To continue with this month’s theme, and introduce you to women who write books in the horror realm, I’d like to introduce you to Natasha Ewendt!
1. What genre are your books?
Well, so far I’ve only had the one published, but I write mostly in the realm of the macabre. My first novel This Freshest Hell is a paranormal horror, as will be the sequel and the third book (both WIPs), though the second and third books are very different to the first and to each other, with a few more sci-fi elements thrown in. I’m working on several other dark fiction projects, and strangely enough, a romance – a doomed romance, of course.
2. Where did the idea for your first book come from?
I remember the start date for writing the book, because it’s pretty hard to forget – Friday the 13th of July, 2007. I had an RDO from work, and rather than watch morning TV as I’d rather papercut my eyeballs, I had music clips playing while I went about my morning routine and AFI’s Miss Murder clip came on. I’m not averse to what most people disparagingly call emo music – like most music and social movements, I think it was highly misunderstood and maligned by the mainstream. Watching the clip I was struck with a creative idea: what if there was some kind of spooky entity you could call on to take your life? I grabbed my pen and notebook, and Lily and Maggie burst into life faster than I could keep up with them.
3. What are you currently working on?
The sequel to This Freshest Hell, as well as the third book in the series, and a few even darker books, novellas and short stories.
4. Where do your book covers come from?
My publisher Linda Nix at Lacuna Publishing designed my book cover and allowed me to have input into the process. I wanted something simple with a single “impact” graphic, possibly something in a classic gothic style like a gargoyle to match the gargoyle statue in the book’s island mansion. During the writing process I’d considered using the picture of Arachne from Greek mythology that features in Gustave Doré’s illustration for Dante’s Purgatorio of the Divine Comedy series, as the Arachine goddess/demon character in This Freshest Hell is loosely based on Arachne. I never told this to my publisher, but then one day during the production process I opened my emails to find a cover draft with that very picture. Pretty cool!
5. Where do you see your writing career five years from now?
Two words: Bestseller list. Two more words: I wish!
6. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
When the idea first hits like a bolt and you’re creating a whole other world inside your own head and translating it onto paper/screen, and you just have to hang on for the ride.
7. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Editing. Euchhh. The first edit’s not so bad – maybe because with a first novel, you’re editing it yourself (hopefully) before it’s been accepted and you have time to fiddle, or maybe because you sort of have absolutely no idea what you’re doing and you don’t realise just how much chaff you should be tossing out. The second edit’s getting slightly annoying because you’ve done some more research and you’ve come to realise it’s going to be a much bigger job that you thought to make this thing shine. Then by the third edit, you’ve got your literary machete out and you’re mercilessly chopping left and right, because well, you’re starting to get a little bit sick of reading the same book, even if it is yours. Then comes the fourth and however many other edits you want to do depending on how much of a perfectionist you are. Then, the publisher’s edits, which hopefully shouldn’t be too huge if you’ve already edited yourself harshly and had an editor look at it previously. By the end of it all you have absolutely no recollection of why you thought it would be “fun” to write a book, and you’re pretty sure if you have to read it one more time your eyes will fizz and melt. But, it all becomes worth it when you’re holding it in your hands.
8. How do you write? Outlining, a few short notes that become a book, just sit down and write, etc?
In a word, shambolically. I have to admit my “process” isn’t much of a process and it’s lot like everything else in my life – mostly a system of entropy. When I get an idea, I write it down – then at some stage in the future I smoosh all the bits of scribble together, connect the dots and fill in the blanks. I work as a journalist and copyeditor so I don’t often get the chance to just sit down and write. I have to grab on to the inspiration when it hits (usually around midnight, of course), or make time when I have a particular project or passage I have to finish. I have this lingering ideal, as I suspect many writers do, that someday I’ll have a nice old white house on the beach with a big garden and a sunroom where I can sit and write all day and someone will occasionally bring me tea. Someday…
9. What message do you want your readers to take away from your books?
Good question. Mostly my work is about shining a light on the dark side of human nature, and I don’t know that there’s a terribly positive message in that. If I had to delve, I’d say I wrote This Freshest Hell to give the other misfits out there something to relate to, so they know they’re not alone.
10. What do you want to say, personally, to your readers right now?
Sorry for the nightmares! I’m yet to encounter someone who didn’t have nightmares about the vampires, werewolves, ghosts, skeleton thingy or spider-demon-god-thingy. Also, if you want to discuss the book, get in touch with me on Facebook or Goodreads – happy to answer questions or chat.
1. If you were only allowed to read one book for the rest of your life, what would that book be?
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
2. If you could be any book character, who would you want to be?
Michonne from The Walking Dead graphic novels. She is badass. And I want her sword.
3. If you could be anything at all, overnight, what career other than being an author would you choose?
4. What one item could you not live without?
My notebook – the actual paper real thing – to catch all my crazy little thoughts that turn into book bits.
5. Who is your biggest inspiration?
The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Sydney and Byron Bay. There’s nothing quite like the Aussie east coast vibe.
Echidna (Australia’s version of porcupine)
PDA by Interpol. I’ve been addicted to it for years now and it never gets old – especially the go-go rock explosion at the end.
Dark secrets shared …
Dark spells invoked …
Death desired and death defied …
Goth Maggie and misfit Lily unite against school, family, society, normality and life itself. But can they fight the darkness within?
When Maggie moves to the small town of Groveside, Tasmania, she and Lily become fast friends, discovering they have more in common than their taste in alternative music: a disdain for all things “normal”, along with psychic abilities and the same dark secret. The girls’ rebellion culminates in a dalliance with the dark arts that could have eternal consequences. When those consequences come to bear a decade later, they are plunged into the demon world. Suddenly the darkness within and blood lust become literal matters of life and death. A new world of darkness forces them to question what they really value — including each other, and life itself.
TFH features all things supernatural from gods and demons to vampires and werewolves. But it’s not just a paranormal horror novel – it’s a powerful exploration of the dark side of human nature and the search for life’s meaning.
Buy This Freshest Hell in paperback and ebook format at all online stores, order it from your local bookstore, or download it via apps like iBooks, Kobo and Nook.
Connect with Natasha at:
Thanks so much, Natasha! It was wonderful learning more about you and your work, and good luck with your works in progress!