The One That Got Away

Amira Krista Calvo - Amy Grech - Ashley Burns

Amira Krista Calvo

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was fourteen, mostly poetry and prose. I fell out of it in my early 20s until the age of 27, when I started writing journalistically and academically about the research in border movement and forensic anthropology I was undertaking at the time, mainly at the U.S. Mexico border. After two years of purely academic writing, I slipped back into fiction and finally grew the courage to start submitting my work to publishers. It took 20 years, but I’m ready for my journey to begin.

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

As I’m new to the community, it has been somewhat easy going so far minus the few online trolls I’ve encountered. As I run a project that uplifts BIPOC / LGBTQIA and Disabled creatives and fans of the genre, I’ve gotten a lot of pushback (all from men) about why I have to “make everything political.” Luckily, spending a few years in male dominated STEM circles has given me thick skin, and I refuse to let my ancestors down by allowing those things to get to me.

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

The creative process has been quite difficult at times, I am not going to lie, but I have felt empowered by the revolution to create narratives for my community and my culture through horror fiction. There were weeks on end where I couldn’t even open my laptop - the physical and mental strain of lockdown coalesced with my ADHD and anxiety / depression took a heavy toll on my ability to write. The truth is, the political struggle for marginalised communities, specifically the Black community, so many people saw for the first time in 2020 has been going on for centuries. These hundreds of years of ancestral trauma has reared its head for a lot of us, and lockdown didn't help. However, this isolation has pushed me to make online connections I never would have made otherwise, and it was the birthplace of my project, Horror Chromatic. For this I try to express gratitude every day.

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

My dream for 2021 is to keep writing, to finally get my novella finished and published and to get my screenplay off the ground. I also want to keep connecting to my roots, to keep supporting and working for communities in need through my creativity and any other avenues I can find. I genuinely believe that representation through creativity can bring about small changes that lead to bigger ones, and I just want to keep being a part of this revolution.

What do you want to see more of in horror?

I want to see more representation for Black and Indigenous Women all day every day, for Trans people, Queer people, and Disabled Women. I want to see more of us telling our stories instead of them being told by abled, white male writers who have their own stories to tell. Also, it is not our job to always be political, and I want to see more acceptance of that over us being told that our work missed an opportunity to be social commentary. We write to create, to empower - we are storytellers, and that is what keeps us alive no matter the tale that we tell.

What other genres would you like to explore?

I’ve never had much interest in other genres than horror for my own personal work - I do love reading true crime, historical fiction and sci-fi, and a few of the ideas I have in my pocket do straddle those genres, so maybe some of that will come with the new year.

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

Don’t hold back - tell your story with absoluteness and reckless abandon.

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

Amira Krista Calvo is a Deaf, Queer, Mestizx author and PhD student at Northumbria University researching child corporeal transgression in 1980s American biological horror cinema. They are a published author in the upcoming anthology The One That Got Away released by Kandisha Press. They are the founder and head editor of Horror Chromatic, a website dedicated to intersectionality and the representation of LGBTQIA, BIPOC and Disabled artists in the horror community. Their work has been featured in Horrorbound Blog, Death and the Maiden, BUST Magazine and The Huffington Post.

 

Amy Grech

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for over 25 years. I When I was just starting out, and wanted to see my name in print, I sent my stories to small press publications, I was content to be compensated in the form of contributor copies. The first and only time I fell for this was with a story I had published in a publication called 69 Flavors of Paranoia. I quickly learned that writers should be compensated for their work with cold hard cash, PayPal, Stripe, or Venmo. 

I attended Ithaca College in Upstate New York, where I majored in English, with a minor in Writing. One of the electives offered was the Literature of Horror, where I was introduced to the work of Shirley Jackson, Franz Kafka, H.P. Lovecraft, and Mary Shelley.  My first professional to sale to Shade Rupe's Funeral Party II, way back in 1997, catapulted me to professional, working horror writer status.

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

Overall, my experiences in the horror community as a woman have been extremely positive. As a newbie, I felt intimidated by all of the male horror authors gathered together. Several male horror authors came up to me and asked, "Who are you here with? Where's your boyfriend? I would muster up some courage and say, "I'm here promoting my work. Come check out my reading at 3:00 p.m." And some of those guys would show up and admit afterward that I'd managed to scare them.

