Now, on with the interview...mwa ha ha ha...
Tell me all about your latest book!
A Place That Used to Be is a post-apocalyptic novel. It features an ensemble cast of characters, some with strange powers, journeying through a changing wasteland in search of a place to belong. There's a restaurant in a forest, a mysterious illness, and dangerous scavengers called Grafters. No zombies though :)
Who are some of your influences, as an author, particularly for this specific book?
This book is the second in a series (though it reads just fine as a stand alone story), so the biggest influence on A Place would probably be all of the feedback I received from readers about the first book.Who their favourite characters were. What about the world drew their attention. What they wanted to know more about. That feedback pushed this book places I don't think it would have gone otherwise. Other influences probably include books like Station Eleven, which is a fantastic post-apocalyptic novel tying together art and survival, and a general interest in communities, what brings people together and how they face challenges.
Who are your favourite horror authors overall?
I have to confess that most horror novels are usually too much for me! I get too immersed when I read, and it's difficult to pull myself out of the atmosphere of the book when it's finished. Generally, short stories are much more my speed! I love dark fiction stories that are 'weird' or conceptual. Local authors Christian Laforet and Alexander Zelenyj are probably my favourite writers of horror/weird speculative fiction.
Is horror comedy something you’d ever consider writing (or ever have written)?
I haven't read or written much horror comedy, though I've been involved in a couple of film and theatre productions with those elements. When I was living in Edmonton, one of my friends from undergrad decided to make a zombie movie. It was a week of meeting up in parks and alleys, getting covered in fake blood, and very slowly chasing a newly-fired office worker. It was a lot of fun!
"Turn the page"...there's more interview...
Similar to my experience with horror books, horror movies are usually too scary for me! Especially psychological horror. When I was a teenager, my sister and I watched Whatever Happened to Baby Jane in a windowless basement sitting on the floor because the room hadn't been furnished yet. It was one of the scariest things I'd ever seen - and you could argue that movie isn't even that scary! I do enjoy a good horror comedy though! I just watched One Cut of the Dead, a Japanese film directed by Shin'ichirô Ueda. If you haven't seen it, it's a wonderfully layered and surprisingly touching film, in addition to being one of the best meta-comedies I've come across.
And even more specifically, what is your favourite B-movie?
I love B-movies! I have my friends in Edmonton to thank for that: they used to organize "bad movie" nights, where we'd watch everything from The Room to Troll 2 to Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter. Probably my favourite classic B-movie is Plan 9 From Outer Space. There's such an earnestness to it, even at its most ridiculous. More recently, I've been introduced to the films of Neil Breen. I went to a screening of Fateful Findings last year, and that communal experience of enjoying something quite bad is what I love most about watching B-movies.
What are usually your Halloween traditions, and what do you plan for this more unusual year, what with COVID-19?
Most Halloweens, my husband and I turn off all the lights and watch movies. Sometimes we invite a friend or two over, or go out to a friend's Halloween party. This year, I'm hoping to arrange an online watch night with our Miyazaki movie group!
Thank you so much for joining me for these 13 Horrifically Silly Days of Halloween--the extra scary 2020 edition, Brittni!