Shadows are often benign, nothing to truly fear, and yet our minds create from them. We see them twist and form into something sinister, something eerie, something that makes our skin crawl or our heart race. As the fog manipulates the landscape, so does it change the shadows. With our minds, we further pull from the blurry images and a tale is formed. From vengeful women to those that welcome death to haunting moments, these stories are a mixed bag of random dark tales from the mind of Amanda Leanne. Written over the past decade, this is a small compilation of stories pulled from the shadows in the fog.
1) As a female horror writer what do you bring to the table in terms of what of you write?
I would like to think I bring diversity to the types of stories and my own personality into my books. I am a dark person, but I'm also rather sarcastic and a bit of a smartass. At the core, I am actually a softy, but that's rarely something that comes out in my writing. I tend to get a little deep and a bit vague, which can be difficult for some readers. I like to rely on logic, intelligence, and then the unexpected and weird twists. I am a student of psychology, neurological psychology to be exact, and I think this is reflected a lot in my writing. I want my readers to think. I want them to have to go back and reread something to see if it was there all along. I'm not sure what that says about what I bring, but that's my perception on it.
2) Do you think female authors are underrepresented in the horror genre?
As someone who has been a fan of horror since I was a young girl, yes, I think so. The only one that comes to mind immediately is Anne Rice, and some of her stuff isn't exactly horror. I'm not sure if it is the psychology of writing such books or the way that women tend to tell a story, but there doesn't seem to be a plethora of Mary Shelley's at the door.
3) Tell us about your book(s)
The first book I published was actually about one of the medical conditions I suffer from, and what pinned me at home and got me hooked back into writing. From there, I released my second book this year, Shadows Through the Fog, a compilation of several short horror stories I have wrote over the last decade. Each story is very different from the others. It has different points of view, different subgenres of horror, and different flavors, so to say. In the majority of them, you can almost see the hardships I was dealing with at the time of the writings. The first story, "The Day I Danced with Death," is a somber start. A young woman in pain, suffering, and she has a crush on death. The story is definitely not subtle, not like some of the others, in regards to what was going on there. It had to do with my internal fight with suicidal thoughts during some of the harder days of my health issues. Other stories delve into killers, ghosts, and obscure horrors. I almost refer to some as more eerie than horror.
In January, Sever the Circle makes its debut. It is my first full length book published under my name. I say my name as I spent years as a ghostwriter, writing over 60 books for other authors before focusing on my own work. In this book, a family of witches lives in the woods outside of a town in the colonial era. The family has gifts, albeit dark ones with a hell of a price. A mother and daughter are only alive simultaneously and the elder dies at the birth of the younger's daughter. Every two decades or so, the elder picks a male for the younger to woo, be impregnated by, and then to birth a daughter. It's a strange basis but it is only the skeleton of the story. The town is controlled, basically, by these Wood Women, as they are called. And so they have this idea that they control everything and this is their life and this is how it is, but they end up realizing that is far from the truth. Dark things get involved, things that play with the witches as much as they play with the humans and it all spirals out of control. It's dark, and a bit of a psychological soup at times. You're not really sure what's actually going on, who is who and what is what. My hope for Sever the Circle is for it to be the first of a line of horror books that revolve around a mock romance idea that is quickly tossed out the window and set on fire. A second one is already planned after the first.
Along with these books is a huge series I am working on. I am creating a whole universe, so it is taking quite some time. It's a mythological, supernatural, crime, thriller thing with many elements from many genres. There is already six books planned for the series, two of which are stand alones that give a historical encounter of a great event in the universe. The N.I.C.D. File will be the main series, the entire collection will have a name I haven't quite pinned down.
4) Why is horror writing important to you?
I have an interesting theory about horror and what it does for me. I had a difficult childhood and have dealt with depression and insomnia (mine as well as that of my family) for a good amount of my life. Books became a staple for me at an early age. I learned to read when I was four, thanks to a determined uncle who saw my young fascination for books , and had read my first horror by the second grade. My mother loved Stephen King and Anne Rice, and so those books were quite plentiful. With insomnia, mom would be up late watching horror movies on one of the old random channels that played classics. And so the reading and watching gave me an early introduction, respect and love.
With horror, I feel it is more relatable to life. I'm not, nor ever have been, a fan of happy endings. I feel that if something goes horribly wrong, it can never be completely righted. I also feel that horror can embody issues worse than my experiences and fears, thus giving me proof of a darkness much bleaker than any I have dealt with. When I write horror, I get to control that. I am in control of the darkness. I decide how deep it can go, what it does , if it is able to be overcome and what it will leave behind. I can create worlds worse than any depression I have had and yet at any time I can tilt it another direction.
Horror is also necessary, in my opinion, to show the depths of depravity the human mind is possible to have. It also allows us to indulge in the faux pas aspects of being human in a lawful world without breaking any morality or personal vindications. You can delve into the mind of a cannibal or sympathize with a real monster and its okay. In horror, you can face your fears or bask in the darkness and close the book at the end without changing your place in the world. Horror allows us to confront and embrace so much on our own terms.
5) Is the future of horror female?
I don't think horror is female or male. I don't think any gender of writer or protagonist will rule or fade in horror. I think more people are becoming more desensitized and able to enjoy horror compared to before. You see a lot more people experiencing horror on a casual level. It's no longer something that is banned from shelves or theaters for being against one religion or another or too extreme. I think it simply gains more attention overall as people become more willing to indulge in their own dark interests, despite their gender. Will more female horror authors start to appear? Maybe. The writing world is becoming quite saturated with new blood, and having any one name rise to the top is becoming more difficult. I think there will be more of a change of quantity of people of horror becoming a thing more than any specific type of person.
About the Author:
Amanda began reading at a very young age and has been writing since grade school. She is a prolific reader, book collector, and writer with an interest in all aspects of art. When she isn't writing, she designs and makes clothing and jewelry, paints, crafts eclectic decor, plays and listens to music, and plays video games. She currently lives with her spouse (Kris), her son, and their menagerie of animals in the mountains of Northern Alabama.
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.”