Hello there! The often intimidating (LOOK AT HER WEBSITE! JUST LOOK AT IT! The typewriter has bat wings!) Kira Butler, co-blogger over at The Midnight Society (she designed that header. LOOK AT IT!) tagged me in this Liebster thing. Kira loves, and writes, horror. And as I mentioned, can be intimidating in all of her awesomeness. So when she tells you to do something, you do it.
Which is how I come to be breaking my blog silence.
I’m about to answer 11 questions about myself/my writing. They’re fascinating. And then I’m going to list 11 random facts about me, BECAUSE YOU HUNGRY BLOG READERS JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF ME, RIGHT? And then I’m going to tag some blogs you should check out, and those people are going to answer 11 of MY questions. You clear on how this is going down? Good.
What is your favourite thing about writing horror?
Making people uncomfortable.
I’m a scaredy cat who jumps at little sounds. I enjoy how putting that to a purpose (writing horror) makes me feel like there’s a cosmic reason for embarrassing myself when I scream at the pet store.
Tell us about your writing process.
I get an idea. And then I write all of that out on paper. Sometimes there are scenes, eventually there’s an outline. A lot of the time I cut the first paper up and then reorganize my notes into an order that makes some sense.
Then I open up a document and type all of that in. One file is the one I’m writing in. Another one is my outline. Another is my editing file–this is so that when I finish drafting a chapter and think of some things that would have made it better, I can write myself a note for editing later and continue drafting without getting distracted. I also make another folder, where I collect quotes and pictures for inspiration when I get stuck later.
I also make a playlist for the story, which is a great way to distract myself when I’m stuck and wasting my time.
And then I write. And I write. And I write some more.
Where does your inspiration come from?
All I want to do is raise an eyebrow and say, “My brain,” but since I’m so bad at raising just one eyebrow, I feel like I have to take the question more seriously.
My inspiration comes from my life. Little moments that eat away at my brain. Moments that won’t let go. You’d think it would always be a big moment, or an important theme in my life, but sometimes it’s that I’m in bed and wish I could turn off the light without getting up, or the way the rain is hitting the window and sounds like they’re finally coming for me. (the mice, obviously.)
Do you ever scare yourself? How do you break past the wall and dig deeper?
That’s a double question Kira, but okay.
Yes, I have scared myself.
I am terrified of mice. TERRIFIED. And after having cause to tell people about this quite a bit, and realizing few people understood, I joked that I was going to write some stories that would make the people who thought I was weird scared of mice. Except, as often happens with me, my jokes became serious. I recently wrote a scene in my story Brody Undead and while I’m not yet sure that anyone else will find it frightening, I had a hard time finishing the scene because it freaked me out. Afterwards, I walked around in circles shaking out my arms and watching out for undead mice. *shivers* I’m not looking forward to reading it in editing. Except I kinda am. Writing is confusing like that.
How do I push deeper? I think it’s different every time. When I get it in the first draft, I just keep pushing and pushing until I’ve freaked myself out and then I know I’m in the right area. If I notice it didn’t really work out in the second draft, then I have to spend a little more time visualizing, painting myself a picture, and further freaking myself out. I’m actually a big scaredy cat, so it doesn’t take too much to get me to that freaked out place, and I’m also pretty used to being there and having to still push through.
What’s your biggest fear?
Well, as I mentioned above, I’m pretty afraid of mice. It’s part of a bigger fear, though. I’m afraid of little things getting inside me. For instance, in the movie The Mummy there is a scene where an ancient beetle wakes up, gets under his skin, travels inside him up to his brain and he dies.
This fear expands so that I’m afraid of little things, especially lots of little things that I can’t see. Examples? Being in a dark room, and hearing little sounds that could be mice or who knows what. Swimming in a lake and feeling fish brush my leg. Bugs. Spiders. Snakes. GETTING INSIDE MY SKIN. *freaks out*
What’s your recent most favourite sentence from a book?
I read Fangirl a few times over the past couple of days. (I do this sometimes.)
“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”
What was the first horror novel you read and loved?
It kills me, and I just spent half an hour hunting for it again, but I don’t know the name. It wasn’t actually a novel though. It was a book of short stories. I loved reading it to people and eventually the book was missing too many pages.
If you want to get technical about the word novel, I’d have to say Goosebumps. The ones I remember most are Welcome to Camp Nightmare and Go Eat Worms (they showed up in his food! I only read it once. Creepy gross scared me to death. I loaned it to a bunch of people.)
Eventually I read Flowers in the Attic, which I did find in the horror section at the book store. Not one you might think of as horror until it’s mentioned to you, but if you’ve read the book, I expect you to nod right now. The terrifying family members who are supposed to take care of you? The drinking the blood? Everything else? That book spread so well because people were so traumatized after reading it. I knew I wanted to write something that made people as uncomfortable as that book did someday.
Describe your writing ritual.
Headphones. Internet off. Tapping of keys. Consulting handwritten notes.
When this isn’t going well, I have a folder inside every project where I collect quotes and pictures that inspire the project, like a pinboard. I’ve also started putting together similar boards on pinterest. It helps my head get in the right space.
If you could hang out with your favourite character for an evening, who would it be and what would you do?
OMG HERMIONE. Can I touch your wand? Can you leviosa me? WHAT HAVE YOU READ LATELY? Where’s your favorite library? I know we just met, and this is personal, but please, CAN I SEE YOUR BOOK COLLECTION?
What’s your big dream as an author?
It’s always to finish whatever story I’m writing right now.
ELEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME
- I skipped 7th grade.
- I worked (and lived) at an independent retirement community for two years.
- I’m currently petless (sad face!) but my pets from the past regularly show up in my dreams.
- My favorite song is Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (by The Beatles, of course!).
- I had braces for 5 years. They said 6-18 months when they put them on. Never trust an orthodontist.
- I LOVE BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.
- Root beer is my favorite drink. I hate tea. And Coffee.
- I used to make zines.
- I’m afraid of birds. They’re fine as long as they don’t touch me. It’s the beaks.
- I always ask cashiers how work is. Most of them burst out laughing and give me a look that says it all.
- Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale, and my husband recently wrote a scifi retelling for me (Beauty and the Fleet), because I couldn’t find one I liked. The main character likes horror novels. 🙂
- Tori Centanni
- Robert McKay
- Elizabeth Barone
- L.S. Mooney
- Jenny Adams Perinovic
- Saruuh Kelsey
- Cait Spivey
- S.K. Sophia
ELEVEN QUESTIONS FOR THE TAGGED
- What was the first story you ever wrote?
- What was your favorite book as a child?
- You get to have dinner with your favorite fictional family. Who’s at the table?
- What’s your favorite season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? (If you’ve never seen it, I’m giving you the look.)
- Do you prefer drafting or revising? Why?
- Do you have a process for naming your characters?
- How do you handle telling people you’re a writer? Do you tell them what you write?
- What do you listen to while you write?
- Do you prefer to write in the morning, or at night?
- Do you pick favorites with your own characters?
- What would your dream writing office look like?