Author: A.M. Rycroft
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Today, we have dark fantasy and horror author A.M. Rycroft here with an interview.
A.M. Rycroft lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and has a B.A. in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a dark fantasy and horror writer, and writing blogger. She has published one dark fantasy novel (Into the Darkness) and is currently wrapping up her second novel set in the same world as the first.
Her passion for scary stories and fantasy started as a child reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and books set in the Dungeons & Dragons universes. She is also a fan of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman.
In her own writing, A.M. takes great pleasure in building her fictional world of Cathell, and focusing on strong female characters and their journeys. Her writing has been compared to the works of David Eddings and the Master of Horror himself, Stephen King.
1.What is your name (real or otherwise)?
- Describe your writing style in three words.
dark, immersive, unsettling
- How long have you been writing?
Since I was young, maybe 7 or 8.
- Which type of writing challenges inspire you the most?
Can you give me an example?
- Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.
Make it a little more complex to satisfy more readers who expect complex language in fantasy writing. I prefer a more direct style of language, but that’s sometimes in conflict with people’s expectations, so I’d like to meet in the middle with my second book.
- What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Write for you, and just keep writing. If you write enough and keep sending your writing out, it will find its audience. Joe Hill gave me that advice last year, when I asked him if he felt I shouldn’t be discouraged by the issues I was having gaining an audience for my first book, Into the Darkness.
- Who is your favorite author?
Stephen King, hands down. He is a master of not only horror and what scares us, but also language. He can make a short story just as immersive an experience as a novel.
- How do you make time to write?
I have to sacrifice time with my family a lot. My spouse is understanding of what I do and how I need to do it, though, so it works out.
- When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work my day job (when I can find work) and go to the gym. I also spend a lot of time at the ice rink. Skating and hockey is for me like marathon running is for others.
- How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Sorry, but I don’t read ebooks. I can’t. I’ve tried, but they just don’t hold my attention like a paper book does.
- Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a horror story called “Have a Nice Day”. I was probably 7 or 8 at the time. I still wonder if I can find the draft at my parents’ house, so I can resurrect that story. It was about a homicidal garbage truck driver. My parents and teachers, though possibly a little disturbed that it came from the mind of child, really liked it.
- What are your five favorite books, and why?
It, Neverwhere, A Game of Thrones, Ghost Story, and The Ice Storm. The Ice Storm of course is kind of the odd man out amongst the horror and fantasy, but each of those books held my attention in such a way that I never forgot how I felt reading them.
- Describe your desk/writing space:
I try to keep it as uncluttered as possible when I’m writing, but I have a laptop (the “business” computer) and a monitor for my desktop computer (the “writing” one), keyboards and mouses for each (because I like different key feelings for different types of activities), a candleholder that’s functioning as a pen cup, noise-cancelling headphones, and several different knickknacks that include a couple of dragons, a spider, a D&D monster, and a little stuffed yeti. The yeti and the stuffed dragon are moved when I’m writing, because their cuteness is distracting.
- Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was a child of the 80s and 90s. This was when Dungeons and Dragons still ruled the RPG circles, and horror films were simple and straightforward fun. There was none of the “splatter porn” that we see today, at least not in the mainstream. I think growing up before there was a video game console and three TVs in most every house forced me to use my imagination much more than kids are encouraged to use their imaginations today. We didn’t have multimedia to lean on and paint our dreams for us. We had to add our own coloring.
- When did you first start writing?
In the sense that I’m a writer now, I started when I entered college. I had the beginnings of my first book, and I developed that story throughout my college years. That was almost 10 years ago now.
- Do you prefer to write long stories, short, flash? What is easiest for you?
Long form writing has always been easiest for me, because I like to slowly crawl into my characters’ heads. Up until recently, the ability to write a good short story had eluded me. Now, I find myself more and more able to write short fiction and even a little flash fiction. I will never abandon my novels for short fiction, however; they will always be my bread and butter.
- Share one writing goal you have yet to meet.
Win a writing award. So far, I’ve achieved my goals of writing more than one novel and understanding how to write a short story well. Next, win an award.
- What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Building a world and a story and then having someone say they can see exactly what I’m trying to get across. I would write hours a day, just about every day, just for the chance to have someone tell me they loved the way I did “x”.
- What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are my validation. They tell me whether or not I did my job of writing a good story. I mean, I know that I know how to write and build a good story, but at the end of the day, how I see my writing means very little without total strangers willing to back that view up.
- What are you working on next?
Right now, I’ve hit the second draft phase of my second novel, Corruption of Honor, and I am hopeful it can be on the shelves in the first half of this year, but that depends on a number of factors. I am also working on a couple of new short stories, and I’m dusting off a novella I wrote a couple years ago that follows Thystle from Into the Darkness.