The Horror Librarian: I’m super excited
about your upcoming collection, Furnace. What can readers expect and
where can we get a copy?
Livia Lewellyn: Furnace is comprised of fourteen
stories – thirteen which have been published elsewhere and one which is new to
print but has been seen by readers subscribing to my Patreon account. Most of
the stories in the collection are horror and dark fantasy with undertones of
erotica – quite a few of them are extremely explicit in nature, however, and I
chose one story that isn’t horror at all but straight-up erotica. It’s similar
in tone and style to “At the Edge of Ellensburg” (which was in my first
collection, Engines of Desire),
though, so I thought it was a good fit with the rest of the stories. I suspect
people who are already familiar with my fiction will like the collection –
first-timers may think I’m out of my fucking mind. They might be right. As of
now, you can order the trade paperback at http://wordhorde.com/books/furnace/, and the Kindle
ebook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BG1PM2C/?tag=haresrocklots-20.
The Horror Librarian: I LOVE LOVE LOVE
your story, “It Feels Better Biting Down,” available on podcast from Nightmare
magazine. As a podcast story, it’s a feast for the senses with layers of
sensual textures. How do you accomplish such texture? Are you a pantser or a
plotter? And how many drafts do you typically work through to get it just so?
Livia Lewellyn: That story was
something of an anomaly for me. I wrote it in just under two hours, I had
absolutely no idea what I was writing or what the ending would be, and I didn’t
do any editing at all – the first draft was the only draft. Usually I tend to
do a fair bit of plotting for stories – I need to have the title, I need to
have the beginning, and I need to be somewhat sure of where and how I want it
to end. Once I have those things, I just write my way through it without much
pre-planning. However, it typically takes me a couple of weeks to write the
story– I go over paragraphs and
sentences again and again, adding and taking away adjectives and adverbs and
moving words back and forth, editing as I go until it’s as perfect as I can
make it (I think that’s probably how I get that texture you speak of). “It
Feels Better Biting Down” wasn’t anything like how I usually write, but I wish
I knew how to duplicate it. My life would be so much easier if I could pound
out stories as effortlessly as that!
The Horror Librarian: Don’t
we all? Do you
have any writing rituals or superstitions? How do you celebrate a new project?
Livia Lewellyn: I have more of a
writing routine than a ritual – I like to write with my headphones on,
listening to ambient music. I have a day job, so most of my writing is in the
evening, even during the weekends. And, I don’t celebrate when I start a new
project. I don’t even celebrate when I finish one, or when I sell something –
celebrations usually cost money, and I’ve pretty much hit rock-bottom,
financially speaking. For me, writing isn’t something I do just because I’m
being creative or I’m an “artist” who is driven to express myself a certain
way. Writing is my second job, to supplement a primary income that doesn’t
cover all my bills and doesn’t allow me to save money or afford better living
conditions (which is not unusual for most people living in a megalopolis). I’ll
celebrate when I’m no longer living in substandard housing, no longer wearing
twenty-year-old clothing that’s riddled with patched holes, and am able to turn
more than one light on at a time because I can finally afford the utility bill.
The Horror Librarian: Sadly, I’m
sure that’s something a lot of writers can relate to. As you know, February is Women in
Horror Month. What advice would you give to aspiring female horror authors?
Livia Lewellyn: I’m afraid I don’t
have much advice in general to give to writers. I don’t think my giving advice
is particularly useful – the internet is clogged with writers of all levels of
success giving advice, and I don’t believe I have anything original to add
beyond what’s already been said a million times by a million people. And I really
can’t think of anything I’d say to women writers that I wouldn’t say to men. If
I could say anything that remotely resembles advice, it’d be that writers
should follow their own instincts, decide what “rules” and advice works best
for them, and ignore everything else that doesn’t work. What I love about
writing is that you can disregard pretty much every kind of advice out there.
Writing is just you and the page and whatever you bring to it – it doesn’t need
to be anything else.
The Horror Librarian: Well said. What is
your next project?
Livia Lewellyn: I’m working on
multiple projects – several short stories for various anthologies; a new
collection of extremely dark, fantastical erotica, titled Tales of the Black Century; and I’ve just started work on an
entirely new project that I’m not at liberty to talk about yet – when the
contract is signed for that, I’ll be able to announce it.
The Horror Librarian: List five things
that are on your writing desk right now.
Livia Lewellyn: Right now, there’s a
small tortoise shell glass and brass octopus lamp; a stack of CD’s (yes, those
still exist!) that includes a very old version of the video game Riven, some
Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus, David Bowie’s The Next Day, Richard Armitage
narrating a Georgette Heyer novel, and a double disk set of dark primeval Greek
folk songs titled Why The Mountains Are Black; a red paper coffee cup filled
with colored pens and pencils that I use for doodling and note-taking in my
journals; an absolutely massive stack of manuscripts and works-in-progress (I
print out everything at least once before the final edit); and an ice bucket
decorated with an antique map of the world that’s filled with Apple and PC
cords and external drives. There’s probably a big hairy spider or centipede
somewhere on my desk, too, but until I get actual confirmation, I’m just going
to pretend that’s not a possibility. Ignorance truly is bliss.