Originally posted on The Nerd Daily.
A Nordic thriller in the vein of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Death Wish, Dragon-award nominated and multi award-winning author Gareth Worthington is back with A Time for Monsters [September 28th 2021], a Nordic thriller in which a female serial killer—who only feels emotion when listening to music—is hell-bent on revenge and must outwit a disgraced detective determined to redeem himself if she is to complete her carefully orchestrated plan and cover up the ultimate secret. We chat with Gareth on Monsters, writing, and the move from sci-fi to crime fiction!
A Time for Monsters is your first foray into crime fiction. You usually write action adventures with a science-fiction twist. Why the change?
My agent and friend, Italia Gandolfo, was looking in her stable of writers for someone to ‘write the next Gone Girl’, and she thought I had the chops to do it. I thought about it for a while, and decided to use an idea I had as the basis and so agreed. The rest, as they say is history.
So, what was the idea?
Well, for the longest time I had wanted to write an autobiographical story about growing up in an abusive environment—I endured nearly twenty years of domestic violence in bad neighborhood in frankly a rough city in the UK. Three times I started that book and three times I stopped. In the end, I took all those memories and all that pain and gave it to my main character Rey Blackburn. I made her my what if? As in, what if I’d chosen a very different path in life? What if I’d chosen vengeance? Importantly, I wanted to highlight domestic violence and how it’s normalized and accepted, even today. In the face of global pandemics, wars and racially driven violence, what goes on in people’s homes can seem trivial. It’s not.
Music is a big part of Rey’s character, where she used them to feel any emotion other than anger. How did you choose the songs?
Each and every song in A Time for Monsters really means something to me. I have songs attached to very specific moments in my life and hearing them can pull me from wherever I am into a kind of dark space. Memories long since buried come back and I become suddenly emotional. It’s an odd sensation. There is actually a Spotify playlist for A Time for Monsters. It is an abbreviated soundtrack to my life. You can listen to it here.
Was writing the book cathartic?
Not really. I left behind my anger and hurt a long time ago. And the arrival of my kids shifted any focus from myself to them. What I will say, is that it becomes exhausting sometimes to explain yourself to people—now people can read the book and know. Saves me a lot of time (laughs).
Do you think you’ll write more thrillers?
So, I am working in the sequel to A Time for Monsters now. Not sure when it’ll be ready. But I do like switching genres. I have a medical thriller that released in April with Stu Jones called Condition Black. And I have a sci-fi fantasy book in the works too. I don’t want to become stale!
About the book: After a career disappointment, a young woman travels to Hawaii where she meets a mysterious man over coffee, and in a moment their lives are irrevocably changed. Moments Like This is the first instalment in the From Kona With Love series that releases March 9th 2021 from Rosewind Books.
Kristoffer Polaha is an actor/producer whose movies include the forthcoming Wonder Woman 1984 and Jurassic World: Dominion. He is popular with Hallmark’s fanbase and played opposite of Meghan Markle in Dater’s Handbook. He is also known for his long starring role in the critically acclaimed CW Network series, Life Unexpected.
Anna Gomez is CFO of Leo Burnett Group, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. Born in the Philippines, Anna is an #ownvoices and diverse author. She was recently named as one of 2020’s top female executive role models by Yahoo Finance.
I’m so inspired about Moments Like This, the first in your new Hawaii-set series, From Kona with Love. Can you tell me a little more about the inspiration behind the story?
Anna: I originally wanted to write a love story that was light and fun and set against the breathtaking backdrop of Hawaii. The first book, Moments Like This, was difficult for me to write at first, just because I had never written something set for a specific audience. Kristoffer entered the partnership just when I was starting to put things together: I wanted a strong protagonist who was multi-cultural and real. And then Kristoffer came in with so many great ideas, plus the fact that he used to live in Hawaii – the book turned out to be more than just a light and fun story. On this, we built a series that is going to be entirely different and meaningful.
