Tomes & Coffee Press Presents: “Leaving the #9” by E.M. Markoff
A bewitching tale of life and death, of dreams and nightmares, of the real and surreal. Mexican folklore meets The Twilight Zone in this short ghost story.
Adelia is confronted with strange happenings that threaten to pull her into a dark labyrinth.
Spoiler free interview by L.S. Johnson:
Tell us a little about your story, “Leaving the #9.”
The story follows Adelia, a working class cook who has worked long and hard for a better life and is finally able to take that next step. With her are her brother, Miguel, and a client turned best friend turned “the grandma I never had.” Her sense of reality is shaken when strange occurrences begin to disrupt her attempts to achieve her dream. The setting was inspired by the ongoing gentrification and displacement of the Mission, San Francisco’s historically Latinx neighborhood. A reader described it as “[a] wonderful ghost story with some excellent unexpected tidbits.”
Your story includes both Spanish and Nahuatl words. For readers unfamiliar with the latter, can you tell us more about Nahuatl, and why you wove it into your story?
I am fluent in Spanish since my mom never learned English, but I only recently began learning Nahuatl. Nahuatl is one of the many native languages of Mexico, and is still spoken today by 1.5 million people. I wove it into the narrative because I wanted to see all aspects of my culture represented in the story. All my works are like this, including the books in my main dark fantasy series, though the references there are not as overt.
About the Author
Latinx author and publisher E.M. Markoff writes about damaged heroes and imperfect villains. Growing up, she spent many days exploring her hometown cemetery, where her love of all things dark began. Upon coming of age, she decided to pursue a career as a microbiologist and spent a few years channeling her inner mad scientist. Her works include The Deadbringer, To Nurture & Kill, and “Leaving the #9.” She published the charity anthology Tales for the Camp Fire under her imprint, Tomes & Coffee Press, to raise money for California wildfire recovery and relief efforts. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and is mostly made up of coffee, cat hair, and whiskey.
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