Earlier last month, Crone Girls Press launched the latest Midnight Bites volume, Hard for Hope to Flourish. Since then, reviews have started to roll in, such as this one from Ginger Nuts of Horror, which described Melanie Bell’s “The Cliffman” as “a dreamy rite-of-passage fantasy.” Bell’s dark fantasy novella kicks off the three-novella mini-anthology. In it, two sisters follow separate, dangerous paths in search of beauty, magic, and escape from the deadening nature of the prosaic world. Read on to learn more about Melanie Bell and the world she created…
Q (Crone Girls Press): What do you write? How long have you been writing? What are your preferred genres and why?
A (Melanie Bell): I write nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, especially SFF. I dictated my first “story” at age two (and would like to think I’ve improved in the ensuing years). I especially enjoy speculative fiction because I can invent worlds where anything can happen.
Q: What do you find the most challenging about the writing process, and how do you meet that challenge?
A: Beginning is exciting, and ending is cathartic, but it’s easy to get stuck in the middle. I take breaks when needed and look for the next opportunity for plot or character conflict.
Q: What was the worst writing advice you ever received? The best writing advice? Why, and how did it affect your writing?
A: “Write every day” might qualify as both. It’s useful to have a regular writing practice, but it’s also important to be flexible and tend to your personal needs. As I mentioned above, we all need breaks sometimes.
Q: Of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite, and why?
A: In “The Cliffman,” I like the Skywoman. Readers have enjoyed her mixture of compelling and creepy qualities.
Q: Why horror? Why do you write it?
A: I wanted to write about the dark side of magic. It’s a power fantasy for many, but power at what cost?
Q: What draws you to the genre of horror/dark fiction?
A: It’s a playground for exploring the world’s dark sides.
Q: What inspired your story in this anthology? Tell us the “story behind the story.”
A: I grew up in rural Prince Edward Island, an insular place of red cliffs and shocking beauty. It was easy to believe that fantastical creatures lived there. The setting was an inspiration for The Cliffman. Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time inspired the older sister’s interest in math.
Q: There are a number of subgenres/tropes/flavors of horror. Where does your story fit?
A: My story is dark fantasy. I’m an avid fantasy reader and love imagining different realities.
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: The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter was an inspiration for my story, in language and themes.
Q: What’s next in your writing journey?
A: I’m slowly working on a romantic comedy.
Melanie Bell is a writer, editor, and co-author of The Modern Enneagram. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Concordia University and has written for several publications, including Cicada, xoJane, Autostraddle, and Every Day Fiction. Connect with her at InspireEnvisioning.com.
Ready for some horror? Pick up a copy of Midnight Bites: Hard for Hope to Flourish, or you can read it with your Kindle Unlimited subscription. 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…