Wednesday, October 16, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Sarah Read

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Sarah Read.


What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My latest book is my forthcoming collection, Out of Water. It will be released from Trepidatio Publishing on November 1st, but pre-orders are up now! Most of the stories it contains ARE my previous work, so I guess it doesn’t differ much at all, but there are three new short stories and one new novelette in the book. These works are more contemporary than my novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard. That one is largely historical thriller, while a lot of these stories are straight horror, often paranormal.

If it was socially acceptable to wear anything as clothing, how would you dress?

I’d love to wear a Victorian ball gown most days, but then there are days that I just want to cut armholes in a sleeping bag and wear that. Or maybe I’d dress like a pirate or a witch or a fairy. Actually, I kind of already do those last three on a semi-regular basis, but I’m a librarian, so it’s encouraged.

Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

I’ve never understood the fear of clowns. I find them annoying, but not scary. Aliens, should they ever decide to bother with us, could probably bother with us in such a way as to cause the most grief. But I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of them. And while I love a good ghostly shiver, I suspect ghosts are harmless. Except for when they infiltrate my imagination to the degree that I can’t sleep and then I have cranky days. I suppose I have to say ghosts scare me the most, which is precisely why they’re my favorite trope.

If you could be reincarnated as a sentient but inanimate object, what would you like to be?

I think I would like to be a very fine fountain pen. Then I could keep writing stories, and I think I’d be well looked after. I would also still be covered in ink, so it’s unlikely anyone would notice that anything had changed about me at all.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

My writing is highly opportunistic, so my environment might be anything. Today it was in my car, sitting in the parking lot before my first shift started. Regardless of where I happen to be writing, I do always write by hand, though.

My ideal environment is at my desk in my office, which overlooks my wilderness of a backyard. I’d have my favorite notebook (a Nanami Seven Seas Writer—thin, lined Japanese Tomoe River paper bound with plain black linen) and an array of pens filled with exciting inks. Also, a cup of tea (earl grey with a hint of vanilla, please). My cat asleep on the chair behind me. It would be great if there was a thunderstorm at the time, too. And a few cookies on a plate. Chocolate ones. And, apart from the storm, it would be perfectly silent. Ideal conditions rarely occur, so I’ve learned to write in any conditions.

I think it’s important to write whenever and however you can. Sometimes that means with a broken crayon on the back of an envelope in the pediatrician’s waiting room.

If you could share a beverage with any fictional character, who would it be, and what would you drink?

I’d have tea with Merricat Blackwood. It’s fine, I don’t take sugar in my tea.

What's the most disgusting thing about the human body?

Fingernails. Or feet. No, teeth. No, pus. I think maybe all of it? I’m not a fan. I don’t like anything about the human body and I’m deeply annoyed to be trapped inside one. And constantly alarmed when I’m surrounded by other ones.


Sarah Read is a dark fiction writer in the frozen north of Wisconsin. Her short stories can be found in magazines like Black Static, and in various anthologies, including Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year Vol 10. Her novel The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is now out from Trepidatio Publishing, and her debut collection Out of Water will follow in November 2019. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pantheon Magazine and of their associated anthologies, including Gorgon: Stories of Emergence. She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association. When she’s not staring into the abyss, she knits. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @Inkwellmonster or support her on Patreon.