The One That Got Away

Carmen Baca - Catherine McCarthy - Dawn DeBraal

Carmen Baca

How long have you been writing?

 

I wrote all my life academically. Writing for myself was sporadic due to my career as an upper level English teacher, but I did write my first manuscript during the two months of summer vacation in 1992. When that book published in 2017, I thought it would be my one and only. A few months later, I discovered I had more stories to tell, and I’ve been writing ever since.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

 

I have discovered that my stories appeal to a more diverse audience by being published through Kandisha Press and other horror or paranormal anthologies. When several reviewers praised my stories, I was thrilled that I had reached a wider demographic of readers. Never in my wildest thoughts did I ever think I’d be one of the “women in horror.” I am honored by the title and look forward to writing more of this genre.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

 

Those first few weeks of March hit me hard, but then I found escape from the real world anxiety in my imaginary worlds. The idea for my next book ignited my writing again, and between working on that, I published my fifth book and twelve short pieces in magazines and anthologies.

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

 

My dream includes continued good health for my family and me. For me, the author, I intend to publish my sixth book, and since I have seven short works already accepted for 2021, I hope to increase that number. Perhaps I can even publish my seventh, depending on what the year holds. 

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

I would like to see more women join the horror community. I’d also like to see more psychological horror. Because I write through regionalism, I’d love to see more tales based on folktale characters from different cultures.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

I’ve already published in several, including historical fiction, speculative fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction, paranormal, magical realism, Christian, among a few others. I’m not sure there are other genres I’d like to explore, perhaps finish my memoir one day. However, I do want to experiment with styles, like using more than one POV, perhaps second person POV in a short story or two, intercalary chapters, that sort of thing.

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

 

You never know what you’re capable of in writing, so experiment with the darker side of your imagination and see where it leads. I never thought I’d be writing horror until I wrote my first story and became hooked by the genre.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

After teaching a variety of English courses over 36 years, Carmen Baca retired in 2014. She published her first book in 2017 and followed that by publishing 4 more by 2020. Between books she enjoys publishing short stories, essays, and articles in a variety of genres. Her first book, El Hermano, placed third in historical fiction, and her third book, Cuentos del Cañon, received first place in fiction anthology by the NM-AZ Book Co op Awards program. She mentors writers and has assisted five thus far to become published authors. She and her husband enjoy a quiet life in the country at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico.

Catherine McCarthy

How long have you been writing?

I’ve always loved writing, ever since I was a young child, but I didn’t publish my first book until 2015, a middle grade novel entitled The Gatekeeper’s Apprentice.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

On the whole, I must say it’s been a positive experience. I still think it comes as a surprise to many people when they discover I write horror. However, the horror community, especially on twitter, is incredibly supportive. People like Jill Girardi, Sadie Hartmann, The Ladies of Horror Fiction, Ellen and Elle from Divination Hollow Reviews... the list goes on, have worked tremendously hard to raise the profile of female horror writers.

Hardly a day goes by without me noticing the men in the horror community backing us, too. People like Well Read Beard, Patrick and Brennan from Dead Headspace, Brad Proctor as well as those fairly new to the horror community such as Justin Lewis have been incredibly supportive.

Yes, we still have a ways to go, especially as far as traditional publishing goes, but I think we’re getting there.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

To be honest, 2020 was a very active and successful year for me personally. I’m fortunate enough to live in a small, rural community, so to some degree escaped the horror of large demographic living. With so many places closed, I had plenty of free time in which to write. All in all, I wrote sixteen shorts, a few flash pieces, finished a novel, and wrote two novellas. Pretty busy!

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

Literally days before Christmas I received the best news ever... an email from Off Limits Press stating they wanted to publish my novella, Immortelle. So, a dream come true for me. I know I’ll be busy with edits, the launch, marketing etc. but I could not be happier! It’s due to be published summer 2021 by the way. In the meantime, I still intend to knock out those shorts and query the novel that’s sitting on my P.C.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

I suppose I alluded to it above, but I’d like to see more women horror writers published by the big 5. Indie presses are doing it, so why not them?

I would also like to see more marginalized characters represented in a positive way, especially neurodiverse characters or characters with physical disabilities. I still think we pay lip service to such people’s voices being heard.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

I love magical realism and dark fantasy and therefore intend to continue to write in those genres as well as horror.

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

Embrace the darkness inside... it will lead you to the light, like a moth to a flame.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Catherine McCarthy is a spinner of dark tales, which often deliver a sting in the tail.

She has published two novels and a collection of short stories, and her new novella, Immortelle, is to be published by Off Limits Press summer 2021.

Her short stories and flash fiction have been published in various places online and in anthologies such as Diabolica Britannica, Graveyard Smash, and 25 Gates of Hell.

In 2020 she won the Aberystwyth University Imagining Utopias prize for creative writing.

Catherine lives in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse, with her illustrator husband and its ghosts, and when she is not writing may be found hiking the coast-path or photographing ancient churchyards for story inspiration.

 

Discover more at... https://www.catherine-mccarthy-author.com/

Social media links:

https://twitter.com/serialsemantic

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmuypTAKuZbPvgtJr3IMQ7w

Dawn DeBraal

How long have you been writing?

 

December of 2018, I had my first story published.

 

What have been your experiences in the horror community as a woman?

 

I have been well received in the horror community. I think people like a good story, it doesn’t make a difference what gender you are.

 

2020 left everyone feeling pushed to their limit. How are you finding the creative process this year?

 

I did have some trouble when the pandemic first came to realization. But then I watched a video of a young mother with a month-old baby. As she tapped, (a way of self-calming) she said, “I am safe at home.” That hit home with me, I don’t have a newborn to care for, I am safe at home. So, I have become a virtual hermit, only leaving for groceries. I finally completed a story, and the dam of frozen creativity, broke. I’ve been able to write, submitting over 274 pieces this year, of those, 128 acceptances in short stories, poems and drabbles. Writing has become my lifeline.

 

We truly believe in intention setting. What is your dream for 2021?

 

To continue to submit to as many calls as I can. My goat would be to write a novel, but I am not a long distance writer yet, and I haven’t found anything that I have enough to say 60K about! LOL

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

Well payments would be nice. I think I made 20$ last year. This is not supplementing my income! LOL

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

I have gotten into writing stories with ties back into the Bible. Something with a lesson to it. Some of them, The Lord’s Prayer Series are horror, but others, The Beatitudes are not. I love putting the two together.

 

Give a piece of one sentence advice for women wanting to write dark fiction.

Enter as many places as you can, build your reputation!

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Dawn DeBraal lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband Red, two rescue dogs and a stray cat. She has discovered that her love of telling a good story, may also be written. You will find many of her stories in online magazines and published anthologies.

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