Good Morning Roomies… Wait..hold on. You’ve got a little something on your face. Oh… it’s blood.
This week we had a chance to sit down and chat with author Samantha Mayotte, as we followed her graveyard tour — learning along the way what drives her inspiration and character development.
Plug in your headphones Roomies, and tune into this week’s story ‘Things you see in a graveyard.’
GR: Welcome to The Grey Rooms Samantha, hope you don’t mind the blood (it’s a little slippery from our last episode.) But we’d love to get to know about you– How long have you been writing?
SM: As long as I can remember. The first short story I remember completing was in the third grade.
GR: Quite a few of our authors start out writing from a young age. Were you always drawn to horror? – Even back in the 3rd grade?
SM: Before I was writing, I was making up stories in my head. I think one of the big influences that made me want to write professionally/write horror is reading the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Specifically, #39, How I Got my Shrunken Head. My original copy of the book had a cover held on only by layers and layers of scotch tape, I’d read it so many times. As for my own genre, I write horror/dark fantasy primarily, but I’ve also dipped my toes into paranormal romance and quiet young adult.
GR: I had almost every single Goosebumps book when I was a kid, even a few of the “choose your own adventure” books that he put together. R.L. Stine was great for scaring the pants off of kids and mixing in different kinds of horror. What would you say is your favorite kind of horror?
SM: I love horror that makes me think, focused on unreliable narrators who make me question how much of the movie was reality. Another kind that I absolutely love is horror-comedy. Movies that know they’re campy and don’t take themselves too seriously
GR: I wish we saw more horror comedy stories come in- we always try to add a little nod to comedy, especially with Todd. But I think a lot of writers find it easier to scare you, vs. how do I make you laugh and then scare you. How do your story ideas come to you?
SM: This is a tough question, but I think the primary answer would be music. I’ll hear a lyric that makes me think, or the overall feeling or vibe of a song will inspire some spark. There are also sometimes ideas that come into my mind fully formed, demanding to be written, or a fully-formed character who is demanding to be written about and the story forms from there. I know some people don’t like when people over-personify their characters, but I find it actually helps me figure out an idea when I ‘talk’ to them or ‘let them tell their own story.’
GR: Some of the scariest stories come when you really connect and know a character, know their back stories and watch them fall as they interact with a space. I know The Shining comes to mind in that sense- really you are just following Jack and listening to his story as The Overlook changes him, warps his mind. It’s a good note for young writers- that you don’t always have to have a concept, a deep character in a unique space will always make for an interesting story. What other advice would you give?
SM: It’s so cliche, but one of the things I tell everyone is some variation of “you can’t edit a blank page.” Worrying too much about making it perfect is only going to keep you from finishing the story. No one else is looking at your first draft. Just get it written, then focus on getting it right. Follow the guidelines, and write from the heart.
GR: Very true- So tell us, what is it like hearing your story produced as a podcast episode? I’m always curious because so many writers are just used to seeing written words published, but not performed.
SM: It’s one of the coolest feelings. A thing that you wrote, being not just read by other people, but fully produced? It’s one of those moments that makes you feel like “oh, this is what it’s like to ‘make it'”
GR: ‘Things you see in a graveyard’ has been a lot of fun in that sense- I think you built a really interesting scenario/world for our producers to work with- and the characters just sucks you right in. What other projects are you working on now?
SM: I am currently working on a horror novella inspired by Blue Beard, that I’m hoping to self-publish once it’s finished and polished up. Currently it’s still in the writing process, and a very rough first draft at that.
GR: Ooooo you can never go wrong with pirates! Well we wish you the best with your novella, I can’t wait to read it!
Thank you again Samantha for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, and we hope to hear more from you here in The Grey Rooms.