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The Hotties of Horror: A Mass Interview by Ken Kupstis (K.K.)

HEY! What are three nice girls like YOU doing in a CRYPT like this? LOOTING IT? Oh, I see…

Yes, dudes and dudesses, “Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice” can still come to mind when one thinks of the fairer sex, but that’s not to say women can’t have a dark side…and these three up & coming horror mistresses exploit their personal demons with a ravenous creativity.

CAROL HAYTKO is the Author of AFTER DARK and BELLA LUNA. KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN is the Author of MINA’S JOURNAL, and PEGGY SHUMATE (AKA BRUTAL DREAMER) is the Author of BRUTAL TALES OF BRUTALITY, WITCH BOTTLE and GRAVE OFFERING.

Your humble servant was recently allowed to pick their fevered brains…

Q: When did you start writing (horror)? What got you started?

CAROL HAYTKO: I’ve been writing novels for about 12 years total, horror for 6, and publishing for 4.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: Even as a kid my writing always seemed to lean toward the dark side of things, however, I only started writing with the intent to distribute about three years ago. I know this is going to sound weird but what actually got me started in writing was boredom. For years I’d been working nonstop and didn’t have any time to dedicate to writing at all. Then three years ago I took a part-time job as a bartender in a small restaurant. I was working days and never had any customers so I would sit at the bar and write. Once I started writing again it quickly became an addiction and now I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.

BRUTAL DREAMER: I first started writing “horror” about ten years ago, then I went back to my first passion: children’s stories and poetry. And then about three years ago I went totally insane and decided to be brutal enough to write Horror because a few stories just popped out of my head and I thrived off of the thrill it gave me. What got me started? I found I related to most Horror authors more than I did the other genre of authors. I also related to the ‘jolting fear’ or the ‘out and out disgust of blood and gore and monsters lurking about in long shadows…” I like them, I want to know why those monsters are in my head…or in YOURS…

Q: What is your latest work?

CAROL HAYTKO: My latest published work is BELLA LUNA, which is the sequel to AFTER DARK.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: My first novel, MINA’S JOURNAL, was published last February. My latest short story, LETTING GO, is currently up at Horrorfind.com

BRUTAL DREAMER: The past few months I’ve written quite a bit, but here are the latest: a story for the SICK Anthology called ALONG CAME AUNTIE ROSE MARY, a truly disgusting story of the weirdest kind. I’ve also contributed THE MUSIC BOX, BEAUTIFUL FAMILIAR DEATH and several more poems and vignettes to the CEMETARY POETS: GRAVE OFFERING Anthology.

Q: What is your current project?

CAROL HAYTKO: I have three in the works: CHATEAU is the sequel to BELLA LUNA; REDO, which is about domestic abuse; and ROSE, CONSTANCE AND THE MAID, which is fiction about the women of the Marquis de Sade. I’m working the most on ROSE, CONSTANCE AND THE MAID.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: Right now I’m about a quarter way into my second novel, which is the sequel to MINA'S JOURNAL.

BRUTAL DREAMER: I have a novel in the works called WITCH BOTTLE, and a collection called BRUTAL TALES OF BRUTALITY with about five new, never-before seen short stories and I’m hoping to get fifteen more by the end of the year.

Q: What is your ‘favorite’ monster?

CAROL HAYTKO: Michael Myers, no doubt.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: My favorite monster is the vampire, which makes sense seeing as how my first book and its sequel are both vampire fiction. I love their ability to be seemingly human one minute and then vicious killers the next. I also love all the different vampire myths and legends. It’s such fun to toy with them. My vamps break some of '‘he rules'’ while being bound to others, which I think is one of the things that keep vampire tales interesting

BRUTAL DREAMER: Favorite MONSTER? Oh gosh…how can I answer that…you see, I love ALL monsters and I’d hate to discriminate against one of them, or hurt the other’s feelings. I’d say The Cookie Monster but I kind of outgrew his scares and moved on to Jason, Freddy Krueger, etc. So now my favorite monster is The Creep from CREEPSHOW or The Freak from CASTLE FREAK, either one...

Q: Who are your influences?

CAROL HAYTKO: My father is my horror inspiration. He is a makeup man for stage and screen in the horror/sci-fi area.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite are probably my greatest influences, although I think a lot of Mina’s sass comes from years of worshipping Oscar Wilde.

BRUTAL DREAMER: I try not to be “influenced” by anyone because when I try to “rewrite” a story that has been told—uhmmm, say by Stephen King—I would SCREW it up so badly. However, if you are asking whose writing keeps me wanting to write and read horror, of course that would be Stephen King. Other writers also influence me…some of my best friends/writers keep me focused…Dave Bowlin and Myth Spinner constantly bust my butt to stay focused and work harder than ever. I read their work and say WOW, I wanna write like that.

