Saturday, January 15, 2011

Interview with Effie Collins

First, I would like to take a couple moments to tell you a little about Effie Collins. Her and I met on the reader's guestbook of SNM Horror Magazine. She won 3rd place with her story, The Cat Lady. You can read that story here: 

Later, I will post some more links to stories and a copy of her new story, A Cocoon of Not to Remember. She has some really interesting and good stories, so take your time after the interview. She is also a big fan of Shock Totem, which is another very fine magazine.

Here is her blog, where she was kind enough to interview me: Effie's Blog

Effie will be taking over as the Selections Editor for SNM Horror Magazine. The reading isn’t all easy, but it isn’t all bad. Maybe we should interview her in a month and see how she feels about it…

Without further superfluous words, welcome Effie. Congratulations on your new position. Can you tell us how that came about?

Answer: I honestly have no idea. Steve Marshall called me up out of the blue one afternoon and asked me if I'd like to be the selections editor for his magazine. I didn't apply for it; it was offered to me. I suppose Mr. Marshall can speak for himself, but it is safe to say that my type of horror and what SNM is all about is on a similar wavelength.

When selecting, what will be the three most important things you will look for in a story?

Answer: Characterization. No cookie-cutter characters; even a tired trope can be made new and incredible by the right character. The theme of the month will be important, of course. And of course, the quality of the words written. 

Really? Why those?

Answer: For me, horror is all about the character. If I don't care about him or her, no one else will. The monthly theme is part of SNM and I couldn't lay that aside simply because of preference. And the quality of writing... well, bad writing is bad writing. I love a well written story. Don't we all?

When you write, how do you make sure your stories have those elements? I’m cheating here, because I know you don’t write outlines.

Answer: I let my characters guide me through the first part (writing the story) and I clean up any inconsistencies afterward. I don't tell the story... my characters do. I'm basically just a scribe.

Being a mother, it must be hard to juggle all that. Do you get support from your family?

Answer: My family doesn't have a say in the matter. I have to write. They know this and don't expect otherwise. It wouldn't do them any good. Though they are a bit jaded now when I get an acceptance letter, they are excited for me and supportive of me while I'm writing a new story. It seems that now they tend to take for granted that eventually it will get published. That isn't always the case, but their faith in my ability is invaluable to me.

Would you let your kids read your stories? Why or why not?

Answer: My children have read some of my work. I'm not a big one for censure; I think if they can understand it, they can read it. If they want to read anything of mine, they are welcome to. Their problem is that I don't write kids stories. They do love to read my poetry, though.

Have you noticed any trends in the things your children like to watch?

Answer: My kids are very different individuals. They are just as happy to sit and watch "Dante's Peak" or "Die Hard" with me as they are to sit through any cartoon. We love our "Looney Toons", though.

What about kids seeming to love super villains and bad guys these days? Sometimes it seems like children talk about them more than the heroes.

Answer: Everybody loves the bad guy. I do.

If one of your kids turned out to be ‘evil,’ would you love them?

Answer: Absolutely, I would love them. That doesn't mean that I would let them wreak their evil havoc upon the world.

Do you believe books influence children?

Answer: I do believe that. They just have to read them first.

What other Genres do you want to write in?

Answer: Thriller/suspense, mystery, tasteful erotica and fantasy.

What are things you just can’t read in a book?

Answer: Anything with a "throbbing love rod" or a "pulsing organ" or an "engorged love button" is an immediate pass; sparkling vampires or cuddly werewolves result in good fire starting materials. Zombie sex is okay, though.

Can you give any advice to writers.

Know that your story is yours. People may give good and even great advice to you about what you are writing, but ultimately, only you know what is best for your story and your characters. Good advice is
not always the best advice.

That's my words of unwisdom.

I think that is a lot to go through here. I’ll close by asking you to share some of your favorite words. After that, go ahead and tell us anything else you would like to say.

 Answer: Some of my favorite words? Hyperbole is a good one. Puts me in the mind of what might happen with too many energy drinks mixed with football. Electric is another one. There's just something about the word electric that makes me excited. Oh, and antidisestablishmentarianism. Just because it's a word no one can spell, and very few know the actual meaning. Even MS word says it's misspelled. But it isn't.

If you liked the story or would like to read more, check these links.

