Here’s my interview with Dawn Napier, author of “Nine Lives”, one of the stories featured in the horror and dark fantasy anthology, “In the Bloodstream”, now available in eBook and paperback from Mocha Memoirs Press.
ER: Give us a short blurb about your “Bloodstream” story. How did you get the idea?
DN: I wrote it during a very hot summer. There was a major drought going on, and every lawn was yellow and brown, except for a few ambitious souls who kept their sprinklers running constantly. It looked very creepy and surreal, and that was the opening image of “Nine Lives.” The rest of the story just grew organically from there.
ER: Why did you start writing? What drew you specifically to horror?
DN: I couldn’t tell you why I started writing; I wasn’t more than five or six. When I was eight or nine I wrote my first ghost story and managed to scare myself. From a very early age I was drawn to the adrenaline rush of a good scare.
ER: Is writing horror different from other genres? What makes a great horror (or dark fantasy) tale?
DN: I don’t think it’s really all that different. In every story the writer should be looking for the emotional reaction. If it’s a sad story, the writer wants to make the reader cry all over the page. If it’s a romance, the reader should want to start planning a wedding. With a horror story, the writer wants to make the reader leave a light on at bed time.
Good horror should frighten rather than nauseate. It should be an emotional reaction, not a physical one.
ER: Do you have a day job or do you write full-time? Would we be surprised by what you do for a living?
DN: I do work a day job, and people familiar with my stories would probably not be surprised that I work with children for a living. Most of my best work features a child as a major character.
ER: What scares you?
DN: Wasps, maggots, and large unfamiliar dogs.
ER: Tell us a joke.
DN: Schrodinger’s out for a drive when a cop pulls him over. The cop searches his car and says, “Do you know you have a dead cat in your trunk?” Schrodinger says, “Pft, well I do now!” (ER: *Snort*)
ER: What’s your next project? Will you share with us?
DN: I’m about halfway finished with the first draft of Magicland, which is the sequel to my recently released dark fantasy, Storyland.
ER: What’s missing in fiction? What (and who) do you like to read?
DN: Female writers are underrepresented in mainstream horror and science fiction. I know they’re out there, because we belong to a lot of the same Facebook groups, but for some reason there aren’t a lot of women on the bestseller lists outside of traditional “feminine” fiction genres. I love Joyce Carol Oates and Daphne Du Maurier as well as Stephen King, Brian Keene, and Chuck Wendig. (ER: I agree, Dawn. That’s one of my causes: Women in Horror. Check out the WiHM website to find out more about women involved in making horror come alive in writing and in film.
ER: Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?
DN: I don’t really listen to anything while writing, because my brain is a million miles away. But listening to music while editing helps me stay on task. I like Queen, Guns N Roses, Heart, and The Who.
ER: What’s the most difficult part of writing? What do you love most?
DN: Editing is the hardest part, but a close second is about the three-quarter mark, when I’m in the home stretch and my inspiration starts to lag. This is when I usually have to take a break from the Internet and recharge my creative batteries.
ER: I always picture writers with a beverage close at hand. What’s your poison?
DN: Coffee or Dr. Pepper.
ER: Any suggestions for aspiring writers out there?
DN: Grow a thick skin, listen to constructive criticism, examine all criticism and know objectively what’s helpful and what’s not, and KEEP TRYING.
ER: Can’t say it better than that. Find more of Dawn’s wisdom at the link below: