The One That Got Away

Barrington Smith-Seetachitt - Hadassah Shiradski  Stevie Kopas - Ushasi Sen Basu

Barrington Smith-Seetachitt

How long have you been writing?

Either a long time, or about 15 years—depending on what you count! I’ve been a journaler since I was about seven. I recall finding what was probably an old roll of calculator paper and having this intense and ceremonial desire to fill the entire roll with writing. I’d love to find it now and see what I wrote! After reading The Hobbit I started another journal written in Runic 😂. After about 30 years of messing around like that, I went to grad school for writing and began to think of myself more seriously as a writer.

 

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

My story for this anthology, called “Shell,” is my first short story to be categorized as horror, so I’m really just now meeting the community. However, I have written a couple of screenplays that were horror, and have found—no surprise—that it’s a tough arena to break into! In 2018 and 2019, only 22% of the 500 top grossing movies were written by women, but that’s an average across genres, and horror has a reputation for being one of the least inclusive. The statistic in 2018 for women working on horror films in behind-the-scenes roles (producers, editors, writers, directors etc) was 11%, and I imagine that’s pretty accurate for writers specifically. Occasionally I’ll get an opportunity to meet or pitch for a project because I’m a woman. It’s not unusual to discover that about 80 percent of the writers have already been selected, that they are all men, and so now it’s occurring to them to reach out to women for the last one or two slots. That’s an improvement over four or five years ago when it might not have occurred to them at all.

 

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

It’s been a little rough. During the spring and summer I of course began two projects—a short story and a television concept—that take place during a pandemic🙄!  Both are currently in a file, unfinished… you never know! Then I went through a period where I could focus on helping clients or writing to a deadline — but had no impetus to create anything beyond that. I’m feeling good now, though, like I’m getting a second wind.

 

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

Oh, wow.  We’re just putting it out there like that? Okay. I would like to do work this year that is both creatively and financially rewarding at the same time. That’s the wild dream.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

I have to admit to not being widely enough read in the genre to know what’s already out there right now, but lately I’ve been appreciating horror that is socially aware, and also atmospheric stories and stories that incorporate and reframe history. Tanarive Due’s Ghost Stories was a book that hit a sweet spot for me recently—so I could see looking for more work in that wheelhouse.  

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

Because in the past I’ve tended to be someone who genre-hops without much of a plan, this year I’m planning to narrow my focus, and I’ve chosen speculative fiction—which I like to call the three-for-the-price-of-one genre—as my course of further study.

 

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

When you have a memory that makes your cheeks hot with anger or shame – that’s the thing you should transform and use in your writing.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

Barrington Smith-Seetachitt writes for page and screen. Her fiction and creative non- fiction has been published in journals that include Colorado Review, Sycamore Review, Chariton Review, and The Drum. She recently co-wrote a segment for Season 3 of AMC Shudder's anthology series CREEPSHOW. You can sample her short fiction on her podcast, Words to Drive By, or read random thoughts about her life and projects on her blog at BarringtonSmith.com.

Hadassah Shiradski

How long have you been writing?

 

I started writing collaboratively in 2014, but my first attempt at a short story was in late 2017, in response to a prompt to rewrite a fairytale. That story ended up as ‘Piano Keys And Sugar’. Since 2017, I have written several short stories and flash fiction (as well as a screenplay and a playscript), but only a few have been accepted for publishing once I gained the confidence to start submitting my work in late 2020. ‘Piano Keys And Sugar’ will be my second-ever publication, the first being a micro-fiction in Wretched Creations (Inaugural Issue/1.1). I haven’t been part of the writing community for very long!

 

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

 

I wasn’t an active member of the community until as recently as October 2020, so I don’t have much experience to speak of. The horror community has been welcoming to me, although I have seen other female writers speak out about less-than-ideal experiences of their own.

 

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

 

Creatively speaking, 2021 hasn’t been too different to 2020 for me, which is a good thing. I graduated from university in mid-2020, and I recovered from the burnout around October – since then, my creative process has been relatively steady and regular, especially since I am more inspired to write during the autumn and winter months. Since the start of 2021, I have finished writing a novella and a series of micro-fictions, and am now working on several short stories and flash fictions.

 

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

 

I have just finished writing my first ever novella, and my longest piece of writing to date. In 2021, I fully intend to have it published. Short stories and flash fiction are more my forte, so I have also been working on a collection of micro and flash fiction revolving around the natural world and muted horror; I would love to complete it and see it published in the near future.

To have a short story or flash collection and a novella confirmed for publishing would be my dream for 2021.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

I would like to see more stories relying on an insidious atmosphere and implied happenings than on in-your-face horror, and perhaps more horror set in places other than North America.