Kristoffer: The inspiration behind the story was entirely Anna’s, but she had created this world and filled it with characters that I immediately responded to. It was so easy for me to piggyback on her idea and use it as a launching point for my own contributions, which were plenty having lived in Hawaii, because I have a treasure chest of stories to tell about the islands. Writing this book with Anna became the perfect opportunity to share them.
Anna, what’s it like to write with an actor as a co-author?
Anna: Well, I’ve written a few books under my pen name, Christine Brae. They were more women’s fiction type stories that depicted a journey in different stages of a woman’s life. So, I have that under my belt. I’ve never collaborated with anyone before, let alone opened up anything I’d ever written to someone else until full edits have been complete. So, this is a completely new experience for me. Kris is the ultimate creative – whether he is writing a book, producing a movie, or acting in it. So, the only experience I’ve had with him as an actor, is adjusting to each other’s schedules and trying to make it work! We both recognize that shifting gears from our other careers (my full-time job, his acting, producing) takes some effort, and so far, we’ve really been willing to commit as needed.
Kristoffer, how do you hope to bring the characters of Moments Like This to life on screen?
Kristoffer: About six months before I meet Anna I was shopping at the supermarket and saw books that were being sold alongside of the magazines, mostly women’s fiction, and I took down five names of authors that I was going to cold call and ask if they’d like ever consider collaborating. Over the past five years I have built a wonderful relationship with my audience, an audience that loves women’s fiction, so it seemed like a smart move. Plus, I had recently hung my shingle as a producer and there is no greater advantage when selling an idea then when one owns the IP. If you created it, you own it. But I never made those calls. Then I met Anna and Providence made my dream of collaborating a reality. Once we have a built in Kona Series audience with the publication of our books, turning these stories into films will be an obvious next step, especially for a studio that knows the value of a built-in audience.
You’ve both mentioned how excited you are to work with one another. How did the two of you first meet?
Anna: We were introduced by someone I worked on one of the not for profit Boards I’m involved in, who was Kristoffer’s neighbor. Seriously, when it was mentioned to me that Kristoffer was interested in speaking to me even just about presenting the scripts that I had already written for my previous books – I really didn’t pay much attention to it. One Zoom call later, and we were planning to write five books together. Still don’t know how it happened, but I’m not questioning it at all!
Kristoffer: That’s funny, because I always thought that Anna was the one interested in turning her books into films and that she was curious about talking to me to see if I could help her do that. I think we both owe Javier a debt of gratitude for playing match maker. My neighbor, Javier, mentioned he had a friend who was somehow involved in launching a new romance imprint and asked if he could send me her info. He did, I looked at her past books, explored what Rosewind Books was wanting to accomplish regarding taking IP to screen, and it seemed like all the pieces just fit together. The best part of our story, I think, is that during our very first zoom call I pitched the idea of collaborating with Anna and she immediately said yes. In fact, she told me she was working on a book series and then asked me if I’d like to collaborate with her on all five books! It was my turn to immediately say yes, which I did, but I insisted she take the weekend and think about it and talk it over with her husband, Bill, but on Monday she stuck to her guns and we made it official. The rest is quickly becoming history.
Co-authoring a new book—let alone a new series!—is challenging on its own. Then, there’s a pandemic to throw into the mix. How have the two of you been successfully collaborating during COVID?
Anna: Our collaboration has been pretty great during COVID, obviously because I am working from home and Kris has had to quarantine for weeks while filming his projects. We’ve been quite good about staying in touch weekly, throwing ideas out, writing and making sure we are sharing the same vision. We’re actually well into writing our second book (title is still a secret!) and are doing all we can for a November 2021 release date! I never expected a project as huge as this to be so easy. Most of the time, I forget that we haven’t met in person.
