3Q’s today is with one of the nicest women in the dark fiction world. Christa Carmen has been so kind and supportive since we connected and it’s no surprise that her work is so widely sought after!
I’m super excited to have Christa as today’s 3Q’s guest!
Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try to write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
Christa: My writing time has changed significantly since having my daughter. I certainly don’t write at the same time each day; I don’t even write daily. To put it simply, I write when I have an ongoing project I need/want to work on, or if the idea for a new project or short story strikes me. Once I’m working on a project, especially a big one, I’ll get into a routine of hitting a daily page or word count, but I have to take advantage of the time during which I can write whenever it presents itself. That might be for twenty minutes in bed with my daughter while waiting for her to fall asleep or four hours straight on a weekend when my husband is at work and my daughter is with her grandparents or cousins. In a way, it’s more a more productive schedule than the one I had three years ago; I can’t waste time picking out ambient coffee shop sounds to write to or reheating my tea or screwing around on the internet. When I have an hour to write, I HAVE TO WRITE.
Steve: If you started a series and for some reason had to have another author finish it, who would you choose?
Christa: That one’s easy. Gwendolyn Kiste. I love her lush yet biting style and her lyrical way with language, the way she not only comes up with unsettling and important and ingenious ideas but executes those ideas to perfection. A lot of what Gwendolyn writes about consistently—feminist takes on vampires, sister relationships, the otherworldliness of birds, dark fairy tales, body horror, etc.—are subjects I’m drawn to as well. Being in the position of having to have another author finish one of my stories or manuscripts seems less than ideal (am I dead? How did I die? Wait, do I need to find someone to finish writing the answers to this interview for me?), but having an author of Gwendolyn’s caliber complete something I’d begun could only be an honor.
Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Christa: My newest release is We Are Providence: Tales of Horror from the Ocean State. I co-edited this anthology with Lauren Elise Daniels, and New England Gothic scholar Faye Ringel wrote the introduction. The table of contents includes Joshua Rex, John Lynch, Mary Robles, Jason Parent, Victoria Dalpe, Michael Squid, Paul Magnan, Faye Ringel, Barry Lee Dejasu, H.Y. Hsu, K.H. Vaughan, Curtis M. Lawson, Steven E. Belanger, and Aron Beauregard, and Lauren and I each contributed a story as well. My piece, “Testing a Horrible Superstition” (a nod to the 1892 Providence Journal headline describing a “vampire” exhumation that had taken place in Exeter, RI) is about an eighth-grade girl who—after digging into the legend of Mercy Brown to deal with the pain of being bullied—wonders if she, too, will live on after death if she were to be buried in one of New England’s hallowed vampire cemeteries.
Here’s the back cover content I wrote for the anthology, which I think showcases why I’m so enamored of Rhode Island horror, and why someone would do well to check it out!
Come. Take our hands. The twilight is dimming, but the moon is bright enough to see by, and it’s the perfect night to go for a walk. We’ll stroll through a cemetery in Exeter to where police officers are dispatched every Halloween and where a one-hundred-fifty-year-old vampire-girl is said to still roam. We’ll wander the wharfs in Jamestown, but mind your footing; the sea is home to all manner of creatures just waiting to break the surface after a thousand-year sleep. And keep an eye on the Romanesque Revival windows of the mansions along Newport’s Cliff Walk; you might catch a glimpse of a silhouette with no earthly reason for being there. In Providence, we’ll stalk the shadowy streets along with the ghosts of transcendentalist poets and jilted lovers, but don’t be surprised to discover that the monsters of Lovecraft’s fiction are not, in fact, the product of his imagination. The capital city has secrets and those secrets have tentacles. And teeth.
Welcome to Rhode Island, home of the weird, the hometown horror, the haunted, the hunted. Home of the Gothic and of horror with history. We promise there’s something here for everyone, whether visiting or already one with the region’s countless legends. Rhode Island is the smallest state but the biggest house of horrors…
And the door is open.
Steve: Bonus Question! If they made a movie about your life, what actor or actress would you suggest they get to play you?
Christa: When the Ash vs Evil Dead series was cancelled after only three seasons, I was incredibly bummed, first, because the show was a blast overall, with tons of blood, groovy antics, laughs, and one-liners, but even more so because I wanted more of Dana DeLorenzo, and somehow, since the series’ cancellation, no other television series or film production seems to have recognized how amazing she is. If my life were ever to be turned into a movie, I’d be psyched to have her play me. I feel like she’s a great mix between heart and humor, insouciance and intensity.
Thanks, Steve, for the opportunity to answer your thoughtful interview questions!
Oh, excellent choice! Most welcome and thank you for doing this!
To keep up with Christa’s work and discover more – check the links!