Author Yolanda Sfetsos is no stranger to DEMAIN as she was part of series one of the Short! Sharp! Shocks! Books (27 – Breaking The Habit). This time around she has now joined the ranks of the Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! with her exciting new novella The Bone Factory which is published on the 27th November but is currently available for pre-sales (cover by Adrian Baldwin). It is Book 5 in the series. Recently Dean and Yolanda spoke about it.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Great to speak to you again Yolanda, the world has certainly changed a lot since we last spoke but I’m glad you’re well and safe. So, for those that don’t yet know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and why you became a writer.
YOLANDA SFETSOS: Hi. My name is Yolanda and I live in Sydney, Australia with my very supportive husband and cheeky kitty. We also have a daughter who lives in Canada. I LOVE reading, collecting books and enjoy going for daily walks around our suburb. We’re lucky to have a river within walking distance and love to take that path as much as we can. There’s a lot of beautiful wildlife around here that brings me a lot of joy. I started writing stories when I was in my early teens. I’d been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I was about fourteen that I decided to start writing and typing these out on my typewriter. (Does this make me sound old? LOL) So, I kept writing and reading. I never stopped. I don’t think I had a choice. I was meant to be a writer. And judging by the many stories pushing to get out, if I don’t write them out of my head, it might explode.
DP: I certainly know what you mean about stories in your head dying to get out – I ‘suffer’ from the same malady I think. What was your first introduction to the horror (as not revealing any spoilers but your book is very dark in places) genre?
YS: Believe it or not, my introduction to the horror genre was the movie House of Wax starring Vincent Price. I remember being really young and watching it on TV. I was fascinated and after that, all I wanted to watch was scary movies.
DP: Oh a great movie! Tell us more about your MMM!
YS: The Bone Factory is a story that came to me early this year and wouldn’t stop hounding me until it was written. It’s a mix of thriller noir with a bit of supernatural crime, featuring a wicked city, shady characters and a lot of horror. As soon as Max entered my mind, her dark and gritty world started coming together quickly. The catalyst for this story was skeletons. I love skeletons. If you read it, you’ll see how important they really are.
DP: It certainly is a great world you’ve created and we enjoyed reading it very much. Did you have to do much research when writing it?
YS: Yes, I did quite a bit of research about the human skeleton. I also looked into the morbid reality of what can melt a person down to the bone. The internet was a very good research partner for this book.
DP: Ha, it often is isn’t it – especially right now when many libraries / bookshops are closed sadly. Did you find The Bone Factory had to write?
YS: No, I didn’t find this novella difficult to write because I had a lot of fun writing it. The story came out pretty smoothly and during revision I smoothed out any of the spiky edges. Also, if you’ve read Breaking the Habit, you’ll catch one of the secondary characters in that novelette is also in The Bone Factory.
DP: I didn’t want to reveal that so won’t say anymore haha. Crime / mystery / thriller – what do they mean to you?
YS: I LOVE these separate subgenres and stories that mix them together. It’s great to read a good mystery. I enjoy the feeling of being so hooked on the story that it keeps me so engaged my mind races to try to solve what’s going on. There’s nothing better than trying to figure out who did what to whom and why. All right, maybe there is something better—and that’s solving the mystery.
DP: Definitely, definitely – personally I want to write a mystery novel, I’ve been using lockdown to work on some ideas and think I’ve found a plot so we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out...what do you think draws readers into the mystery genre, what do they look for in our stories?
YS: I think a good and interesting premise draws a reader to mystery, and the need to find out what happened and why. Also, the characters, because if the reader doesn’t like the characters, more than likely they’re not going to care about the outcome. I think mystery readers also want to enjoy the ride to the conclusion, and getting an answer at the end that ties things together and closes the door, but might also open others. At least, that’s what I look for.
DP: Ah, me too. Creatively then, is there anything you’d like to do you haven’t managed just yet?
YS: I’m a bit of a genre-hopper, so I’m always looking to write stories that push the limits of the genres I’ve already explored. There’s always going to be an edge of darkness in my work, even when I consciously go out of my way to exclude it, the darkness creeps back in. So, I won’t bother fighting that. I think writing a script would be a very cool thing to try someday. I’ve never attempted to write a screenplay.
DP: Really? I could see a film of The Bone Factory for sure (and if I’m honest, of Breaking The Habit too)...writing, is it a short or long term career plan?
YS: Writing will always be long term for me. I won’t stop writing and will continue to tell stories and try to find an audience for them for as long as I can. I love to write and if the ideas don’t stop, I will keep churning them out and hope they find their way into the world.
DP: In the UK we’re about to head into a second lockdown (though most of the country already has been in some kind of curfew since March) – how are you handling it all?
YS: Actually, I’m quite a homebody anyway, so the lockdown didn’t affect us as much. The only thing we had to change was the amount of times we went for a walk outside and didn’t have anyone over. Toilet paper shortages was an annoyance we had to get used to. We also tried to distance ourselves from everyone while outside, which is something I’ll probably never stop doing now. So, our routine didn’t change much. Oh. And did you know that I actually wrote this novella while in lockdown? 😉
DP: I didn’t know that – well done you! Is there anything else your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
YS: They might be surprised to find out that I’m a day person.
Yolanda – great to speak to you again. The best of luck with The Bone Factory.
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