G'day and welcome to the Couch of Chaos.
Yes, I know it is on fire. But I've seen some of the titles of your books and you are hotter than any flame. I wouldn't eat that! It's not chocolate.....Yes, I realise it's on a plate, but eww seriously. OK, are you ready? Oh, you can't quite get comfortable? That's ok, I am. Let's go.
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?
CM: I work the overnight shift in a residential psychiatric facility, and do most of my writing and writing-related stuff during the downtime (even now, as I reply to these questions, it’s just after midnight and I’m at work right now). On the plus side, it’s kind of double-dipping; being on the company clock, I’m getting paid either way. On the other, I can’t always count on there being downtime; some shifts are quiet and others are nonstop activity from the moment I arrive. So it’s all subject to variables beyond my control, and I pretty much just have to adapt.
Self care is important these days, and women tend to leave ourselves to last everytime. How do you care for yourself.
CM: Uh ... naps, chocolate, and really bad movies, mostly. I used to have a monthly massage membership, but that went by the wayside a few years ago due to medical and financial issues. Now that those have improved, maybe once the current pandemic situation gets sorted out I can resume my visits.
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 and why?
CM: Provided language will not be a barrier, the original author of Beowulf (who would hopefully bring the entire complete manuscript!), King Alfred of Wessex, JRR Tolkien, and my academic fangirl crush Professor Michael D.C. Drout to lead the discussion. Okay, I admit, that’s more a week-long panel or conference than a proper dinner party, but, we can have eats and drinks during.
How do you determine success for yourself?
CM: I am still trying to figure that out. Imposter syndrome, I got it bad ... the further I get, the more it keeps pushing the imaginary goal of ‘success’ ahead into the distance ... is it pro-rate pay for a story? A book deal? Awards? I’ve reached each of those (to my ongoing shock and disbelief), but at the end of the day I’m the same schlub on the couch in her bathrobe, surrounded by cats. Maybe if/when I can support myself -- and the cats -- just from my writing? Maybe the elusive movie or Netflix series? I don’t know. I keep expecting someone to jump out of the bushes and yell GOTCHA!
Tell us, why should we read your work? Don’t say because it is better than mine.
CM: Well, if nothing else, it should hopefully be entertaining. Possibly even educational; I do write a lot set in other eras. My main goal is to have fun with it, have fun with the language, see how far I can bend or stretch the rules. Plus, some of it’s really really smutty.
Is there one thing you would have done differently in your writing career?
CM: I would not have, when I was young and new and stupid, fallen in with what I later learned was a vanity press (sucker!), which soured me so much on the entire experience, I ended up self-publishing my next two books, and it took me years to rebuild my confidence enough to start submitting again. I also would have given myself permission to write horror earlier. It’s always been my true love, but for a long time I didn’t feel confident enough in myself to do it justice.
What inspires you? No, don’t look at me.
CM: Anything and everything; I have a magpie in my head that flits around collecting all kinds of odd trinkets to stash away. Images, movies and television shows, overheard conversations, misunderstood conversations, dreams, what-ifs. Never know what might come in handy later. I’m the same way with my craft stuff, only, at least when it’s in my head it’s not cluttering the apartment and looking like an episode of Hoarders gone wrong.
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.
CM: My upcoming deep-sea chompy, Trench Mouth (due out this summer from Madness Heart Press: https://madnessheart.press/, a high-octane action-packed blockbuster full of mad science, genetically engineered fish-people, giant aquatic horrors, and a guy with a bioluminescent *bleep*
The Night Silver River Run Red, my ‘Splatter Western’ from Death’s Head Press, in which townsfolk, carnies, cultists, and outlaws all clash in one violent night of gory carnage and mayhem ...
White Death, my pioneer blizzard historical horror novel from Bloodshot Books, set against an actual historical event only also with snow monsters
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.
CM: Oooooh that’s so mean. That’s so, so mean. But, okay, I’m going to go with Lakehouse Infernal, partly because it’s been my best seller and most successful, but mostly because the awesome Edward Lee let me play with his toys. His Mephistopolis is my favorite setting, and he agreed to let me do a book set in that universe. I had absolutely THE most fun writing it, just outrageous and over the top and tacky and gross. I am currently about 1/3 of the way into a sequel, again with his blessing, and once again having an utter blast.
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?
CM: Be like a good bra: provide lift and support when needed, help the girls look their best, no pinching or jabby underwires, encourage confidence and security, keep it smooth, snug, and comfortable.
YOU CAN STALK CHRISTINE HERE, I MEAN SPERMJACKERS FROM HELL, WHY WOULDN'T YOU?