The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Meredith Anderson

Stacey – Hi Meredith, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Meredith – Hi Stacey, great to be here. I’m a freelance editor and writer from Brisbane, Australia.


Stacey – When did you start writing?

Meredith – I’m not sure I’ve ever not been writing. It’s a part of who I am.


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?

Meredith – I’m most often drawn to dark fantasy and horror, with a side of science fiction—probably as a form of escapism from reality, but also because what’s not cool about fae and demons and other dark things?


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Meredith – I love getting lost in a different world, especially when I’ve found the right flow and the right voice for whatever it is I’m writing.


Stacey – What scares you?

Meredith – People. Of everything I’ve encountered in this life, people are by far the scariest. They are unpredictable and oftentimes self-motivated, which can be a terrifying combination in the wrong (or right) situation.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Meredith – Everywhere, really. Life, the universe, and everything else. Mythology. Wicca. The dark shapes creeping along the road at night. At the moment, I’m playing with the idea of using tarot cards as inspiration.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

Meredith – Every author I’ve read has in some way influenced me. A few that come to mind are Kim Wilkins, Tricia Sullivan, and Jeff Lindsay.


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Meredith – My process varies depending on what I’m working on. For short fiction, I might start with an image in my head or a single line or a line of dialogue and then just wing it. Other times, I’ll write down a few ideas in a rough structure and then go back to fill it in with words.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

Meredith – For flash fiction, Tree of Death at 101 words. For short stories, In the Grey at Centum Press.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Meredith – A few, mostly in longer work that I need to finish still. Often, it ends up being quirkier characters in the background that I love the most.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Meredith – A few. As a freelance editor, sometimes it can be difficult turning off editor brain. Combine that with ARCs that still need a bit of polish and you’ve got the occasional DNF. A few other books didn’t mesh with my preferences at the time either; maybe they’ll be of more interest at a later time.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?

Meredith – I watched Pet Sematary the other day (and Us the week before that). It was an interesting experience as I usually try to read the book before seeing the movie, but I didn’t this time. I’ll have to track down the book and see how it tracks the other way around.


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

Meredith – I’m a massive Browncoat, so definitely Ron Glass. I met him years ago at Supanova and he was amazing and so kind. His passing hit me like I’d lost family.


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

Meredith – There’s no single piece of advice on writing that will fit everyone. So, have fun with it and see what works for you.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Meredith – Sure. The following is from Faetality, a dark fantasy short story I’ve recently had published in Spellbinding: An Anthology of Magic, which is available now on Amazon.


Off in the distance, someone giggled. It sounded almost like an echo, but nothing had come before, so it couldn’t have been. Then another giggle, accompanied by cold wind, rushed straight toward him and past his ear, making him dodge to the side. 

‘Is someone there?’

The giggle came again, and something plucked at his hair. 

‘Hey!’ He spun around, hitting out at the air with the sheet music still clutched in his hand, but nothing was there.


Thank you so much for your time Meredith! If you would like to find out more about Meredith and her writing endeavours, check out the links below.


Thanks, Stacey!



Writing & Editing

Ifs & Maybes (book reviews)

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with K. Matt

Stacey – Hi, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

K – Thanks for the interview offer! Alright, so, I’m Kayla, but I also go by K. Matt. I live in an extremely rural part of New York state. Yes, there’s a huge chunk of New York that’s NOT NYC. Sorry…I get a little salty about that. Anyway, I’m both a writer and an illustrator.


Stacey – When did you start writing?

K – I can’t remember exactly when I started writing, but I have been writing at least one of my characters for about…17 years or so, if memory serves.


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?

K – I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and I enjoy writing them. The thought of writing things that take place in different worlds is a fun way to forget about reality for a while.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

K. – Probably the fact that I get to create a different world, play with characters that aren’t entirely human…


Stacey – What scares you?

K – Probably the feeling that I’ll never amount to anything in my life. Ever.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

K – Just about anything can inspire me. My first book came from a dream I’d had, the antagonist of the first story arc was based around the villains you see in slasher films…I never know what will spark something.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

K – Oh, that’s a hard one…Stephen King’s one of them. I’ve also gotten some influence from J.K. Rowling, and various other sources that I’m trying to recall right now.


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

K – It’s rare that I’ll plan anything in advance. I generally sit down and start writing when an idea won’t go away. I’ll write a little bit of it, before I’ll lose focus, do something else for a while, remember I should be writing… When I finish, I’ll wonder just how terrible it is. Leave it alone for a while, come back to it, realize it’s not as terrible as I thought…


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

K – That would be Visions, which was inspired by a dream I had where I was one of my roleplay characters. The rest of the series is basically the aftermath of that.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

K – That may be Travis. I love all of them, yes, but my monkey-human hybrid is probably my favorite.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

K – There are a few books I haven’t finished. I’m trying to remember which ones, exactly, but it wasn’t for lack of interest. It was just that I got distracted and found myself focused on something else, eventually forgetting to return to my reading.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?

