Horror & Dark Fantasy

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Martin Cahill

“It Was Never the Fire” started off with an image of a boy eating smoke. I knew in my gut that that was all he ate, and if he ever ate anything else, he wasn’t going to show me. I knew he had secrets, and I knew he wasn’t going to tell just anyone, probably not even me. In fact, he wasn’t telling me much at all. You know how characters can be.

Author Spotlight: Nancy Etchemendy

I left Nevada in 1976 and I’ve lived in a number of other places since then, but none have affected my writing more powerfully. I think it’s pretty common for writers to feel an emotional attachment to settings where they spent big chunks of time as children or young adults. But I don’t just have an emotional attachment to Nevada; I’m in love with it.

Author Spotlight: Dale Bailey

Virtually all my stories are written intuitively. I don’t really choose narrative strategies consciously—I just see where the story takes me. This makes for lots of interesting course corrections along the way, alas, and more than a few abandoned fragments. (Maybe I should outline.) But I will say that I don’t like stories that over-explain themselves.

Author Spotlight: Bones

For the most part, my time beneath the priory was a void, the rats merely there to keep my bones free from cobwebs and other detritus of the usual sort one finds in limestone abysses. But after the initial disturbance in 1923 and the ensuing explosion, in those decades during which I lay exposed to the merciless sun, there was an albino rat whose ministrations I recall with fondness.

Author Spotlight: Nathan Ballingrud

I was very much thinking of the Dracula paradigm. I even wanted to include the mist and the turning into a bat. Of course there wasn’t a place for that, and that’s probably a good thing. But I was committed to the idea of a vampire being a merciless predator which relied on seduction to capture prey. The challenge was to do that in a way I hadn’t seen done before.

Author Spotlight: Genevieve Valentine

For me, sin eating is particularly interesting as a perceived supernatural ability exactly because of the balance of revulsion and power involved—the actual ability is both incredibly powerful and completely terrifying. And that’s one of the questions the story poses; if you’re born into an expectation of that magnitude, with such compulsion for doing it and such consequences for refusing, what does it mean to refuse?

Author Spotlight: Glen Hirshberg

This story is one of the very few I’ve written that was inspired by another writer—or, in this case, another writer’s dreams. The fabulous Norm Partridge told me once about a work dream he’d been having about a figure who emerged from an elevator late at night, crossed to Norm’s desk, and said, “I am coming to live in your mouth, because you never have anything to say.” Norm said he was way too scared of the phrase to use it.

Author Spotlight: Isabel Yap

I wrote this for week three at the Clarion Workshop last summer. I kept trying to write another story that I had fleshed out more, but it was going nowhere and I needed to submit something the next morning. I put that story aside, went online, and pestered my best friends back in Manila to tell me the ghost stories they remembered from our Catholic girls’ school.

Author Spotlight: Kat Howard

I think death and grief are huge things, and when there is something huge, it can break language. We all know that, “I’m so sorry for your loss,” no matter how genuinely meant, no matter how much love is beneath those words, is never enough.

Author Spotlight: Gary Braunbeck

Yes, I have an idea what his life was like, but in the microcosm of the story, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is how this man reacts to the current circumstances, whether or not he rallies or crumbles … it’s what his reactions in the moment reveal about his true Stuff.