Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today we are here to celebrate the launch of Inferno edited by Stephanie Ellis and Alyson Faye
Now you’re ready to answer my questions, Stephanie and Alyson let me start by asking you did you try to be more original when writing this book, or deliver what you felt the readers wanted?
Inferno was Stephanie Ellis’ idea – to create a horror anthology, with a diverse range of indie horror writers contributing, to join and complete the previous anthologies she and David Shakes had published under their imprint, The Infernal Clock. (DeadCades, CalenDark and The Infernal Clock). I came on board as co-editor and contributing author, when David Shakes’ other commitments meant he had to step down.
Dante’s massive fourteenth epic poem, Inferno, is a rich source of inspiration, so we simply offered the invited authors, to pick the circle of hell they’d like to write about.
Fights broke out about over some of the circles – well – a bit of pushing and shoving, but in the end every circle is represented in the anthology and no one was injured in the scrum.
We posted, online, a call-out for POC and LGBQT writers to submit, as we wanted todraw in as wide and diverse a Table of Contents as possible, representing the voices of the horror community.
Did you feel energised or exhausted after writing this book?
Exhausted! Yes, this was a demanding project. I had to write my own story (Circle 3 – Gluttony) and then as the stories came in, we obviously read them all and then me and Steph edited them, then blended our two sets of edits, as well as getting back to the writers about the edits. So yes, a lot of work, as we were working with twenty or so writers. There was the final final proofread with the paperback too, which threw up typos and Steph designed the stunning cover herself.
You’ve got to love what you do really, and fortunately we both do, well- most of the time!
Do you want each of your books to stand alone, or are you building a body of work that are interconnected? Whether that be a theme, a set of characters, a setting, etc. Explain more for our readers.
This is the final book from the imprint of The Infernal Clock (https://infernalclock.blogspot.com/) I believe, as Steph and I are moving on to set up our own horror indie press, Black Angel, to launch in early 2021.
We already have put out Shadow Bound : A Gothic Quartet as the first publication for Black Angel and we are working on the next one, Daughters of Darkness, due out in Women in Horror month, February 2021. So whilst we will continue to have separate projects and publications (Steph has Bottled and FiveTurns of the Wheel out with Silver Shamrock), we will continue to collaborate together as writers/editors.
How do you balance your demands on the reader with taking care of your readers? In the book did you spell everything out so your reader just had to read it, or did you rely on their emotional response to your words?
Inferno is a horror anthology and as such does have ‘adult’ material in it, both in terms of sex and disturbing scenes. It’s not a children’s book. Some of the writers allude more explicitly to the scenes of violence, gore, and horror, whilst others, like me and Steph and say, Lionel Ray Green, skirt around the edges, implying. We all have different styles. But I wouldn’t say there is anything particulary gross-out in this anthology either.
Some of the stories will resonate with readers more than others, but that’s the nature of anthologies. But we hope, and believe, having read these stories, that there is something here for everyone’s tastes.
Do you hope your book will deliver you literary success and how will this look to you?
I think both Steph and I hope this collaboration will get us a few reviews, honourable mentions, good buzz in the indie horror community and raise our profile a bit more and also that our writing peers and our readers will come to associate our books with professional quality work, both in the content and the presentation (i.e. editing/proofreading and covers).
Was there anything you edited out of this book, you wanted to keep in, but you knew it would be a better book by cutting it?
Some of the stories submitted, didn’t unfortunately, make the final cut, and of the stories we accepted most, not all, but most of the writers were asked to do a certain amount of rewrites or at least tweaking. There are very few 100% polished finished pieces that land on the desk ready to fly. I always do quite a lot of rewriting on my own work anyway before I consider it done as does Steph.
How long did you spend researching this book’s subject matter, or was it a book you had already planned?
As I mentioned earlier the theme of the anthology was Steph’s idea and really it’s been her baby – but for my own story, with the sin of Gluttony – MaXXed Out, which stars a hugely popular TV comedian who is also hugely obese and has base appetites, my ‘research’ drew on watching TV 1970’s comedy shows and I’d already read a few ‘behind the cameras’ biographies, but for the horror part of the story, that was all my weird imagination.
What was the hardest scene to write in the book?
The hardest part of the project really was editing the writers’ work and asking them, sometimes, to let an idea or scene go and then be rewritten. Or having to tell a writer that, on this occasion, their story wasn’t what we were looking for.
How will you cope with bad reviews on this book?
Me and Steph have been at this writing game for a few years now, and have got used to all sorts being said on blogs/twitter/reviews – though I guess there is always a chance to be surprised, let’s hope pleasantly – but we are pretty confident we have a quality anthology here. As long as bad reviews are fair and polite, and not just hatchet jobs for no reason, well they are part of the game. There are readers/bloggers who are not going to like some of the stories or even perhaps the whole concept – it’s personal choice.
What’s the one thing you would give up to become a better writer?
As a horror writer, would I make a deal with Faust, give away my soul for literary success and riches?
In truth I am very happy with were I am now as a writer/editor, and it’s so much more than I thought I’d reach a few years ago when I started out (on my second go round at the writing biz).
Alyson Faye – @AlysonFaye2
Stephanie Ellis -@el_stevie
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.