Short Sharp Shocks! 58 is The Lost Girl & Spindleshanks by Alyson Faye is no stranger to DEMAIN, contributing to both the SSS! previously and the Murder! Mystery! Mayhem series. The Lost Girl & Spindleshanks (with a cover by Adrian Baldwin) is published as an ebook on the 27th November but is currently available for pre-sales. Dean and Aly sat down and chatted about it:
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Welcome Aly, good to see you again. For those that don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself…
ALYSON FAYE: Hello! I loved reading and going to the local library where I grew up in Birmingham, UK and as an only child I was a massive bookworm. I wrote stories all the time, with titles like The Gryphon of Death! Words, unlike numbers in maths, came easily to me. I discovered writing was therapy too, after a major illness in my twenties. I started sending off my work in the 1990’s – poetry and children’s books – which fitted in well since I taught kids and I have carried on – with time off in between!
DP: I’ve never heard of The Gryphon of Death! but it sounds well worth checking out. What was your introduction to the horror genre?
AF: Probably like a lot of folk, the R.L. Stine paperbacks, and then Stephen King and specifically, Salem’s Lot, both the book and the 1979 TV movie starring David Soul. At aged thirteen the vampire children knocking on the window to be let in terrified me. I re-watched it this year (2020) and the movie holds up very well. It has guts and is still damn scary.
DP: That’s a great movie isn’t it? I’ve been lucky to spend a night drinking with David Soul – it was a great time. I know he’s not everybody’s cup of tea but it was fun. ANYWAY – your Short Sharp Shocks! tell us all about it?
AF: My first one last year was the Gothic story, Night of the Rider. This year, 2020, I will be SSS58 in the series and this time it is a pair of stories:- The Lost Girl and Spindleshanks. The Lost Girl stars a parapsychologist who is investigating a haunting, which leads him to unravel the mystery of a missing teenage girl from 1970. Spindleshanks is a nightmare creature who visits children in dreams, who may or may not be real.
DP: Thank you for that. Let’s talk about the books / authors you read – would you say they influence you?
AF: I am lucky to get to read a lot of review freebies now from indie horror publishers – a real perk and pleasure. Currently I am reading the latest dark thriller from Sarah Rayne, who is one of my all-time favourite authors. I also was very impressed by the début Gothic historical horror from C.S.Alleyne, Belle Vue and I also love Alison Littlewood and Laura Purcell. There are so many really. I also read thrillers like those by Ruth Ware, S.K.Tremayne and Rhiannon Ward.
DP: Nice and is there a new writer (or director perhaps) that interests you?
AF: During lock down I have been watching a lot of horror films online (Netflix’s His House last night being the latest) and also many horror shorts, through Alter on Youtube, and I am following certain directors’ work. There is a vast array of talent out there writing/directing indie horror. I am especially interested in the films of female writer/directors e.g. Jennifer Kent (Babadook), Bree Newsome (Wake on Vimeo - stunning), Sarah Polley (Alias Grace), Rose Glass (St. Maud). I wrote an article for the Horror Tree on female directed horror films-
DP: Excellent, well done you – I’ll check that out. I’d add Relic to that list – I recently saw it as part of the London Film Festival, an Australian movie – it was very very good. What is Aly Faye afraid of?
AF: I have a range of tangible fears, spiders and snakes are two biggies, and more intangible ones – fear of spooky woods at night, of the darkness, of being buried alive, you know the usual- but yes I do include them in my stories at some level. Spindleshanks who inhabits the children’s nightmares is very much like a creature I used to dream about as a young kid.
DP: Is writing a short or long term career for you?
AF: I wouldn’t call writing a career for me, it’s a hobby, a passion, which has grown and grown over the last few years and it has introduced me IRL and online to some interesting, amazing creatives and taken me on a journey which has enriched my life.
DP: Great answer! We’re now in the second lockdown – how are you handling it all?
AF: I felt very lucky that when lockdown started in the UK in March because I had two invitations to write for short story anthologies and I work as an editor / proofreader for an indie press too, and they had several work projects for me. This kept me occupied and I am fortunate to live with my husband and son, and a rescue dog, Roxy, who makes me go out every day for walks. I also have been co-editing an anthology, Inferno, with Stephanie Ellis (SSS3 and co-editor at The Horror Tree) for her press.
DP: Best of luck with the anthology – as you know I am also working on a Dante themed antho for release late 2021 early 2022 so the best of luck! A couple of ‘fun’ Qs next then: Do you interact a lot with your writers? If so, how / why? Any funny stories to tell?
AF: Yes, online, via FB and twitter and I run a local writing group on zoom as well. Steph Ellis is a close friend from the writing world, and there are a few others I chat to (Theresa Derwin, Ruschelle Dillon, Kev Harrison and Richard Meldrum) about life, writing, getting rejected and accepted and not murdering your editor!).
DP: Brilliant and a few DEMAIN authors there! What a family we have now hey? Last one then: What is something your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
AF: I used to sing and act in shows at my local arts centre in Edgbaston in Birmingham. I have been caving, micro-lighting, stock car racing and four-by-by driving in my time. I can’t live without an animal in the house, and never will. Currently we have four rescues – three cats, and a Lab cross.
Great! Thanks for your time Aly – stay safe and well.
If you’d like to connect with Alyson Faye direct:
FB: under Aly Rhodes
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alyson-Faye/e/B01NBYSLRT