Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Interview With Silvia Brown

CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.

I like to say I am a creative writer with a dark soul, I think that sums it up nicely. I am also a big dark fiction reader, film buff, unashamed geek and nerd.

CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

My father gave my first journal to write on when I was 6 years old and I was hooked. I always wanted to write professionally but I only took myself seriously as a writer a few years ago.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 

It varies a lot but you could say there is a method to my madness. I am currently finishing my Professional Writing and Editing degree and I also work part time and volunteer. My writing time is divided between brainstorming on a notebook pretty much anywhere and working on submissions at home or at the library.

CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?

Not really. But I have a very particular process. I am on story mode all the time and that includes writing, watching films and attending art exhibitions.

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?

Short stories mostly. While some writers I know complain about editing and condensing their work, I find it hard to expand my stories. I have been working something a bit longer for a while now. But once I get started, I edit as I draft and that does not help my word count. To me, I think is about working on what the story needs more so than worrying about achieving a particular word count or reaching a specific market.

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?

It's very active and full of talented writers. I am quite involved in the horror community here in Melbourne. I volunteer for the Australasian Horror Writers Association and I organize get togethers for their chapter in my state. I find the horror scene here in Australia to be a very tight community of incredibly supportive individuals across all levels of the writing craft. I recently attended Continuum, Melbourne's speculative fiction convention, and had a blast.

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

I mostly go with the flow but I have been working on structure and reading Lisa Cron's story craft. I am open to learn new things and try other approaches.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

I don't think publishing my first short story changed my writing process. If anything, it was the other way around. I believe it was my new mindset, taking my fiction more seriously and putting myself out there, that changed my writing process and made the publishing happen.

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 

Personally, I believe horror to be an emotion and a style of writing rather than a genre. A good horror story follows the conventions but is also willing to break some rules if necessary. I enjoy reading horror stories as well as mash ups of horror with other genres such as urban fantasy. I believe some tropes have been overdone and I strive for the unconventional on what I read and write.

CHHR: What are you currently working on?

I have been working on a dark fantasy story for a while. The outline is ready and I am working on worldbuilding and characterization before I start writing it. Collaboration wise, I have a couple of exciting projects with two visual artists I admire very much. A short story collection with illustrations starting soon. And what looks a more visual project, a graphic novel of sorts, starting in 2019.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?

Manifest Recall by Alan Baxter just came out and is on my TBR pile along with Bloody Waters by Jason Franks. Besides that, I recently started Weaveworld by Clive Barker. I am trying to diversify my reading and include more fantasy and scifi. After these, I will probably get into Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter and Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?

Not sure scared is the right word for it. I don't scare easily. The last book that thrilled me was Faerie Apocalypse by Jason Franks. It is an amazing blend of fantasy and horror with a hint of madness. Another book that sort of creep me up in a good way was A. A. Medina's Siphon, a vampire story without a vampire.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?

If I had to pick one novel, it would probably by It by Stephen King. When it comes to short story collections, anything by Ellen Datlow.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?

Now that is difficult. Can I do a top 5? At the moment at n. 1 would be A Quiet Place (2018) followed by 1408 (2007), Boys in The Trees (2016), Trick'R'Treat (2009) and Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010) for that mix of comedy and horror.

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?

I listen to a lot of different things. Let's see... from The Clash to Dropkick Murphys to The Cure, Marylin Manson and Eminem. I grew up with 70s rock and I also enjoy jazz and soul. I don't have a favorite album but lots of songs instead.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?

I would say a wolf because I grew up with an Alaska Malamute and I like the idea of the pack of wolves as a social entity.

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

Imperial stout. A strong dark beer barrel-aged in a former whisky barrel.

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

I have been lucky enough to meet three of my favorite authors in person. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Robert Hood and Alan Baxter. If I could choose three storytellers, it would be Neil Gaiman, Guillermo del Toro and Steven Spielberg.

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