The One That Got Away

Gwendolyn Kiste - J. Snow - Janine Pipe

Gwendolyn Kiste

How long have you been writing?

 

GWENDOLYN KISTE: I’ve been writing since I could basically hold a pencil. I was probably around five years old when I first understood that writing was a career you could choose. As for writing professionally, I really committed myself to that in 2012. I spent a year writing a book that will never see the light of day (mercifully), and another year really honing my skills with nonfiction writing. Then I started sending out my fiction for publication in 2014. It’s strange that it’s been almost a decade now, because it seems at once like I’ve been a professional writer for a minute and a whole lifetime.

 

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

 

GK: In general, my experiences have been positive. I’ve found a lot of support, and it’s been heartening. There are so many amazing writers in the community who are really doing so much positive work. That being said, though, I’ve definitely been harassed, both online and at events, and it’s come from both men and women. Fortunately, those people are the exception, not the rule. I’m an eternal optimist, and I will say that I do believe this is a good community for women writers and that it only continues to get better, mostly because we keep supporting each other. That support is what’s going to make it better for all of us as well as better for all the writers to come.

 

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

 

GK: With everything going on in the world right now, it’s challenging to make room for the creative process. I’m writing regularly, but it’s still hard. So far in 2021, it’s been every bit as difficult, if not more so, to focus. I’m hoping that things will get better soon, but then I always hope that. In the meantime, I try to make time every day to write and research and write some more. My next book is nearly finished, so at the very least, that daily dedication is paying off.  

 

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

 

GK: I would like to be happier writing. I feel like the past year in particular has made writing less enjoyable at times for me. There’s been so much in-fighting in the community, and that definitely has diminished a lot of people’s joy, it seems. I also think there’s an ugly expectation put on women that we need to respond certain ways (as in, basically fall in line because someone tells us to), and social media especially pushes us to conform constantly. So many people say they’re advocates for women, but when it comes down to it, some of those people really just want to bully women into doing what they say, and sadly, that applies to the writing community as well as the internet and the world as a whole.

 

At any rate, I’m working on doing my best to ignore bullies and get back to enjoying the writing process. I love the horror genre so much, and I’m so happy to be able to be part of the genre. I would like to work harder to focus on that.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

GK: More women in horror, and more diversity overall. The genre is by far at its strongest when everyone is included and everyone is heard. We’re getting better at it in horror; I’ve seen so much progress over the seven years I’ve been in the community. But we’ve got to keep that going and ensure we’re publishing and reading as many diverse authors as we can.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

GK: Honestly, I’d be glad to stick to horror and dark fantasy exclusively. If I never stray from the horror genre again in my career, I will be one very happy writer.

 

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

 

GK: Keep writing what you want to read, and never sacrifice your voice, because that’s what makes your work so incredibly unique and worth reading.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens, Boneset & Feathers, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, Pretty Marys All in a Row, and The Invention of Ghosts. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vastarien, Tor's Nightfire, Black Static, The Dark, Daily Science Fiction, Interzone, and LampLight, among others. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts. Find her online at gwendolynkiste.com

J. Snow

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing all my life.

 

As a kid I couldn't begin reading a story without putting it down to start my own after a few chapters. A few years later, I'd reread then burn my work in disgust. Perfectionism is a disease.

 

In eighth grade, we had an assignment to write a short story as a group. I made it a one woman project and thirteen pages later, I was reading it on stage.

 

My first year in college, we were instructed to write an autobiographical piece. My professor asked to help me write the book from the small excerpt I submitted, but I wasn't ready, am still not ready, to relive those nightmares.

 

On a professional scale, however, I have been an active writer five years. I was lucky enough to have my first sub published, and it turned a hobby into a passion.

 

I had been told all my life making it as a writer is as impossible as becoming a movie star. I never dreamed of becoming a published author. Several stories later, I find myself doing an interview for a 'Women in Horror' anthology release.

 

What I wouldn't do to see all those pages of ash I scribbled during my early years.

 

 

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

I did notice, when first beginning, a slight cringe when some publishers realized I was a woman writer. I could almost feel them put my pages on the back burner. Perhaps it's paranoia, but for this reason, I changed my first name to an initial and keep gender neutral in general queries/sub calls and during conversations. I've faired pretty well since.

 

As a sex abuse/neglect /abduction survivor, I possess a gift, I've been told, to bring psychological thrillers to life in a unique way. I can see through the eyes of monsters. Much of my work is pulled from personal experiences... Horror is real.

 

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

 

Isolation is comforting to me. I am a creature who does well with but a handful of contacts. If anything, 2020 would have helped flourish my writing career if not for other personal traumas that kept it stagnant.

