Having missed March, my Interview With... series is back with the prolific horror writer, Amy Cross. With well over 80 books to her name it will take me quite a while to read them all, but if the quality, both in writing and in horror, are all like the first book of Amy's I read, The Haunting of Emily Stone, I am certainly in for a treat as I add more to the ever growing list of her work I have on my Kindle.
Below is my interview with Amy, and links to her social media and Amazon pages:
I'm not sure, but I think an early influence was probably my mother. She used to write short stories for me, just a page or two, and the deal was that for each story she gave me, I had to give her one in return. I was only six or seven then, and I don't remember what I wrote, but I guess that got me started with the idea that writing stories was a possibility.
What are you working on right now?
I tend to write about three months ahead of release, so at the moment I'm working on things that should come out in the summer. I've been promising new Dead Souls, Grave Girl and Mass Extinction Event for a while now, so I'm focused on making sure I finally get those out. But as for what's coming in the next month or so, I would say vampires, ghosts and a computer genius are going to feature heavily.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I tried various other genres, but I didn't really enjoy them and I don't think the results were very good. For now, I prefer writing horror and paranormal fantasy, sometimes straying into thrillers or more traditional fantasy. I tried writing a romance novel once and I couldn't do it, so I re-wrote it as a horror story and released it as Other People's Bodies.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I usually start writing at 8am, sometimes a little earlier, and go through until midday, and then I take the dog for a walk. That's when the ideas come. And then I start again at 2pm and work until 6pm. Sometimes I do a little more in the evening.
It depends on the book. For something like The Priest Hole or The Death of Addie Gray, where parts of the story are set in the past, I need to look things up so that I don't make any historical blunders. With The Priest Hole, for example, I had to read about that period in British history, just to make sure that I didn't include any anachronisms.
How does your writing process work?
It's quite scatter-shot. Sometimes I have a plan for the week, and then suddenly a new idea comes along and I decide to write that instead. I recently went on a binge of writing short stories, some of which I put out in a collection. The rest are sitting in a file on my laptop, waiting for an opportunity to come out.
Sometimes I plan out the structure of a book ahead of time, other times I dive straight in. When I plan the structure, I usually divide it into eight parts, which helps me to see how the plot and the characters are supposed to move along. Some books get written very quickly, while others sit around waiting for me to get started. The Death of Addie Gray, for example, started as a short story I wrote last year, and then gradually it expanded and expanded until it was around 70,000 words.
Who are your writing influences?
The first book I read and truly loved was Wuthering Heights. That one has always stayed with me.
I just finished Peter Ackroyd's book London, which was a fascinating look at the history of the city, and now I'm going through a collection of Lydia Davis short stories.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Cooking. It's a good way to separate the writing day from the evening. I'm not a particularly good cook, but I try to keep improving, so I think I've gone from being bad to being pretty okay. Other than that, the dog is always happy to go for another walk.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?