First, feel free to give a little background on yourself and your own written work.
I love horror, coffee, cats, and all things strange. February is Women in Horror month and I’m thrilled Love For Slaughter gets to be a part of that. It’s a collection of love gone wrong, too twisted in its obsessive want to soothe the ways a heart can ache. Dark Cupid comes out to play and to shoot his heart-shaped bullets into the blackest parts of love. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
What authors, if any, do you find inspirational?
Edgar Allan Poe has long been my obsession. I remember reading “The Raven” in middle school and that ignited my love of poetry. Traveling to the Poe House in Baltimore and the Poe Museum in Richmond are two of my favorite memories. I’m drawn to the Gothic and dark romanticism sides of writing. Give me a copy of Wuthering Heights and a dark, windy moor to sit at and read and I’ll be happy.
Otherwise, I have so many favorite writers that have served as wonderful muses throughout my life. Whitman, Bukowski, and Plath hold high ranks for me. Also, contemporary writers Richard Siken, Linda Addison, Caroline Kepnes, and Gillian Flynn are some of my favorites to read and reread when I’m feeling blocked and need inspiration.
What drew you to horror poetry?
Well, other than Poe, I’ve always been interested in the horror genre. Some of the first books I remember reading when I was really young are the Fear Street and Goosebumps books, and also Christopher Pike’s works. My interest continued to grow as I got older and read more challenging prose, but there’s something about poetry that draws me in and holds me captive. Poetry, even when it’s fictionalized, still offers these twisted glimpses into one’s soul. When horror is added to that, then the glimpses become dark little crevices where madness and dread dwell, but beneath the shadows lurk visceral truths. Horror is such an emotive genre itself, and working with poetry has allowed me to create raw work that does not apologize for what it exposes. I love that.
Are there any authors whose works you wished were more widely read?
I love, love, love Sierra DeMulder and Catherynne Valente. DeMulder’s poetry is simply some of the best that is currently being put out there. She has a poem titled “Mrs. Dahmer” (yes, think Jeffrey Dahmer), that I came across while watching poetry slam videos on YouTube. I couldn’t get that poem out of my head, so I proceeded to buy all her works and I have no regrets. She’s great. Valente has some wonderful poetry too, but my favorite work by her is a novel titled Deathless that I am madly in love with. It combines the most beautiful, dark language with the mythos of Koschei the Deathless in such an interesting, original way. I go back to that book again and again when I need to be reminded of how beautiful language can be.
As a reader, what kills a story for you?
I’m not a super harsh reader, but something that always makes a book difficult to get through is badly written female characters. I think sometimes writers try too hard to create that “strong female” character OR try too hard to create the perfect damsel in distress, and either way is cliché and painful to read. Female characters don’t need to be defined by those things. Just think of the women you know in real life and write that, simply just write a woman because trust me, we can tell when someone relies too much on the stereotypes and succumbs to that rather than writing a unique voice.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently doing another revision pass for my dark fantasy/horror novel, Untermagik, which I wrote as my thesis for Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Along with that, I’ve just begun working on another poetry collection that takes the readers through notorious serial killer H.H. Holmes’ “Murder Castle” and attempts to get inside his head for a truly gruesome little tour. I’m having a lot of fun with that one, but it does require some whiskey while writing because getting into the mindset of someone like that is a hell of a challenge.
Favorite piece of poetry?
Ha, how much time do we have? I could list hundreds. I have excerpts from Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night” and T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” tattooed on me, so those two pieces mean a lot. Let me give three more additional favorites and I’ll be content.
“The Bells” –Edgar Allan Poe “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out” –Richard Siken “Soliloquy of the Solipsist” –Sylvia Plath
Thin crust, pan, or deep-dish pizza?
Thin crust – it’s just like gnawing on tiny, flaky bones that explode in your mouth. Yum.