Posts Tagged ‘Black Static Magazine’

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Annie Neugebauer is an author that I stumbled across recently and I’m stoked to have made her acquaintance. Her writing is top notch and I’m still reeling from the gut wrenching piece of hers that I read.  You can find her work at places like Black Static Magazine, Buzzy Mag, Blurring the Line anthology from Cohesion Press, and more.  Find her work > Read it > $Profit$!   Special thanks to Annie for stopping by my blog for a chat.

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Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

AN: Well, I’m a writer, poet, and blogger. Horror is sort of my home base, but I also love literary fiction, speculative fiction, poetry, and picture books. (Believe it or not, I even have horror poems and one “horror” picture book.)

Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?

AN: I’ve loved horror for as long as I can remember. I knew way back when I dreamed of becoming a writer that horror would be a part of that, so there was never a defining moment for me. It was a natural inclination that grew into passion over time. I love the unabashedness of horror; I like not looking away from things that make people uncomfortable. I like facing fears. It’s super fun to be scared in a safe setting. But mostly, I think horror is a wonderful vehicle to explore the concepts that matter to me as a creative, so I just run with it.

Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies? 

AN: Are you allowed to make me choose?! Oof. Okay, well, my boring answer is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” I know, I know. But it’s truly a masterpiece of fiction. The captivating introduction, the unreliable narrator, the beautiful prose, the horrific nature of it, the explosive ending. It doesn’t get much better than that!

My slightly less predictable answer is Shirley Jackson’s “The Tooth.” Much less commercial and far more subtle and complex, but still horrific. It’s a story I love to reread and examine. It’s beautiful and masterfully done.

Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?

AN: I’ve written 5 ½ novels, several dozen short stories, and hundreds of poems. Of what’s been published so far, I think I’m most proud of “Hide.” It’s a flash piece (only about 800 words) that was first published in Black Static #43 by TTA Press. Ellen Datlow included it in her recommended list for Best Horror of the Year Volume 7, and it was just picked up at Pseudopod, where it will be recorded as an audio podcast you’ll be able to listen to for free. I’ve had a story (“Jack and the Bad Man”) read at Pseudopod before and it was a blast, so I can hardly wait to hear what they do with “Hide.”

Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling? E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook

AN: Hm. Well, obviously I’m partial to poetry and prose. I love podcasts and audio and all that good stuff, but my first love is the written word. Length and form doesn’t matter to me so much as reading. I have a passionate love affair with physical books, too. I’m not knocking technology at all, but give me paper over screens any day!

Q. What are you working on at the minute?

AN: I have several irons in the fire. I’ve been drafting lots of new poems and stories, flirting with an unfinished novel, and working on some major novel revisions, too. Plus I’m always blogging at my own website as well as for Writer Unboxed. I like to keep busy

Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?

AN: Shirley Jackson. I just love her. I think she’s one of the most underrated authors of all time, and she’s an absolute master of literary horror. But there are so many! I also adore Laurell K. Hamilton, Anne Rice, Susan Hill, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, V.C. Andrews, Daphne Daphne du Maurier…

Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 

AN: Always! I’m reading anything I can find by Gillian Flynn lately, and the women in contemporary horror are always on my work-with wish-list. I admire all of the women I’ve met in the Horror Writers Association, for example. It’s such a hard field.

Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?

AN: I already mentioned Gillian Flynn. I loved Gone Girl and Dark Places was stellar. Right now I’m listening to the audio book of Beloved, which is performed by Toni Morrison (the author). The book is exquisite, and so is her reading voice! It’s a dark, difficult novel, but such a pleasure. Poetry-wise, Sharon Olds has swept me away, and I’m eager to get into some more Anne Rice soon as well.

Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?

AN: This gets sticky. I’ve been quite fortunate in experiencing very little direct harassment or discrimination. I think the harder stuff is the quieter, more insidious prejudice that can’t always be pinned down. Societal expectations, the push-back against “such a nice girl” writing “such horrific things,” and that type of thing. Luckily I have many supportive people in my life and was raised by parents who really, truly made me believe that I can do anything I want to do, so I pretty much just plow right through any sexism I come across. It’s served me well to focus on the positive so far.

Q. Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you? 

AN: I actually wrote a whole blog post about this last year, aptly titled “Why Women in Horror Month Is Important.”

