“Magdala Amygdala” presents a different and truly creepy take on both vampires and zombies. What inspired you to write it?
In 2011, I was working the weekend graveyard shift in a computer data center at a large computing firm. The night shift can do terrible things to your brain after a while, because often you just don’t get the right kind of sleep (if you can sleep at all during the day; I never got the hang of it), and it kills your social life dead. I felt disconnected and zombified, and my short-term memory was starting to slip.
My story came out of that experience. Specifically, it emerged because I began my wondering what if I’d been put on that shift precisely because I was some kind of monster who couldn’t be allowed around normal people.
What are the old gods? Aliens, deities, delusions? Or would that be telling?
That would be telling!
You’re known for your humorous writing in addition to horror. Do you find it harder to scare people, or to make them laugh?
I regret that I unintentionally scare people all the time. During the aforementioned night shift job, I ended up accidentally startling every single security guard that worked at the complex; I thought one guard would have a heart attack when I encountered him in a dark hallway. Apparently I walk without making much noise. My husband says I need to wear a jingle bell.
But in fiction, it’s harder for me to intentionally scare people. I can make a story creepy or disturbing or gory, but scary? That’s deeply personal, and subjective; what one person finds viscerally terrifying another will find utterly mundane. Humor is subjective, too, but most people will groan in response to a well-done pun, for instance. I find it easier to layer various types of humor so that if one bit doesn’t amuse, the next one will.
What are you working on these days?
I’m attached to Kickstarters for a couple of anthologies, and if those make their funding goals I will be writing a new noir urban fantasy story and a weird western story. I’ve also been invited to write stories for some other horror and fantasy anthologies that will be coming out in 2015.
But my biggest project is that I’m working with Alliteration Ink to release the continuation of my Jessie Shimmer dark urban fantasy series, so starting in late March I’ll be fairly busy working on the next novel. The first three books in that series were originally released by Del Rey, and I’ve been hearing from readers who want to see more.
If you had to choose between becoming a zombie or a vampire, which would you pick?
If we’re talking about the classic incarnations of these monsters, think I’d rather be a vampire. I spent much of the mid-90s in goth clubs, so I feel I’m prepared. Sure, you have to avoid the sun and give up fettuccine Alfredo, but you still have your mind, and a modicum of self-control, and you’re not leaving bits of yourself everywhere. Even as a mindless zombie, I think it would be a huge bummer to wake up and find that my arm had randomly fallen off. Yeah, I’d rather be a vampire.
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