Interview conducted by John Wisniewski
Canadian wordsmith Kelley Armstrong has written more than a dozen novels, countless short stories, graphic novels and more. Her Women of the Otherworld series is a certified smash hit and her smooth prose has won fans over across the globe, garnering her a fan base that stretches far beyond Canadian borders. Prolific and supremely talented, she’s a reliable read through and through, and we’re extremely proud to feature a brand spankin’ new interview with the living legend!
Check out this killer Q&A that our always faithful interview maestro, John Wisniewski conducted with one of Canada’s absolute finest!
John Wisniewski: When did you begin writing, Kelley?
Kelley Armstrong: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I was an early reader and very quickly started telling my own stories—tailoring them to be exactly what I’d want to read.
JW: What drew you to the horror genre?
KA: I started with horror…or some form of it, with very early stories of ghosts and haunted houses, then more “pure” horror in my teens. In my twenties I moved into action and fantasy, then melded the three for Bitten.
JW: Any favorite horror authors?
KA: My biggest writing influences were Stephen King (for his ability to make the supernatural seem natural) and Anne Rice (for putting the story into the words of the “monster”).
JW: What do you find really scares the reader?
KA: It’s largely up to the reader and his/her experience. I can write a scene that I think is frightening…and have readers tell me an entirely different scene, which I thought was only mildly chilling, was terrifying. It’s as subjective as humor, and like humor, I write what I think will work, but I don’t tip to it in any obvious way—that is, I don’t make it clear that I intend a scene to be frightening or funny.
JW: Any horror films that you like, Kelley?
KA: I was recently touring for a collaborative YA series called Secrets, where we all had to give a “secret” and kids guessed who it belonged to. Mine was that I’m afraid of chickens. Not surprisingly, kids didn’t guess that one came from the horror writer. I would explain that when I was young, horror movies came on regular TV late at night, and I snuck up to watch one when I was far too young. It was The Birds. Hence my “fear” of birds (not so much on the ground/perch, but flapping, swooping etc) That’s the first horror movie I saw and I’ve seen hundreds since, but no others have had that effect on me.
JW: What do fans of your books say, when they write or meet you in person?
KA: They usually just write to tell me they’ve enjoyed the books. Occasionally they tell me what they didn’t like, but that’s rare.
JW: Do you ever speak with other women horror authors?
KA: I do events and retreats with other authors of all genres. That’s important in a career where we’re unlikely to have anyone nearby doing the same job—it helps to be able to meet up and talk shop.