Kristoffer: Agreed, this collaboration is one of the easiest and most pleasurable artistic endeavors I’ve ever worked on. Anna is endlessly open to ideas and very collaborative. We’ve also agreed to throw every idea into “the pot”, not keeping track of who wrote what. It’s as if we are playing an enjoyable game of “writers’ tennis” with each other. She writes a chapter or two then hits it back to me where I build off of what she wrote, then I hit it back to her. If there are things that need to be reworked or sanded down to make the pieces fit, we are both happy to make those changes. And let’s make no mistake, this is Anna’s world, so there is quite a bit that I let her take the lead on. She is whip smart and she’s easy to follow. As for Covid, the pandemic has made zoom a normal thing, which is how we’ve kept in touch the entire time. We zoomed while I was in LA, we zoomed while I was working in the UK, and the same while I’m working in Canada. Our biggest conflict has been keeping track of the time zones and when to schedule our zoom calls.
I have to admit that I absolutely love the book cover! Do you have any insights or perspectives you’d like to share on the inspiration behind the cover art?
Anna: OMG, this cover is definitely a labor of love. We had so many iterations of it and had to pick the perfect one that truly reflected our story. Hang Le did a terrific job, listening to two very passionate people go on and on about their concept – and she nailed it beautifully. The cover is subtle and serene; we wanted our readers to feel Andie and Warren in their moments together and to use their own imagination in visualizing the beauty of Hawaii, Oahu in particular.
Kristoffer: Yes, a lot of thought went into this cover. Hang Le just listened to Anna and I talk for about 45 minutes one day on zoom and came up with two totally different options for us that both spoke to the idea of transporting our reader to a far-off place. My biggest concern was that I was wanting a book that will look beautiful on your bedside stand or the coffee table in your home. This book has had three covers, all were special, but the one we ultimately chose evokes personal memories, has texture, and transports you when you look at it. We also have a special treat planned for the readers who will collect all five books of the series.
Last September, Bram-Stoker nominated author Monique Snyman beckoned us into the haunting New England town of Shadow Grove in THE NIGHT WEAVER. Several of the town’s children had gone missing, and no one except Rachel Cleary seemed interested in finding them. The truth about their disappearances, however, was darker than Rachel could have foreseen when she met the creature called the Night Weaver, a nightmarish beastie of legend lurking just on the other side of the town’s enchanted border.
This October, terror returns to Shadow Grove in THE BONE CARVER, the second in Snyman’s Harrowsgate series. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Monique and chat about what’s to come in her brand-new book. Spoiler alert: you’re going to read this one with the lights on, folks.
THE NIGHT WEAVER introduced us to Rachel Cleary, the Crenshaws, a certain dreamy Fae, and—of course—the Night Weaver. Can we expect to see all our favorite characters return to the page in THE BONE CARVER? (Basically, will we get more of Orion Nebulius? Asking for a friend.)
All of our favorite characters from The Night Weaver are making a return in The Bone Carver (Orion included), but we’ll also see some new faces this time around. Some of those new faces, however, are quickly going to become your new favorites, I’m positive. *wink*
One of the things I loved most about THE NIGHT WEAVER was how it seamlessly mixed the essence of young adult terror with the stuff of grown-up nightmares. As the story continues, what can readers expect to see in terms of keeping this careful balance alive?
I hope to continue keeping that balance throughout the series, but it should be noted that Rachel is becoming a young woman, too. So, there will be a gradual evolution in how the story is told. Still, the books will be enjoyable, albeit terrifying for young and older readers. I promise!
In THE NIGHT WEAVER, Rachel went from an unsuspecting bystander to finding herself in a pivotal role in a very dark history in Shadow Grove. So, in some ways the first book was very much an, er, coming-of-age tale (I promise I’m not trying to make puns). I expect Rachel’s grown up a bit, and we will continue to see her grow as she takes on her new challenge in THE BONE CARVER. Can you dish on how her first experience with the Night Weaver will affect her next?
Ha! Don’t worry about it. I guess I wrote The Night Weaver to be a subtle coming-of-age tale without it being too obvious. As for Rachel … Well, as you know, she’s not entirely like normal teenage girls her age and she know things not everyone does. Her responsibilities to Shadow Grove and the residents of the small town are also unconventional and somewhat dangerous. That affects a person, regardless of age. In Rachel’s case, it makes her braver to some extent, and in some cases also a bit reckless.
