You write in a fairly wide range of genres – horror, fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. Do you see yourself writing in even more genres down the line? Do you have trouble switching from one to the other?
As for switching, no problems, really. I’m fairly scatterbrained most of the time, so switching around feels like something I can’t avoid. I finish one thing and immediately want to move on to something else, something different.
What is it about the Victorian period that seems to have caught your attention?
I know I’ve discussed with other people already, so we’ll see how much I can remember here (and still keep it fresh and with a good beat!) The Victorian era really fascinates me because of what a change in time it was. You had the industrial age coming in, with factories and railroads and small town life becoming archaic in the shadow of cities looking for workers to inhabit them. You had the age of science coming forward, evolution and germ theory making huge waves, and so almost in opposition to that, there was a sudden obsession with life beyond death, with the supernatural. Post-mortem photography, seeking to speak with spirits, as if there was a desire to cling to things that couldn’t be proven in a laboratory. So I think that’s the part I find really intriguing, such a clash of beliefs spilling out everywhere, affecting everything like ripples in a pond.
If you could be quarantined with any Jane Austen character, which would it be?
Oh, jeez. Which one of them is a good cook? Hmm, okay off the top of my head I’ll go with Mr. Knightley from Emma, because if he can put up with her nonsense he can easily handle mine.
Many parents are finding themselves brand new homeschooling teachers. You’ve been at this for years. With five children now, and you’re writing. Do you have a set routine and timed out schedule? Or is it just chaos and you find the time when it presents itself? Something in the middle of those two?
Definitely in the middle of those two. I do most of my writing first thing in the morning before the kids are even awake (I’m up at 5am-ish, and they’re usually not all awake until around 9am.) After breakfast we start on school at 10-ish, work for several hours off and on, and that’s it. I try to keep it loose and try to give them lots of breaks (kids need breaks!) but if I do find a moment to write in the middle of all of that (like while they’re reading or watching something educational) I definitely take advantage of it.
Do you have any homeschool tips for parents who already know they have to complete their kids’ school year?
Don’t be hard on yourself. Feed off their curiosity as best you can. Give them creative assignments like building historical figures out of LEGO bricks or looking up silly facts like how much everyone in the family would weigh on the moon (which then leads to discussions about gravity, etc.) But kids are looking to learn more than I think we sometimes give them credit for, so teach yourself to snap up those moments when you can.
Precisely how many times have you stabbed someone with your stabby?
Zero times. (Though if I let my kids loose with it, we all would have been impaled by now.)
Would you like to explain to people what the stabby is and what you won it for?
The Stabby is an award given out by r/fantasy, and it is voted on by members there. Mine was for Best Short Fiction of 2019 (it was a tie with Alix Harrow and I STILL don’t know how that happened) which was the story “All Ends” from the Heroes Wanted anthology.
I’m going to be honest, I’m really proud of it. (Both the story and the award.)
You make some wonderful crochet, you make me jealous of your talent. How long have you been at it? Who taught you, and what draws you to it? Personally, I find it zen. You should totally open a small business called Quenby’s Quaint Quality Quilts.
THEY WOULD BE AFGHANS, ESME. AFGHANS. JEEZ.
Anyway, thank you? And I learned from my mom when I was around seven years old. I saw her doing it and wanted to figure out how it worked. I love it because it’s very relaxing, but still fills that need I have to create things, so it’s a wonderful balance of the two.
I trained to be a ballet dancer. Years of intense, classical training. But… it’s all not all fancy tutus and tiaras. Sometimes, especially in your intermediate years, you have to be a Candy Cane in the Nutcracker and that’s all I have to say about that. (But OH LAWD the sweat. So much sweat. Ugh.)
Your biography says you’re a fan of cheese. Hello, fellow cheese lover. What is the best cheese? Defend your answer.
The worst thing is that I cannot eat cheese anymore, but I still love it and appreciate it and occasionally stare at it in the fridge and think about running away with it.
So, havarti. I’m going with havarti.
If someone was driving through Pennsylvania, what site seeing would you recommend?
Pennsylvania is pretty much known for Amish, Hershey’s chocolate, and Gettysburg. Forget all that and go into the mountains. Head into the northern half of the state and just drive. It’s beautiful for hiking, there are train tracks everywhere, it’s rural and lovely and I cannot recommend it enough.
I miss brownies. Oh, my. And donuts? It’s kinda cruel, being trapped at home and stressed out with a pandemic and I CANNOT EAT GLUTEN OR DAIRY OR TOO MUCH SUGAR WHY DON’T I JUST CRAWL INTO THIS SOCIALLY DISTANCED HOLE AND CRY.
I will admit that I’m really enjoying salad? I mean, I liked it before, but the myriad things you can do with a salad (Throw some chicken on it! Olives! Salmon! A burger! Go wild!) are actually pretty awesome.
You write paranormal with a bit of horror and were in a horror anthology. What are some of your favorite horror flicks?
I am a wimp when it comes to horror movies. But some more tame ones that I really love because of their atmosphere are The Others (with Nicole Kidman) and The Devil’s Backbone by Guillermo Del Toro. They just really get under your skin without the gruesome bits, and I adore that.
What TV shows are you binging on Netflix during this quarantine?
Funny enough, I was watching more new stuff before the quarantine began (The Witcher, I Am Not Okay With This, and so on) and as soon as we found ourselves stuck at home, I’ve been turning to more comfort shows. So the kids and I have been going back through old King of the Hill episodes, Parks and Rec, Nailed It, and in the morning when I’m writing it’s been a steady loop of Jane Austen adaptations and… no, that’s it. Jane Austen adaptations.
If you lived in the Potter-verse and were given Amortentia, what would it smell like?
Outdoors, when the ground is still damp after rain. And a slight oil/mechanic smell. And dough proofing.
Describe your life in 7 words
Books, snuggles, oven, laughter, messy, endurance, love, patience.
Crap, that’s eight.
I’m sticking to it.
Thanks so much for being here and spending the time on my silly questions, take care!
And thank you for this! I absolutely loved the questions!