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 sorts 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, I’m chatting to the horror writer, Faith Pierce. Like myself she is one of the writers featured in the Women of Horror Anthology, Vol 3 The One that Got Away published by Kandisha Press
Welcome to the tearoom, Faith. My first question to all my guests is, what would you like to drink before we start chatting?
Thank you for the invite, Paula. I have a taste for dark beers like a stout so could I have a glass, please.
Of course, as we have a driver to run you home. Now we have drinks I would like to ask you when you first began your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
When I first began my writing journey, I think horror was one of the last genres I would’ve thought of writing. Not that I disliked horror, but I think I was intimidated by it. I’ve never thought of myself as scary. Then I had this one nightmare that really stuck with me and I started having all these “what if” ideas related to this nightmare. It wouldn’t leave my head and finally I thought, “Okay, I’ll just write this down and call it writing practice.” I discovered that writing about the things that scare or disturb me provides a safe space to explore those fears. If the bad things are happening to my characters, then they’re not happening to me, right?
Now that little nightmare idea is my first finished novel, and it’s under contract with Crystal Lake. I’ve written other horror short stories, my next novel will have horror elements, and these days I read mostly horror. I’ve fallen in love with the genre.
What writing elements do you think are your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
The technical aspects like spelling and grammar come easily for me. But I’m not a natural storyteller. Like if I try to tell you some funny thing that happened to me yesterday, I’ll probably start in the middle, leave out vital information, and forget the punchline. My approach to writing is similar sometimes in that it comes out very fragmented. Going back through and piecing it into a cohesive story is the most challenging thing for me, and I wish stories came to me in a neat chronological sequence.
I’m also not great at setting, but I haven’t decided yet if that’s something I’m working on or if I’m going to lean into the minimalist thing. I use the same excuse to explain why my house has no decor, but really I’m just lazy about hanging things.
Tell us a little about your latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
My latest finished short story is going to be published with Cemetery Gates in the spring of 2021. That one is a quiet horror story told in the first person as a confessional. I did end up using a particular scene that I wrote down months ago, that didn’t have a story to go into at the time I wrote it. But otherwise the idea was new, inspired by the call itself.
I’ve also been brainstorming a new book idea that I’m planning to dive into soon. I think it’s going to be a genre mashup of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
If we’re talking projects that I’ve started and not yet shelved, maybe five?
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter?
Neither; I usually start with a scene. It might be a few lines, a character intro, or a dialogue exchange; it might end up being the beginning, but more often than not it’s somewhere in the middle.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m usually an evening writer, but I don’t have set hours for it. I work a normal Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 kind of job. In a perfect evening, I’ll get in a workout, cook dinner, write, and have some relaxation time for reading (or TV or gaming). There are technically enough hours in the day to hit all of those, but I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be. I do have other hobbies like gardening and studying foreign languages, so the hours can run out fast. Like most writers, I have to make sacrifices and give some things up to keep writing as a priority.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
If I’m in the middle of a project, I try to keep a writing streak going. Since I work full time, my daily word count goals are modest. I’m happy with 500 words a day.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I really, really did. I decided not to for a number of reasons, but I am a pretty private person and now that I’m starting to have my writing out in the world, I have moments of panic and anxiety about my different worlds colliding. But I’m trying to get more comfortable with owning my writer identity.
What was your hardest scene to write?
There was a scene with sexual assault in my first attempt at a novel, which is unfinished and indefinitely shelved, and I wrote it with enough detail that it was hard for me to stomach. Which is a low bar, honestly.
How long on average does it take you to write a book or story?
I think I’m too new to have developed a sound average. I initially wrote my book as a short story of about 4,000 words. It was my first short story, and it took a couple months. Then I realized it needed to be much longer and I started rewriting it as a novel in March 2019; I finished it November 2019. I hope that with my next novel I can write the first draft in six months to a year. That’s my goal, but it’ll depend on the book and the research required.
With shorts, I’m getting more comfortable with those and I have written them in one sitting before, but it depends on whether I have the whole story in my head or if I’m figuring it out as I go. Also, it depends on deadlines. I’m a terrible procrastinator. If it’s due tomorrow, I’ll get it done tomorrow.
Thank you for taking time out to join me in the tearoom for a chat, Faith.
If you what to find out more about Faith’s writing and books check the link below:
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/faithpierce
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.