I received an invitation to attend I-CON a convention that was held at SUNY Stony Brook in 1998, an actual letter in the mail — this was before social media's heyday, though, I did have a website back then — as an author guest and returned several years in a row, it was here that I met the incomparable Linda Addison, one of the rare female horror authors there, and we became fast friends, appearing on several panels together! This was also where I acquired my first handful of loyal fans, who purchased my books and inquired on what I was working on. Such an exhilarating feeling, to be sought after!

 

After several of my stories found homes in various magazines, I challenged myself to send stories to anthologies and have been widely published. Such an honor when Editor Billie Sue Mosiman invited me to submit a story to Fright Mare, an all-female author anthology published in 2016, that featured stories by: Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Elizabeth Massie, Kathryn Ptacek, Loren Rhoads, Lucy Taylor, just to name a few. Twenty authors in all. It's a fantastic compilation that demonstrates that women can write frightfully-good fiction!

 

In the 2000s, I noticed more and more publishers were more amenable to publishing work by female horror authors, and the genre once a boy's club began to welcome women into the fold based on the merits of their poignant prose. Gradually warming up to female horror authors' contributions.   

 

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

 

I’ve really hit the ground running in 2021. “Orange Julius”, will grace the pages of the Hell’s Mall anthology; “Perishables”, a flash piece, has been picked up by Flashes of Hope; and “Cold Comfort”, will be included in The One That Got Away anthology from Kandisha Press. There are some days where it’s difficult to focus and be productive. I think a big part of that is not being able to get together with friends and also my writing brethren IRL. Zoom fatigue is real…

 

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

 

My dream for 2021 is for New York City to regain some of its cultural vibrancy. Broadway, concert venues, and movie theaters are still closed, and restaurants are currently closed for indoor dining. It would be amazing if we could enjoy the arts in person later this year!

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

Definitely more no holds barred fierce fiction that gets under readers’ skin and makes them squirm…

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

I’ve published a horror/sci-fi hybrid, “EV 2000”, in Tales from the Canyons of the Damned that deals with advanced technology gone wrong. New Pulp Press published my collection of noir stories, Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City. I’ve also written a dystopian novella set in the near future that’s in need of a good home. My muse is full of surprises—there’s no telling which genre my characters’ will inhabit—my imagination has free reign…

 

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

 

Follow you muse, explore taboos and tantalize your readers with dark delights.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Amy Grech has sold over 100 stories to various anthologies and magazines including:
A New York State of Fright, Apex Magazine, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, Dead Harvest, Deadman's Tome Campfire Tales Book Two, Expiration Date, Flashes of Hope, Fright Mare, Hell’s Heart, Hell’s Highway, Hell’s Mall, Needle Magazine, Scare You To Sleep, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, Tales from The Lake Vol. 3, Thriller Magazine, and many others.

New Pulp Press published her book of noir stories, Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City.


She is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers who lives in New York.

 

You can connect with Amy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amy_grech or visit her website: https://www.crimsonscreams.com

 

 

 

Ashley Burns

How long have you been writing?

I feel like I have been writing my whole life in one way or another. It drifted from poetry and song lyrics to actual stories. Stories captivated me in an entirely different way, The past couple of years I have been writing more with the intent to publish rather just writing to expunge the crazy. (Which I still do because lets face it the mind can harbor a lot of crazy! Ha!)

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

Thus far I have received a warm welcome by the women in the horror community. Whether by subconscious design or divine intervention I have mostly only dealt with women run publications or editors so my view may be limited.

 

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

This year I actually seemed to really find my groove writing. Maybe it was the non-stop horrorfest on TV, or the political machinations that ran the gamut of insane, but I was able to carve out a solid routine that felt really productive.

 

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

 

My dream for 2021 is to keep putting my work out there and to continue to improve my creative writing skills. I would also like to complete my short story collection I am currently working on as we speak. And to read as many wonderful books as possible!

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

More international female horror authors. For film I always gravitate towards those type of movies, countries steeped in superstition and folklore. I would love for their voices to have more platforms in the US.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

As a kid I was a diehard Sci-Fi girl. I think it would be fun to dip my toes in far away galaxies, maybe a harem of alien husbands would be nice too.

 

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

 

Let the darkness breathe, explore it like a lover's body.

 

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Writer. Athlete. Musician. I spend most of my time either sitting outside writing, staring off into the woods, or in the gym kickboxing, getting all my violent urges out. I live in Nashville, TN with my son and obnoxious cat, Jeri. To read more of my published work check out the upcoming anthology "The One That Got Away" from Kandisha Press and Eerie River Publishing's new anthology coming out this February.

 

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