 

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

My dream is to complete 'Dear Meat' as a screenplay and get it into production. I would call it more a 'need'. I fear it will become non-fiction.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

Realism. Just keep it real, people. Some go too far over the top trying to outdo gore for gore's sake. Horror is a mindset, not a crimson-splashed scene.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

n/a

 

 

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

 

Role play your characters in your mind, live them mentally, feel what they feel, see what they see, then bring them fully to life in ink.

 

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

J Snow pens psychological thrillers and tales of terror (and sometimes poetry). Her work has been described as disturbing, visceral, haunting, evocative. Pulling inspiration from personal experience as a survivor, her writings provide readers a peek inside the splintered psyche of a trauma victim. Snow's unique insight into the narcopathic mindset also helps her breathe life into harrowing yet multifaceted characters which have both horrified and fascinated those of conventional morality for generations. Not only is J Snow creator of the Scribblers Chambers online writing community and founder/editor-in-chief of the literary journal, Blood Puddles: Night Terrors and Daymares, but she also holds memberships with P&W, WPN, and NWU. Her published works include two in a best selling series of Hellbound Books, one in an award winning Author's Tale collection, others by Horrified Press, Zombie Pirate Publishing, Nothing Books, The Horror Zine, Sirens Call, Soft Cartel Magazine, Ariel Chart, The Indian Feminist Review…

 

Janine Pipe

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing in one form or another since school. It began with a poem about being followed by a stalker when I was about 13, progressed to Point Horror homages which only I ever saw and culminated in non-fiction travel writing for a long time. Then, around 18 months or so ago, I decided to try fiction again and I knew it would be horror. Write what you know, write what you would read.

 

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

I witnessed the stuff that went down with all the sexual harassment in our ‘family’ last summer and then the fallout on social media. I am extremely thankful that I have not experienced any of this first-hand, nor feeling treated as an oddity within the community. Since I tend to write quite splatterpunk and extreme stuff, I was worried I might face hostility and resistance from the ‘Old Boy’s Network’ but I have been very lucky and have had nothing but support from people, male and female.

 

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

this year?

For a time, we were in full lockdown and I was home-schooling. That was tough. I barely had enough energy left at the end of the day to drag myself to bed let alone write. But things gradually got better and safer and I was able to find more of a routine, working around my kid and my day-job. Sometimes I have to force myself to find time to write, sacrifice watching a movie etc. but it is more of a practical struggle rather than creative for me.

 

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

Well, I have a few. Asides from the cliché of hoping COVID shifts its ugly ass and we can start to get back to some sort of normality, I have several writing goals and dreams.

I would like to make major headway on my collab with our very own Jill. I want to have my slasher novella finished and ready to sub out. I hope to have subbed and had some shorts accepted. I’m sure the booktube author interview series I’m starting with Ben Long from Reads Vicariously will be awesome and it would be amazing if that becomes something more permanent for us.

And I have another project which I am not allowed to talk about … First rule of Write Club is, we DON’T talk about Write Club … lol.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

I am very boring when it comes to the horror I write and read, I like my trad stuff like creature features, werewolves, slashers etc. I think that sometimes we worry readers will get bored so we try to spice things up, twist them, create our own worlds and lore. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I would like to see more traditional horror tales coming back. Plain old lycan and serial killer slasher or wrong turn in the woods stories work time and time again for a reason.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

Being an ex-cop, I would like to write a thriller at some point. It would still be extremely dark fiction, akin to Thomas Harris or Dennis Lehane. But it would be fun. Tim Meyer is someone I massively enjoy reading and his shift into thriller has been amazing.

 

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

Just go for it, anyone can write horror especially if it comes from the heart.

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Janine Pipe is a Horror lover and writer who was first introduced to the genre by her ghost story telling dad – and she hasn’t looked back since. Citing Glenn Rolfe and Hunter Shea as her favourite current writers and mentors, she likes to shock and create twists and turns. There is usually a lot of gore and plenty of swearing …  She is very thankful to her biggest cheerleaders, her husband and daughter and reviews for Scream Magazine, Beyond the Veil and is a friend of Night Worms.

You can find several of her short stories at Kandisha Press, the charity anthology, Diabolica Britannica, 25 Gates of Hell, and Campfire Macabre from Cemetery Gates Media. She is currently writing a splatterpunk vampire hunter novella and an 80's slasher. You will also find her podcasting with fellow Brit and indie author, Lou Yardley on Cryptids, Crypts and Coffee or buddy-read reviewing and interviewing with Ben Long on her YouTube channel.

Check her YT here – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC32B_iUm0Kxy95mcsPfr-QQ

Follow her on Twitter – www.twitter.com/disneynine

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