>An Interview With Amy Grech
Hello folks we have for you reading pleasure today, we have an interview with author Amy Grech
GNOH – Hi Amy, can you tell us about yourself?
I’ve been writing for 17 years and have sold 100 stories to various anthologies and magazines including: Apex Digest, Fear on Demand, Funeral Party 2, Inhuman Magazine, The Book of Dark Wisdom, The Flash Fiction Offensive, The Horror Express, Space & Time, The Brutarian, Zombie CSU, and many others. Damnation Books published my second collection, Blanket of White.
I have a story forthcoming in Needle Magazine.
The now defunct Two Backed Books published my first collection of 13 short stories, Apple of My Eye, in 2006.
GNOH – So what is the draw of horror?
I was raised Catholic; that had a lot to do with it. The nuns at my Catholic elementary school count scare kids with just one look…Funny, I’m not very religious now.
Horror is an intense emotion that everyone has experienced at one point—we’re all afraid of something: death, rejection, etc. Horror is also extremely cathartic, enabling me to work through my fears without the expense of a therapist! I’d rather get paid to find closure.
GNOH – Do you have a favourite type of horror?
I prefer subtle horror; stories that creep up on the reader and linger long after they turn the final page. I love it when my stories get under readers’ skin! It means my work resonated with them. Striking a nerve isn’t an easy feat. If my readers still feel uneasy a day after reading my work, then I’ve done my job! Likewise, Jack Ketchum’s novel, The Girl Next Door, is one of the few books that actually scared me because he does such a great job of creating a time and place, getting his audience to care about the characters and the consequences of their dastardly deed.
GNOH – What do you love about the genre and what do you hate about the genre?
Horror is such a primitive emotion. Fear is what drives the human race to strive for greatness. Countless stories have been told about what scares us; more are waiting to be told. I love putting a unique spin on a common trope, like, envy, jealously or rage.
One thing I hate is the misconception that only men can write effective horror. When I first starting writing I was one of the few women at conventions. I’d have people come up to me and ask, “Who are you here with? Where’s you boyfriend?” I’d just smile and say, “I’m here promoting my work. Come check out my reading at 3:00.”
GNOH- You seem to be drawn to the short story, what is the appeal of the short story?
Short stories take much less time to write than a novella or a novel; they were a great way to build my credibility, when I first started out, so when other writers meet me at conventions, they would have a face to go with the name they saw in print!
GNOH – Do you have a novel you want to write?
Not yet. I’m still mastering the novella!
Because my work tends to run the gamut from extreme to subtle horror, there are several: coping with grief after the untimely death of a loved one, love and sex, the loss of innocence, murder, treachery, revenge, and the dark heart of humanity.
GNOH – Did you decide on the theme before hand, or did it develop as you wrote the stories?
The themes are tightly woven into my tales; they only surface as the stories unfold…My characters take over when a story is going well; I’m just along for the wild ride!
GNOH – Do you have a favourite of the collection?
The title story is my favourite; it was also the most difficult to write due to the subject matter. The title story actually evolved ten years ago, when I saw a real life story on the news about a little girl who had a terminal illness and the compassionate way her father chose to end her suffering. The little girl in my story, Suzy, is extremely remarkable despite her illness. “Blanket of White” has a profound affect on readers who are also parents.
GNOH How has your writing developed in the over the years?
When I first started writing, I’d censor my work, omitting content I considered too extreme. That really held me back. Sure my stories got published and I built a name for myself, but I was selling myself short for the first few years.
GNOH – Do you feel more confident as a writer?
Absolutely! Now, I know better! I give my characters complete freedom; my first draft is kind of like stream-of-consciousness writing. I’ll set the project aside for a week or so and come back to it with a fresh eye and a red pen. I’ll print out my first draft and mark it up, no hold’s barred.
GNOH – Do you consciously try to write from a female perspective?
Not always. I am the conduit through which my characters take shape. Several of my protagonists are women; I’ve also written from a male viewpoint quite well. My characters reveal themselves to me and I accept them for who they are, for better or worse…
GNOH – You are an active member of the Horror Writers Association, what exactly does the HWA do?
I’ve been a proud Horror Writers Association Member for 16 years now! The HWA is a great organization. They list markets exclusive to their Members. In the 1990s they hosted the Stoker Weekend at the Warwick Hotel in Manhattan; I met a lot of great writers there, including Harlan Ellison, who actually bought me a T-shirt! They also have a wonderful mentor program; published, seasoned authors are pared with fledgling authors to show them the ins and outs of the writing biz.
GNOH –There have a been a few call to arms in recent times, do you think the HWA should be drawn into these or do they need to take a more stand offish approach to appear to be a professional organisation?
You must be referring to the recent Dorchester fiasco! Personally, I think the HWA did the right thing, giving Dorchester an ultimatum, supporting their members by exposing such an egregious breach of trust.
GNOH – How did you come to work with Michael McCarty?
Michael is also an HWA Member. He e-mailed me and asked if I wanted to collaborate on a novella he wanted to write. The initial story idea was his, but he wanted to collaborate with a woman to bring Angel to life! We really clicked; after a while, even I couldn’t tell where my prose ended and Mike’s began! He’d write three chapters and I’d flesh those out. Then he’d send the next batch and so on, until we finished. It was my first time collaborating with another writer; it was an interesting experience, being inside someone else’s head…
GNOH – Can you tell us about Fallen Angel?
Fallen Angel is a ghost story set in the fictional town of Angel Falls, FL. When she turns eighteen, Angel McAllister forcibly endures an incestuous relationship with her father. Angel’s long-time friend and sarcastic, stand-up comedian Uncle Brew pays her a visit to catch up on old times and consoles Angel when she learns of her father’s death. And strange things start happening when she
moves back home.
moves back home.
GNOH – Can you tell us of any future projects?
A novella set in a once-run down neighborhood in NYC, Alphabet City. The story centers on a devious eye doctor, who’s looking to let loose. Things get carried away when he meets Ruby, an 18-year-old writer at Anatomy Bar. They witness the latest crazy among college students, Vodka Eyeballing, where they pour vodka shots directly into their eyes to get drunk faster. Ruby invites the doctor back to her apartment near by. They hook up and he kills her with his scalpel. A couple of months later, he meets Gia, her older sister a piercing specialist/tattoo artist with scars on her face at a different bar. She picks him up and invites the doctor back to the apartment she shares with her father, who has a nasty temper. He beats the doctor senseless in their living room then goes for the jugular with the doctor’s scalpel, payback for Ruby’s senseless murder.
I’m about halfway though. I’ve been working from seven pages worth of notes. I’m also working backwards, which is a first; I wrote the ending first and had several editors tell me the story felt rushed, so I went back and dug deep!
GNOH – Many thanks Amy for taking the time to answer these questions.
My pleasure! Thanks for picking my brain! J
You can purchase Amy’s work