I had the distinct fortune of meeting the fantastic Sarah Read while studying a horror writing course at Litreactor.com. I”m very excited for Sarah’s story Quarter Turn to Dawn to be featured in Suspended In Dusk.
Tell me a bit about yourself, where are you from and what brought you into writing? What drives you to continue writing?
I suppose I’m from northern Colorado. That’s the easiest answer—I’ve lived lots of places. But I’ve been here the longest, and I call it home, most of the time.
I don’t know what brought me to writing—I’ve always done it. But if you go back far enough, I suppose the thing that brought me to writing was reading.
I think the drive to continue (when it’s not a compulsion) comes from the passion of other writers and readers. There’s so much good storytelling out there.
What genres interest you most and which do you write in?
I love reading a lot of genres, but my tastes tend to skew dark. I read a lot of horror and dark fantasy. I’ll read just about anything, though.
I write horror. Occasionally some dark fantasy comes along, but it is usually more horror with fantasy elements. Some gory, some literary. Anything spooky.
What are your thoughts about short stories and the short form? Do you have a particular favourite short story?
I adore short stories. I really enjoy how the short form concentrates the intensity. And you can take bigger risks—both as a reader and a writer—when there are only thirty pages at stake.
If I had to choose one short story that stands out as a favorite, it would have to be Father, Son, Holy Rabbit by Stephen Graham Jones. I love all of his work, but that story punches me in the face every time.
What did you find interesting about writing a story for an anthology with the Suspended in Dusk title/theme? Was there anything in particular that you wanted to write about or explore?
I wanted to write about how it’s been feeling like we’re in the dusk of our time on earth—how our species feels as if it is speeding toward bedtime. And I thought about how that’s happened in the past—with ash clouds blotting out the sun, and nature turning nasty. So I ran with that.
What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
I recently made a sale to a magazine that I have loved for a long time. It was a story that I edited in a workshop with Jack Ketchum, and when I told him about the sale, he said he was very proud. I caught myself grinning, just now, thinking about it. As a new writer, having someone I admire enjoy my work is so validating. It gets me through the piles of rejection letters.
Do you have any outstanding writing goals you’re working to achieve? (sale to a particular market or publication/book deal/award/NaNoWriMo/etc)
I am in the middle of what is (probably) the last round of edits on my novel manuscript, before it starts getting sent out to the agents I’ve had my eye on. Fingers crossed.
Do you have any interesting projects on the horizon that you’d like to share some info with us about?
Is this where I get to plug stuff? In that case, keep your eyes on Pantheon Magazine. I recently joined the staff as a first reader, then got bumped up to Fiction Editor. We’ve increased our pay rate from token to semi-pro, and we’re seeing a lot of really amazing work come through!
What advice do you have for new or aspiring writers?
Well, I’m still a new writer, myself. What seems to have made the difference between aspiring writer and new writer was finding a community of writers to work with. For me, that is LitReactor. I’ve met lots of people in the forums, spent time reading, reviewing, and submitting to the workshop, and taking classes with great writers, editors, and agents. My first (real) sale was to one of my class teachers. Several members have become good friends, and now we have our own critique circle—always reading and sharing our news. Writing can be a lonely business—it’s good to have a group of people who get it and who believe in your work.