This latest installment of “Spotlight” is devoted to Cemetery Dance’s eBook collection of thirteen stories by Maria Alexander: 12 Tales Lie || 1 Tells True. Check out the mini-interview below, then read about the book at CD’s website.
CEMETERY DANCE: Your recent story collection from CD has an unusual and original concept. Where did you come up with the idea?
MARIA ALEXANDER: One of the reasons I was originally attracted to writing horror and supernatural tales was because I’ve had more than my share of spooky experiences since childhood. My short stories tend to be more autobiographical in general, which means I weave my life events with fictional ones. Sometimes people can’t tell which is which because the life events are so spooky. But then I realized that I’ve had spooky experiences—some quite profound—that could be effective stories on their own. I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone could tell the difference. No one has so far even made a guess.
I’m thinking you don’t want to give away which one is the true story. But what are some of your favorite lies in the book?
Definitely the lie that my father was a dark fairy king. Metaphorically it’s helped me deal with understanding him, particularly after his death. And, of course, I love the very wicked lie about a certain holiday in “Coming Home,” which was the main inspiration for my Bram Stoker Award®-winning YA novel, Snowed. The story and the book are nothing alike, but they do contain some pretty delightful lies.
What kinds of “truth” are most important in your fanciful or horrific fictions?
Emotional truths are far and away the most important. Like the pain good women suffer for their fascination with bad men. The festering wounds of abuse. The profound ache of powerlessness when we can’t right the deepest wrongs. But then there’s the crazy ability of laughter and humor to slice right through everything I just mentioned.
The second most important truth, of course, is that cats are liars.
You’ve written YA and adult fiction; novels, novellas, essays, and short stories—even poetry! What’s your favorite type of writing? What would you like to be most known for?
I had more fun writing Snowed than anything I’ve ever written in my life. If I were known for that book or any of the Bloodline of Yule books in the trilogy, I’d be really happy. Next to the book’s Bram Stoker Award® win and its Anthony Award nomination, I’m most proud of it being banned by the only bookstore in the county where the story is set.
Many people who’ve never read my fiction know me for my critical nonfiction. I’ve received high praise from some major writers for essays such as, “Dogma, Darth Vader, and My Sexual Awakening”; the viral blog post, “Why I Hate (Most) Photos and Drawings of Women with Swords”; and my transmedia paper, “The Greatest Story Ever Interacted With.” If that’s all they read and enjoy, I’m perfectly happy with being known for that.
I’ve started writing crime stories, and I love it. I wrote a thriller satire called No Rhyme Goes Unpunished. I also wrote a spy story that’s on submission based on something that happened to my dad while he was working for the State Department in Greece in the 1950s. Capers. Thrillers. Mystery (which is what Snowed is, really). The world of literature is huge. I just wish there was enough time to write everything.
What are you working on now?
The last book in the Bloodline of Yule trilogy, Snowfall. It’s been a long time in the coming. And I’m outlining the sequel to No Rhyme. I’m also looking for my next agent with the book I just finished writing — a dark historical YA fantasy, Ashes of Angels. It features the 17th century duelist La Maupin when she’s sixteen, on the verge of discovering she’s both badass and bisexual.
Lastly, I have queued up one last draft of a really powerful supernatural memoir. I’ve often worried about not being believed. If the response so far to 12 Tales Lie, 1 Tells True is any indication, the memoir will be shelved in two sections of the library: fiction and nonfiction. That’s not a terrible thing at all when you think about it.
Norman Prentiss is Editor, Electronic Books Division with Cemetery Dance Publications. He won a Bram Stoker Award for his first book, Invisible Fences. Recent books include Odd Adventures with your Other Father, Life in a Haunted House, and The Apocalypse-a-Day Desk Calendar.