Last we spoke, you tipped me off that in THE BONE CARVER we’d get to see what happens when the nightmares lurking just beyond the boundaries in Shadow Grove fixate on a single target, and the lengths they’ll go to when they feel … rejected. With the book upcoming, is there anything else you’d like to let readers to expect?
Okay, so without giving anything away: Readers can expect a lot of action, more glimpses into the Fae Realm, a dark twist in Rachel’s personal life, and new friendships being made.
Finally, what can we expect next for the Harrowsgate series? Will there be a Book 3?DEFINITELY! Book 3 is still in progress now, but it’s going to be even better than the last two books. The Harrowsgate Series will run over 8 books, so there’s still plenty of adventure and terror to come.
Originally posted on The Nerd Daily.
We chat to author Cerridwen Fallingstar about her new novel, Broth from the Cauldron, which releases on May 12th. She chats about how she decided what to put in her novel, how she found writing a memoir over fiction, and much more!
Hi Cerridwen! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I have been fortunate to lead a life doing what I love, which is guiding people more deeply into magic, mystery, and the sacred through my teaching and my writing, and also through private counseling where I get to help people wrestle through their obstacles to awareness. My husband Elie used to say I reminded him of Sacajawea, leading expeditions through the wilderness. I was also fortunate to be married to such a marvelous man, for almost 26 years before his untimely death. We still communicate. I am blessed with a splendid son, Zach, a wonderful daughter-in-love, Loryn, and two mischievous sprites, Ruby and Zoe, my grand-daughters who just turned three, as well as some dear friends, some of whom you will meet in my book.
You wrote in your introduction to Broth from the Cauldron, “Stories simmer in our minds, often for years.” With a lifetime of lessons and so many unique experiences to include, how did you go about selecting those that you wanted to include in this book?
Many of them are teaching stories that I have used over and over in my classes. I use these stories to demonstrate to my students that our spiritual growth is not found outside of our ordinary human lives, but within them. And I use them to show my students that I am fallible; I show my vulnerability—not in a way that makes them responsible for healing me, just in a way that makes me authentic and accessible. If you want to make money, you present yourself as an infallible guru and manipulate people. Our culture is so abusive and controlling, people will almost always fall for that. But if you actually want a healthier, more functional world, if you want to truly help heal people and guide them to their true power—then honesty, and humor, and heartfulness are required.
Many of the stories included in Broth are deeply personal—which elevates the book from a collection of essays into something that feels so genuinely heartfelt and inviting that the experience of reading felt more like having a very warm conversation with a close friend. How did you find that perfect balance sharing so much of yourself with your reader with writing about such intimate personal moments of your own life?
That’s so kind of you to call it a perfect balance. I worked hard to try to provide, or imply, a ‘moral to the story’ without being preachy. It is such a balance for all of us to strive for, this union between the head and the heart, the spirit and the will. Lots of rewrites and the occasional insight from a friend or editor, letting me know when I missed the mark and needed to try again.
I know you also write fiction, and other narrative nonfiction. How was this memoir experience similar? Different?
Memoir is a lot easier to write than fiction because the memories are mostly floating around like leaves on the top of a pool—easily scooped up. The issue with memoir, of course, it that there may be people described who are still living, whose feelings might be hurt. There were chapters that I agonized over keeping in the book for that reason. Of course, I can and do change people’s names if I think they might not like how they are portrayed. The thing is, I know from experience that there are readers out there whose lives may be changed—or saved—by some truth that I write. But only if it is the truth; a lie, however pretty, does not have that power. Our culture encourages us to bury unpleasant truths, to paper them over with addiction and denial. There is a popular meme that encourages us not to tell the truth unless it is kind. But I believe that ultimately, the truth is always kind. Denial is what is killing us. And the truth will set us free.
There are so many wonderful lessons in Broth, and so many clever bits of compassionate wisdom that stuck with me, personally, that I could list off a dozen things that I will stay in my heart from this book. However, if you had to give your readers one takeaway that you hope they keep from this book, what would it be?
