Wednesday, October 28, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Monica J. O'Rourke

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

This week's guest is Monica J. O’Rourke...


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

MJO: I’m finally going to jump in and try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) this year. (It happens to be every November. Google for details.) I have a week to decide on the plot, but I have three novels I want to write … and this one will likely be a thriller (with lots of horror elements).

My latest novel (What Happens in the Darkness, published about two years ago) is a post-apocalyptic vampire novel that takes place mainly in NYC. My vampires don’t sparkle. And while this book is much tamer (less gory) than my usual books, there are still some really nasty scenes.

Do you have any creative endeavors other than writing fiction (art, music, knitting)?

MJO: I sing … used to want to sing professionally. I love singing anything Broadway, and torch songs/ballads/standards, and old rock ’n’ roll (’50s mostly). I used to play the bass … badly. LOL.

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

MJO: When I was a teenager just discovering horror writers, I wanted to call myself Stephanie King. Around the same time, I decided on the pseudonym Erica Criss-Carr (a combo of KISS drummers Eric Carr and Peter Criss). Luckily I outgrew both ideas.

Thank God my father didn’t get his way. He wanted to name me Xaviera (the real name of prostitute/“Happy Hooker” author).

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

MJO: When I was around eleven, my two cousins, brother, and I dressed up as KISS (this was around 1977, so it was the original lineup). I was Peter Criss. We made our own costumes, and my cousin Mark did an amazing job with our makeup. And then my aunt Jean made us wear our winter coats because this was waaaay upstate NY (Adirondack Mountains) and it was cold! But as soon as we were down the road we ditched our coats. I think we walked twenty miles trick-or-treating that night.

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

MJO: I can’t imagine being sentient but unable to move … what torture. Reminds of that French man who “dictated” a book after suffering a debilitating illness … he blinked the entire book to write it, and an assistant typed it. Mind-numbingly amazing.

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?)

MJO: I work from home as an editor, and though I’m not writing much lately, I also write from home. There’s always coffee. And cats. Sometimes the cats (well, Mac anyway) plants his big butt on my keyboard and tries to take over. I tend to write longhand … I find I’m more creative that way. But then the transcribing is a nightmare! Half the time I can’t read my own serial-killer handwriting.

What happens when you die?

MJO: We don’t “die.” We move from one incarnation to another. We’re all spiritual beings sharing an earthly experience. We’re here to learn, and then we return home to study what we learned. We choose our own paths on this planet, those experiences—good and bad—that help us grow. This is why I no longer fear death.

Don’t get me started on time (a manmade construct) or synchronicity! :)


Monica J. O’Rourke has published more than one hundred short stories in magazines such as Postscripts, Nasty Piece of Work, Fangoria, Flesh & Blood, Nemonymous, and Brutarian and anthologies such as Horror for Good (for charity), The Mammoth Book of the Kama Sutra, and Eulogies II. She is the author of Poisoning Eros I and II, written with Wrath James White, Suffer the Flesh, and the collection In the End, Only Darkness. Her latest novel, What Happens in the Darkness, is available from Sinister Grin Press. She works as a freelance editor, writer, and book coach. Find her on