October 2015 Author of the Month: Elizabeth Yon | Our Write Side
We call this site “Our Write Side” because that’s what it really is. We want you to meet and mingle, find great new reads, a new author, maybe even a guiding light. We want to pay it forward to the same writing community that has treated us with such love and support.
This is why every single month we will host one author; one outstanding writer to showcase for the whole month.
This month we would be remiss if we did not honor one of our favorite dark fiction writers. It is the month of Halloween, after all.
Our Write Side is pleased to introduce you to the Authoress, Elizabeth Yon.
Elizabeth Yon lives in rural Bedford County, Pennsylvania. She is the author of two story collections: Wilderness, A Collection of Dark Tales; and Blackfern Girls. Her short stories have been published in the anthologies Precipice, Vols. II and III; Echoes in Darkness; and the Bannerwing Books showcase Open Studio. More of her dark fiction can be found on her WordPress blog, The Palace of Night.
Name: Elizabeth Yon
Latest Book Released: Blackfern Girls
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Preferred Genre: horror
We are so honored to have you as our Author of the Month! Thank you for sharing your words with the world! Let’s talk about your latest released book. Tell us a short blurb about the book, please? Blackfern Girls is a collection of four paranormal stories linked by setting and by the exploration of girlhood in that setting. These are coming of age tales, and like most tales of that sort, they are adventures – but adventures shadowed by the haunted Johns Woods in eerie Blackfern County.
Where did your idea for the story come from? The stories began as a combination of bits of my own girlhood, the beauty and mystery of the Pennsylvania countryside that somehow gets in your blood, and my love of everything creepy. With that as a base, they just took off.
How long did it take you to write it? Roughly a year. I didn’t work on it exclusively, and I picked it up in fits and starts for a while until it began to really become cohesive.
How did you come up with the title? I wanted to model my setting on rural Pennsylvania, but I didn’t want to use a real county. I wanted to make a sort of composite of different places I’ve lived in the state. So, Blackfern County was born, and it seemed right to title the book after it. Each story tells the tale of girlhood struggles, so the title became Blackfern Girls.
What is your favorite line from the book? That’s a hard question. I think it’s the first line of the story, The Skeptic. They are going to wreck Sparrowgate. That line came to me in the narrator’s voice so clearly that the rest of the story just tumbled onto the page with very little effort. Sometimes, when I’m lucky, it happens that way.
There’s a lot of talk in the writing community about “writing what you know.” Does that apply to this book? It definitely applies. I mined my memories and experiences for my characters and my setting. Blackfern County is significant enough in the stories that it really becomes a character in its own right. This is the soil of my upbringing, rich and dark, the way I saw it as an imaginative and lonely girl.
How did you find “your voice?” I think I stumbled over it. When I first began writing, I experimented with different voices, trying them on the way you might try on hats. Was it comfortable? Did it sound authentic? I wanted to emulate my favorite authors, but I always missed the mark. The key, of course, wasn’t to “put on” a voice, but to develop one. Then, one day, it was just there. I realized I’d been using it unconsciously, naturally, and with ease – for better or worse, I’d found it.
Do you stick to one genre or do you dabble in others, too? I’ve been pretty faithful to what I term “dark fiction”, a hybridization of paranormal/horror/fairy tale/fantasy. I have trouble categorizing my work, and I don’t like the idea that a label can become like a skin – something you can’t get out of. I’d like to experiment with other genres, or more likely, graft them onto my dark sensibility.
What are you currently working on? I have several short stories on the table, and I’ve begun roughing out a novel that I’m finding rather exciting. Another story collection is taking shape.
Which manuscript did you have the most fun working on? In Blackfern Girls, the story Local Honey is really a novella. I didn’t intend for it to reach such volume, but as I followed the thread of it, it grew and grew. Beta readers would come back with more questions about what happened to the characters, and it was fun to see them excited about the story. I enjoyed building that big one.
What is your best one sentence advice to other writers? Read everything you can, no matter what the genre, fiction or non, classics and new releases.
Let’s talk about you, the author, now. What do you do when you aren’t writing? I read, of course! I hike, kayak, and garden. I do a bit of sewing, and I always have a variety of art projects lying about.
If you had to sum your life up in 3 words, what would they be? Deep, quiet, anticipatory.
What motivates you? As a writer, the idea of readers. Just the idea of them out there, waiting for the tale I can tell them. As a person, the satisfaction of making things. Creative expression becomes a compulsion. Sometimes it’s an agony, and it’s always a joy.
Tell us about your favorite cause. I don’t really have a cause. The things that are deeply important to me have to do with respecting and communing with the natural world, with building empathy between myself and other living beings, human or not. Compassion is important to me, and community, and I try to combine those two things whenever I can. I try to be available when I’m needed.
Identify your superpower. Invisibility. It really comes in handy when I’m eavesdropping!
What’s your favorite quote? Book? Movie? Song? Food? I don’t have a favorite quote, I have hundreds! My favorite keeps changing. Favorite book might be Dracula. Again, there are so very many. My favorite movie is Jaws. Isn’t that a hoot? I watch it every time it’s on TV, and I have it on DVD, too. Favorite song, Gloomy Sunday. A lot of artists have done it in grand style. I love Billie Holiday’s rendition, but my favorite might be Sarah Brightman. Favorite food, Mac and cheese, the baked homemade kind with the crusty cheese topping. Mmm, comfort food!
Are you coffee or tea? Coffee with lots of sugar, cream, and a dash of cinnamon.
And lastly, what is the one thing you wish people who DON’T write would understand about writing? That it takes a great deal of time for which the writer may never be paid (in monetary terms); time to think about it, to research, to write, to edit and rewrite, to dream – and none of that is wasted time.
Thank you for answering our questions.
To find out more about this fabulous writer, please follow her social media and author pages below.
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