None of us want hard things, none of us want grief, failure, loss. The children’s stories in our culture almost all end at marriage; the ‘happy ending’. But in reality, there are no ‘happy endings’. There are happy beginnings, and happy middles. But endings suck. There is a Shultz cartoon of Charlie Brown and Lucy that I love, where Charlie Brown says, “Well, life is full of ups and downs,” to which Lucy shouts, “I don’t want ups and downs! I want ups, and upper ups!” The American dream is just that; ups and upper ups. But the downs, what I ruefully call ‘the unguided tour of the underworld’ –the downs are where the depth is. As Emily Dickinson wrote, ‘To comprehend a nectar, requires a sorest need.’ Spirituality reaches for the heavens, but soulfulness grows in the dark. Again, we don’t have to like loss, or court it. But we can believe that, as Rumi said, ‘There is a secret medicine, given only to those who hurt too hard to hope,’ and watch for the medicine inherent in every loss to emerge.
I think you might agree that everyone—regardless, perhaps, of faith or upbringing—can learn from not only the “teaching stories” you’ve written about, but those that you teach about, which makes the book not only accessible but something very special. With your many years of experience as a Shamanic teacher and Wiccan Priestess, how have you translated your lessons to those who walk a different spiritual path?
Rumi said, “Beyond all ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Take any spiritual tradition deep enough into the mystical and they will start to sound alike. Because, deep within us, we know what is universal, we know love, we know truth. The Dalai Lama says, “My religion is kindness.” Well, what do you know—the Dalai Lama and I share the same religion. Rumi and I share a religion too. Beyond the label for my spiritual path, and the label for yours, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
Lastly, I always like to ask ‘what’s next’? Can you share anything about what you’re currently working on, or other ways your readers might keep up with your next books and/or ventures?
I am currently working on a ‘humor memoir’, similar to what author David Sedaris produces, where the stories are both poignant and hilarious. This memoir is titled ‘Rocket in my Pocket’ and is due out in 2022. You no doubt noticed my sense of humor in ‘Broth from the Cauldron’. It will be more pronounced in ‘Rocket’. My website at www.cerridwenfallingstar.co–that is co, not com—will have further news. Although I am semi-retired, I will still show up to give talks at festivals and events, and I do individual readings by phone or—post covid—in person.
We chat to author Alexandrea Weis about her new novel, The Secret Brokers [Vesuvian Books, April 7th 2020]!
You can find Alexandrea on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also check out our review of her previously released novel, Death By The River.
The Secret Brokers has all the classic elements of a good spy thriller: intrigue, romance, corruption… how did you go about the process of weaving these together into what has the feel of classic noir with a modern twist?
This series came from another, The Nicci Beauvoir Series, that introduced Dallas and his crew of spies. I wanted to take his character into a spin off because I loved writing his cold, edgy personality. I have always loved cold, dark characters, but with Dallas I wanted to write about a man torn between his heart and his head. A man who has tried to change his ways, only to end up with a broken heart, and crawls back into the world of shadows he once occupied. To make him a lost and trying to hide in our modern world seemed a good fit.
I know you’re from the New Orleans area, and you bring some of that N’awlins flair to your writing. What made you choose the French Quarter for Carl Bordonaro’s home and/or inspired some of the interesting decorative flourishes that you described?
Carl Bordonaro is another character I brought over from the Nicci Beauvoir Series. He and Cleveland appeared in Sacrifice from the previous series. Carl is a favorite and based on many New Orleans characters I have known. Having grown up in the French Quarter, I have always strived to flesh it out in my books—to show the real side of the city, and not the one the tourists see. There is a rhythm to New Orleans, a spicy smell and tingling sensation it gives you—or maybe it’s something only the locals feel—but I wanted to embody that in the novel. To help the reader get a sense of the city from the people who live there. And Carl’s home on Esplanade Avenue does exist. I passed it every day for years.
Animals, and Gwen’s relationship with them, are a big part of her character—from her dog Harley, cat Lawrence, and of course, her horses! You are a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries—how does this influence how you write about animals?
