*How long have you been writing for?*
I’ve been writing since I was about seven years old. I remember being given an old computer with a word processor that I would spend hours typing on in my bedroom. Around that time I also created a little book, made with paper I stapled together, that I put on my classroom bookshelf. It was about a man who killed children on their birthdays, creatively titled The Birthday Man. I coloured it in myself and everything, though no one read it.
I can’t imagine why.
*How many rejections did you receive before you first became published
and how did you stay motivated?*
Before this novel, I mainly sent off for short story collections. I don’t remember how many rejections, but I know there were quite a few. Luckily, a lot of the feedback I got was to send in another story the next time I had something, which made me feel better even if it was just a canned response. It’s hard to stay motivated sometimes, and I go through periods of hating my work. I think the best thing to do it write for yourself. If you get published at the end? Hey, great! If not, you’ve written a whole story and that’s fantastic.
*Favorite Author and book when you were a child?*
My favourite author was Stephen King! My mother used to give me his books to read because I would read children’s books so fast. I think I must have been 11 when I started. Back then, my favourite was Dreamcatcher. The toilet scene made me afraid to use the bathroom for weeks.
*What music do you listen to when you write?*
Oh, all sorts! Before I start writing anything major I create a playlist specifically around the themes and characters of the work. Usually this is rock or some sort of dark, ambient music, but it can vary. For my novel The Log House the playlist had everything from Bjork to Phil Collins.
*Any superstitious rituals that you go through when beginning a new story?*
Not really, to be honest. I have practical things I like to do – like I mentioned before, I need to have a playlist set up before I can work on a novel, but no chanting beneath the moonlight with a bird skull in my hands. Maybe I’ll try that for the next one!
*Favorite book released in the last year?*
Damn, I’m not sure if it counts but I really enjoyed The Last Days of Jack Sparks. I love stories with questionable protagonists, and I love how Jason Arnopp created a genuinely scary story that includes modern technology. It seemed fresh and different.
*Favorite quote from a book that is not your own?*
“‘[W]hen you find yourself face to face with [a Bondsmage], you bow and scrape and mind your ‘sirs’ and ‘madams.'”
‘Nice bird, asshole,’ said Locke.”
The Lies of Locke Lamora is my favourite fantasy novel, and I recommend it to anyone who likes the idea of a smug conman in a fantasy style Venice.
*Favorite quote from one of your own works?*
Oh, Christ. I don’t have one! I love my work as a whole, but it’s hard for me to pick out an individual line. Maybe something like –
“When she had given birth to her son, the elders told her how lucky she was. How she would never have to go through anything as painful as that again.
The elders had been wrong.”
*Do you play any table top RPGS?
Yes, but not as often any more. I used to play Pathfinder, but I currently play games more like Arkham Horror and Call of Cthulhu.
*Tell us about your favorite character from those games.
My favourite character is a dwarf named Gret. He didn’t roll very well for charisma or intelligence, but he made up for it with insane violence and an amazing critical hit rate. He was the team’s meat shield – think a short, drunken hulk.
*Advice for new writers who are struggling with character creation?*
Steal from people you know! Obviously you can’t just put a carbon copy of your aunt in your zombie slasher novel, but if she has a habit of collecting teacups -use it! Everyone has weird quirks, and interesting parts of their personality. It’s fun to take pieces of that and craft someone new. I also find songs can help me with character motivation.
*E-Reader or Physical copy?
At a push, I would say physical, but I love both. I commute a lot, so ebooks are super handy for me, but I love the feeling of snuggling up with a slightly worn paperback.
*Favorite genre to read?
Besides horror? Fantasy. Horror will always be my favourite, but when I feel like something different, I love to read dark fantasy novels. I always find that there’s something I can learn, technically, from fantasy novels. If you want to learn how to craft a magic system, The Mistborn Trilogy is where it’s at!
*What first inspired you to become a writer?
Honestly, I don’t remember. I’ve been writing since I was so small that it’s just this thing that has always been with me. I love creating stories and characters, and I even remember wanting to be an author when I was a child. I guess it’s a calling!
*Tell us your favorite joke.*
This is the best one I’ve heard recently, courtesy of Reddit-
A man walks into a pet shop and says to the owner. “Ok I want to buy a pet, but I don’t want a boring normal pet. No cats, or dogs or budgies – I want something different.”
The pet shop owner informs him that he has a talking centipede. “Really?” Says the man, “How much?”
The owner informs him that the talking centipede is £50. Happy with the unusual offering the man pays the money and takes his new pet home.
On getting home he lays the match box with the centipede in it on the table, opens it and says – “Hello Mr Centipede, fancy going to the pub for a few drinks?” The centipede says nothing.
Figuring it must be tired from the journey he decides to leave it for an hour and try again later.
An hour later he opens the match box and says – “Hello Mr Centipede, fancy going to the pub for a few drinks?” The centipede again says nothing. Starting to get suspicious the man decides he will give it one more hour, and if the centipede doesn’t talk he will take it back to the shop for a refund.
An hour later the man opens the match box and says – “Hello Mr Centipede, fancy going to the pub for a few drinks?”
The centipede replies – “I heard you the first time you moron! I’m putting my shoes on!”
Baylea Hart can be found on Twitter
Her debut novel, the Log House can be ordered on:
Baylea’s story The Drain can be found in our anthology Dreams of Desolation
Her personal website can be found at bayleahart.com