Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: V.E. Battaglia

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is V.E. Battaglia and recently he talked to us about his writing:
What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called “The Boy and his Teeth,” and it’s about a young boy who loses his first tooth and learns about the do’s and don’ts of dealing with the Tooth Fairy.

What inspired the idea?

Basically, I woke up one day and thought to myself, “Is there a proper story about the tooth fairy?” I wish I could say it was more complex than that, but it was a genuine curiosity. Of course, when I say a “proper story,” I mean an old, original Grimm’s Fairy Tale. I grabbed my volume of Grimm’s and read through a bunch of them and I didn’t see a single thing. So, I scratched out the first draft on the spot, which was extremely stylized. It was entirely in the Grimm’s tradition. I later did some editing to make it a bit more modern, but I still have (and really like) that original draft.

When did you start writing?

I started writing (if you could call it that) when I was rather young. My mother worked at a bakery at one point when I was a kid and, depending on her shift and my school schedule, sometimes I would end up spending some time there with her. In their stock room, which smelled mostly of a strange mix of dough and cardboard, they had an old typewriter. It was a little beaten up, but it still worked. I was barely old enough to spell my name, but I used to sit down there and type out “stories” to tell her later.
What are your favorite topics to write about?

I’m not really picky, if I’m being honest. It’s more a matter of what fits in with whatever I have in 27832260mind. Obviously, I’m attracted to dark topics. I’m into monsters and ghosts and aliens and all the things that mash into the category labeled “Horror,” but I especially like if I can somehow tie them together with the psychological aspects of a character. So much of what makes something horrific is within an individual. It’s very personal. I think the writing should reflect that, if at all possible.

What are some of your influences? 

I love Clive Barker. He’s a big personal favorite, primarily because he knows exactly how to walk the line between what is attractive and repulsive. And he doesn’t cheapen it. He shows it to you in all of its glory. He doesn’t look away from the scary parts. That’s a line I stole from Jack Ketchum. Jack Ketchum is another influence. He once described his visceral brand of writing very simply. He said most authors write-up to the point of a terrible thing happening, and then they look away from it and divert you somewhere else while it’s happening. In his case, he just doesn’t look away. It was more eloquently stated by him, of course, but I love that idea. I don’t have the same freedoms as those big names, but whenever possible, I do my best not to look away. And then there’s Thomas Harris. You can sum him up in a single name: Hannibal Lecter. His novels are a master class in character development. Oh, and of course, obligatory Stephen King reference.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

28699646That is such a difficult question. I can babble for days about this and never be done. One thing that I love about horror is that it is so reflective. We always place ourselves in the situation in a horror story. How many times have you heard someone say, “If I was there, I would have moved out of that house. Just move out!” Probably every time there’s a sudden ghost appearance. Or, “Why is she just standing there? I would have been GONE the second that thing showed up.” I’d guess every time the hulking terror descends from the rafters with drool flowing down its many teeth. (Yes, I’m still questioning why Lambert just stands there in Alien. RUN!) I think horror forces its audience into the shoes of the characters more so than any other genre. You’re not just a spectator. You’re there. And that’s because we often see pieces of ourselves in the characters. Everyone, like it or not, has been in a situation that made them a little nervous at some point and chosen to stay. Just like the people in the haunted house. And everyone has frozen at the sight of something terrible and shocking. Just like Lambert. They’re universal experiences. We can all relate. We see shades of ourselves somewhere in the characters. And that’s the scariest part.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have a story called “The Well,” that was published in the Zen of the Dead anthology through Popcorn Press. That released this past Halloween. It’s a fun collection of stories and horror-themed poetry to celebrate the Halloween season. There’s some really cool stuff in there. A bit more recently, Cohesion Press released another anthology in their SNAFU series called SNAFU: Hunters. I have a story in that one called, “Outbreak.” That one is a military-horror anthology and it’s really awesome. I liked every single story in it. It’s a very unique and varied anthology with all manners of ghosts, ghouls and monsters to deal with in all different time frames and settings.

What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on a bunch of projects at once. Without getting into too much detail, I have a story in the works that deals directly with the Halloween season and with its mythos. That one is a lot of work, but its such fun too. I’m also working on another piece that involves a woman who wakes up one day and finds a small hole in her wall that wasn’t there the day before. Maybe she ignores it. Maybe she gets curious and tries to figure out why it’s there. Hard to say. But you know what they say about curiosity and cats, right?

Where can we find you online?

I literally had no social media presence up until very, very recently. I’ve always felt like part of the mystery of a story is also in the mystery of the author. What’s the fun in asking “Who thinks of this stuff?!” when you can literally look up their life story, right? At the same time, if you can’t find me, that’s pretty useless for everyone. So, in light of that, I’ve started up a Twitter page (twitter.com/vebattaglia) and a WordPress (vebattaglia.wordpress.com). Twitter is a bit of a mystery to me. Part of me wants to publish a piecemeal story there. Part of me wonders if it will devolve into me complaining about my pen running out of ink. WordPress is going to feature everything from random updates to little behind the scenes stories about the origins of difference pieces I get published. There might even be one there now… Who knows?


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