Animals are imprinted in my heartbeat. I could not survive without them. I have always been an advocate for all things furry, and in this novel, I got to write about something I did when I was young, rescuing racehorses. One of the horses mentioned in the novel, Whippadu, was mine. I felt it important to educate people about the plight of racehorses in the industry and show Gwen as someone who is a lot like me. I also placed her farm in Folsom, La. not far from my own residence. But being able to write about animals, and Gwen’s love for them, was rewarding.
Just for fun, if The Secret Brokers got the movie treatment and you could pick the cast, who might your dream team be?
Dallas August – Zac Efron
Gwen Marsh – Olivia Munn
Carl Bordonaro – John Goodman
Cleveland – Michael B Jordan
I don’t want to give away the twist at the end, but you did such an incredible job of it that I couldn’t resist asking—who’s the real star of this story, Dallas August or Gwen Marsh?
Dallas, because he is like all of us. No matter how smart, how educated, and how good a spy you are, there is always someone else one step ahead. I also love writing this character. He has so many layers and is so intriguing. He will always be a favorite.
Lastly, what can we expect next for Dallas and Gwen, and the Secret Brokers series?
The next book will grapple with their complicated relationship and their dark world of shadows. We will learn about Gwen’s past, and see more of the day-to-day operations of Dallas organization—his spies, their assignments, and the clients he struggles to appease.
The holidays may be behind us, but winter is still very much in full effect. Recently, I had the opportunity to swap stories by the fire with author Gregory Bastianelli and chat about his brand-new novel, Snowball, which I reviewed earlier this month! Here’s what he had to say for himself and be sure to follow Gregory on Twitter and Instagram, along with at his website.
Snowball contains several elements that readers of holiday horror might find familiar, but you brought an entirely new spin to the tale making it a new dark holiday favorite. One of the things I enjoyed most about Snowball was the way your characters developed, each of their unique storylines converging–and often in expected ways. How did you go about the process of mapping out such an integrated and multi-angle plotline?
When I first began planning this novel, which gestated for quite a long time, I really set out to capture the misery of winter, especially what I’ve experienced growing up in New England. So, as I gathered up my characters for the tale, I applied a different miserable and haunting experience for each of them. Originally, this book started out as two separate stories I planned to write, one a novella about people stranded on a highway in a blizzard and attacked by an unknown force in the storm, and the other a broader approach to winter hauntings involving the embodiment of death in the specter of a serial killer known as The Iceman. I ended up merging both ideas into one story where winter and everything that could go wrong with it played the major part. Once I brought my stranded travelers together in the storm, I needed a way to bring up their past haunts and settled on the idea of swapping stories while awaiting rescue. It’s a time-honored tradition of swapping ghastly tales in a horror story and felt right. The fact that all the travelers had a connection and weren’t where they thought they were was not part of the original plan but developed as I started writing the story. I don’t outline when I write, so a lot of what happens comes about as I’m going along. I take a lot of notes and jot things down, and then pick my starting point and forge ahead. Sometimes I’m amazed at what occurs without any real thought or planning. That’s the magic of writing, I guess.
The relationship between your toymaker and his business partner reminded me a bit of a twisted version of Scrooge and Marley from Dickens’s classic Christmas Carol. You also brought in some other classic holiday folklore with Krampus, and who doesn’t love a cold-blooded (pun!) murderer with your depiction of the Iceman (I keep thinking of Old Man Marley, the Shovel Slayer from Home Alone…just, you know, more murdery). Tell me more about you cast this group of Christmas horrors? Were the connections deliberate, and if so, how did that enhance your story?
Yes, the Scrooge connection was quite deliberate. I certainly enjoyed playing around with some of the holiday tropes. The Krampus figure is something I’d been fascinated with and knew there was no way I wasn’t going to find some way to fit it into my story but didn’t want to make the plot all about the creature. It’s just a great holiday legend that’s a lot of fun. Before beginning to write the tale, I still hadn’t found my ultimate villain for the story and eventually the twisted toymaker character emerged just from my deep thought process over who would be behind all the mayhem my travelers encounter. As far as The Iceman goes, he had always been planned to be a part of the original vision for this story, before it took on an entirely new concept. He still managed to seamlessly fit into the narrative as everyone loves a demented serial killer, right?
