Continuing with our series of contributing author interviews, today I'm interviewing Stacey Jaine McIntosh, the talented author who contributed three short stories to "Quests, Curses, & Vengeance," a Martinus Publishing anthology. Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Stacey.
MTI: Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Stacey Jaine McIntosh: I live in Perth, Western Australia. I’m twenty-nine and I’ve been married, coming up seven years in September, and together almost fourteen. I have four kids between the ages of seven and two, along with two rabbits, who go by the names Peach and Harry, and sometimes Mario.
I have a Diploma in Spatial Information Services, I did genuinely want to be a Cartographer at one stage, but it just wasn’t to be. I now use the skills I learnt to create rather elaborate maps of the worlds that feature in my novels and short stories.
Aside from all that, I love genealogy and the medieval era. I’m a Pagan, with my roots firmly set somewhere in South Wales.
MTI: I’ve dabbled in genealogy myself, and have a very extensive tree on many of my family lines. There are a few Welsh ancestors among them, but that’s going back to the 1700’s.
Getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
SJM: I was thirteen and I was compelled to write, because... because my mother was an alcoholic. I didn’t understand her, or the disease, one bit. I still don’t, and she’s been dead five years. I hated her and loved her all at once, something which I realized way too late. It’s weird how those emotions can co-exist. It was the one constant thing in my life—writing, so now I keep up with it, because there’s no one, with the exception of my husband, to tell me to stop, not that I listen when he does.
My favourite type of story to write is Young Adult fiction, for sure. It hasn’t changed. The only difference between now and then is that now I like to put some kind of supernatural spin on things and I’ve gotten into speculative fiction. I like playing the what-if game and making people think; it’s fun.
MTI: I can personally relate to the alcoholic mother influence. Been there, done that; so very sad. But getting back to the interview, tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?
SJM: I think for me it has to be Anne Rice. There’s just something about her style of writing, not to mention the characters—Mona Mayfair or Claudia, personally—that keep me going back and reading her books over and over again.
MTI: Your stories, “Life or Death,” “Exiles of Eden,” and “Morríghan” appear in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, an eclectic collection of stories ranging from high fantasy to imaginative sci-fi adventures and even supernatural horror. You had the opportunity to read many of the other stories that appear in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance in their original, rough draft form. If you could, point out a few of your favorites.
SJM: The ones that stood out for me were: Burn It Up, Burn It Down (by Philip Overby) and Curses May Not Be Returned, Refunded, or Exchanged (by Lauren A. Forry).
MTI: Shifting back to your own writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
SJM: I'm currently working on a series of YA Paranormal Romance Novels, although I much prefer Arthurian Fantasy, but only because Morgan is so much fun to write.
MTI: Of everything you’ve written thus far, do you happen to have a “favorite” piece of fiction?
SJM: My favourite piece is probably the short story that had me accused of plagiarism in the tenth grade. It was my first attempt at writing sci-fi and I was totally out of my depth because I hadn’t read any sci-fi, so I didn’t know the ins and outs of the genre. Needless to say, I failed, but I kept the story anyway.
MTI: Other than your three stories appearing in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, do you have any other works of fiction being published in the near future?
SJM: I wish, but no, I don’t. My focus is a little all over the place, torn between family obligations and actually getting the words written. I might look at submitting something in the New Year but for now I’m just happy to be writing.
MTI: When you have the chance, what kind of television program do you enjoy, if any?
SJM: I’ll watch anything as long as it’s not too scary. After watching “Little Shop of Horrors” in primary school and being pretty much traumatized I’ve steered clear of horror. Shows that make my short list at the moment are: Bones, Glee, Supernatural, Lost Girl, Revenge, Merlin, Once Upon a Time and almost everything Joss Whedon has ever put his hands on.
MTI: Indeed, Joss Whedon is a cult favorite. Damn those Hollywood execs who cancelled Firefly! But I digress...
What about music. Anything special you like to listen to?
SJM: I have a rather eclectic taste in music, as I grew up listening to 80s Country music and Enya. I eventually developed my own taste, including Madonna, The Cranberries, and Silverchair. I still love Enya and I’ve grown to appreciate the country music I grew up with.
MTI: The Cranberries were one of my favorite bands in my mid-teens. I recently reviewed their most recent album, which is not quite as good as their first couple of albums (Everyone Else is Doing it... and No Need to Argue, true classics), but it’s still pretty good.
If you could name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored with, what would they be?
SJM: Empire Records. I came across this movie in high school, and it soon became a regular feature among my friends and I, to the point we had the movie practically memorized word for word.
10 Things I Hate About You, solely for Aussie actor Heath Ledger, there is no other reason. When you come from Perth, just as he did, it’s impossible to not get behind local talent.
Merlin starring Sam Neill, I think this one is self-explanatory. Arthurian Legends and Helena Bonham-Carter, are probably one of my favourite combinations. I’ve followed her work ever since.
MTI: You’ve got the attention of potential readers. Is there anything you’d like to say to them, perhaps something to pique their interest in your work?
SJM: I hope I leave an impression, I really do, because, I like turning things on their heads, making people think of how something could have been portrayed. It’s fun, and I hope it’s fun for whoever is reading. If I take my writing too seriously, I stop having fun and there’s no point writing when that happens.
MTI: As we wrap up this interview, do you happen to have a short sample for our readers? Nothing too long, but maybe a few fresh paragraphs?
SJM: I do, actually, it’s taken from my work-in-progress “Dandelions”
The sickening crack of the gun makes me jump, my heart running away with my confidence. All I can hear is the rush of blood in my slightly deafened ears. The fear is immediate, and real. It sends shivers down my spine, faster than the bullet can pierce its victim.
My adrenaline spikes and I feel a wave of relief wash over me, before it crashes, bringing me back down to reality and the realisation of what I had just done.
The gun I had been holding falls though my fingers to the floor, and I glance down, my eyes settling on the blood that’s now pooling on the floor, all sticky and red, it shimmers like rubies, rubies encased in iron.
My stomach heaves, and bile rises to my throat, and I swallow, hard, in an effort to stave off the nausea I know is coming. But it’s no good and I’m off running to the bathroom to empty my stomach of its meagre contents into the porcelain bowl of the toilet.
I stumble outside and take a deep breath. The cool air hits me all of a sudden. It’s colder, by far, than what I’d been expecting for early September and I shiver in an attempt to stay warm.
My eyes stray back towards the house, but I don’t dare go back inside, lest I be sick to my stomach all over again. I just killed my father, and that thought alone is a little unnerving. It only takes a moment for me to remind myself that he deserved it. He’d killed my mother, so it’s only right he gets what he deserved.
I walk along the highway, mulling it over, on my way to a local bar, clearly not paying close attention as I narrowly miss being run over.
A growl erupts from my throat, my head feels as if it’s splitting in two, while my body is on fire.
What the hell? My vision blurs, as I sink to the floor in the middle of the intersection, greeted by the renewed sensation of nausea and bile rising to my throat. And when I look down I see paws where my hands used to be.
MTI: Intriguing stuff! Thank you for a great sample and an equally entertaining interview. For those who want to read more of Stacey’s work, Quests, Curses, & Vengeance awaits!