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

AN: Another loaded question. I’ve blogged advice from things I’ve learned more times than I can count, but mostly I’d distill it to this: read a lot, write a lot, study your craft, be kind, be generous, find your voice and defend it, find your message and express it, and don’t give up no matter the obstacles.

Annie Neugebauer Links: 

Website/Blog: www.AnnieNeugebauer.com

List of Works: AnnieNeugebauer.com/read

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/Annie-Neugebauer

Twitter: @AnnieNeugebauer

Facebook: facebook.com/AnnieNeugebauer

Tumblr Inspiration Blog: AnnieNeugebauer.tumblr.com (NSFW)

Goodreads: goodreads.com/AnnieNeugebauer

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/AnnieNeugebauer

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The second WiHM interview for today is with the extremely talented S.P Miskowski. She’s a short story and novel author and has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award multiple times (It’s only a matter of time, I’m telling you!).  Special thanks to her for stopping by my blog so we could get to know her a little better!
MiskowskiSP

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

SPM: I grew up in my hometown of Decatur, Georgia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mine was the first integrated generation and so my experiences were quite different from those of my older sisters and my parents. At the time my classmates and I thought we represented a better future, one in which diversity was a given and a positive aspect of life. This was before massive white flight and further polarization encouraged by white political leaders, so we were naïve. But the experience made me question authority and the wisdom of my elders who resisted integration. This has stayed with me. I question authority automatically, question its basis and its integrity, and I’m extremely aware of hypocrisy. I note the difference between what we say and what we do, and maybe this is a good attitude for a writer. I don’t know.

Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?

SPM: My first horror story didn’t have any eureka moment. At least I didn’t express it in those terms, maybe because I was eight years old. After binge-reading Edgar Allan Poe stories I wrote a small collection of gruesome tales, some of them about an eight year old who did horrible things to her family. My parents loved it. I illustrated the collection and gave it to my mother as a gift.

Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?

SPM: It’s difficult to narrow down to one, of course. In recent years “Peep” by Ramsey Campbell made a real impression. I’ve been a fan of Campbell’s short stories for years; that one in particular stayed with me, probably because it so perfectly ties together reality, empathy, psychology, and the possibility of something supernatural. A story not usually associated with horror, Paul Bowles’ “In the Red Room” also continues to haunt me.

Q. What is your favourite horror film?

SPM: Today? It Follows. But on any given day I might say A Tale of Two Sisters, Audition, The Babadook, or Rosemary’s Baby. Common element here, I guess, is a focus on female characters. Women are endlessly fascinating.

Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?

SPM: The Skillute Cycle is a one-novel, three-novella series published by Omnium Gatherum. The first two books in the series were finalists for Shirley Jackson Awards. “Stag in Flight” is a story to be published May 1st as a chapbook by Dim Shores, with illustrations by Nick Gucker. Muscadines is close to my heart; it was an idea I toyed with for years, tried in a couple of forms, and never quite made it work. There was always an element missing. Then Dunhams Manor Press gave me the chance to write a novelette for their 2016 hardcover series, illustrated by Dave Felton. I went back to the drawing board and this time the whole story—about the adult daughters of a violent woman—just came pouring out. This happens sometimes when I think I’ve stopped thinking about a story; my imagination is still playing with the material until something new occurs, the perfect point of view or a new setting or a literary device that changes everything.

I’ve had several short stories accepted for anthologies in the past year, among them: “Death and Disbursement” in October Dreams 2; “Strange is the Night” in Cassilda’s Song; “Lost and Found” in The Hyde Hotel; and “The Resurrected” in Sisterhood, an anthology of horror stories by female authors set in religious communities. In 2015 “The Second Floor” appeared in Black Static magazine. It’s hard to choose but I’m pleased with “Strange is the Night” because, again, this was something I returned to after a long break and I found it fit the King in Yellow theme very well. The imagery was there, waiting for me, and the conflict (between an elitist critic and a young, eager ingénue) made sense in a new way.

Q. Do you have a favourite form for story telling?  (e.g Film, Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook)

SPM: The short story, definitely, is my first love and the best.

Q. What are you working on at the minute?

SPM: I’m researching two stories set in the Weimar Republic, while writing a novel set at a newspaper (back when people read newspapers).

Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?

SPM:Dead? Flannery O’Connor, tied with Shirley Jackson. Alive? Lynda E. Rucker in strange or weird fiction, and Donna Tartt in mainstream or non-genre fiction.

Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with?

SPM: Two of the anthologies I mentioned—Cassilda’s Song and Sisterhood—include only female writers. Both are edited by men, the first by Joseph S. Pulver Sr. and the second by Nate Pedersen, and are published by Chaosium.

Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?

SPM: I’m reading a book on Weimar cinema and another on Weimar culture in general. My TBR stack is appalling. There is such a boom in good fiction from small presses these days, I’ll never catch up. Word Horde, Undertow Publications, ChiZine, Omnium Gatherum, Dunhams Manor Press, Dim Shores, Black Shuck Books are among the presses publishing astonishingly good new work. In particular I always look forward to the next book by Laird Barron, his most recent being X’s for Eyes.

Q. What films are you looking forward to?

SPM: The Witch.

Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?

SPM: The men and women I’ve worked with have been wonderful to me. I’ve had few serious challenges in the genre and I think this is a sign of progress since I was writing more mainstream short stories as an undergraduate. One persistent, lingering habit we all have, male and female, is to accept the authority of a male voice more quickly. We all tend to credit men with writing the way they want, by choice and with knowledge of the available styles and conventions, while we tend ever so slightly to believe young women need more guidance in order to achieve their potential. This tendency continues to diminish but it also continues to shut out unusual female voices and those who present truly original or transgressive themes and ways of looking at life.

Q. Why is Women in Horror month important?

SPM: Visibility, a reminder of reality. Even today there are a few editors who, asked to name more than two women in the genre, could not. To each his own, of course, but if you don’t keep up with the changing world you may soon be very confused and lost. Keep up. Learn the names and get to know the work of talented writers of color and women who are doing amazing things. A diverse world is an interesting world, not a threatening one.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

SPM: Read widely and keep journals. Practice, and take encouragement where you can get it. If no one offers it, encourage yourself. Be bold and take risks, and write in your own voice. Your particular experiences and how you translate them into fiction will be your strength. Learn what you can from classic literature but don’t worship it. Create your own world.

S.P. Miskowski Links

Amazon author page:  http://www.amazon.com/S.P.-Miskowski/e/B002GG88ZA

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I have some catching up to do now so this will be the first of today’s WIHM interviews. I met Sarah Read in Jack Ketchum’s horror class a couple of years back. I liked her writing. She like mine and we developed a cool bond because we’ve both been having new additions to our respective families.  Sarah is a talented writer and I collected one of her stories in my debut anthology, Suspended in Dusk.  Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah!
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Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a freelance writer and editor. I used to edit for a large publisher, but I left that last year when my youngest son was born and needed a little extra care. Before that I worked in libraries, and before that I worked in bookstores. Always with books and words! I’m really enjoying the freelance work, though. I also knit, crochet, weave, spin, and collect fountain pens.

