The One That Got Away

Shawnna Deresch - Villmey Mist - Yolanda Sfetsos

Shawnna Deresch

How long have you been writing?

 

I’ve been writing my whole life since I could pick up a pencil. My mom always said I loved to tell stories. And one of my first memories is of her baking and me standing on a step stool next to her jabbering on and on about a story of a little girl and her adventures. I loved telling her stories.  I don’t think it comes as a surprise to my family and friends that I still love to tell stories and to write them down so others can read them.

 

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

 

Even though I am newer to the horror writing community, I’ve always read horror books.  When I was younger, I struggled to find other female horror writers. This was before the internet. Men defined the genre and women were often dismissed with many of the female writers feeling that they needed to either reclassify their books under a different genre or even using men’s names as a way to disguise that they were women. Yes, there were women like Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Shirley Jackson, Daphne DuMaurier, but they were the exceptions. Now that I’m older, I’m back to my first love, writing. I’m seeing an explosion of women horror writers who are reinventing the genre and I’m proud to be a part of that. I’m seeing more women lift each other up and coming to together to help not just herself but also to help other women make their marks in the horror writing community as well.

 

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

 

I’ve always used my writing as an escape from the real world and now isn’t any different. I’m finding that I am writing even darker fiction than I normally had which probably means all the stress and anxiety of 2020 is coming out of my subconscious and onto the paper.   

 

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

 

Every year I would pick a word of the year, but this year I’ve decided to set more of a mantra which is “to let go of resistance, to let go of old patterns that don’t serve me, and step out of my comfort zone”. 

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

I would love to see more diversity and inclusion. There really is room for everyone’s voices to be heard and I’m hoping the horror writing community can come together and make that happen. 

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

Something that I recently discovered and started reading is historical fiction. I've always been fascinated with Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra and their romance along with their involvement with Rasputin and the Russian Revolution as the backdrop. It was something I studied while in high school and that piece of history has always stuck with me.  And after having read Alma Katsu’s The Hunger and The Deep, I would love to be able to write a historical fiction about the Tsar and Tsarina with a twist of horror. I guess that’s not really a different genre but more like mixing two genres together.  

 

Also years ago, I was interested in writing a true crime biography much in the same vein as Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and before her like Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me:  Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story. I’ve been obsessed with true crime my whole life. I love trying to understand why people do what they do.

 

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

 

Never, ever settle. Don’t ever give up your writing because of the world’s expectations toward what the world says life should be. Sometimes it’s okay to have your head up in the clouds. Write what you love and don’t let anyone make you second guess your gut feelings.

 

Sorry, that’s more than one sentence. But what I wrote is from personal experience. And it’s what I tell my children all of the time about never settling.  And I just want the younger women writers to keep kicking ass and breaking down more doors.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Shawnna Deresch has been crafting scary stories since she could first talk. Her love of horror began when she was a child watching horror movies with her father and now as an adult is obsessed with anything horror related. She's a lover of paranormal investigations and loves checking out cemeteries and old buildings.

 

She travels extensively and splits her time between the Chicagoland area and anywhere down south where the temps don't go below 80 degrees. She lives with her three children, two black rescue cats and one blue-eyed puppy in a condo near the beach of a big city. 

 

She is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and is the Chairperson of the Chicago Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.  Her short story, Little Sally Ann, will be out in Kandisha Press Women of Horror Anthology Volume 3 available February 2021. You can find her on Twitter: @shawnnaderesch or on the HWA Chicago Chapter on Twitter: @ChicagoHWA.

Villmey Mist

How long have you been writing?

 

I’ve been writing since 2016 when I started drafting my first novel.

 

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

 

Honestly, they’ve been great. I love how supportive the horror community is, especially towards indie writers.

 

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

 

It helped me write my third novel and 10 short stories, despite working full time. Writing really distracted me from the turmoil of the world.

As for 2021, I haven’t started writing anything yet but I’ve got a bunch of short stories planned and I’m gearing up to write book 4 of my vampire horror series.

 

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

 

That my first book will be accepted as an audiobook and that I manage to finish writing book 4 as well as my first horror novella.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

More diverse characters from other cultures. I’ve seen a lot of African culture being mixed into fantasy and I’d love to see more African horror or even Polynesian horror. That’d be so cool!

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

Dark Fantasy (I can never get away from the Darkness) mixed with Urban Fantasy sounds like something I’d have a lot of fun with.

 

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

 

Don’t be afraid to explore the darker things in life. You might find yourself enjoying it.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Author bio

Villimey Mist has always been fascinated by vampires and horror, ever since she watched Bram Stoker's Dracula when she was a little, curious girl.

She loves to read and create stories that pop into her head unannounced.

She reads horror, listens to horror, watches horror and writes horror.

She lives in Iceland with her husband and two cats, Skuggi and RoboCop, and is often busy drawing or watching the latest shows on Netflix.

She has written a vampire horror series. Two of the books, Nocturnal Blood and Nocturnal Farm, are available on Amazon. The third book in the series, Nocturnal Salvation, will come out in 2021. She´s already working on book 4.

Two of her short stories are published in two anthologies, Of Cottages and Cauldrons and Krampus Tales: Killer Anthology by Jazz House Publications.

Yolanda Sfetsos

How long have you been writing?

 

I've been making up stories inside my head since I was a kid, but didn't start writing them down until my early teens.

 

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

 

My experience as a woman who loves horror has changed a lot. Nowadays, there's no problem and most accept and embrace that I'm there. But growing up, I experienced some teasing and shunning, or downright confusion from people who couldn't understand my love for the genre. Still, I never let that get in the way. I like what I like, and never cared what anyone else thinks.

 

The horror community is pretty good nowadays.

 

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

 

I feel refreshed and ready to go. I usually start the year slow--especially since I finished a big revision just before Christmas--but the ideas are there. Percolating and ready to go.

 

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

 

My dream for 2021 is that the world makes it through this pandemic together. And that we learn from this awful experience and come out with more empathy at the other end.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

Personally, I'd love to see even more opportunity. This genre is getting better at that, but we still need more inclusion of minorities and lesser known names. I just want this awesome genre to thrive. ☺

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

I love exploring other genres in my writing, but have yet to write a cozy mystery. And I really want to do that.

 

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

 

Don't let anyone get in the way of your darker, more violent ideas--just write them!

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Yolanda Sfetsos lives in Sydney, Australia. When she's not writing or reading, she's either out walking, watching a movie or TV show, or thinking about all the new dark ideas fighting for attention.

 

Her novelette, BREAKING THE HABIT, was released by Demain Publishing as part of the Short Sharp Shocks! horror series, and her novella THE BONE FACTORY as part of the Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! series. She also has short stories in the UNDER HER BLACK WINGS, GRAVEYARD SMASH, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY Women of Horror anthologies released by Kandisha Press, and a flash fiction piece in Cemetery Gates Media’s, CAMPFIRE MACABRE.

 

You can visit her website: www.yolandasfetsos.com and find her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/yolandasfetsos