What attracted you to using spiders as a subject for fiction? (Are you afraid of them?)
I have always had a general interest in anything that I could catch and keep in a jar. When I was a kid I often housed frogs and snakes and salamanders in buckets under my bed for as long as it took my mother to discover them and send me off to return them from wherever they were found. A few years ago I saw a video online of someone holding a tarantula. I remember being completely enamoured with its look and movements, I knew right then that I wanted to own one. I spent the next few years subjecting everyone to online videos and what I liked to call ‘fun facts’ about tarantulas. I ended up purchasing a Chilean Rose, grammastolarosea, which I held once and then never again after I saw how fast she could move. I am not afraid of spiders, aside from water spiders as they are terrifying. This general interest led me to writing about spiders. I wanted to know everything I could about them, and through that I wrote these stories.
Did you write the stories independently or with a collection in mind?
I wrote the first one, Spider Inside, as a single story with no thought of turning it into a collection. At the same time as I was working on that I was slowly adding toHome Sweet Home, a story that I had been trying to finish for a couple of years, the original spider story and also my first completed attempt at something darker. After I had those two stories I thought that maybe I could write some more and see if anyone would be interested in publishing them as a collection.
Who are your influences?
I read a lot from different genres and different writers and I am sure I am influenced by them all in some way. I love Stephen King - he is amazing to me and his short stories are mind blowing. But I also read Raymond Carver and Lynn Coady and Hunter S. Thompson, to name a few. I will say that it was reading a collection by Jonathan Ames, The Double Life is Twice as Good: Essays and Fiction, that really started me writing. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to try it out for myself.
What attracts you to short stories as a form of writing?
I think short stories are powerful. I love being able to start and finish reading something in one sitting, although writing them can take a while longer. I like to read and create stories that are like pieces or snippets of something, whether a situation or a thought or a feeling. I don’t know that I always consciously set out to write a short story, I think it’s more that I start to write something and go until I feel it is finished, or until I can’t stand to work on it anymore. Maybe I am just not driven enough or developed enough to create longer works. I would like to write a full length novel one day, but I think short stories will always be a preference for me.
Do you have a 'writing process'?
I write when I can and when I feel like doing it. I try and write every day, even if it’s something I won’t ever look at again. I would like to adopt a strict routine where I write so many words a day, whether I want to or not, but that hasn’t happened yet. I usually know when a day will have writing in it, it’s sort of like an itch - I feel that I have to do it and I want to do it. I do have a notebook and pen on hand in case inspiration finds me, although that always seems to be at the most inconvenient time and I don’t always write the idea down.
How do you feel about online publishing?
I think online publishing is a win for everyone, the writers and readers, it allows for greater exposure and accessibility. Still, there is always the question of quality. It is easier to be published nowadays. I am thankful for that in a way, but it’s a double edged sword for those works that I wrote way back when and am now a bit ashamed of. In the end I think making something, like getting published, available to a wider range of people is a positive.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I have a ton of unfinished works in a folder in an online account that I am always chipping away at. I would like to do a chapbook with a few of the pieces, and I have a longer horror story I would like to see turned into a novella. I feel like I am perpetually starting and abandoning stories only to rediscover them later.