I edit the fiction bit of Pantheon Magazine. I love doing that so much! I get to read so many amazing stories. And I get to work with some of my favorite authors.
Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where yousomething mad you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?  
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t into spooky stories. Even my childhood picture books reflect it. One of my favorites that I still have is “The Glow-in-the-Dark Haunted House”. When you’re reading, you can turn off the lights and ghosts appear in the windows. And the illustrated kids’ bible my grandmother gave me always fell open to the massacre of the innocents. It had a really horrific illustration where a soldier is holding a naked baby up by the foot, with a dagger in his other hand. The religion didn’t take, but that image has stuck with me. I used to stare at it till I cried. So I guess I’ve always had a (questionably healthy) need to stare into the abyss.
I wrote my first horror story in 6th grade, and I remember my teacher, Mr. Evans, correcting me when I used the phrase “ravenous beauty” instead of “ravishing”. The beautiful ghost was the protagonist. I think Mr. Evans was the one who set me on the writing path–he would let me stay in at recess and help me write cover letters and submit my stories and poems to kids’ magazines. I never got accepted, but he always encouraged me to keep trying.
Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?
“Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” by Stephen Graham Jones is my favorite horror story of all time. It builds anxiety perfectly. And you can see what’s coming, eventually, but it still completely knocks you over in the end. It so perfectly articulates a parent’s love for their child. It always leaves me a bit shaken. All the horror of it happens in your heart, rather than on the page.
Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
I’ve written short stories, mostly. You can find them in Black Static, Exigencies, Suspended in Dusk, and other places. I do have a novel-length manuscript that I’m currently shopping to agents. I’m working on a revise and resubmit for one of those agents. My favorite thing I’ve written is always the thing I haven’t written yet. The one I’m writing next, the shiny fresh idea.
Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook
Well, my favorite to write is a short story. But I love reading novels, too, and I listen to a LOT of podcasts. I’d like to get more into audiobooks. I used to listen to them when I had a commute. But right now I’m mostly sitting in the dark with an omg-please-go-to-sleep-now baby, reading a novel or short story collection on my kindle.
Q. What are you working on at the minute?
I’m working on a short story for you, Simon! It’s almost done, I swear. You just said “February” and it’s still February.
I’m also outlining a new novel or novella–I haven’t decided how broad to go with the concept, yet. I don’t tend to work on more than one thing at a time, with my own fiction anyway. The freelance writing is forcing me out of that habit, though.
Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?
Shirley Jackson. Though from contemporary writers, I’m falling head-over-heels for Helen Marshall right now. And Caitlin Kiernan has always been a huge influence for me, especially when she writes about bugs and other crawly things.
Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 
Everything? I mean, nothing specific to women–there are just awesome women everywhere and we’re all very busy doing awesome things. I’m very excited about the launch of Gamut magazine. A lot of my favorite women writers will be published there (if it funds–go give them money), and Richard Thomas, the editor, has asked for a few pieces from me as well. And I’m super excited for Suspended in Dusk 2. I think it’s going to be even better than the first one–and obviously that’s saying something.
As for things I’d like to get on board with, I really want to get a piece in Shimmer. I’ve been shortlisted there the last few times I’ve subbed, and I’ve gotten really kind, helpful personal rejections from the team there. I feel like my face is pressed up against the glass, all smeary-like, but I just haven’t broken through yet.
Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
My TBR pile has always been ridiculous, but having an infant in the house has made it even more so. I’m very, very behind. But up next, I think, are the Nightmares Unhinged anthology, Zeroes by Chuck Wendig, and Damien Angelica Walter’s Paper Tigers (which I already read, for blurb reasons, but that was an earlier draft, so I get to read it again). I also feel an Erik Larson nonfiction bender coming on.
Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the  challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?
I’ve been very fortunate in that regard. I haven’t been the target of any outright hostility. I get the occasional “who would have thought a sweet girl like you would write something so dark” (well GEE WILLIKERS, MISTER), and I did once have trouble with a male writer that I was beta reading for who didn’t like my suggestion that maybe not EVERY woman in his book should be a rape victim tearfully confessing their victimhood to his male protagonist that they had never even met before. But mostly I’ve had awesome interactions and felt very welcome in the horror community. I do get a little steel in my heart every time I see an anthology or magazine issue come out with only one or two women in it. I make a note of who those editor are. And I make plans to send them lots of stuff. I don’t want them to have any excuses.
Q. Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you? 
I know it’s controversial. And I totally understand why many don’t want it. But I try not to look at it as a condescending token, and think of it more as a way of finding out about more women writers that I may not have yet come across. Every year I find a new author to read, thanks to the WiH blog lists and interview series like this one (thanks, Simon!). There are still people who haven’t realized what amazing work is out there. And I don’t think it’s a conscious bias in many cases. Volume and visibility are the fastest ways to get through to those who don’t know what they’re missing. So let’s shine some lights, make some noise.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write first thing in the morning, if you can. It makes the whole day better, knowing you got the important thing done already. And read read read.

 

Sarah Read Links:
Website: I don’t have one because they’re expensive and I’m terrible with computers. I know. I know. It’s one of my main goals for 2016.
Blog: Same as above.    (Simon’s interjection:   WordPress is free. I badgered Karen Runge till she made a site, your turn now. DO IT!)
Twitter: @inkwellmonster
Lnkedin: pfft!
Pinterest: inkwellmonster
Instagram: @inkwellmonster
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Read/ (I see that almost nothing of mine is linked to the correct me. I should fix that.)
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8283885.Sarah_Read (this one actually has my stuff!)