1) Why did you choose to write horror?
I didn't exactly choose it, more fell into by accident. I started out writing fantasy (which I still do), but after writing a nice, sweet story for an informal competition, my muse deserted me (apparently she is allergic to nice and sweet). To wash away the writer’s block, I penned a horror story about Jack the Ripper. This unlocked my dark side (both my muse and I adore killing characters it seems) and I stumbled into the horror genre. It also seeped over into my fantasy writing, as I specialize in the dark stuff in that genre too.
2) What is your fav thing about the genre?
Did I mention killing off characters in satisfyingly gruesome ways? I did? Well, the psychological aspects of horror also fascinate me, the underlying motivations and emotional issues that drive people to extreme actions. Plus, I love dark myths and folklore.
3) Tell us about your latest book
My latest book, Visions and Nightmares, isn’t out quite yet, but will be released in March. It’s a collection of ten horror fantasy stories with female protagonists. It’s all about revenge, loss, secrets, survival and inner darkness. I have stories based on the Wendigo folklore, Alice in Wonderland, a nod to eldritch gods, some dark faerie magic, plus a few more goodies.
Here’s the tagline: Tragedy spares no gender... and takes no prisoners.
4) If you had one piece of advice about writing horror, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of going into the dark places. I’ve seen writers new to horror hesitate to explore more disturbing topics, thinking they’ll be rejected by readers. And while I think you need to mindful of readers and potentially sensitive topics, horror has the capacity and leeway to explore far more shocking things than any other genre.
5) Who are your fav women in horror?
A lot of my favourites are indie authors, writers such as Angela Yuriko Smith, Kindra Sowder, Emerian Rich, Carmilla Voiez, Nina D'Arcangela and Naching T. Kassa. I’m also a big fan of artist Jeanette Andromeda, who runs horrormade.com and has done illustrations for The Wicked Library.
Excerpt from the story, Family Trait, from the book, Killers and Demons II: They Return
Sarah sat in a coffee shop, staring out a window. She didn’t want to think about what happened with Jason, about why she was single again, or why he was gone. Sarah thought she found her home with him, that they belonged together, but it fell apart so badly. She wanted to act as if it were just another breakup, except this time things were different.
“God, I acted like a crazy freak. I bet Jason thought so too before…” Sarah closed her eyes, blocking the memory of that night.
That’s why she sat here drinking a latte instead of going home. She didn’t have to face her troubles here, just stare out the window and pretend. In her apartment, the reminders lingered.
“I know I’m going crazy.” She whispered her fears into her half-empty coffee cup. “I’m turning out like Mom.”
Sarah could still hear that phrase in her head.
The strong don’t break; they snap.
That’s how her mother’s problem was explained to a five-year-old Sarah by her Aunt Rachel.
And here I am at twenty, wondering if I’ve snapped too.
She didn’t know how else to explain the things she wanted, the thoughts in her brain, her behaviour for the last few weeks. She drained the last of her coffee and sighed.
Hiding isn’t going to help me though. I need to find answers. I just wish I knew where. I wish I had someone to talk to. I wish I didn’t feel so alone.
She certainly couldn’t count on her mess of a family. Her father moved out of the city last year, but even before, they had never been close, never connected after her mother went away. And her Aunt Rachel drifted out of her life after high school. She was on her own, the same old pattern.
Sarah sighed again. She knew she couldn’t put it off anymore. She trashed her disposable coffee cup, left the shop, and drove home.
Inside her apartment, Sarah gazed over the stylish space that used to be her sanctuary, her refuge. She walked across the tile to the kitchen, trying not to look at the pale, scrubbed spot with its still-visible bloodstain. She opened the refrigerator and took out some of the raw meat that used to be her boyfriend Jason. She preheated a frying pan, added a little olive oil and seasoning, and fried part of his arm for supper. After that, she watched some TV and went to bed, dreading the next day.
Sarah woke late the following morning. The sun streamed in her bedroom window, illuminating the whole bed. The warmth felt nice on her face and her toes that poked out from under the covers.
I should just stay here, spend all Sunday in bed.
She considered the idea, smiling at the thought until she turned and saw Jason’s empty pillow. She shifted her gaze to the window and stared miserably at the beautiful day.
He loved to sleep in on Sundays.
A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she has published novels, novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”