We are ecstatic and honoured to be able to showcase our talented authors committed to the Kickstarter "The Earth Bleeds at Night". in these small and fun interviews.
Holley and I had the honour of meeting Christi in person at StokerCon 2023, and we are both thrilled she is a part of this exciting project.
Christi, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I am a horror writer, editor, and occasional teacher from Boise, Idaho. When I was a child, people always said that I would be a visual artist, and I fully believed that I would. I tried to make money with my art after high school and just had no clue how to do it, so I eventually went to college as an art major. I learned a lot about how to draw and paint but still had no idea of how to get started as a working artist, so I went into a graduate program in English and ended up teaching writing in a university for about twenty years. Close to the end of my time there, I grew more and more interested in creating my own work, and that’s when I began writing and submitting short stories.
My 2022 novel Beulah (from Cemetery Gates Media) won the Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel as well as being nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. I am a co-editor with Willow Dawn Becker of the Bram Stoker Award®-nominated anthology Mother: Tales of Love and Terror (Weird Little Worlds) and co-editor with Ai Jiang of Wilted Pages: An Anthology of Dark Academia (Shortwave Publishing). My short fiction collections are The Best of Our Past, the Worst of Our Future; Promise; and the forthcoming One Eye Opened in That Other Place (all from Flame Tree Press). You can also read my work in a number of magazines, podcasts, and anthologies such as Strange Horizons, PseudoPod, and A Darkness Visible (Ontology Books).
What are some of the influences for your horror stories?
Some of the very earliest influences were Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O’Connor, and Ray Bradbury. I recall being exposed to stories from these writers in a junior high English class and thinking I have to find more stuff like this, and then of course soon after that I read Stephen King’s Pet Sematary and Misery, as well as Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, and then not too much later I had a subscription to The Quality Paperback Book Club (this was pre-internet!) that introduced a wonderful variety of authors and genres, including some excellent classic and contemporary horror.
What are some of the challenges or benefits of writing in the horror genre?
I love writing in the horror genre because it’s so broad, with so many subgenres and such diverse perspectives and voices. I feel a lot of freedom in this genre!
One challenge is how often people tell you how much they dislike or don’t get the appeal of horror. I’ve participated in a few general-interest book events recently and have been surprised how often people mention that. It always makes me feel a little uncomfortable and stigmatized. I suppose people don’t understand how broad the genre is and may have misconceptions about it, which is on us as horror writers to think of ways to address.
How do you cope with criticism or feedback from readers or editors who may have different expectations or preferences for horror stories?
Magazine and anthology editors generally don’t interact much with your material unless they are already enthusiastic about it, but I have had some critique partners who clearly preferred a different type of story than the kind I was interested in writing. When I was first starting out, I would tie myself in knots trying to figure out how to address those readers’ concerns while staying true to my own vision. Eventually I realized that was not the best use of my time, so now I generally seek feedback from writers who are already familiar with what I’m doing. They can still be quite critical at times, but their criticism comes from a place of understanding rather than from a fundamental mismatch between writer and reader expectations.
What are some of your writing rituals?
My writing processes and rituals are changing all the time, but I’ll tell you about one thing that’s been working well for the past year or so. I’ll open a document when I start writing for the day, and I’ll just put everything in that one document. Whether I am writing a new scene for a novel, starting a story idea, doing some reflective writing or planning, or other things, it all goes in the one document. Then, in the morning, I’ll arrange the material where it is going to go, and the process of doing that will usually lead me into starting some editing or having an idea for the next scene. The process seems to help separate the generative time from editing, so I’d recommend trying it out!
Where can we find you?
I occasionally teach workshops on various aspects of horror writing, and have compiled a “Getting Started” guide for newer writers here: https://christinogle.com/the-art-of-dread/.
To keep up with what I am doing, you can follow me at http://christinogle.com and across social media @christinogle
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