Girls and Monsters, released on April 30th, is a dark but uplifting collection of five Young Adult novellas. It was my pleasure to interview author Anne Michaud about her upcoming release and writing.
Have you always loved reading horror?
Depends – I’ve always loved dark horror, not the gory-bloody-torture type of thing. I mean, vampires could be considered dark horror, ones like Lestat and Dracula are way more dark than gross. I’m not even sure I like to be scared, but what I love is to read/hear/see the other side of things, explore worlds I probably never will by being a good girl, and live thrills and chills without being scarred for life (as straight horror tends to do).
Did anything scare you as a child?
Oh yes, pretty much everything. I got stung by a yellow-jacket wasp as a kid and came this close to pass away, so my phobia of needles started during the treatment of this allergy. There was E.T. that scared the crap out of me, thinking of that ball coming out of the closet still makes me freeze of fright. Ghosts always made me shiver – my sister taking great advantage of this weakness to prank me throughout our childhood. It stopped at around 10, though, when I started to read and expanded my mind to something a little more darker… and falling in love with it.
Do you have any writing quirks?
Oh, too many to mention. The biggest would be my journals – I have tones with a couple lines in them, abandoned because the paper wasn’t thick enough or it didn’t smell right. Yeah, I know: issues.
What do you think makes a good story?
A grabbing plot, because for me, you can have the most interesting character, but with nowhere to go and nothing to experience, it just falls flat. A good plot with twists and turns and surprises will reveal any character, even the boring ones.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
First, a singer (I cannot hold a tune for the life of me). Then, a hairdresser (blame Robert Smith of The Cure for that). Then I had a super long filmmaking phase that took me through high school to recently, on one of my short films set, where I realized I preferred the writing part and nothing else. Writing has been my obsession for the past 7 years.
Which of the characters in Girls and Monsters is most like you?
Ouch, tough one. I’d say all the girls have a part of me: Liz and her unlucky strike in love, Scarlet and her fright of going insane, Katherine and her love of pets, Christiane and her coping mechanism and Brooke and her fear of losing what and whom she loves.
What is your worst habit as a writer?
When I’m not satisfied with a story, I cannot start the next one. I can try, but it won’t work – I’ll be thinking of the one I left behind, incomplete and unfinished. It’s not really a bad habit, until there’s a deadline involved.
Do you consider the protagonists in your stories to be role models for young women? If so, why?
Some yes, some absolutely not. What I want girls to remember reading this is that they can be strong and lead their own lives without the influence of boys and adults. Don’t get me wrong, boyfriends are great and parents cannot be ignored, but at some point, girls have to understand that we’re all equal (even if religion, politics and employment say the opposite), that we’re all strong enough to battle whatever evil stands in our way, and that being yourself is the best way to be happy.
Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?
I draw a lot from my dreams/nightmares: Death Song’s first bathroom scene and We Left at Night’s first act were both dreamed years ago and noted down my journal. I wrote the huge spider in Dust Bunnies because so many people are scared of them (but not me, I love them and find them beautiful!). A Blue Story was written with one of my biggest fear in mind: having to leave behind everything I know, especially beloved pets. That for me is as scary as going insane, as I explored in Black Dog.
What draws people to horror novels? Why do we, as readers, like to be scared?
Because it’s something we (hopefully) will never live! The thrill is to go through hell and come out alive – but not by ourselves, through someone else’s eyes.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I’m finishing up Girls & Aliens, another novella collection with a soft sci-fi feel, then I’ll attack my Girls & Ghosts, which I cannot wait to do. I have to edit my French novella and try it out over here in Quebec, fingers crossed it’ll work out. For fall, I’m expecting to start the 365th draft of Rebel, which you know all about:)
All About Anne:
She who likes dark things never grew up. She never stopped listening to gothic, industrial and alternative bands like when she was fifteen. She always loved to read horror and dystopia and fantasy, where doom and gloom drip from the pages.
She, who was supposed to make films, decided to write short stories, novelettes and novels instead. She, who’s had her films listed on festival programs, has been printed in a dozen anthologies and magazines since.
She who likes dark things prefers night to day, rain to sun, and reading to anything else.
She blogs http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com
She Facebooks: http://www.facebook.com/annecmichaud
She tweets @annecmichaud
Buy it on Amazon
Girls & Monsters Goodreads page: Goodreads
Giveaway!! Softcover copy + The Monster Collection Skellies, 5 pieces handcrafted by the author.
The winner will be announced during the LIVE CHAT on release day, April 30th at 9PM east http://www.darkfuse.com/events.html
I know which one is my fave. Which one is yours?