interview by Vianne Venter

From Issue 19 (Mar 2012)

Where is home?
I live in Astoria, Queens, which is a neighborhood in New York.

Do you write full time?
My day job involves writing of a public relations sort. As day jobs go I couldn’t ask for a better one, but I’d love to write fiction full time some day.

What inspired this story?
This story came out of a love of Lovecraft and Arthur Machen — especially Machen, in this case. Machen’s stories and novels are some of the most wonderful and terrifying out there, I think, but one thing that bothers me in some of them is a sense of female characters as both victims and objects of horror. I wanted to write a story that both paid homage to everything I love about Machen and addressed or turned the tables on this issue a bit. The story also came out of a lot of broader thinking I’d been doing about love and relationships.

Does this story belong to a larger body of work? Tell us about it.
It does. This story is part of a collection of linked stories that look at love from a variety of angles and genres — some of the stories are more fantastic, others are totally realist, or play with time and point of view.

The theme of an ancient and forbidden text that unlocks something secret or evil has long inspired writers. Do you believe books or words (and the mere acts of reading or speaking them) could be that powerful?
I do, though I think in real life the power of books and ideas is almost always overwhelmingly positive. Still, the idea of evil books and things we’re better off not knowing has always fascinated and frightened me. Language is part of us, but also outside of us, and sometimes it seems to have a life of its own.

Do you believe spells, curses and rituals hold real power, or is that purely the stuff of fiction?
I’m not personally a believer in ritual magic, but what do I know? It’s a big world.  One of the things that always attracted me about writing was that it was a kind of magic — creating something that didn’t exist before with just words and imagination.

Are you working on anything right now?
Besides the short story collection, I’m working on a young adult fantasy novel about being lost, and finding your way in a world that doesn’t always make sense.

Where might we find more of your work?
I have a short-short story in the August web-issue of the literary journal HOBART.  It’s also part of the linked short story collection:

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Vianne Venter

Vianne Venter is a freelance writer and sub-editor for various South African publications. She served as story editor and sub for Something Wicked since its inception in 2005. She is also an artist and mother. She can communicate with inanimate objects, but only if they’re feeling chatty. In her spare time… oh, who are we kidding? What spare time?

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