Q: What is your opinion of the current state of horror writing/publishing?

CAROL HAYTKO: I don’t think there is enough high quality stuff in the genre. Too much kiddie stuff, too much suspense-type stuff, not enough real horror.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: Horror is the literary underdog. The horror genre is too often overlooked by publishers and booksellers who, for some unknown reason, view it as being less worthy of their attention. It saddens me to see such a devoted and talented group of writers treated as an afterthought. Horror writers put in just as much dedication, love, time and effort into their work as anyone else and deserve more credit than they get during the three short weeks in October when bookstores feel it’s appropriate to showcase their talents. GRRRR, ARRGGHHH!

BRUTAL DREAMER: I think it has opened up and taken on a life of its own. I have seen authors of all genres of horror—from subtle and quiet horror to blood and guts horror—come in the horror world and lap up the markets. Due to these authors, I have watched NEW markets open up in their honor or at least due to the demand of their flavor of horror—usually a metallic tang flavored horror…which is truly a sweet thing to see.

Q: In your opinion, what is the purpose of horror? Why do you prefer it over other genres?

CAROL HAYTKO: I think horror’s purpose is to horrify, to scare. I choose it as my favorite because I was raised with it. It’s what I’m used to.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: To me, the purpose of horror is the same as that of any other genre: to entertain. However, unlike the traditional romance or comedy, horror somehow manages to take the ugly, the scary, the things that disgust us the most in life and turn them into stories that will haunt fans for generations. Everyone loves to be in love. Everyone loves to laugh. Horror is a harder sell but, when done right, it can be smarter, wilder, and more fun than any other genre I can think of.

BRUTAL DREAMER: To expose fears in the name of fun, to release demons to entertain, and to let the ink of our vein flow onto paper and create a tale others might enjoy or fear, and give a few nightscreams to ones that thrive off horror. I choose horror over other genres because it appears that is what my fingers and my mind tell me to write. I only write what I think at the time, but I never set out and say “I will write a horror story today”. It happens more times than other genres for some reason. I have been a horror fan since I was a little girl.

Q: What do you feel makes your work stand out from other authors?

CAROL HAYTKO: Strong female heroines, good plot. Quasi-realistic…I say ‘quasi’ because with vampires and werewolves ‘realistic’ is a touchy subject.

KIMBERLEY ZAGOREN: I can’t think of a reason why someone would choose my work over another author’s. However I can say that I’m really proud of Mina’s Journal and think that the people who like vampire stories will get a kick out of it. Honestly, I still feel like I’m so new to the whole writing thing that I’m not even sure what sets my work apart yet. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to share the weird stories that float through my head with anyone who’s willing to read them.

BRUTAL DREAMER: I just hope for those that do happen to come across a story or poem of mine, that they enjoyed it enough to remember it or at least for that moment it gave them something to take their mind off their troubles or their day’s mundane events. I am different because I’m not forced or hindered in my writing. I can tell a story, and I’ve got a million of them floating around in my head and ready to let loose upon you all.

…And with that, this month’s HOTTIES OF HORROR tore out K.K.’s liver and ate it with flava beans, and a nice chianti. THANKS for tuning in, and remember to read BELLA LUNA and AFTER DARK by Carol Haytko, MINA’S JOURNAL by Kimberley Zagoren and BRUTAL TALES OF BRUTALITY by Brutal Dreamer!

--K.K. (Ken Kupstis) Authorsden.com

 

KK
Ken Kupstis

About K.K. (Ken Kupstis (SAG)):

Film Credits:

GO, Biohazard: The Alien Force, Immortal, Fools Rush In, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Get Carter

Theatre Credits:

Deathtrap, Macbeth 2019, Taming Of The Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Indians, Pure Forms Of Anger, DA, The Ransom Of Red Chief

Production Credits:

Screenwriter (VOODOO HIGHWAY, MACHIAVELLI'S), Production Coordinator (IMMORTAL) Publicist (IMMORTAL) Drama coach/creative consultant/makeup fx asst. (TERROR ON CHURCH ST.) Boom Op (SPECTRE) P.A. (SPECTRE, BIOHAZARD 2)

BOOKS:

CLOWNWHITE: A COMEDY OF HORRORS, 1stbooks Library (1stbooks.com)
INHUMAN RESOURCES, Writer's Club Press (Iuniverse.com)

Publications:

CHIC, FLORIDA Magazine, INTO THE DARKNESS, Creatio Ex Nihilo, The Apricorn Anthology, Orlando Sentinel, Meriden Record-Journal, Focus-In Entertainment, www.poetry.com.

(Additional Poems, Essays and Fiction available on Authorsden.com)

Education:

B.A. in Communication Arts, St. Thomas University, Miami FL

Photos, resume & videoclips online at WWW.CASTNET.COM

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