On Monday, we heard from Jennifer Nestojko, author of “Found and Lost” in Objectified. Next up, we hear from Cristel Orrand, another returning Crone Girls author, who brings us a tale of losing and finding one’s voice. Want to know more? Read on!
Q (Crone Girls Press): Welcome back! All three authors in this publication have previously published with Crone Girls Press. Can you share what your previous works were, and what you’ve been working on since then?
A (Cristel Orrand): My story Gatekeepers was included in the inaugural edition of SWTAM. Since then, I’ve been working on a southern gothic historical fiction series that follows two grad students to rural Kansas on the hunt for a famous author’s manuscripts, and instead find a whole lot more than they bargained for, as well as a novelette M.O.U.T.H Piece coming out this month.
Q: Where did your idea for a cursed object story come from? What spurred you to think about it when coming up with your story?
A: A central theme in most of my work is this idea of who can speak–whether that’s in a modern or historic context, for marginalized people or even for the dead. I think writers are always collecting experiences that we draw from when the time is right. For this story, it was the pandemic–watching people struggle with isolation and adapting communication, that was the catalyst. In other words, I blame Zoom.
Q: The three stories in this volume bring a certain horror from the modern-but-mundane. Can you talk a bit about the choices you made around the setting and characters when writing the piece?
A: What could be more mundane than working in a cubicle? For the MC, the idea of being put in box is terrifying and claustrophobic, so I play with space in the story–who can access it and who owns it, and public versus private versus privileged spaces. The story moves between the confines of a cubicle and a Metro car, to the cavernous space of Congress and Camp David. Sometimes we take our perceived limitations with us.
Q: What were some of the challenges that popped up during the writing/editing/revising process?
A: Well… I have a wonderful editor, so none really. The first draft did have a slightly happier ending. Sorry, Karina.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your story?
A: I hope readers will laugh far more than they expect. I don’t know why there’s this perception that horror can’t be hilarious. It’s a great coping mechanism. But more than that, I hope readers will question who can speak, and authority in general.
Q: What is coming up next on your writing and publishing timeline?
A: I write in multiple genres, which is not advised, but keeps me whole. I’m working on some defense-oriented non-fiction (not a great marketing move); I publish about three poems a week; and I am absolutely in love my Southern Gothic (also not an easy market) WIP series Falling Water, and the sequel-prequel (dual timeline), Falling Snow. I’m looking for the right publisher for those now. Say, Rachel, do you know anyone? 😉
About the Author
Cristel Orrand is the author of two published cross-genre novels, “The Amalgamist” and “Khayal”, as well as the poetry and prose collection “Heartwood.” She is currently working on a southern gothic historical fiction novel series, non-fiction, and poetry.
Cristel grew up in a military family, moving back all the time and living in such exotic locations as Turkey, Jordan, France and Fort Riley, Kansas. She blends her love of history, people and place in such a way that the settings are often their own characters in her work.
She’s a mom, a consultant, a bibliophile, a writer, an historian, a cook, a critic, an advocate, a gardener, a storyteller, a cancer survivor, a scavenger, and a pugilist, of a sort. Cristel lives in Raleigh, NC, with her artist husband, kids and dogs, doing anything they can dream up and cram into a day.