Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.
Sabitha: F.K. Marlowe joins us to tell us about her books and free flash fiction. F.K., what kind of stories do you tell?
F.K.: I write horror with a paranormal twist, and YA fantasy with fangs and sass.
Sabitha: What inspired your current work in progress?
F.K.: I’m amazed how many horror stories I’ve released into the wild. This is my attempt to corral them.
Pennies for Charon is a nice fat collection of my horror stories, some already published, some brand new. It’s packaged in a frame narrative about a vengeful sybil who’s been trapped in a bottle for three millennia and is rather miffed about it. To revive her powers, she sneaks into Charon’s shack while he’s punting dead souls across the river Styx, then steals and eats the “pennies” hoarded there. Each penny is a story collected from one of his passengers, and as the sybil digests them, she absorbs their emotions. Since they are horror stories, the emotions are predictably dark, and you can guess where that might lead, for an already twisted soul!
Sabitha: That sounds delightfully dark! What’s your writing process for horror?
F.K.: Mercurial chaos! Like a magpie, I’m attracted by anything shiny, including new ideas, so my writing folder is a jumble of scattered thoughts and plots in various stages of development. It sounds unproductive, but I don’t often suffer from writer’s block – if something’s not working, I just skip onto the next idea. I can’t sit down to write without a cuppa though.
Sabitha: Can’t get anything done without tea! If you could pick any author to read your book, who would you want to read it? Why them?
F.K.: Neil Gaiman! His imagination seems to spark endlessly. Wouldn’t he be fantastic company on a long plane flight?
Sabitha: When you picture your ideal reader, what are they like?
F.K.: I’m sitting in a cozy pub with them, spinning a tale over a pint, in front of a roaring fire. It’s raining outside, and we’ve a long evening ahead of us. As I tell them my story, I can see them chuckling along with some parts, clutching the arms of their chair at others. When I finish, they sit there quietly, considering, then ask me questions that make me think about my own story in a completely new way. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Sabitha: It sounds just about perfect. What do you most want your readers to take away from reading your book?
F.K.: Firstly, simple enjoyment. Beyond that, I believe everyone recreates the stories they read in a whole new way based on their history and experiences. So, readers say, “Hey, X character represents idea Y, right?” and it’ll be an exciting, different slant that deepens my original idea in ways I’d never anticipated. So, creating something in their own imaginations. If they’re kind enough to tell me about it, well, that’s just the best buzz in the world.
Sabitha: Thanks for sharing your story and your process. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?
F.K.: My Amazon page is here. I post a free flashfiction horror with an audio version each month on my website. Tell me what ideas my stories gave you on Twitter under my alias ‘The BelleDame’!