I was thinking about her story months after that happened, and stumbled upon her website here: http://julyaoui.wordpress.com.
I could not believe how many creative outlets she pursued, and subsequently found both a fellow writer and friend in Julya on Facebook and via email. She was even kind enough to send me a signed copy of her short story collection, BEDTIME STORIES FROM THE DEAD OF NIGHT...all the way from Malaysia. Thanks for the nightmares, Julya!
What am I working on?
Oh, man. No one has time to read about all the stuff I’m working on—not even me—but here are a few highlights:
· I’m currently editing Michael Bailey’s collection of short fiction and poetry, INBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS, which is being illustrated by Italian artist Daniele Serra. Michael is an extraordinarily prominent figure in the industry, both as an editor and writer—he’s publishing some of the best fiction out there right now—and it’s a real honor to be working with him in this capacity. And to work alongside Daniele is a truly remarkable experience...watching him come up with the artwork for each piece is just amazing. His work is going to be legendary, without question. He’s one of the greats.
This collection is something Villipede and I are very humbled and proud to call our own. Read more about it here: https://villipede.squarespace.com/iabs.
· I’m heading the production and development of a unique art book project with Luke Spooner of Carrion House called idENTITIES, which is in my eyes a groundbreaking venture—and another collaboration I am very proud to be a part of. We are exploring the human condition in a way I’ve never seen done before...it’s a very intimate and compassionate representation of afflictions and the individuals who suffer them. Luke is an extremely talented, hardworking, and lovely person—and there is a very distinct style to his illustrations which makes this concept work so well. He’s really captured the nightmarish essence of disorders and syndromes without passing judgment—in fact, just the opposite. Luke’s main goal was to shed light on these emotional and psychological diseases of the mind in a way that would elicit understanding, not pity, from the viewer. And he has really succeeded there. It’s a very intense project which has required a great deal of work from all of us, and we’re not done yet...but when we are, it will be magnificent. Find out more about it here: https://villipede.squarespace.com/identities.
· I’m also getting geared up to edit two novels for Villipede, which is always exciting...but very time consuming as well.
· I’m currently working on four short stories for upcoming anthologies, some of which I am over the moon about but can’t share details on just yet. One is for the DEMONIC VISIONS series, edited by Chris Robertson and featuring quite a few very talented writers in the industry. There are three books so far, and the fourth is due out in July. That’s another exciting one...I was lucky to hop on board that train when it first came by.
Additionally, two of my stories are for different publishers, but connected through a central character—and that will be a new experience for me. I’ve never had a recurring character or storyline in my work before.
· Albeit slowly, I’m chipping away at my novella. It’s something I started in 2008 and put down, but never aside. Though I’m not quite sure where it came from, it’s a story that has really stayed with me...and if I can finish it, it’ll be interesting to see what people think.
· Ever since my accident three years ago, writing poetry has come less naturally to me, so I’ve been working on a few prose poems for consideration by a few different markets. Hopefully there will be news to share on that front soon.
· I’m busy promoting recent publications, including DARKNESS AD INFINITUM and ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK: THE END IS THE BEGINNING, and looking forward to seeing more feedback from readers on both of those.
· I have a pretty disturbing short story called “Baby’s Breath” in Great Old Ones Publishing’s forthcoming bugs anthology and am really, really anxious to see how people react to that. I’m thrilled to be sharing pages with B.E. Scully, Lawrence Santoro, and Gregory Norris again, as well as my good friend and talented author Tracy L. Carbone. And Simon Rumley will be writing the foreword, so that’s pretty awesome, too.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Hmm. Well, I think that’s really something more for readers to decide, but if I had to say, I think that some of my work tends to be closer to literary fiction than genre fiction. Also, writing under both my real name and a pen name might give me a little bit more freedom to present different facets of myself and present to readers in a more expansive way. I’d also say that I tend to be a bit dialogue heavy and focus less on action than most writers do in this genre, which is not always appreciated and tends to limit the markets with which I tend to seek publication. But again, it’s mere speculation if I’m critiquing my own work.
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve never been able to answer that articulately. I’ve always been a writer, but in order to answer this question, I had to look up an email from an old professor of mine who after reading a book I compiled and edited asked me:
“Is your view of life as dark as that book would imply? Or do you just enjoy reading about darkness?”
