Author Interview - Alicia Hilton (Short Sharp Shocks! 49 - Moonlight, Gunshot, Mallet, Flame)
Short Sharp Shocks! 49 is Moonlight, Gunshot, Mallet, Flame by Alicia Hilton. It is published on January 31st but is currently available for pre-sales.
A couple of weeks before publication, Dean and Alicia sat down and talked.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Welcome, welcome Alicia. For those that don’t know you – can you please tell us a little about yourself.
ALICIA HILTON: Hey. I am an author, attorney, law professor, actress, and former FBI Special Agent. I received her BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and my JD and MA from the University of Chicago. I have had work appear in Akashic Books, Bronzeville Books, ChiZine Publications, Dreams & Nightmares, Vastarien, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror 4, and elsewhere.
DP: Impressive. Why did you become a writer?
AH: I wrote my first poem when I was twelve. My English teacher suggested that I enter the Oregon Zoo’s poetry contest. My poem was about a lion, and I won the contest. My mother was a writer, and she encouraged me to write more poetry and fiction. I enjoy writing about nature. Many of my stories and poems incorporate animals.
DP: Brilliant. In your mini-collection there are two stories, what are they about?
AH: As a whole, the book is about dangerous, passionate women who risk their lives confronting supernatural forces. When the moon is full, passion simmers and demons strike. Who will survive? MOONLIGHT, GUNSHOT, MALLET, FLAME: Laura is a hitwoman who murdered men to avenge and protect innocent victims, but her violent past catches up to her after she kills her nephew. Are Laura’s terrifying visions hallucinations, or real? And in A LITTLE DEATH: An Internet date unites two monsters. Descended from flesh-eating witches, Darla must choose whether to embrace her magical powers and kill, or risk her own destruction for love.
DP: Very different stories on the face of it but you’re right, they are definitely connected by your protagonists. When writing Moonlight, Gunshot, Mallet, Flame, did you have to do a lot of research?
AH: When I write fiction, I tend to borrow from my own life. I’ve never killed anyone, and I don’t have supernatural powers, but I know how to use weapons. If I’m going to write about a real place, I always visit that location so I can incorporate landmarks and learn about the flora and fauna. Moonlight, Gunshot, Mallet, Flame is set in New York and Connecticut. I’ve lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Connecticut. Some of my relatives are farmers, and I’ve seen industrial incinerators. A Little Death is set in Oregon. I grew up in Oregon.
DP: What books / authors do you read and do they also influence you?
AH: Reading is one of my favourite pastimes. I love horror, and I read other types of fiction, plus poetry and nonfiction. Most of my fiction is weird or cross-genre. I’ve been influenced by many authors, including: Jane Austen, Mikhail Bulgakov, Angela Carter, Brian Evenson, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Graham Jones, Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, Josh Malerman, Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, Priya Sharma, Mary Shelley, Lucy Snyder, Richard Thomas, Chuck Wendig, and A.C. Wise.
DP: A real varied lot which I think is really important if you’re going to become a well rounded author. What does the term ‘horror’ mean to you?
AH: Lack of control over your destiny, threats that cannot be seen or fully realized, seemingly random events that collide, coincidences that create a sense of wonder or dread, psychological torment, supernatural elements, crime, and gore, all can be part of horror.
DP: Ah, I like that. Is there a horror book or film you’re looking forward to?
AH: Malorie by Josh Malerman.
DP: I’m not aware of that so thanks, I’ll check that out. What is Alicia Hilton frightened of?
AH: I used to be terrified of spiders. When I was a kid, I decided to conquer that fear. I grabbed a spider’s egg sac, and dozens of baby spiders crawled on my hand. Fortunately, I was not bitten. I’ve written about arachnophobia.
DP: Nice! Back to your creativity, is there something you’d like to do which you haven’t managed to achieve just yet?
AH: Finish writing my first horror novel! I’ve written 55,000 words of the novel, and I’ll finish writing the book this year.
DP: Brilliant and keep going. We’d love to read it when finished. Lastly then, can you tell us something which your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
AH: As an FBI Special Agent, I was a member of a foreign counterintelligence squad. I also worked undercover in two long-term criminal cases, posing as a drug dealer with ties to organized crime.
I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that. Thank you so much for your time and the very best of luck with your Short Sharp Shocks!
If you would like to connect with Alicia direct:
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Dean M. Drinkel