1) Why did you choose to write horror?
I’m drawn to horror because of my experiences. There is a freedom and validation that horror offers people like me. I’ve suffered from depression since I was a teenager. I have been the victim of sexual assault (like many women) and I have always seen things, in the shadows and patterns) that make me question what reality looks like for different people.
2) What is your fav thing about the genre?
Horror is my comfort blanket. I don’t fit comfortably in this world of ours. Isolation and loneliness are my companions. I am also a horror addict. Horror is supposed to make people uncomfortable. Claiming the genre is my comfort blanket is counter-intuitive, is it not? But horror fiction doesn’t point at us, accusingly. It soothes us. It tells us we are not the only ones who feel that being alive is to suffer. It shows us that we survive against the odds and there is honour in that, not guilt.
3) Tell us about your latest book
Ribbons is book four in the Starblood series. Previously secondary characters pick up the baton and run their laps in a desperate race to outrun death.
Blurb - Psychopaths shall inherit the Earth. The rum bar seems a cosy setting to wait out the apocalypse. When the rain stops falling those who are still breathing are forced to reevaluate their lives. Edensun, The Bringer of Chaos, and Freya’s paths are destined to cross, but when they come face to face who will be the hero and who the villain? The Morrigu gather; they are told their fate is to save the world from Chaos, but they worship a goddess of war whose intentions are dubious. Only the witch in the tower block seems to know the truth and she is unwilling to share.
4) If you had one piece of advice about writing horror, what would it be?
If you are to write about pain and suffering in a compelling way you need to dig deep and find what terrifies you and have the courage to write about that. To narrate emotions in a powerful way, first you must own them.
5) Who are your fav women in horror?
Barbie Wilde is an amazing actress and writer. Faith Marlow takes the Dracula legend and gives it a feminist twist. The Soska sisters are brave pioneers, willing to stick their heads above the parapet. Toni Morrison writes beautifully about the horrors of being a black woman in a racist and sexist world.
An excerpt from Ribbons.
The rum bar seems a cosy setting to wait out the apocalypse. Other than the ruby smears down the ersatz leaded windows and the occasional battered body, stumbling against them from the pavement outside before lurching away again, Marian can almost pretend it is an ordinary day. Of course ordinary is a relative term. Marian’s ordinary days can be compared to many people’s worst nightmares. It amazes her that she’s here at all. Only her connection to higher forces keeps her functioning. After everything that’s happened she still has responsibilities she cannot avoid.
Around her are people she knows and trusts. They were called to this safe haven, like she was, by their leader, the Oracle, and her granddaughter Jessica. A comfortable room with low lighting and warm drinks where they will face whatever comes, together.
Marian Michaels, even in her fifties, is an attractive woman. Her long black hair is pulled back from her shield-shaped face in a messy bun. Her gunmetal-grey eyes soften as she downs the dregs of her fourth rum and Frangelico cocktail in a half-hearted attempt to drown her self-pity. Bill stands up to fetch another, but she lunges gracelessly and grabs his sleeve, pulling him back. Her head spins and her stomach churns. Her heart is a boulder that weighs her down.
It would be too easy to drink herself into oblivion, but she has a responsibility to those who believe in her, who know she is more than a working mother who lost her son and uses sick notes to avoid the office while in mourning. She has shut herself away from these friends for months, but they do not complain. They know her suffering, too many have shared in it, and they understand what it costs her to answer Jessica’s summons. Part of her is relieved, glad she came to face them all. She belongs with these people and the only way she will heal is with the soothing balm of their love.
If she drinks much more she fears she will empty her gut over the table. If it meant Bill would find her less attractive it might be worthwhile. However, holding back her hair as she throws up beside him would not dull his desperate yearning to kiss her lips. If she believed for one moment that it might she would stop clinging to the Salvations in her gut and spill them all. Deep down, in the pit of her treacherous stomach, she knows it will take more than a mountain of vomit to push him away.
Bill has been a constant in her life since they buried Carl. His physique may encourage one to think he is built for war. His stomach muscles are tight and rippled, his bulky, tattooed arms are powerful, but he has the face of an adoring puppy under his short chestnut hair. With one sign from her, Bill would make it his life’s mission to protect Marian from pain.
Marian shakes her head and the room lurches. Against the far wall, under paintings of debauched saints, half hidden by shadows that muted amber lamps cannot dispel, she sees two oracles and two Jessicas. None of their shifting faces carry the slightest accusation, but Marian still feels personally responsible for the carnage unfolding around the city and beyond.
The Oracle says this is not the end. Marian finds that hard to believe in spite of years of devout faith. Her only son is dead and her grandson is out there somewhere, holding open the gates of hell.
Carmilla Voiez is a proudly bisexual and mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication. A life long Goth, she is passionate about horror, the alt scene, intersectional feminism, art, nature and animals. When not writing, she gets paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.
Carmilla grew up on a varied diet of horror. Her earliest influences as a teenage reader were Graham Masterton, Brian Lumley and Clive Barker mixed with the romance of Hammer Horror and the visceral violence of the first wave of video nasties. Fascinated by the Goth aesthetic and enchanted by threnodies of eighties Goth and post-punk music she evolved into the creature of darkness we find today.
Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. As Jef Withonef of Houston Press once said - "You do not read her books, you survive them."
Carmilla’s bibliography includes Starblood (Vamptasy Publishing, December 2018), Psychonaut, book two of the Starblood series (Vamptasy Publishing, March 2019), Black Sun, book three (Vamptasy Publishing, June 2019), Ribbons, book four (Vamptasy Publishing, September 2019), Starblood the graphic novel, Psychonaut the graphic novel, The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales. Her short stories have been included in Zombie Punks Fuck Off (Clash Books), Slice Girls (Stitched Smile), Another Beautiful Nightmare (Vamptasy), Elements of Horror: Water (Red Cape Publishing) and Sirens Call Magazine.
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.”