Welcome to our first Horror Writer Spotlight. First up we have an interview with horror writer, and Rare Horror contributor, Peggy Christie. Peggy’s movie reviews for our site can be accessed at www.rarehorror.com/author/pmonkey1/.
RH: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
PC: Hello! My name is Peggy Christie. I’ve been writing horror and dark fiction since 1999. My very first publication was the third story I ever wrote (took me seven years to get the first one published but to be fair, it was awful until I cleaned it up!) for a now defunct on-line magazine called Sinister Element. Memories…Now I’ve been published dozens of times in various magazines/website/anthologies like Necrotic Tissue, Black Ink Horror, Closet Monsters, and various publications from the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (of which I am the Secretary).
I live in Michigan and have been married to the best ginger I’ve ever known for 21 years. We’re raising two crazy dogs, Dozer and Roscoe P. Coltrane. I love chocolate, Halloween, belly dance, dragons, and tattoos. I’m addicted to Korean Dramas (seriously, I think I have a problem), K-Pop, and YouTube make-up tutorials!
Check out my website (www.themonkeyisin.com), where you can find information on where I’ve been published (including links to purchase said publications, naturally), appearances I’ll be making, and all the random crap that rolls around my brain pan organized (mostly) in blog form. You can also find a link to my short story collection, Hell Hath No Fury, which was published by Hazardous Press.
RH: What drove you to write horror fiction?
PC: I have always loved horror movies and television. My butt was parked in front of the TV every Saturday for Creature Feature with Sir Graves Ghastly. When I finally entered the world of writing, it could only be horror.
I was having a particularly bad day at work and as a form of therapy, I wrote a story. It basically involved a boss accidentally killing his secretary (which I was at the time). He, being a terrible person, covers it up and tries to get away with it. She comes back to exact her revenge. A few years later, I fessed up to my boss that because of him being a jackass, I wrote this story. He actually got a kick out of it and I wrote another story later on based on him and his friend, who also worked at the same company!
RH: Which authors inspire you, regardless of genre, and why?
PC: I have to admit that I mostly read horror writers. Dean Koontz was the first author I fell in love with so his writing is a huge influence for me. I’m not quite as lengthy a wordsmith as he but I love his descriptive language. I have to say I probably write more like Bentley Little. His stuff is so twisted and dark and I love it. He starts a story with something that could be seen as normal then twists it a bit to give the reader a shiver, and then takes a complete left turn into (pardon my language) a total mind fuck.
RH: What are your favorite recent reads?
PC: I loved the two Ransom Riggs books: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City. Fantastic storylines with such sympathetic characters, even if you aren’t peculiar. They’re more fantasy with some dark and horrific elements. I recently finished The Strain (Guillermo Del Toro/Chuck Hogan). Interesting spin on the vampire myth. Lately, though, I’ve been obsessed with the comic Chew (John Laymon/Rob Guillory). Hard to explain but it’s basically a homicide detective with a certain ability. When he eats a food, he can tell where it was grown, if pesticides were used on it, a hamburger will tell him how the cow was slaughtered, etc. If he eats part of a corpse, he can figure out how he/she was killed. Cool, right? Dark, funny, smart ass comic!
RH: When writing, do you listen to music?
PC: I absolutely CANNOT listen to music when I write. I’ve played the piano since I was seven and I was also a dancer. So when I hear music, I’m either wondering if there’s sheet music I can play or choreographing routines in my head. It’s a little distracting to the writing process.
That said I was recently inspired to write a bunch of drabbles (100 word stories) while Dirty Jobs was on the television. And the one specifically inspired by a DJ ep has been accepted into a comic book project, Thirteen Little Hells. Woohoo!
RH: What are your favorite horror films?
PC: Oh, wow. This is a tough question. I love so many films (and thinking about this gives me an idea for a topic I could write for a website where I contribute articles) and so many different sub-genres of horror. Vampires are my favorite so those movies are always good, except Twilight. #sorrynotsorry Fright Night (original), Dracula Untold was great, anything with Christopher Lee, Bram Stokers Dracula, even Dracula: Dead and Loving It is awesome!
