Cat Voleur is a horror blogger and writer of dark speculative fiction. She is following up her traditional education with studies in linguistics and parapsychology. When she is not at work or school, she’s enjoying a nice book or stressful video game in the company of her many feline friends.
1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?
I was about 8 when I acknowledged that horror was a genre, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to it. I grew up loving scary stories and some of my first favorite movies were the black and white horror classics.
2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?
My favorite author would be Joe Hill. He consistently amazes me with his work, and has written some of my favorite novels and short stories. I’d say Stephen King is one of my strongest influences, for better and worse, because reading him taught me to include a lot of detail – much of which has to be edited out later. Some of my more recent influences would be Clive Barker and Max Lobdell.
3) What inspired you to write your piece?
The piece I have included in the collection is actually nonfiction. When I read that prompt, it was just the event that I was taken back to and I tried to write it as faithfully as I could remember.
4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?
I think a lot of that depends on the project. The longer a piece is the more the characters control me, but I feel like I have a certain level of authority when writing something a little more structured, like flash fiction.
I remember recently I was trying to explain my writing process to a friend, and I described myself as a sort of “Jigsaw” in regards to my less polished ideas. I set up these really dark scenarios based off of my assumption that I know the characters who will be experiencing them, but sometimes they surprise me with their will to survive or think outside the box.
5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?
I learned a lot of things about myself participating in the contest, a lot of personal things regarding my limits as a creator and my writing process.
The most important thing that I learned about writing horror though, would be how connected it is to other genres. I think one of the hardest aspects for me was that it required the contestants to write in many different tones for many different mediums that I would never have expected from a horror contest. The challenge I found most difficult was the comedy commercial script. Some of my favorite horror films are the self-referential slashers that rely very heavily on dark comedy, but I had never considered writing comedy as something I should try to improve on until this contest.
It was difficult, but learning about all the things that tie into horror made me a better writer.
6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?
I would absolutely do it again.
The one thing I’d do differently is I’d stick it out to the end. At the time I was participating in the contest, there were just so many personal things going on in my life that felt out of my control. I ended up switching jobs, moving across the country, there was a lot of my drama with my extended family, and I was struggling with a relationship that I didn’t realize was very unhealthy and actually harmful to me. When I also fell ill, it felt like one thing too many, and I just wasn’t turning out the quality of work I wanted to be submitting, so I dropped out.
That might have been the right thing at the time because I got worse before I got better, but I’ve learned a lot since then. I have more control over my life than I realized, so if I got another opportunity to compete in something I feel this passionately about, I’d feel confident in prioritizing it higher than I did last time around.
7)What is your favorite horror novel?
My favorite horror novel is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.
Aside from being an intimately disturbing read, I’ve never found a horror novel that reads quite so poetically. It’s some of the most beautiful body horror ever written.
8) Favorite horror movie?
My favorite horror movie is Cabin in the Woods because it’s got a little bit of everything. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s emotional, and it’s so intelligently written. It pokes fun at the genre while simultaneously expressing a deep love for it, explaining tropes along the way. You can enjoy it as a casual fan, or watch it over and over to pick up every last horror movie reference they squeezed in. It’s been my favorite movie since I saw it in theater, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
9) Favorite horror television show?
The Haunting of Hill House, hands down.
I’ve been a Mike Flanagan fan for years now, but he handled the source material so brilliantly that I don’t even have to worry about being biased; the show’s just good. It’s scary, it’s gorgeous, and there are always new things to discover if you are in the mood to watch it again.
10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?
Now that I’ve had plenty of time to recover and get my life back on track, I feel confident in saying that the future holds more horror writing for me.
I have a few very dark, experimental short stories under consideration right now and am about to start querying for my first two longer projects. Of course, I’m still blogging about the genre whenever I can find the time.