Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our new anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Valerie Alexander in her featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
A story someone told me about renting a summer house from an older woman, who appeared to be in her sixties. My friend wound up going back months later to book for the following summer, and this time, the woman appeared to be in her forties. She was certain it was the same woman. It made me think about how an older person might approach a chance to be young again.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Taryn is a typical small-town high school kid who can’t wait to get out in the real world. She finds small town life incredibly dull, which it is when you’re a teenager – but later, you can look back and see how certain experiences of that time offer a joy that can never be replicated. Seeing her town through the eyes of three women who are old and young at the same time helps her appreciate that.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
That even so-called monsters have the same emotions and longings as the rest of us.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
Probably a mix of horror and speculative.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
Having grown up in a rural town, I’m well acquainted with the peculiar spookiness that rolls in at night. I’m always bemused by depictions of small towns as innocent or safe. They usually aren’t.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Live it up while you can.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
A scene where my main character almost dies. Being attacked by a stranger is scary, but being surprised by someone you know and have somewhat dismissed as harmless is much more upsetting. It opens up the possibility that anyone around you could take control, and you won’t see it coming.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I was six, and it was about a tree that granted wishes. I was a baby Pagan, who played in the woods all the time.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps you write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
I can write pretty much anywhere, with some background noise, as long as someone isn’t interrupting me. For editing, my requirements are more stringent; I need silence to hear the words in my head. And whether I’m writing, editing, or reading, the cats are banned from the general laptop area. They’ve wiped out entire paragraphs with one stretch.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Times New Roman, 12.
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
No… I actually dislike hearing people philosophize about writing. It just hides in my head until later when I’m writing, and then, I start thinking about what they said, and I lose my flow.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
In English, my favorite word changes all the time – it’s usually something dramatic, like “exigent” or “uxorious” that I don’t get to use a lot. However, my absolute favorite words tend to be in Sanskrit, which has some beautifully conceptual language.
My least favorite word is any buzzword that my tech writing clients demand like “innovative” or “disruptive.”
Valerie Alexander lives in Arizona. Her stories have been published in a number of sci-fi, horror and speculative anthologies and magazines. Visit her at @vaxder or valeriealexander.org.