Sarah Gribble physically resides somewhere in Ohio, but where her mind resides depends on the day. She writes sometimes. She bangs her head against the wall other times. Her short stories have been featured in a variety of publications, including Crescendo of Darkness, Hinnom Magazine, and the bestselling The Edge: Infinite Darkness.
Mainly I write horror, which I like to think of as more than just the cheap tricks and scares given to moviegoers. Horror, at its base, should reflect the deep fears of humankind. Death is obviously the big one there, but there’s also more seemingly innocuous fears that creep up in daily life. Things like your spouse cheating or your sweet child growing into an angsty teenager. If you can take those everyday fears and turn them upside down and add some ‘traditional’ horror elements, you’ve got a horror story. Vampire novels, for example, were originally about the rich literally sucking the life out of the poor. That’s what I try to do with my horror stories. That and keep my readers up at night!
Q. Is there anything which sets your writing apart from any other in the genre?
This isn’t necessarily my writing, but the fact that I’m a woman writing horror sets me apart somewhat. Sure there are other female horror writers, but there’s a decently-sized gap between the sexes. I’m normally only one of two or three women in each anthology I’ve been in, if I’m not downright alone. I’m not trying to rag on men in any way; they’re obviously very good at writing the genre. I just think women bring a certain je ne sais quoi to any genre in the way they write and I’d like to see more of that in horror. I think women have a lot to offer the genre and I hope to see the ratio of men to women even out in the years to come.
Q. What, if any, are the challenges you face writing your book or stories?
Coming up with something new is always a challenge, which I think is the same across genres. With horror specifically, there’s the issue of how to make readers feel uncomfortable (or hopefully downright terrified) without leaning too much on old tropes or too much gore.
Q. Why do you write in this genre? What attracts you and the reader?
I write horror because I love being scared. I grew up on R.L Stine and The X-Files and just fell in love. I think horror is really the base for everything. We’re all scared of something, and elements of that fear spread to other genres. I mean you wouldn’t have conflict if there wasn’t fear. That fear is what attracts people, and me. Diving into those depths and coming out alive is a thrill.
Q. Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?
Normally I start my day sacrificing a goat and doing some chanting in tongues. Kidding! In reality, I do some crosswords, maybe some small writing exercises, dump some caffeine down my throat, and hope that something clicks so my fingers fly across the keyboard. If that fails, I read a writing how-to book and feel bad I’m not writing. Normally that guilt gets me to the computer.
Q. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
None! Now I feel like a bad writer…
I’ve honestly never seen the point of standing in another writer’s house, looking at their things and trying to soak up their vibe. I don’t think I would get an inspiration out of it. If anything, I’d probably just compare myself to them and feel like a failure!
When I go on trips, I tend to keep to the outdoors and more adventurous pursuits. I learn about myself that way and get to have some cool experiences along the way. (And sometimes not-so-cool, but still useful inspiration.) That’s my literary inspiration: living life.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Poe’s house, though.
Q. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Just about anything. Like most writers, I can work myself into a pretty impressive bout of procrastination, especially when editing. I read somewhere you can tell when a writer is editing because their house has never been so clean!
Q. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Yes! I get it at least once a year and it can last for months. It’s so frustrating. I like to read widely, not just in my genre, but sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any genre that catches my interest. It normally happens in the summer, when I think the real problem is I would rather be outside or doing something active, not sitting in a nook reading. (Not-so-coincidentally, that’s the same time of year I get writer’s block the worst.) It normally clears up with that first blast of fall air.
Q. What do you expect from an author when reading a book, short story or article?
Entertainment. I’m not huge on purple prose or hoity-toity sentence structure. I hate it when I can tell the writer is trying to put on airs. People read for two reasons: to be informed or to be entertained. They don’t want to study a sentence for a half hour to figure out what that sentence meant. Just entertain me, and I’ll be good. I’ve even been known to ignore bad grammar and cheesy dialogue if I’m entertained enough by the story.
Q. The book that made you fall in love with the genre you write?
I don’t have a specific one! I loved Poe and R.L. Stine when I was young, but there isn’t one book or story that did it for me. I’d say I’ve fallen back in love with horror again and again throughout my life. I’ve never really left it, but as with any long-term relationship, things can get stale every so often. Then there comes a book you can’t put down, that you read slower so it doesn’t end as quickly. In horror, the books that stick with me for weeks and make everyday things seem suddenly malignant, the ones that can get my heart beating a little faster, those are the books that make me fall again. Then I get jealous that I didn’t write it, have a little pout about that, then go write.
You can connect with Sarah @sarahstypos, on Facebook, or at sarah-gribble.com, where she gives away free stories to email subscribers!
Or follow this link to buy a copy of Hinnom Magazine, for Sarah’s latest story, THIRST!
EXCERPT FROM “THIRST”:
There are creatures in the sea.
My grandfather told me this as a child every time I spent the night with him and Gram. It was part of a story, a fisherman’s legend, meant to scare children into staying away from the tide, to keep them safe. I loved every bit of it. Gram said I had water in my blood: a sentiment that made my chest swell with pride and her face fall in worry.
The stories sent me off to sleep and filled my dreams with innocuous visions of water: walking on it, swimming, fishing with Gramps. The dreams have since turned to nightmares.
Because Gramps meant things like sharks, stingrays, and eels. Squid, jellyfish, and killer whales.
He meant the things we knew about…
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