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Author Interview: Marisca Pichette

Hello. Thank you so much for sitting down to chat with us today.

So, tell us a little bit about you. How did you get into writing?

My older sister, Piper, originally inspired me to write. When we were kids, she would invent elaborate imaginary worlds for our toys (and ourselves) to explore. She created maps, languages, and adventures for us—many of which made their way into my earliest stories. As I’ve gotten older, my influences have broadened to include contemporary authors and my interest in social justice. No matter the genre, my writing remains deeply tied to the landscape where I grew up: in the woods of and meadows of Western Massachusetts.

Without giving away too much detail, tell us a little bit about the story that you have in the Folk Horror anthology, coming out in 2023 with Eerie River? Where did you get the inspiration from?

“Spines” is inspired in part by the folkloric image of the Baba Yaga, and in part by the place of midwives in medieval society. It was important to me to have an older woman as my main character, and really dig into what life was like for her, and everything she sacrificed to help her community. And it was just as important to me to explore what happens when she decides she’s finished with putting others first.

Notebooks or laptop?

  • I use notebooks for drafting, particularly to sketch out ideas or write poems. The process of copying from handwritten to typed is a critical part of editing for me. I feel rhythm when I write by hand that I lose if I type first. At the same time, the act of transcribing helps me to cut repetition and superfluous detail, streamlining the piece.

What books did you read as a child that inspired you to become an Author?

  • My favourite novels as a child were Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, Brian Jacques’ Redwall books, and all things Tolkien. Today, I love poetical and hybrid works that cross genre, including books by Anna Maria Hong, Theodora Goss, Carmen Maria Machado, and Sienna Tristen.

When did you first realize you loved horror and wanted to write it?

  • I fell into horror by accident. That is, I never liked to read or watch horror—but I somehow found myself writing it! While I will consume darker media, I prefer the eerie and creepy to grotesque, slasher-type stories. Growing up, I loved The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Today, I think my favorite horror genre is horror poetry, which can drop you into darkness in just a handful of words.

If you could be any tree, what tree would you be and why?

  • At my family home, there’s a sycamore that is my tree. I picked it out as a child and we planted it in the yard. I feel very connected to sycamores—to their peeling bark and broad leaves—and I wouldn’t be dismayed to find myself reborn as one. I would, however, avoid Magda’s trees.

Any advice for people who are considering becoming an author?

  • We say it all the time, but: don’t give up. Most everyone knows writing takes persistence, but a lot of people don’t realize just how much. Stories get rejected 10, 20, 30 times before finding a home. Publishers blossom and die. Magazines wither. But just as one market crumbles, another is born. Keep going--your words will find their audience. If that audience is just you, it doesn’t make them any less important.

It’s almost cliche that authors live on black coffee and hard liquor. What are you drinking right now?

  • Right now? I’m drinking a cup of mulled cider, sitting on the stool in front of the pellet stove because my cat has claimed the armchair. Outside it is raining, cold and dreary. I love it.

Marisca Pichette knows trees hold secrets. More of her work appears in Vastarien, Strange Horizons, Flash Fiction Online, PseudoPod, and PodCastle, among others. Her speculative poetry collection, Rivers in Your Skin, Sirens in Your Hair, is forthcoming from Android Press in April 2023. Find her on Twitter as @MariscaPichette and Instagram as @marisca_write.

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