My Interview on Talking With Authors

I do a lot of interviews, I rarely am interviewed myself.

But Curtis Anderson of Talking With Authors reached out and asked me for an interview. I’m so glad he did. We spoke about my influences, Southern Gothic horror in general, and why some people may shy away from horror as a genre. And of course, we spoke about my writing!

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Curtis is a phenomenal interviewer– enthusiastic and engaging, and his questions are thoughtful and fun. For those who are nervous about being interviewed on live audio, he also makes you feel comfortable, and if I may say it… really good about yourself and your work.

Thanks to Curtis for this amazing interview, and for reaching out in the first place. I appreciate all he does to boost and bring attention to our work. Listen to the entire interview below:

 

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Day 3: Ann Petry

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Ann Lane Petry’s birth date is not certain. Some biographers state October 12, 1911, while others list it as October 12, 1908. Either way, she was born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, a predominantly white, rural community. Her family often told stories while she was growing up, and Petry began writing short stories and plays while she was still in high school.

The Street is her most famous novel, published in 1946; it made her the first black woman writer with book sales over a million copies.

As Petry is considered one of the most successful members of the “Richard Wright school” of writing, some overlook the Gothic–the dark and macabre–tones in her writing. In Keith Clark‘s book, The Radical Fiction of Ann Petry (Louisiana State University Press, 2013), Clark compares Petry’s work to Poe’s, saying she has brought the symbolism of classic Gothic into the 1940s. The tenement building becomes a haunted castle, filled with beings bent on destruction. Imagery of darkness, seclusion, entombment, and insanity pervade the work. Even the physical descriptions of characters, both black and white, are monstrous, draping Lutie’s (our main character’s) every move in fear.

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Clark goes on to note the use of dark comedy and the macabre in Petry’s short stories “The Bones of Louella Brown,” a ghost story in which a maid comes back to haunt her employers and “The Witness,” in which a teacher is forced to witness a crime committed by his students.

Over the course of her life, Petry lectured widely throughout the United States, and her contribution to literature was acknowledged by membership in the Author’s Guild and other literary societies, and honorary doctorates from several colleges and universities.

Ann Petry died April 28, 1997, near her home in Old Saybrook, after a brief illness.

The Street  and Miss Muriel and Other Stories are available on Amazon.

 

Film Face-off: Ganga and Hess v. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

I rarely publish film reviews on this blog. I don’t know why, but I started here with books and part of me feels I should–for the most part–keep it that way.

But, I came across a film comparison I did a little while ago and I realized I never shared it on this blog. How I missed doing that, I have no idea.

I wrote this film face-off for The Horror Honeys and I recommend you check out their site.

It’s my comparison of cult classic Ganga and Hess with its remake (A Spike Lee Joint) Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. And it’s here.

Give it a read. And if you haven’t seen either film, well… you know what to do.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror — A Release

It is finally here!  Seems so long since I’ve posted about my own book release.  This one is especially close to my heart as it is a collection of Southern Gothic horror short stories inspired by my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

The final cover for Spook Lights. Man, this went through about seven versions...
The final cover for Spook Lights. Man, this went through about seven versions…

Not familiar with Southern Gothic?  It’s a genre of Gothic fiction unique to American literature set in the American South. (Although I’ve taken a few liberties…) Commonly featured are characters who may dabble in hoodoo and conjure magic–like my great-aunt. Other characters practice more devious or violent acts. But all of them are deeply flawed, disturbed or eccentric characters. Much of Southern Gothic focuses on the macabre and grotesque. Maybe that’s why I love the genre.

It isn’t all foreboding haunted plantations, either. Also featured are warped rural–and sometimes urban–communities that reflect the morals, or lack thereof, of the South and showcase sinister events relating to poverty, alienation, racism, crime, and violence.

Southern Gothic isn't all marshes and haunted plantations, but sometimes, it is.  I took this picture at my last family reunion.
Southern Gothic isn’t all marshes and haunted plantations, but sometimes it is.
I took this picture at my last family reunion.

Southern writers in particular are said to craft a strong sense of place, where the setting itself becomes a character and the human characters may be tied to those places. That’s what I hope I’ve done with this collection. Here’s the back cover copy:

Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror:

Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate….

These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated.

Pick up a copy for Kindle on Amazon US, Amazon UK or a paperback copy on Lulu.