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Horror & High Heels – Interview With Nora B. Peevy

February at one time was designated as Women in Horror month to spotlight the female gender and those who contribute to genre cinema, books, and anything else horror related.  The Dark Discussions News Network decided to reach out on social media and see who was out there.  We wanted to see if any women would want to share their contributions to horror with our readers.  We did get a very large response and even had to turn folks away since our editors were just getting swamped with all the regular articles, podcasts, and columns we were putting together.  However, after some thorough reviewing, a few interesting people, newcomers as well as established, seemed to be folks that you, the reader, would want to know about.  So in our series of February Frights, Horror and High Heels, we bring you our latest interview with another talented horror contributor.

Dark Discussions News Network (DDNN):  Thanks for your interest in being interviewed.  Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Nora Peevy (Nora):  Hi, my name is Nora, and I’m an author. I also am a submissions reader for Trepidatio Publishing, JournalStone, Nightscape Press, and Weird Whispers. And I am an artist too. I’ve been publishing since my senior year in high school. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing. I also am a published photographer and I work in watercolor and have recently taken up guerilla chalk art and rock painting during the pandemic.

DDNN: That’s amazing you are doing so many things in the arts.  I bet that takes a whole lot of time and effort to juggle all that you do.   I know a lot of folks aren’t able to do their passion as a full time job.  Many have to work a day job to pay the bills.  So to put this into two questions, how long have you been around?  And are you able to do it full time?

Nora:  I originally started off as a poet and my first publication was for Primitive Bikini in 1994. After I graduated with my B.A., I decided to attend graduate school for my M.A. in poetry. Then I switched to Library Science to become a librarian, but realized I loved writing fiction more and made a bold move to drop out of graduate school and pursue my dream of publishing while working full time. My first big horror break was in 2008 with Deadlines: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction published by Comet Press. That was my first paid gig and I actually got some royalties for a while, which was pretty sweet.

I am currently working from home like most people during the pandemic. With submissions reading for four places, you can imagine I spend a lot of time during the year reading new writing. To date, I’ve worked mainly in short fiction myself, which isn’t where the money really is, but I am not in it for the money. I don’t support myself in the industry. Like most people, I have other income.

DDNN:  So what made you get into horror?  Were you always into horror movies and thrillers?  Or just into monsters in general? 

I have to say it’s mainly my dad’s fault I am a horror freak, but in high school, a friend of mine lent me my first horror novel, Pet Sematary. I cut my teeth on Stephen King and Clive Barker. My dad used to watch scary movies when he was supposed to be watching me, things not suitable for a five year old, but I learned to love it as I grew into my own skin.

DDNN:  It seems like so many people first got into horror because of King or Barker.  My first horror novel I ever read was Pet Sematary, too.  Now, with your writing, do you dabble in other genres too such as science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, mystery, or grand guignol?

Nora:  To be honest, I don’t like to classify myself as just a horror author or even any specific subgenre of horror. I am a storyteller.  I write the stories I am inspired to tell. I’ve written in multiple genres and am even considering publishing poetry again. I’ve been published in fantasy, horror, science fiction, and contemporary poetry magazines like The Neo Victorian/Cochlea.

DDNN:  That’s a smart move. No one should ever pigeon hole themselves into any specific genre or even any specific type of writing whether it is short stories, novels, or poetry.  So have you worked with any major companies or semi-famous “artists” in any type of media?

Nora:  One of my first interviews which I was really proud of is on my blog. It was with Ellen Datlow – Twenty Questions With Ellen Datlow.

I work with a lot of authors in the industry indirectly because I am a submissions reader, but I also do a lot of networking on social media, which I find to be a useful and necessary evil.

DDNN:  Social media?  A necessary evil indeed.  I would even call it a cesspool actually.  But it is most certainly a place to meet and network.  Now, was there any specific thing as a child or teenager (things like a movie, a horror author, a horror monster) that affected you and turned you into focusing on a specific subject?

Nora:  I was not the healthiest child and I spent a lot of time home from school reading in bed. This made me want to entertain people and help them to travel to places they weren’t able to physically. Pet Sematary by Stephen King obviously made a big impression on me as a teenager. Probably because I grew up with five cats. The idea of Church terrified me and I liked it, but I didn’t start writing horror until after I graduated with my B.A. I was a late bloomer.

DDNN:  So what are some of your favorite horror movies and why?

Nora:  My all time favorite movie is The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I find him to be an endearing character who seems very lonely and misunderstood. I will watch anything with a shark or cryptid in it. I find serial killers fascinating too.

DDNN:  Yes, Universal did put out some really great movies and they still remain favorites today.  Now what about books (besides Pet Sematary)?  Do you have a favorite horror book/author?

Nora:  I read a lot of different genres and can’t say I have an absolute favorite, but Ramsey  Campbell, Graham Masteron, Clive Barker, Billie Sue Mosiman, anything edited by Paula Guran and Ellen Datlow, Mercedes Murdock Yardley, and Tom Piccirilli – those are a few of my favorites. I like to read a lot of anthologies because they are inspirational and introduce me to new authors and subject matter.

DDNN:  That’s a very well rounded list you have there.  And most certainly some solid talent.  No doubt many were influences.  That said, even though you are a distinct writer with your own techniques and your own visions, were there any individuals in the genre that influenced your work and the path you took to be who you are today as a writer?

Nora:  My English professors are credited with teaching me how to write well. And though a lot of people give Stephen King a bad rap because he is very mainstream, his book On Writing has a lot of sound advice for readers, as does Ray Bradbury’s book, Zen in the Art of Writing. I want to tell a good story. If I can entertain myself, I know I can entertain others. I also have learned a lot from other writers on Facebook. The horror community is very supportive of one another. It’s a great place to be. I am constantly evolving my own personal voice. Life is about growth and change. I don’t ever want to become stagnant and too set in my ways to learn new things.

DDNN:  I must say that was a very unexpected answer since I was figuring you would discuss specific author’s fictional work.  More writers should instead read those books just about writing itself, too, and you most certainly have.  Well done. 

How about telling us a little about some of your other past projects that would be of interest to speculative fiction and horror fans?

Nora:  Sure.   Well everyone should check out the publications I read submissions for because there are some great authors that they publish. The books sell themselves.  But for my own writings, you can find all my published works in and out of print, linked on my blogs. My old blog is The Demon Stole My Pencil. I left it up because the guest author blogs and interviews still get traffic. I haven’t blogged in a year or more, but my current blog is She Writes Fast. With so little time in a day, I have been focusing more on my writing and submissions reading. Sadly, my blog has been neglected, but I’ll be posting links to my interviews and other projects coming up soon.

Also I did a guest blogcast last year, Women Know Horror, on Wicked Little Things with Catt Dahman and DA Roberts. They run the Horror Authors Guild. My segment was about ghosts and hauntings. It was a lot of fun and it’s a good listen. People should check it out. Ashley Dioses, a dark poet, and DA Hermann, a photographer knowledgeable about ghost stories around the United States, guested with me. Catt Dahman writes dark fiction, as does DA Roberts, and he’s got a background in detective work, so that gives their blogcast a unique perspective. They discuss serial killers and cryptids and other things that go bump in the night too.

DDNN:  There are all sorts of writers with various types of style.  Are you very much a chameleon in what you do or do you prefer to focus on a specific subject or specific talent you have.

Nora:  I keep busy and active. I am constantly wanting to learn things and I ask a lot of questions. I like to push myself and write in new styles or genres and don’t like to be pigeonholed.

DDNN:  Do you ever do conventions where folks can meet you in person.  If so, any specific examples of how it was to meet fellow genre fans.

Nora:  To date I haven’t, but I hope after the pandemic to attend a few.

DDNN:  What is your favorite horror villain or monster?   

Nora:  The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

DDNN: Ha, ha, not surprising after mentioning how the film effected you.  Now, a bit about how folks can find you to discuss your work.  Let’s have it.

Nora:  I try to focus on just one social media platform to communicate with people. I don’t have time to be active on all of them and continue with my own work and art. Submissions seasons take up a lot of my time and I also am an avid reader for myself. You can find me mainly on Facebook and I occasionally use my other accounts too.

DDNN: Before we leave you, anything else you want folks to know about you such as upcoming writings?

Nora: Check back with me later this month. I have a short story coming out, but I can’t say where until it goes live. And in April, I will have a science fiction story coming out. Unfortunately, I can’t say where, at the moment because the project isn’t finished yet. I am also working on expanding a short story into a novel, and I start submissions season for Weird Whispers in March. I’m going to be busy.

DDNN: Nora, thanks so much for letting us know all about you and your work. I hope people go out and read some of your stories. Take care and lets hope you get to do a convention whenever this pandemic is over.

Further information about Nora:

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