Deadly Heirloom
This is a story about a monstrous dog owner. No, it isn’t Michael Vick
Too Little, Too Late
Don’t read if you are afraid of heights!


by Effie Collins


            Like as not, the world she lived in was similar to the other worlds around her. She could see other membranous homes, just beyond her own. The liquid she peered through, murky and muddy and tinged an odd red, gave away only the vaguest of details. Blurry and obscure shapes lingered in that  beyond. She knew they were like her, but she could not see them clearly. The concept of a face had to be more complex than just bulk and shadow.
            She wanted to get closer, to see both of them. Her instincts said that they were somehow of profound importance to her, but the enclosure that surrounded her did not give. She couldn't get through and everything was so very close--tight--and she longed just to move; to stretch and reach out for nothing.
            One of the others (the boy she was sure) started moving, stretching his stronger limbs and shoving at her back with his feet. His hands flailed, bigger and more able than her own. Quite like it was even before...
            She remembered nothing but this empty carmine film and the cushion of warmth around her. Though she sensed a place before the cerise-tinged thickness of this world, she had no memory of anything that could have happened there. For everyone here, there was only this.
            The other twin wriggled around but didn't encroach on her space. This existence was so tight. The tube connecting her to the world pinched for the barest of moments, cutting off her vital life-supply. She felt drowsy, but the other girl-child shifted and awareness flooded back.
            And the sounds, those soothing, happy ones from somewhere beyond the haze of red. Good sounds. They were above her but also surrounding her. Each vibration brought by a thrumming wave of ruddy sludge. Another, deeper sound - not inside this world, but close by - drifted to her in a soft way that blended all the sounds into one long hum of sweet ease. It reached inside her head and calmed her, as it seemed to do for the others. The boy stilled and the other girl ceased her wriggling. She could relax now, discomforted as she was.
            The sounds rose to almost disturbing heights, but as always the world around her rocked and swayed and brought comfort.
            As suddenly as the sounds started, the boy pressed closer. Her back and that of the other girl were separated only by the membrane-like encasing in which they were kept safe. The world grew tighter; a gentle pressure forced her to squish against her home. Her head pressed against something that first resisted, then gave way as the others crowded somehow behind and above her. The constant haze grew darker.
            Her head felt pulled by some unknowable force, and slowly she was changed. The softness of the bone within her head shifted and formed itself into something else; similar yes, but not perfect and round as it was before. Now her brain was an elongated and conical facsimile of itself. And this place... it was different before. Whatever had been earlier in her life was gone and she could no longer recall the quality of that red, red world. This place was dark and tighter than even her cocoon-like home of before. Her life-tube still connected her to that other world, but she could not wiggle back in; she could not move at all. Something tried to eject her, squeezed her impossibly tight and forced her out, out - out to somewhere else. Somewhere that was not home.
            And the others. They would follow. She knew they would, somehow. The others.
            There were others, weren't there? Back in... somewhere.
            But the push and pull of whatever reshaped her head, gripping every inch of her body and pulsing...
            ...pulsing until she was almost to the point of being crushed, and it blocked out all thought of before. Was there a before this? She seemed to think there was, but now she could not imagine anything beyond the throbbing and jellied crush that held her. Whatever came before hid behind a black veil of almost-pain.
            Something frigid tickled against the top of her head. She felt the surety of the world behind her dissolve as it gave one final squeezing push; she left that world behind.
            And forgot that it, and she within it, ever existed at all.

--the end

Thank you for reading today everyone. I hope that you enjoyed getting a closer look at one of today's new faces. Check out her work and ask her questions. She is very helpful and always kind. Someone worth getting to know, for sure. Her honesty and openness is something to strive for in this business.

Draven Ames

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Michele Shaw said...

Great interview, Draven! Nice to be introduced to Effie's wonderful stories. Thx.

Diane Dooley said...

Nice to get to know Effie Collins better. I'm a fan!

E. F. Collins said...

Hello! Thank you so much Draven for doing this little exchange with me. I appreciate you taking the time and hope to see much, much more of you in the horror world in the near future.

And thank you to Diane and Michele for the kind comments.

Damyanti said...

I love the interview, so thanks Draven, thanks,E.F. Collins!

Following this blog now :)

Draven Ames said...

Thanks Michaele. Effie has some pretty original ideas. Glad to have her here.
Diane, thanks for reading. It is nice to see what goes on at some of these magazines and what they are looking for. Thanks for reading.
Effie, thanks for coming by!
Damyanti - Thank you for taking so much of your time to read the interview. Thank you for following too

Draven Ames

Valerie said...

I just became a fan of Effie's work. I followed you back to your blog, Draven, after leaving a comment on mine (which I thank you for. Thank you also for the introduction to Effie's stories. I am a horror fan and was delighted reading these stories.

Draven Ames said...

Valerie -

Thank you for checking out the blog Val. The interview and story were long, so thank you for taking the time to to do it. Thanks for coming this way. Don't forget to link up your work too.

Alegria said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Nice blog you have in here! Continue posting useful stuffs!

The Weed said...

Hey, found you through a link on Paul Joseph's blog. I like what you're doing 'round these parts. Congrats on your short story awards. And thanks for the introduction to Effie's stuff.

Carol Kilgore said...

I don't write horror, but it's interesting to learn all this information. Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Draven Ames said...

Thank you to all the people who stopped by and left links. I hope everyone checks those out as well. Here, I like authors to promote themselves when they like. I've enjoyed all of your blogs as well. Great interview Effie.