Wednesday, September 04, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Sara Tantlinger

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 Sara Tantlinger.


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

My latest book is my debut novella titled To Be Devoured, published by Unnerving. It’s a psychological and body horror story about a woman obsessed with vultures and carrion. My other two books, Love for Slaughter and the Stoker Award-winning The Devil’s Dreamland are both poetry collections, so the novella differs in that it’s my biggest prose project out there, but I think it might be my most intense work-to-date, too.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

I really loved watching The Mummy (1999) when I was growing up. Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite time periods to read about, watch documentaries about, and just generally learn about. When the beauty and surrealness of the excavation and treasure hunting gets turned into a nightmare when Imhotep is summoned by the Book of the Dead, he always stuck out in my mind as a great movie monster. He brings the ten plagues back to Egypt, sucks the flesh off people’s bones and makes himself appear more human, but underneath that borrowed skin lurks a monster obsessed with bringing back his own lover from the dead – these are all elements that create a huge win for me!

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what? Is it different than what you listen to when you're not writing?

I love creating themed playlists for brainstorming and outlining, but when I’m in draft mode I usually prefer the quiet. The music tends to be what I normally listen to, which honestly is about every genre. I have my preferences, but my iTunes has everything from soundtracks to classical music to pop hits to German metal – so my playlists tend to be very eclectic. When I wrote Love for Slaughter, my “horrormance” collection about bloody, twisted love, my playlist had a lot of She Wants Revenge, In This Moment, and Marilyn Manson on it.

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

Aliens! I’m not really sure why, but I’ve always had a fear of aliens since I was very young. Maybe it was because my older sister liked to tell me I was hatched from alien eggs when I was a child? It’s okay, we’re best friends now, but when you’re 8 years apart and you’re a kid when your sister is a teenager, these things happen. Otherwise, the thought of aliens both intrigues and terrifies me. The universe is so extremely vast and strange, I have no problem believing something exists out there.

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

I love this question! I think I’d like to be the writing tool that Shakespeare used, which being the nerd I am, I recently watched a debate video about what type of writing instrument he may have used – but whatever the answer, I’d love to be that piece of history and watch the plays and sonnets unfold. It’d be fascinating to observe that time period in any way.

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?)

When I’m really into the draft or revision, I usually like a quiet, isolated environment. I have terrible handwriting so while I may sometimes jot down notes on paper, I do most of my writing on my laptop and type up notes on my phone. There is almost always coffee or some kind of tea (I’ve been loving the Numi Moroccan Mint Tea lately); every once in a while, I’ll try to write at a coffeeshop, but I end up people-watching more than writing.

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

Bloody Marys with Dracula.


Sara Tantlinger is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes. She is a poetry editor for the Oddville Press, a graduate of Seton Hill’s MFA program, a member of the SFPA, and an active member of the HWA. Her other books include Love for Slaughter and To Be Devoured. Currently, Sara is editing Not All Monsters, an anthology that will be comprised entirely of women who write speculative fiction. The anthology is set for a 2020 release with Strangehouse Books. She embraces all things strange and can be found lurking in graveyards or on Twitter @SaraJane524 and at