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

I would like to experiment with Steampunk and Dark Fantasy, as well as more historical horror. I think it would be fun to mix gothic horror elements with these genres; even if it’s already been done, that doesn’t mean I can’t bring something new or interesting to the table.

 

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

 

Go searching until you find a theme that calls to you, make sure to have it in the back of your mind as you write, and try your best to let the words flow with their natural melody.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Hadassah Shiradski is a horror writer from Hertfordshire, UK, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Creative Writing. Since then, she's been spending her time falling down the rabbit hole of gothic fantasy and quiet horror, where she's been making her home. Among other things, she enjoys horror puzzle/platformer games, Victorian-Era dollhouses, mythology, and sea shanties.

Stevie Kopas

How long have you been writing?

 

I guess I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, whether it be poetry, plays when I was little, stories, lyrics and song, whatever you name it I probably dabbled in it. As far as being published and putting myself out there, that’s more recent in the last 6-7 years or so.

 

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

 

I think for the most part I tend to keep to myself. I have a few people that I speak to regularly and trust more than others, I guess I’m guarded in that sense because when I was first starting out I was disrespected by a few people. Not enough to put me off to the community in general, but enough that I don’t go to cons or anything much. And now with Covid, I don’t think anyone does LOL.

 

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

 

It’s not 2020 still?? 2020 for me was a doozy, and so far I’m finding that January 2021 (aka December 456th 2020) is not much different. I have a baby son and so balancing literally anything with him is a task. Like, THE task.

 

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

 

I know this is going to sound really tired, but honestly I’m going to try and be my best self. I need to be for my son and I really need to work on my mental health, physical health, and getting back into more writing and more of my old hobbies.

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

I want to see more women empowerment in horror and I want to see more space horror. Where are all my Dead Space, Alien, Event Horizon, and Pandorum fans?

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

Well my piece for this recent anthology is a space horror, so I’m really glad to have taken a walk in the sci-fi genre. I really want to explore sci-fi more, I mean I’m honestly just such a sci-fi and horror fan that the two are so perfectly married to one another so, purists will disagree, but to me they’re very much the same.

 

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

 

In the words of Shia LaBeouf, “DO IT.”

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Stevie Kopas was born and raised in New Jersey. She is a gamer, a writer, reviewer, and an apocalypse enthusiast. Stevie will never turn down a good cup of coffee and might even be a bit of a caffeine addict.

 

She is the author of bestselling dystopian series The Breadwinner Trilogy, Never Say Die, Slashvivor, and other bodies of work.

 

You can follow her on Twitter @apacotaco, Instagram @theapacotaco, facebook.com/thebreadwinnertrilogy, and her official website is http://someonereadthis.com

 

She currently resides in East Tennessee with her husband, son, and stinky old dog.

Ushasi Sen Basu

How long have you been writing?

 

I’ve been writing since I was 7. I used to make little booklets, and fill them up with stories and illustrations and sell them for 50 paisa to family members. I’m 41 now, and progressed a little bit. 😊

 

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

 

To be honest, I have only recently stepped into the world of horror writing (I’m normally a social drama/mystery writer), but the community I’ve been introduced to on Twitter and Instagram has been warm and supportive.

 

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

 

I think I was doing quite alright creatively till mid-2020. In fact, 2020 was the year I published more than all my previous years put together! However, the end of the year and January 2021 has sent me into a writing slump. I’m in the middle of writing my 3rd mystery novella but can’t seem to make my way to the end of the story.  It is uncomfortable, and only adds to the anxiety and feelings of futility that the pandemic has given rise to.

 

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

 

My dream is that humanity feels renewed after this low point and has more patience and love for each other in 2021 and the years to come. Personally, I wish for a more sorted mental space that allows me to be more productive. And of course, happiness and good health for everyone. (Barring those people who seem to revel in hatred and divisiveness, who only deserve to be chased down the street by gnarly demons. 😊)

 

What do you want to see more of in horror?

 

Unusual situations, storylines. Humour. Identifiable characters. And one can never have enough goosebumps!

 

What other genres would you like to explore?

 

I have already written social drama, a lot of mystery, children’s literature. The last is something I would love to focus more on. Children have a very interesting and fresh view of the world, and it would be wonderful to write from that perspective.

 

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

 

It’s up to you to break female characters out of century-old pigeon holes; that can only be done with nuanced characters of all genders.

 

Please provide a short bio. Thanks!

 

Ushasi Sen Basu has four published works to her name, primarily in the mystery genre. She completed her Masters in English Literature from Jadavpur University, and is a freelance editor/ content writer, when she isn’t writing creatively. Though originally from Calcutta, Ushasi lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and daughter.