Interview with Nico Bell
Hi Nico! Thank you for talking with Fright Girl Summer and participating in Halloween In Summer.
Thank you so much for having me!
Food Fright! We have featured an excerpt on our fiction section, but I want to know how you came up with the concept. I love the idea of unlikely scenarios for horror.
The idea came in response to a submission call from Unnerving. They asked for camp 90s horror vibe novellas, and I knew I wanted to participate. I love horror movies that are “so bad they’re good.” Give me Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes any day! I decided to just go for it and commit fully to an over-the-top bonkers horror story. I wanted to incorporate one of my other passions, baking, into the plot, and before long, Food Fright was created!
We are living in very strange and uncertain times. I have seen a lot of writers mention struggling with focus and creating. With your openness about mental health, are there ways you have been able to cope and still create?
Yes, this is certainly a challenging time. I suffer from depression and anxiety. Honestly, I don’t tell a lot of people about my struggles because I feel as though many people have it worse. But it’s also important to remember that mental health isn’t a competition. Suffering is suffering, and there have been days over this summer that I’ve suffered. There have been days where I haven’t gotten out of bed, where my mind has spiralled and catastrophized menial events, where my personal hygiene has taken a backseat to my depression, but I’ve also had productive days filled with satisfaction and contentment. It’s been a roller coaster.
For me, it’s all about being gentle with myself and respecting what my body and mind crave. Sometimes, that means writing a new story or diving into a good book. Other times, it means curling up on the couch and watching Midsummer for the eighth time. If the creative juices are flowing, awesome, but I haven’t been pushing myself too hard these past few months. Times are hard enough without beating myself up because I haven’t written the next NY Times Bestseller during lockdown.
You have written a very honest essay about eating and body perception during the pandemic and I urge everyone to read it ( You can jump to the essay HERE). I have found myself falling into negative thinking with regards to food and weight gain. Any body positive books you can recommend?
YES! When someone is dipping their toe into the body positive pool, I always recommend Body Positive Power: How to Stop Dieting, Make Peace with Your Body and Live by Megan Jayne Crabbe. It’s a well-researched first step towards loving your body and recognizing the toxicity and lies the diet world feeds us.
But I know a lot of people will ask, “what about health?” I highly recommend following Dr Joshua Wolrich on Instagram for questions related to health. (www.instagram.com/@drjoshuawolrich) He understands “health” is far more than physical. He also shines light on food inequality and how unfair and stigmatising it is to shove the notion of “healthy diets” down someone’s throat when many “health” foods are expensive and not within the budget of some people. He’s a gem, and I highly recommend popping onto his account and taking a look around.
There are tons of resources uncovering the truth about the diet and beauty industry, but these two will get you started and point you in the right direction for further reads.
What do you want to see more of in horror?
Diversity! Let’s open the gates and welcome diverse voices, stories, and characters! Sometimes, this genre can feel very small. It can feel as if there are a few industry giants followed by a few indie break-out stars, and that’s it. In reality, the horror genre is huge with authors from all different backgrounds knocking on the door begging to be let in. So, what are we waiting for? There’s room in for everyone.
Oh, and I’d love to see more female villains! I did a Google search for “Best Horror Villains of All Time” and the men largely outnumbered the women. Let’s try something fresh by creating more women villains.
If you could be a character in any horror film what would it be?
I kinda think it’d be cool to be Dawn from Teeth (2007). I mean, she can, um, devour any man who mistreats her. Or maybe I’d be The Girl in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, which is an Iranian vampire movie where the female vampire hunts and kills evil men. I think I see a pattern forming in the type of character I’d like to be.
Self-promotion time! How can we follow you, what do you have coming up, and what are your current projects?
Thanks so much for having me! Right now, my debut novel Food Fright is available on Amazon. I also have a drabble in Dark Valentine Holiday Horror Collection (2020). You can follow me on twitter and Instagram @nicobellfiction, and you can learn more about me and my writing on my website www.nicobellfiction.com