Elizabeth Davis’ “The Cut-Mouth Woman and Me” brings to life a digital urban legend, and visits this incarnation of the legend through the perspective of a teenage girl. For more info, read on…
Q (Crone Girls Press): What do you write? How long have you been writing? What are your preferred genres and why?
A (Elizabeth Davis): I write retro style speculative fiction. I’ve been writing since high school, though if you ask my mom she will pull out that the storybooks I made back then. I prefer Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror because that is what I was raised on. Not only am I second generation writer, but I’m a second generation geek.
Q: What inspired your story in this anthology? Tell us the “story behind the story.”
A: What inspired my story in this anthology was fascination with the urban legend of the Cut-Mouth Woman from Japan. It pretty much began with “what happens if you didn’t react with horror, but tried to befriend the ghost?” Which lead to “what person would want to befriend a ghost?” And well, the story went on from there.
Q: What draws you to the genre of horror/dark fiction? What do you find there that you don’t find anywhere else?
A: I’m not really sure. I know I first got pulled to it in third grade (which led to an encounter with “Pickman’s Model” that restored my fear of the dark) but I haven’t been able to vocalize what pulls me to it. An adult, it gives me comfort, like a mug of hot chocolate.
Q: There are a number of subgenres/tropes/flavors of horror. Where does your story fit? What drew you to this particular category?
A: Mine fits in the ghost story flavor of horror. It’s one of my favorite genres of horror because it’s a flexible genre.
Q: Why horror? Why do you write it? What about the genre appeals to you as an author?
A: Because I love to read horror, I write horror. As mentioned before, I was drawn to it at an early age, even if I can’t vocalize its appeal to me. I just love creepy things.
Q: Of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite, and why?
A: Miss Morgan, a main character in my up and coming novel series “Learning to Fly and Other Bizarre Adventures.” Well she has changed a lot over the years; she was a character who I got to express my dark humor, my sexuality, and all those good things in high school. It’s fun to write a character who helps you embrace yourself – even if you never grow up to be a pansexual magical space cop.
Q: What do you find the most challenging about the writing process, and how do you meet that challenge?
A: I find editing to be the hardest part of writing – I have a hard time getting out of my own head to get a clear look at what I have actually written versus what I think I have written. The good news is that I have a harsh but fair reader who helps me out.
Q: What was the worst writing advice you ever received? The best writing advice? Why, and how did it affect your writing?
A: Worst: Always describe the main characters (even in short stories) so people can envision them. The best writing advice is not to chase trends – don’t try to be popular. Try to make something you want to read. This is my favorite bit of advice because it’s a good guiding anchor in a world with competing advice and views. It’s easier to weed out what doesn’t work for you and what does by always going back to “would I want to read a story following that piece of advice?”
Q: If someone asked you to recommend books/stories similar to what you write, who/what titles would you be giving them? And, why?
A: I actually had to ask several people because I’m terrible about getting out of my own headspace. Poul Anderson in the way he integrates fantasy and science fiction. Sherman Alexie with the absurd and dark humor, along with the themes my work tends to explore. Carmen Maria Machado because are both cool. Rory Powers and Claire Legrend if you like my mythos stuff.
Q: What’s next in your writing journey?
A: [Developing} a micropress with my mom called Deadfish Books, publishing work from ourselves and anthologies. So follow my page if you want to read and/or submit. I’m also going to releasing a novel this year, have a comic in the works, and also a few short stories in the pipeline. I also might be making a joke Patreon about spooky themed meditations.
Elizabeth Davis is a second generation writer living in Dayton, Ohio. She lives there with her spouse and two cats – neither of which have been lost to ravenous corn mazes or sleeping serpent gods. She can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDavisWritesSillyStories, when she isn’t busy creating beautiful nightmares and bizarre adventures. Her work can be found in, Monsters We Forgot: Volume III, The Black Room Manuscripts Volume IIII and Tavistock Galleria: Stories from America’s Retail Wasteland.
Learn more about Elizabeth and her mother’s publishing project at Deadfish Books.
To read “The Cut-Mouth Woman and Me” by Elizabeth Davis, pick up a copy of Stories We Tell After Midnight 2. And, once you are finished, please think about leaving us a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews make our cold, dark little heart so happy…