G'day Christina, and normally I would say welcome to the Couch of Chaos, but we are doing things a little bit differently today. I appreciate you joining me for a run whilst we do this interview. Yeah, you are joining me, so slow down Missy, bloody hell. I have to be able to talk. Anyway as I was saying ... up that hill? Really? Ok, but first, let me ask you...
From where do you hail? And what is your modus operandi with the blood soaked pen?
CB: I am based in Colorado in the United States.
CB: I actually dance all over the horror spectrum. I would say I linger longest in psychological horror because my style is grounded in the emotional/mental/internal experience of my characters. My works range from dark and disturbing tales of torture to post-apocalyptic to horror comedy about the perils of the online world to creature horror.
All of our characters have elements of ourselves woven into them. Which poor character is most like you?
CB: I am startlingly guilty here. The narrator in Savages is infused with elements of my personality and the ways I thought I might react to post-apocalyptic situations. Then I took my narcissism to the next level and actually wrote myself as a supporting character in The Rest Will Come. That story is based on real life and events, so it seemed fitting to place myself in it, but I shamelessly changed nothing about myself. I consoled myself about the self-indulgence with the fact that at least Ronnie is not the main character.
Imagine I am filthy successful agent (I did say imagine) we are stepping into an elevator. Hit me with your top three elevator pitches for three pieces of your work.
Savages: Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.
Followers: Sidney escapes from the disappointments of her life into the horror genre and conversations with online followers—until those virtual followers bring horror into her real life.
Coming in 2021 from Crystal Lake Publishing
.Now I can’t start writing until I have a coffee and digestive biscuits to hand. Do you have a ritual before you start writing, or is it spontaneous venture?
CB: In a fantasy world, writing is a priority and is done in solitude with heavy music and a glass of whiskey nearby. In reality, I have a day job and young family, and writing happens whenever it can happen. On a plane when on a business trip. On the couch while watching TV with my family. Into my phone while sitting outside a kid’s activity. Scribbled into a bedside notebook in the dark. I have adapted to write through many distractions. Editing, however, requires more focus because I hate it. When I finish a book, I have to book myself a hotel room to commit with no distractions for a weekend to get to a second draft.
Is there one thing you would have done differently or known earlier in your writing career?
CB: I wish I would have started submitting earlier. I always wrote. I started in elementary school and never stopped. I wish I would have started seeking out places for those pieces earlier. I also wish I would have befriended someone who wanted to do all my promotion and social media management for free.
Other than this ground breaking interview, what are you currently working on?
CB: I just finished the first draft of a new novel during NaNoWriMo in November. My next effort will be editing that piece and then finding it a home. It is a great divergence from my other works, so I’m curious to see where it lands.
We all know horror people are just the warmest, friendliest bunch of writers around. Why do you think this is?
CB: I think horror is real community. Whether online or in person, I have connected with people who are welcoming and helpful. Perhaps there is something about playing with fear that makes it easier for us to bond. Horror film festivals are one of my favorite places to meet people.
How do you determine success for yourself?
CB: I would love to be a best seller and make tons of money off my books. However, honestly, I really prefer that people read my books and enjoy them. I like to wallow in download, reading, or purchase counts (even if they’re on a free sale day) and positive reviews. Hearing that someone saw a stranger reading my book in public or seeing someone I don’t know post about a book of mine are some of the best things ever.
Other than WIHM which is an amazing month for female horror writers. How do you feel other women can best support each other in this genre.
CB: I remember when I started working in horror, I kept hearing how it is a man’s genre. I was told how I should use a pen name because people do not buy from a female author, how people think a woman does not write hard enough horror. These sorts of introductions to the genre can be so discouraging. I think mentoring is the best thing we can do for each other, imparting wisdom and things we have learned from our struggles and stumbles.
Where did you discover your love for all things that go bump in the night, or splat on the walls?
CB: For as long as I can remember, I was always drawn to the spooky. Halloween was my favorite holiday, not only for the candy and costumes but for the macabre. Then my love of horror started with the Goosebumps books franchise. I devoured them in a single sitting. Things just spiralled from there. Beyond books, I had a rather sheltered childhood, but my father showed me my first horror movie (Scream) when I was 16. There was no turning back after that.
Want to join Christine on a run, no? Well you can find her writing here