October is made for twisted tales, and do we have a collection for you! We’ve talked to six women-identifying authors who excel in the creepy and macabre, the bloody and bone-chilling, to find out what gives them goosebumps. Plus, they’ve each shared a link to their darkest short stories. Here, for your reading pleasure—or paranoia—is part two, “Bride of Scary Interviews!” If you’re feeling brave enough, go back and check out part one, “Scary Interviews!”
My name is MJ Gardner. I am a programmer (which pays the bills) and an author (which feeds my soul). I live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, with my partner, our cat Zoom, and my grown daughter and her dog Checkers. Pronouns: she/them. I have published two books, Evelyn’s Journal and the sequel Joe Vampire. You can connect with me on Twitter @WebDivaMJ or Facebook, or check out my website: http://mjgardner.com
The scariest book or short story I’ve read: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa (tr. Stephen Snyder). It’s a collection of short stories, and in each one something or someone is just a little off, or odd, but each story builds on the previous ones and by the end you are totally creeped out.
My favorite horror movie or show: Salem’s Lot scared me so bad when I was 16, I slept with my grandmother the night after watching it. It has not held up to the test of time. Stranger Things was great in the first two seasons, but now it’s getting formulaic. I’ve been watching Marianne on Netflix, but I have decided I like movies better than series. With movies, you get relief, because it ends in under two hours. With a series, the horror drags on and on, and it’s not that it isn’t well done or still scary, but it’s wearing me out!
My go-to terror trope for sleepless nights: When I was a kid in the late 70s, it was killer bees. They were coming! Migrating north! They never made it. Now it’s the fall of civilization and surviving afterward, like Stephen King’s The Stand.
My number one baddie is: The vampire Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows original TV series), with all his yearning, lovesickness, and fighting off the urge to drink blood; the real horror is not Barnabas himself, but what he is going through. I am aiming for a similar thing in my current work in progress, where a witch has reincarnated herself in a plant-based body.
MJ’s Scary Story: “Ariadne” was the first story I had published, in a university student paper in 1987. It spins off of the Dracula/Renfield vampire trope. I like it because I wrote it in half an hour. It just flowed.
You can read “Ariadne” HERE.
Jessica Guess is a writer, blogger, teacher, and healer. Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Jamaican parents, Jessica was raised around a unique kind of oral story telling. Her own stories are usually of the horror/thriller variety and focus on black girls in horrifying situations. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and runs a blog where she talks about current horror movies and trends. Check it out here: https://blackgirlsguidetohorror.com/
The scariest book or short story I’ve read: Super unoriginal, but the scariest short story I’ve ever read is by Stephen King. It’s called “The Man in the Black Suit.” I read that story right before going to bed one night and ended up sleeping with a knife.
My favorite horror movie or show: The Descent. That movie has nearly everything I want in a horror movie. It’s an all-female cast and all of the women in The Descent fight back right when the BS pops off, but the circumstances are just too great. They are in an impossible situation. It’s about friendship and betrayal. It’s also about motherhood and grief. All that and tons of blood.
My go-to terror trope for sleepless nights: This might not be a real trope but I’d say, “girls who are up to no good.” I count movies like Tragedy Girls, Ginger Snaps, Thoroughbreds, and The Craft in it. Maybe even Heathers counts. Basically, it’s just teen girls running amok. I like that in a movie. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I got to run enough of amok when I was a teenager and I want to live vicariously through them.
My number one baddie is: Hannibal Lecter is my number one baddie because he’s brutal yet elegant, and he’s a great chef.
Jen’s Scary Story: “Mama Tulu” tells the story of Sasha, a girl who is fed up with her useless and abusive father. To stop the abuse, she turns to the village obeah woman, Mama Tulu who grants Sasha’s wish but at a terrible cost.
Follow Sasha’s journey in “Mama Tulu” HERE.
Shadow Leitner writes Dark Fantasy and Paranormal fiction for teens and adults. She also creates beautifully haunting digital collages, consumes absurd amounts of coffee, and is living her best Halloween life. Connect with Shadow on Instagram. To find out more visit Shadowleitner.com
The scariest book or short story I’ve read: I’m currently reading it. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo.
My favorite horror movie or show: Penny Dreadful
My go-to terror trope for sleepless nights: Malevolent Ghosts
My number one baddie is: The Woman in Black. Being defenseless and unable to protect your children against attacks of the immaterial is terrifying.
Shadow’s Scary Story: “Good Mourning.” Since Toby’s father died a gulf has been growing between him and his mom. But a visit from an old friend of his mother’s might bond them together forever.
Read “Good Mourning” at Shadow’s website HERE.