G'day Christina and welcome to the Couch of Chaos. You see I saved the best till last. Yes, I know we are in March now. But, March is the new February when it comes too #WiHM so really you're not the last, but you are the first. Kind of poetic really. No ? It's not? OK, drink your coffee then. These last 28 days have been an interesting journey, getting to meet and know a little bit more about the women in this sisterhood of horror. But anyway, today is your day. So let's get to talking.
From where do you hail? And what is your modus operandi with the blood soaked pen?
I hail from Singapore. I write mythological, psychological, science fiction, fairy tale, and reality horror.
A mother isn’t meant to have favourites, but tell me, what is your favourite poem that you have written? And why? Just so all those other stories know.
It would be “Forest Mother” because it is an empowering call to action that is much needed these days. I do love the rest too. :)
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.
More coffee for sure (and less cake)! :D I’d love to have the time, clarity, and focus to work on fiction craft and my novel. My characters are all out there doing their own thing like newly minted teenagers, although a couple of them have appeared in my poetry and fiction, involuntarily.
All of our characters have elements of ourselves woven into them. Which poor character is most like you?
Most of my protagonists have some aspect of me in them. The girl who loves animals, the girl who wants justice, the girl who no longer wants to be helpless, the girl who overcomes. The girl.*
In my short story The Gift of Death, there’s an element of myself in both Saffron and Elia, how they are both survivors and how they both seek justice in an unfair world. The teenage Kate in my novelette Fury resembles me a lot at 18, always on a mission and always placing family first.
In “The Love Song of Allegra”, an epic poem in my latest book of poetry A Collection of Dreamscapes, the warrior Mephala shares the same quest for justice and peace as the teenager Margritte, despite one being righteous and the other, wild and wilful.
If you contrast all their characters, they’re worlds apart but they have common threads tying them together. That thread is me. Okay, if I have to choose, it would be Saffron. :D
*Yes, I quote Cat Grant in Supergirl.
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.
You will make fantastic award-winning blockbuster movies and successful syndicated TV series from my poems. They are story ideas in capsules. Have a look and give me a call. *passes you my books and my card*
What is the greatest challenge to women succeeding in horror?
I believe it is time and support. Women are usually saddled with childcare, eldercare, spousal care, paid work, and housework. The only time to write is when everyone is asleep and to do that, the price is sleep. One can only live on 4 hours sleep a night for so long, unless one is Margaret Thatcher.
I read about Harper Lee, about how she had a patron who sponsored her living costs for a year just so she could write. During that year, she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. Time and support really help as every woman I know has a story to tell.
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?
My dead grandmother, my revived father, my grandmother’s dead dog, my dead aunt, and you in her old pre-demolished house. We’d dine on Teochew porridge and salted fish along with a pot of hot Chinese tea in small teacups the way we did when I was a child and talk about my grandmother’s life during the war. Those are true horror stories.
How do you determine success for yourself?
A feeling I have made it. And this feeling is in constant flux so every day feels different.
What inspires you?
Nature. Peace. The goodness of people. I wish I could say evil inspires me since I write horror, but I write horror as a reaction, as a response to evil. You’ll notice in my work, the protagonist usually wins, which often isn’t the case in real life.
In that vein, hope inspires me. I carry that hope and convey it in my writing so that even if readers are broken and destroyed, in my poems and stories, they win, they triumph. They live to fight another day.
Tell us, why should we read your work? Don’t say because it is better than mine.
You should read my work because interwoven between the verses are stories you’ll only discover when you read the books in their entirety.
I love symbology and wrapping layers of meaning and truth between completed pieces. I love puzzle boxes and enigmas. I love hidden mysteries in each word, in each line, in each poem. Each piece of the puzzle is chosen for a reason, and for puzzle lovers, such delight we feel when we uncover it in its entirety.
Seeking meaning seems to be a human affliction. Animals appear to be unburdened by it. Yet, I feel it gives us the sensation that our existence possesses great depth, that what we do means something. How much more then, a parchment that documents it.
Christina Sng is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of A Collection of Nightmares, Elgin Award runner-up Astropoetry, and Bram Stoker Award nominees A Collection of Dreamscapes and Final Girl: A Life in Horror. Her first novelette Fury appears in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women and her next book of poems The Gravity of Existence is forthcoming in 2022. Christina lives in Singapore with her children and a menagerie of curious pets.
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