Redemption doesn’t come easy in Snowball. If you could have saved one unfortunate victim from your ill-fated Christmas caravan, who would it be, and why?
This may seem an odd answer, but probably Lewis Felker, the Salvation Army guy. He’s probably one of the least likeable characters in the tale, yet one can feel kind of sorry for him and the miserable sad-sack life he has led corroded by alcoholism and psychological scarring. And he is the only one who senses the danger they are all in at the outset but is dismissed and looked down upon by most of the others. The most interesting and surprising character I found to be was the truck driver, Tucker Jenks, who started out as a very minor player, but as the story progressed, his role took on a much larger significance than even I had anticipated. That was a fun surprise.
Interviewer’s Note: I’d have saved Felker, too. FWIW.
I read in your bio that you spent two decades working at a small daily paper (and got to interview Bruce Campbell – I’m not jealous *at all*). How does your journalism background impact your fiction writing today?
It was probably one of the best educational experiences I’ve ever had. Working at a small-town paper, I learned a lot about the functioning of everyday life. I got an understanding of the inner workings of court trials, police and criminal investigations, city government, firefighting techniques, accident reconstruction, business development, political campaigns, education methods, spelling bees, farming, medical issues, weddings, divorces and obituaries. You name it and everyday life is sprawled across the pages of a daily newspaper. And of course, the strange stories and oddities one comes across is nothing but fodder to feed the active imagination of a developing horror/thriller writer. My second novel, “Loonies,” is a dark mystery that features a newspaper reporter as the main character and draws an incredible amount of inspiration from my time working in a newsroom.
Lastly, what’s next? Any new projects upcoming that readers should be keeping their eye out for?
I always have something that I’m working on, though I never like to talk about works in progress. Though I certainly will be thrilled to have something new for readers to hopefully enjoy and I’m very excited at the opportunity to continue working with Flame Tree Press.
Monique Snyman is a Bram Stoker Award-Nominated Author from South Africa. After I had the pleasure of reading The Night Weaver, I had the chance to sit down and ask her a little about her writing process and, of course, what’s next for the Harrowsgate Series.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You don’t need to be the next J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, or J.R.R. Tolkein, so stop measuring yourself by their standards when you’re contemplating your future and career. Be the first Monique Snyman. Be you, no matter what, and also, don’t be so impatient with yourself.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Oh, I’ve always known that language had power. Growing up, I had to force myself to speak a certain way in order to “blend” in better. If I didn’t, I was bullied by my peers. Even today, when I go to my childhood home, I change my dialect and the words I pick are wholly different to when I’m not there. So, language has a lot of power, especially if you need to survive adolescence.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid. I read that book quite a few years ago, but it was such an impactful tale and beautifully crafted book that I still find myself thinking about it.
How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
I’m a Libra, so balance, in general, comes naturally to me. I do, however, take into account what readers enjoy/despise, and allow their preferences to sometimes guide me on my journey.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
I wouldn’t call it spiritual per se; it’s rather cathartic for me to write. I have all these characters living inside my head, an unlimited amount of stories that need to come out, and everything battles for my attention when I’m not writing. So, although I have my writing rituals, and for some it could even feel spiritual in a way, but it’s more of a therapy session for me.
And of course, what’s next for Rachel and clan?
Well, in The Night Weaver, readers got a taste of the horrible things Shadow Grove often attracts, but in The Bone Carver, we get to see what happens to those nasties hone in on a single target and the lengths they’ll go to when they feel… rejected. There are also some new characters being added into the story, but the old ones make an appearance, too. The sequel is a different kind of scary, but scary nonetheless.
Lindy Miller Ryan is an author, editor, and spooky things enthusiast who occasionally makes crafty things and bakes.