Herewith the second interview from my series featuring fellow authors contributing to the All Dark Places anthology. Welcome to the wonderful world of Anna Sinjin. She may look harmless, but her mind is responsible for some seriously twisted terrors. You have been warned…
Give a short tease about what happens in your short story for All Dark Places.
One day, a man finds a mirror at a garage sale and brings it home to his wife as a surprise. Unfortunately, there’s more to the mirror than a simple reflection and, soon enough, they’re seeing things in the mirror that shouldn’t be there.
What inspired your short story?
We recently bought our first house and have had quite a time furnishing it without spending a fortune. We’re not as creative as the couple in the story, but my husband and I did watch DIY videos for flooring/bathrooms/etc in preparation in case we bought a fixer-upper. Thankfully, those skills went untested. I also thought, what an awesome idea if we went to a garage sale and found something wonderful that turned out to be cursed? Well, obviously, it wouldn’t be awesome for us, but it certainly had potential as a story.
What do you find scary?
To be honest, I’m afraid of the dark sometimes. It’s probably because I have all these thoughts about monsters and demonic entities living in my head. I mean, the clown from It could be hiding under my bed, ready to grab my ankles. Or maybe I might see the red eyes of a critter from Critters shining at me from down the hall. Or, if you’d rather a more realistic fear, I walk barefoot in the middle of the night when it’s literally pitch black. What if I step on a furry spider? These are thoughts that will more regularly stop me in my tracks when I’m coming back from the bathroom. What if that next step makes spider contact?
Have you experienced anything at all like a horror story in real life?
Yes, I have. There are times I’ll hear noises that no one else will hear. It doesn’t happen as often now as it used to. Once I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a shadowy figure standing next to my bed. It felt bad. Very Bad. I woke my husband up, but when I looked back, it was gone. Other times, I’ll catch things out of the corner of my eyes or feel things that I can’t see like someone hugging me. All of these things are explainable, so I’m not sure what I think about them. Call me crazy if you like. I do all the time.
Why do you think some people are drawn to horror stories, and others are repelled by them?
Horror is my True Love, but my husband avoids it like the plague. I love the thrill I get when I read/listen/watch a good horror story. It’s like being on a roller coaster! Your adrenaline is pumping, and you’re desperate to know what happens next, what’s causing everything, and how it will all end. My husband, however, says it’s too close to real life. There’s enough in life to scare the poop out of people, so why would they deliberately scare themselves with horror stories? All those stories do is remind people of the bad in the world.
To what extent are your characters based on you or people you know?
Except for one unpublished book and one published flash fiction, none of my characters resemble me or anyone I know. In the currently unpublished book, the characters are all based off of people I was around at one point in my life, including myself. None of them remained true to life, however, and quickly made a beeline to fiction when the horror began.
Do you know your ending when you write, or do you start and see where the story or characters take you?
A bit of both. Usually, I’ll play with an idea in my head for a bit until I’ve got enough that I can write notes for. Those notes can get pretty vague. As I write my notes, the story unfolds. Sometimes, I’ll start writing before I’ve reached the end of the notes and sometimes, I’ll wait. That’s the fastest process for me. Other times, I don’t wait for notes and just hit the keyboard, letting the story pour from my fingertips. This is only typical with short stories. More and more often now, I’ll do at least a portion of the notes first before I start writing. It saves time and makes each writing session more productive.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Diving into my own personal worlds and watching them come to life. I love it when this idea in my head comes alive on paper. Suddenly, it’s no longer just an insubstantial idea. Suddenly, it has life… like Frankenstein’s monster. Except, unlike Frankenstein, I don’t abandon my creations. I show them love and, hopefully, introduce them to the world.
What is the worst thing about being a writer?
Not being able to talk to anyone about my writing. I’m supposed to be able to talk to other writers, but I find I can’t. The problem is that I feel supremely stupid talking about my writing. I’ve tried. I open my mouth to talk about it, but end up floundering without really having said much. Pitching ideas is a nightmare for me.
To what extent (if at all) do you agree with the statement “write what you know”?
I semi-agree. Bram Stoker never traveled overseas, and yet he did so much research that the reader believes he went to the Carpathians. Do I need to have been in a haunted house to know how to write about one? No. I know fear, I have an imagination, and I have access to information. That’s all I really need. You should always know about what you write even if it’s only book knowledge. Make sure to double check anything you get through Google though, because it might not be true.
Are you promiscuous or monogamous with your genre of choice?
I’m flagrantly promiscuous. Currently, I write horror under this name and fantasy under another. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add cozy mysteries under a third name.
Which writers inspire you?
I don’t think any writer actually “inspires” me, but there are those I’ve looked to for guidance so to speak. Stephen King’s “On Writing” hit a good cord with me.
What are your future writing plans?
Haunted houses! However, my fantasy side is attempting to steal the spotlight. My genres don’t share me very well, so they’re currently fighting to be the next project.
What advice would you give someone who tells you they want to be a writer?
Be prepared to work work work without much return. Your significant other may or may not support you in your endeavour. This is normal, so try not to hold it against them. And remember to write for yourself and enjoy what you write. In the end, you’re the only one who matters.
Check out Anna Sinjin on Amazon here.
Check back tomorrow for the final interview with my fellow authors in the All Dark Places anthology, featuring AM Cummins.
All Dark Places is released on the 30th of October and can be pre-ordered here.