I guess I’ve always allowed myself to explore the darkness within and around me, and what I have experienced in life, both physically and emotionally, through my work. Perhaps it’s how I cope. I have a pretty decent attitude outwardly, I think, but likely vent my cynicism and resentments and traumas through that darker way of writing. I always loved horror...like most of us, I was reading and watching it at a very young age. So that plays into it, too.
And most people reading this likely already know what the standard reaction is when people ask what you write and you say “horror”—I could seriously count on one hand the times I didn’t have to say it twice or bite my tongue to keep from getting defensive about it—and sometimes I think maybe that’s why. To give the finger to those people.
But more than anything, I think it lends itself to the dichotomy in me that’s always been there...maybe it’s my zodiac sign of Pisces, or genetics...who knows. I don’t ever want to just see one side of things, and I feel the same about how I explore myself and the world around me—both the light and the dark—through this art form. My pen name is more than a pseudonym...it’s another persona where I get to be as dark as I want in my writing and not feel guilty or shy about it.
How does my writing process work?
The truth is I don’t have much of a process for anything. I rarely do anything the same way twice—consistency is not my strong suit. Stress and work are the most regular part of my routine, and I am always overwhelmed by my “to do” list. Those that know me have called it “apocalyptic”...writing is always something I have to fight myself to make time for. I often can’t get out of my own way. So typically, the act of writing doesn’t occur until it absolutely has to these days, like when a deadline is approaching, or when I get an invite to something I’d be a fool to pass on. I’ll think about the story and explore ideas in my head for a long time before sitting down to write. And when I do, may the gods help whoever gets in my way. Once I’m there, I don’t like coming back, and essentially have to shut off everything and everyone around me until it’s done. I would never finish a story otherwise.
I also tend to ignore the sage advice of “write first, edit later” and labor over a piece as I go along, which is not something I recommend. That’s likely the editor in me taking over and sitting on the shoulder of the writer as the story unfolds. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
Introduce the people you're passing this on to.
This is the best part! I’m passing off to some really cool people I am proud to call peers and friends.
One is Rose Blackthorn. I wouldn’t know where to begin about her, but above all else, I highly recommend you read her work and get to know her as a person. She is a lovely human being and an incredibly talented writer. Check her out (if you haven't already, which is highly unlikely) at http://www.amazon.com/Rose-Blackthorn/e/B007D91C3K/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_5 and
The next is Carl R. Moore, who blogs and reviews pretty regularly over at http://carlrmoore.com. Last year, I wanted to publish a few of Carl’s stories in the worst way, but like with Julya, things did not work out and I had to back out of projects due to an unscrupulous publisher. So I fell in love with Carl’s work and got to know him a bit and recently had a blast hanging out with him at WHC 2014 in Portland Oregon. Carl is super cool and a truly brilliant writer, and I am excited for what awaits him as he pursues his passions. His novella SLASH OF CRIMSON was published in 2012 by Rymfire Books.
The third is Dot Wickliff, a very private, humble person but an absolutely astounding writer and artist. Dot occasionally blogs over at http://epochellipses.blogspot.com and contributed what might be the best poem I've read in a long, long time to DARKNESS AD INFINITUM. "Love Grudge" simply floored me.
Thanks again to Julya Oui for asking me to do this, and be sure to check out Rose, Carl, and Dot as they carry the torch for the Writing Process Traveling Blog next Monday.
Her first book of horror short stories, "Bedtime Stories from the Dead of the Night" was published in September 2011.
She has published online and in print, including "Stupefying Stories", "Necon E-books" in flash fiction, "Cast of Wonders" YA podcast, "The Wicked Library" horror podcast, "Kazka Press/713 Flash", "BuzzyMag" and "SNM Horror Magazine" in poetry. She is also included in the anthologies "A Quick Bite of Flesh", "Horrific History" and "Shifters" by Hazardous Press; "New Dawn Fades", "The Ghost IS the Machine" and "Fear the Abyss" by Post Mortem Press. She has stories scheduled for release from HorrorWorld, Grey Matter Press, and Sirens Call Publications. She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association.
His fiction has also appeard in Rymfire's Heavy Metal Horror and Rymfire Erotica anthologies, as well as webzines Thuglit and Macabre Cadaver. When he's not writing or working the night shift, he enjoys listening to heavy metal music and spinning the merry-go-round as fast as he can.
Dot Wickliff is a poet, artist, and an enigma.