Vincent Price was my first horror crush as a child. Those eyes, those hands, that VOICE! All of his movies are great to watch but Masque of the Red Death is my favorite. I love to get my hands on any and all Asian horror that I can! Tale of Two Sisters, Ringu, Audition, The Dorm, Sick Nurses, Ju-On…
I could go on and on but I should probably stop now or this interview will end up being 100 pages!
Thanks for your time Peggy! We will conclude with an excerpt from Peggy’s book Hell Hath No Fury. HHNF is a collection of short stories and this excerpt is from the story, “Family Time”:
“What the hell is wrong with you, Gerald?”
Gerry flinched then turned his head to look at his mother.
“Jesus, Mom. You scared the fuck out of me.”
Gram walked to her son and punched him in the stomach.
“Gerald Anton Bennington, how many times do I have to tell you not to take the Lord’s name in vain?”
Gerry doubled over, wheezing and trying to reclaim some oxygen so he could respond. She took this chance and grabbed the remaining patch of hair on his balding head and pulled up. Raising her leg, Gram slammed Gerry’s head down until she felt the cartilage of his nose crack against her knee cap. That forced the air back into his lungs and he screamed.
“Dammit, Mom. Fuck!”
As blood poured down his face, Gram folded her arms across her chest.
“Now, are you going to tell me what’s bothering you or do I have to pull out my scrotal clamps?”
“Nothing is wrong, Mom.”
“Oh, really? Then why is Simon in the kitchen, worrying his little ten-year-old heart out about you, his father, who couldn’t even manage to make his son cry like a little bitch this morning?”
Gerry blanched. “Did Simon say that?”
“He did. He’s worried about you and so am I. This isn’t the first time you half-assed a session either.”
“I know. I just, I don’t know what to do, Mom.”
Gerry wept into his hands. His sobs shook his whole body and Gram’s heart broke with each hitch and wail. She maneuvered him to a low workbench and forced him to sit down. As she sat next to him, she rubbed her hand across his back.
“What is it, son? You know you can talk to me about anything.”
When he was able to control his crying, Gerry looked up at her.
“I think Marian has been with another man.”
“You think or you know?”
“I don’t have any proof, if that’s what you’re asking. But I can see it. Something’s different. She stays out later, showers more often than usual, even when she’s not covered in blood and feces. Hell, half the time she won’t look me in the eye when I tie her up or take the straight razor to her ears.”
He started to cry again. Gram patted his back as she looked around the garage. A jar of salt water sat on a shelf behind her and she grabbed it. She unscrewed the top and when Gerry looked at her again, she threw the liquid in his face.
Gerry coughed and sputtered, wiping at his face in a futile attempt to clear the stinging fluid from his eyes and nose. She threw the jar to the concrete floor where it shattered into dozens of jagged prisms. She picked up one of the largest shards and held it to Gerry’s throat.
“I did not raise my son to be a whiny cry-baby pussy. Nor did I raise him to judge a situation or person without all the facts. Did I?”
“No,” he gasped. “No, you didn’t.”
“You’re damned right I didn’t. Have you talked to Marian?”
“Well, no. Not exactly.”
She moved the shard from his throat then pressed it into the soft pocket of flesh beneath his right eye.
“Not exactly? Either you have or you haven’t, Gerald.”
“I haven’t! I haven’t!” he yelled.
Gram lowered the broken glass. She put a finger under his chin and forced him to look at her.
“Would you like my advice?”
“Talk to her. You can’t let this fester in your heart. You keep this bottled up and the next thing you know, you’ll just be another suburbanite with a nine-to-five job and a white picket fence who plays golf on the weekends. Is that what you want? Because it’ll happen. Mark my words, if you don’t clear up this mess between the two of you, you’ll both end up in that kind of shame spiral.”
“You’re right, Mom. Thanks. Maybe I’d better talk to Simon, too, huh?”
Gram smiled and shoved the glass shard into Gerry’s shoulder. As she ground it deep into his flesh, he laughed. He wrapped his hand around hers, forcing the jagged glass deeper.
“What would I do without you, Mom?”
“I shudder to think. Now go.”
She yanked the shard out of Gerry’s shoulder, pulling down then up, inflicting as much pain as possible. Her son’s eyes misted with emotion and he bent back her wrist, snapping the bones with one swift motion. She’d never been prouder.