In “The Thing All These Relationships Have in Common Is You,” DeAnna Knippling creates a world that didn’t quite want to leave when the story ended, which is not something I say about every horror story I read. But if there were a longer piece set in Lavinia’s Tragic & Magic Brewpub, I’d be down for reading that. To find more about the story and the author, read on!
Q (Crone Girls Press): What do you write? How long have you been writing? What are your preferred genres and why?
A: I write across multiple genres, under several pen names. I’ve done a bunch of fiction ghostwriting, so I’m kind of genre slut at this point. I don’t do Christian or erotica. I’ve been writing since I was in high school, and freelancing since 2009. My preferred genre is Gothic horror, though!
Q: What inspired your story in this anthology? Tell us the “story behind the story.”
A: I’ve eaten at that restaurant, which is based on Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox here in Denver, Colorado, which started out its existence as a brothel. They play interesting music; it made me think of my old goth days of yore and people I missed or who had changed recognition.
At the same time, a writer friend broke up with dude number umpteen, the same loser scumbag that she always dates, and I caught myself going, “She sure has a type.” But her selection of men didn’t happen in a void–they harassed her into dating them, basically. Were her “choices” her fault, if she was being continuously pressured into them?
And wouldn’t it be nice if it could stop?
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 find a lot of honesty. I tend to veer toward Gothic fiction, which I like to joke about is an involved game of “spot the asshole,” and quiet horror, which is generally someone going, “I see this thing…this thing is real. Nobody believes me.”
Q: There are a number of subgenres/tropes/flavors of horror. Where does your story fit? What drew you to this particular category?
A: Quiet horror and gothic horror are my jams. While people certainly can get eaten in a splatterpunk tale, it’s supposed to be shocking. I want people to get eaten as a matter of routine, where few people get upset about it. You see my dilemma. Is it quiet horror if everything keeps getting interrupted by unfortunate lunchtimes?
But when it comes down to it, I really just like playing “spot the asshole,” so I have to lean Gothic/quiet.
Q: Why horror? Why do you write it? What about the genre appeals to you as an author?
A: I like writing All Things Dark. Sometimes that’s horror, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes horror has wandered off into some other genre’s nest and kicked out its legitimate offspring like some kind of literary cuckoo. And I like that too.
I like the gap between how people see the world, and how the world really doesn’t care about how people see it. While other genres can certainly absorb that kind of insight, they just don’t seem to revel in it. I like writing in other genres, but I feel like I’m smashing myself into a smaller people suit when I do it.
Q: Of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite, and why?
A: Hm…probably Frank Malory from the Company Justice series (under my personal pen name Dean Kenyon). He’s a detective living very slightly in the future. Whenever I write him, I feel more able to cope with the craziness that is life. He just keeps rolling with the impossible punches, without becoming a bastard.
Q: What do you find the most challenging about the writing process, and how do you meet that challenge?
A: My biggest challenge is staying organized with everything that isn’t writing! I’m trying to establish myself under my own name(s) and do less ghostwriting and freelance work, so that means I have a ton of things to juggle. I have a writing and publishing schedule now.
Q: What was the worst writing advice you ever received? The best writing advice? Why, and how did it affect your writing?
A: Worst? I probably just ignored it. Best? It’s all about the reader. Going “okay, yes, this was your baby, but now it’s the reader’s baby, too” has helped a lot with editing decisions. I’ll cut a darling if I think it will help a reader.
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: Joyce Carol Oates’s Gothic Saga, Peter Straub’s A Dark Matter, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, and The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin.
While I don’t avoid gore (my characters often get eaten for some reason; I think it’s because I’m a foodie so my language is food), I write a lot of “wait, what?” fiction, where the people involved are so close to the situation that they can’t realize how awful and terrifying it is.
Q: What’s next in your writing journey?
A: I have a Gothic/cosmic horror historical novel, The House Without A Summer, coming out in late February. It’s set in the same summer that was so cold and nasty that it kept Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley inside long enough to write Frankenstein.
People get eaten.
Q: Anything to add?
A: Thanks for having me!
DeAnna Knippling is a professional freelance writer, ghostwriter, and editor. She writes across many genres, but has a soft sport for all things crime, horror, and gothic. Her latest books are The Knight of Shattered Dreams, an Alice in Wonderland retelling; coming soon is The House Without A Summer, a novel of cosmic, gothic horror set in 1816.
You can find her at www.WonderlandPress.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To stay up-to-date with all the latest (and receive a free e-book), subscribe to DeAnna’s Author Newsletter!
To read “The Thing All These Relationships Have in Common Is You” by DeAnna Knippling, 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…