouls and the ghosts, the haunted and the horrific, female writers are more than capable of writing about fear, about pain, anguish and despair. Many females have seen or been a victim of many truly horrifying ordeals, to be able to take that and write about it, to make another person feel our fear, and our terror, to make them cringe is a rare ability and females are doing it well.
You have a choice of five people to invite to dinner. Any five in life or beyond? Ok, make that four because it is a given you will invite yours truly. Four friends plus me to your dinner party. Who are they?
This is a fun question. So you, of course, Edgar Allen Poe because he inspired me the most from a very young age. Emily Dickinson because her poetry influenced my own, also at a very young age. Phyllis Wheatley, another poet, also was a slave, became very well known for her education and her ability to write beautiful poetry from a very young age in the most traumatic of circumstances.
And my best friend, who passed away a few years ago. Vaughan Thomas, who was like a brother to me and my biggest champion. He always encouraged my writing and sadly passed away from ALS before I published my first novel, before I finally decided to pursue my dreams. He would be incredibly proud of me and I would give anything to hear his laugh again. He had the best laugh around.
How do you determine success for yourself?
For me, when Stephen King gives me a shout out for a story that I have
written! That would be my ideal dream come true moment.
All joking aside, I would say that having done it, having published just one novel is successful in and of itself. I can say that I did it. Going on to publish more, selling more, all of that is just a bonus.
If we are speaking of fame or fortune by way of success, I guess I don’t really wish for much fame, I’m far too shy for that. Selling enough books each month to stay home and write full-time would be a great measure of success for me. I don’t mean enough to be rich on, but enough to just pay the bills, I would still consider that successful. Seriously, selling 50 books a month would be more than enough to make me happy.
What inspires you? No, don’t look at me.
Courage. Even the smallest scrap of courage that the most fearful person finds in their heart to face the world every day. That kind of courage, when you get out of bed in the face of crippling pain and depression. The courage to stand tall when all you want to do is crumble. The courage to pick yourself up, every time you fall. The courage to keep going when every fiber of your being tells you, screams at you, to stop, to just give up.
Tell us, why should we read your work? Don’t say because it is better than mine.
Because I found the courage to write it. Because maybe it will help you find yours. Because at the heart of each story, I promise you courage. I promise you hope, I promise you that you will come out on top, better, braver and a bit stronger than before. Because we must all face our fears, and there is no better place to learn how, than in the pages of a book.