The Final Author (kind of like Final Girl, but way cooler) in our anthology is returning Crone Girls author, Shannon Scott. If you’ve read her “Swing a Dead Cat” in Coppice & Brake, or her “Synchronous Online” in Nightmare Magazine, you will know that any of Scott’s stories will take you on a wild, intense ride the likes of which you have not ridden before. There’s not really any introduction that could live up to her words, so I will step out of the way and let her take it from here.
Q (Crone Girls Press): Can you share what your previous works were, and what you’ve been working on since then?
A (Shannon Scott): My first story published by Crone Girls Press was a novelette called Swing a Dead Cat that came out in the anthology, Coppice and Brake. It was a “fictional” tale about an adjunct English professor who clones herself so she can continue working at three universities and still finish her novel. Since then, I work on the cloning process every day between classes.
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: I prefer to think of the rape kits as symbolic representations of the crime as opposed to cursed objects. The issue of backlogged rape kits is a real issue and has always bothered me, but I never wanted to write about it. I never wanted to write about rape. Ever. Then I was watching Toy Story 4 with my family and thought, what if the rape kits were animated? I bet they’d like to get the hell out of there, escape the evidence storage facility and have some fun. Then the first scene fell into place and the characters took over.
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: The characters surprised me a lot while writing this story. One character in particular kept a secret for a long time. The characters controlled the narrative. I also kept a lot of the violence off stage, more than my previous work. This story wasn’t about violence as much as its aftermath. How do you pick up the pieces? How do you move on? Especially after a sexual assault, when it feels like that’s all you are, a rape kit stuck in a storage facility, not the person living their life out in the world.
Q: What were some of the challenges that popped up during the writing/editing/revising process?
A: My main characters are rape kits. I didn’t want to forget that. I didn’t want them to lose their “boxiness,” but I also needed them to move. That was a practical challenge that took more than imagination. No fingers, no toes, no arms, no legs. A bigger challange was that I didn’t want to make light of sexual violence. In my first draft, I thought that if I wrote the rape scenes for my main characters, I would be aknowledging the pain in a more respectful way. But I was so wrong. Those scenes were grueling and horrible to write. So awful, I stopped writing the story for months. When I came back to it, and reread those scenes, I deleted all of them. I decided that if I was going to write about rape, and do it authentically for myself, I would never write a rape scene. It was a very conscious choice.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your story?
A: That sexual violence can happen to anyone. That the aftermath is the hardest part.
Q: What is coming up next on your writing and publishing timeline?
A: I have a story, “Synchronous Online,” coming out in Nightmare Magazine in April. It explores the horror of teaching black boxes.
About the Author
Shannon Scott is a Professor of English at several universities in the Twin Cities. She has contributed essays on werewolves to collections published by Manchester University Press and Routledge Press. In addition, Shannon has published short fiction in Nightscript, Coppice and Brake, Dark Hearts Anthology, Hawk & Cleaver, Oculus Sinister, and has stories coming out in Nightmare Magazine and Water~Stone Review. She is co-editor of Terrifying Transformations: An Anthology of Victorian Werewolf Fiction, 1838-1896.
Find her online at: https://sf-scott.com/