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The plan is to expand it into more of a novella than a novelette. Until recently, your bestselling book was The Summer Garden , a bite-sized retelling of Beauty and the Beast published under the pen name of Kat Parrish. Why do you think that was so successful for you? And why did you decide to write it? They like the genre, they like the characters, and they like the story—in that order.

Bound By Blood //(original) GLMM//(vampire story)

I belong to a mystery book club and while some of the members are omnivorous readers, a lot really just read mysteries. I know people who only read horror or science fiction or whatever. My sister-in-law only reads books by women authors. Publishers and indie writers know that there are certain expectations genre readers bring to their buying behaviour and they cater to that with their covers.

The covers contain elements that are code for the book inside. Same thing with urban fantasy. For a while there, book covers were all gorgeous women with katanas, leather pants, and tramp stamps. James and the 50 Shades books. You specialise in writing shorter fiction — long short stories and novellas.

Why is that? I think I was born to write short stories. Bride of the Midnight King , which is a mash up of Cinderella and a vampire tale, is probably one of my favorites.

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It was a miserably hot, dry July-in-L. For seven hours.

And I started to tell myself a story about the situation. I had a notebook with me and about two hours in, I started scribbling madly. I submitted it to a contest and forgot about it. I began writing short stories for that. I wrote a story on one of the historic houses there and it was published the day before my 17 th birthday.

–> Escape to write in Italy…

I am VERY proud of that, even years later. Parrish is my middle name. I write DARK crime and horror. You also read and review books and movie scripts for a living, as well as writing movie scripts yourself. How has all of this experience helped you develop or evolve as a writer? Do you think it has helped or hindered you, and in what ways? When I first started reading scripts I found the form really … odd. Because in most scripts unless Joan Didion wrote them , the narrative is kept to a bare minimum and the story is carried by the action and dialogue.

But I came to really respect the economy of the form and a really good script can be a terrific read. The submission letter said it was about a guy and a sex doll. And my immediate thought was…Kill. And it was so beautifully written, so absolutely pitch perfect and heartfelt. And the movie nailed it. I love interior monologue. The goal is to keep people turning pages.

Who are you biggest writing influences? Who are the authors you most love to read, and who are the authors you recommend to others? Stephen King is brilliant at writing characters. I learned everything about twist endings from Rod Sterling. Janet Evanovich showed me how to combine mystery and a little romance, Laurell K. That story will stop your heart. I remember describing a snowfall as being white as marble and she pointed out that marble was hard and probably not the best example I wanted to use.

Novelist Christine Pope has been the best mentor ever; sharing tips with me, introducing me to people, helping me grow my readership by providing me with opportunities. I owe her big time. Horror writer G. I also owe a big debt to writer Shay Roberts, who has taught me so much about marketing. What do you prioritise in your writing? Specific scenes? How do you balance out these elements and what challenges are there in that? George R. Martin is my man! And what great, great female characters! So I often begin with a character. I think—and this is true of television and movies to a certain extent—readers will forgive you a lot if they like your characters.

I also work hard at world building. I like my backdrops to have some logic. That was fun. All of it. If not, why is that? If so how do you overcome it? I think because I started out as a reporter with deadlines and no wiggle room that I just learned you grind it out. I was hired on a Sunday night and my first story was due the following Wednesday.

The stories ran Thursday and Sunday and sometimes I was writing right up to the wire because life happens. But I never missed a deadline and I never missed a week. That year was a revelation. I have around , words. The other thing that keeps me motivated is that I am a full-time freelancer and have been for more than a decade. Most of my income comes from the story analysis script reading I do but I fill in with whatever writing assignments I can get. If you have a cookbook that came with your vegetable spiralizer, I probably wrote it.

What kind of author would you say you are? You used to write crime stories and now focus more on what might be called supernatural suspense or urban fantasy. Is that a fair description? Why the change?

Also, my younger sister died suddenly and that made me question pretty much everything I was doing. You asked about mentors.