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Interviews

Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Wen-yi Lee

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing stories since I could write and never stopped, basically. I just got around to actually learning how to revise and submit things to publishing places eventually, but it’s one of those things I think I’d be doing all my life regardless. Just for me.

Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Pauline Chow

What inspired you to start writing?

I started to write fiction in 2018. I had moved to a small town. My first drafts of the Nanowrimo novel experiment were cathartic and healing. I wrote my maternal grandmother back to life, and together we got through a hard part of life, a toxic work environment, and becoming a new mother. In 2022, I took an inspiring online writing class called The Art of Fiery Prose with Giulietta Nardone. One of the assignments was submitting short stories to online journals. And I did! And mags published things!

Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Olivia Bing

What inspired you to start writing?

Drawing gives me carpal tunnel, so I must externalize my thoughts through other mediums. More importantly, I was first inspired by great stories that kept me reading till the sun came up. I wanted to write like those authors and create exciting worlds and loveable characters.

Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Mike Chen

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always just loved creating stories. When I was a child, I would draw my own comics based on things I was a fan of – mostly science fiction shows and movies (shoutout to anyone who remembers the anime epic Robotech). As I got older, I learned to refine this skill in prose, and the creative writing class I took at UC Davis during my senior year was transformational.

Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Addie Tsai

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve written poems since I was eight years old. In third grade, I won third place for a Mother’s Day contest. So, initially, I wrote poems for my mother and stepmother. But it wasn’t until I wrote a poem about childhood trauma for an English class assignment in high school that I connected to writing as a practice to make sense of the most troubling experiences I was facing.

Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Scott J. Moses

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve written for as long as I can remember, but the instance that made me want to take it seriously was in middle school. We were assigned the task of writing a fictional short story. Any genre, theme, etc. I spent five hours on it and experienced “flow state” for the first time. I read somewhere that whatever gets you there, in that state where the task at hand is all you can think about, where all else melts away for a while, should be something you take seriously. Something to give you purpose and a way to make sense of the world for yourself.

Asian Heritage in Horror Month: An Introduction by Ai Jiang

What does it mean to be API/AANHPI?

I suppose I will take a more personal approach to this question, as it is definitely one that has persistently popped up throughout my life. For me, it has always been: what does it mean to be Asian, or more specifically in my case, Chinese? As a child, I was born and spent the early years of my life in China, and even after arriving in Canada,

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Barb Jones

What inspired you to start writing?

Growing up in Hawaii as both a Hawaiian and Filipino, storytelling was a part of my life on my father’s side. Because I loved to tell stories that would scare my classmates, my teacher challenged me to put my stories on paper and to keep up with that challenge, she would submit my stories to different contests that the newspapers and other outlets would have. I haven’t stopped writing since.

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage in Horror Month: An Interview with Jason Tanamor

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always occupied my time with stories through various mediums like television or books. It was escapism for me. It wasn’t until I started watching the cartoon Super Friends that I began to imagine “what if?” type episodes. Like, what if Superman was flying during a solar eclipse? When the moon passes between the earth and the sun, would Superman lose his ability to fly during the obscuration since the yellow sun gives him his powers? What would that story look like? The inspiration comes from stories or narratives that don’t already exist.

NUTS & BOLTS: Interview With Ellen Datlow, Editor and Shaper of Multiple Genres

Over her long and influential career, editor and anthologist Ellen Datlow has played a major role in shaping not just the genre of horror, but fantasy and science fiction as well. During her pioneering stint as fiction editor at Omni magazine in the 1980s, she acquired and edited stories from writers including William Gibson, Octavia Butler, William Burroughs, and George R.R. Martin. Her Best Horror of the Year, on which she’s currently wrapping up the sixteenth volume, remains essential reading for anyone with a personal or professional interest in the genre. In this month’s edition of Nuts & Bolts, Ellen shares advice about the craft and business of short-story writing, geared especially toward beginning writers.

Women in Horror Month 2024: An Interview with L.S. Johnson

What inspired you to start writing? I started reading at a very early age, and like many other writers, I was voracious. I was also a very introverted and anxious only child. Thus my earliest writing projects were fanfiction: taking scenes from my favorite books and rewriting them to include one of my characters as part of the group, as the love interest, as the hero. Of course, this was all before the internet, so it was a solitary exercise, just me and my notebooks, or just writing in my head at night. After a while, it became one of the ways I could get myself to sleep: imagining the words of a particularly immersive scene.

Going from the privacy of my mind to putting those words out in the world, however, was a much more fraught journey, tangled with working-class expectations, a poorly-timed MFA program, and years working in book production. It was only when I finally crashed from the stress of my publishing job that I started writing again, and all the years of reading and thinking about words (and missing those childhood stories) finally coalesced into a voice.

WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH 2024: AN INTERVIEW WITH LILA DENNING

Photo of author Lila Denning

What inspired you to start reading?  I started reading at a young age thanks to Sesame Street and wanted to work with books and reading. I became a librarian after first getting a master's degree in religious studies. After changing my mind about seeking a Ph.D., I got a library science master's and started working in a library branch. Before graduate school, I worked as a manager in a bookstore and managed a comic book store so I have worked with books for a while. Currently, selecting adult fiction is among my responsibilities for my library system.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it? My mother was a huge fan of horror. The first adult horror novel I read was Cujo. I was in middle school and ran out of my own books to read on a family vacation so I borrowed one of my mother's books.

Women in Horror Month 2024: An Interview with Sarah Walker

What inspired you to start writing? Temporal lobe epilepsy inspired me to begin to write. I have temporal lobe epilepsy and the specific kind I have gives me constant anxiety. Things like heartbeat acceleration for no reason, shaking, memory disorders, and unwanted images in my head, (kind of like dreaming) and my favorite, not recognizing places or familiar faces that I should. It is not a pleasant feeling. It is distracting. It is also frightening. For a time, it ran me. I wasn’t able to do much other than get pummeled by my own bleeding brain. But then something magnificent happened. I learned early on that I could temper it if I did something creative. I discovered it was a ravenous electrical beast. It did not care what it did to me, it only wanted to be fed. It had no rhyme or reason. It was governed by things as hidden as the tide. When I accepted there was no cure, I started to understand that it would eat me unless I fed it. It needed to be occupied or it would turn on me. And writing or artwork seems to work best, plus it brings me joy like no other. I don’t understand it. But for some reason it all goes away as long as I do something creative, write, speak, paint. Things like that. As long as I feed it, I am let be.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it? I have always been attracted to dark imagery. I never was a ‘normal’ girl. I rode motorcycles and hiked around mountains and explored mines, and I remember feeling the breath of those mines and how it terrified me, but I remember how this kind of fear felt good. It silenced that real-world losing-my-mind fear that the stupid seizures caused. Growing up away from civilization I think also taught me to love horror. Anyone who has been out in those woods alone will begin to sense there are presences out there.

WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH 2024: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTI NOGLE

Christi Nogle in a cozy Reading Room

What inspired you to start writing? I started writing twice, once in college and then again almost ten years ago. When I started writing in college, I remember wanting to learn to express aspects of my life that I had never been able to talk about. I'd had a strange childhood and wanted to write about it because whenever I'd tried to speak about it, things had never come through properly. When I started writing again later, it was because I felt a strong need to concentrate on some kind of creative work.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it? The wonderful variety of stories being told. I remember feeling very inspired to write again reading Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney as well as the anthology set American Fantastic Tales edited by Peter Straub...

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