K – Last horror movie was Get Out; the last show was The Walking Dead.


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

K – I probably shouldn’t go back in time, period, because I just know I’ll be that one idiot to screw up the timeline.


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

K – Advice and critique are both beneficial, but don’t forget to listen to your own intuition.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

From Deception, book 4 of the series:

My lungs feel like they’re about to explode, and the world around me is a haze of pain. At least the grass feels nice.

Less nice is the laughter from nearby.

“…Shut up, Travis…” I mutter.

More laughter.

“Dude, you’re gonna have to do way better than that,” he says.

He’s standing over me, a hand extended to help me to my feet. Travis has been putting me through an intensive training regimen lately, with the intention of helping me learn to better defend myself. For this session, I’ve found myself being flipped head over heels onto the ground. Beast was going to do it, originally. But her job comes first. And so, she’s asked Travis to step in for her.  

The only real results it’s yielded have been soreness and a reluctance to leave the ground. I reach up to wave him away. Or pathetically flail my arm in an attempt to wave him away. One of those.

“No, leave me. The grass is my new domain,” I groan.

But he’s clearly not having any of it, pulling me upright. I wait for my arms to pop out of their sockets as he does so. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen.

“How about we go in for a drink?” he asks.

“Sounds good.”

“Need me to shoulder you in there?”

“If you would…”

And so, with Travis’ support, we make our way into the house. My metal foot is creaking in a way it shouldn’t be. Maybe we should see about dialing back the intensity of our workouts a bit. I doubt my cybernetic leg was really built for this sort of activity, anyway. Let’s face it, I’m kind of a delicate person, myself, and the leg is a lightweight piece of technology.

I would not, of course, need the leg were it not for one Jesse Lynn Belle. She may be locked away in prison until her execution date, but she still haunts my nightmares. Thankfully, the nightmares have been few and far between since her arrest.

We reach the kitchen, and I pull myself onto one of the bar stools, prepared to rest my head on the bar itself and take a nap. But first, I’m hoping for some water.

A cold water bottle is set down near my head. I knew there was a reason I was friends with Travis. He knows me like no other sometimes. I push myself upright and open the bottle, chugging some of that beautifully cold liquid.

“Travis…would it be possible for us to go a bit less…intense with our workouts, do you think? I’m not sure my leg could hold up to it.”

He sits on the stool beside me, cracking open an iced tea.

“You know we’ve only been doing this on your days off. If you had more free time, we’d be able to spread this out.”

“But I’m exhausted…”

“I know, dude, I know. But you’d need to be able to defend yourself better. After the whole thing with that bitch Jesse, you’d be better off with it, y’know?”

I’d have gone for a gun were it not for his aversion to firearms. I don’t think Gemmy would be too pleased with it either, to tell the truth. My leg doesn’t have any weapons of any sort, not like Beast. Her limbs essentially are weapons. My wife has that enhanced speed that she rarely ever uses. Travis is gifted with a strong regenerative ability. Ivy has those psionic abilities of hers, and her sister is a magic user. I may be the only normal-ish human of my family. I mean, even Serena has the feline attributes and has forgotten more than I could ever hope to learn about robotics.

Though I do wonder what it would take to become, say, a magic user. It’s something I’ve only really started thinking about in the last two weeks. Not sure what brought these thoughts about, to be honest. I imagine that it would take great mental prowess. I would not admit to being a genius of any sort, but I have been able to pull myself through school to become a doctor. And not to brag, but I am quite good at my job. Never lost a patient yet.

Perhaps this idea has legs…

I take another sip of water.

“So… Trav? What do you think it’d take for someone to learn magic? Do you suppose they would have to be born with a certain spark? I know it’s not merely the realm of fantasy. We’ve both experienced the use of it firsthand, right?”

He chews on his bottom lip for a second or two, finger tapping the counter.

“True. But Yvette’s out on a job with Beast and Ivy, so it’s not like we can just ask her, y’know?”

I nod. What if we were to run a search online for ways to learn magic? Of course, I would need to deal with our ancient computer. I still have yet to upgrade that thing… And by “upgrade” I mean “replace entirely with a new model”. It’s approximately five operating systems behind, and the keyboard has that one key that continually pops out of place. The CD drive is a bust, and the display is just awful. I sometimes hear the hard drive clicking, and it’s slower than a snail trailing its way through a pool of molasses. Half of the USB ports only work about half of the time, and something seems to have chewed through the casing of the power cord.

Yes. I think we need a new one.

“Think Gemmy might know anything about it?” Travis asks me, propping himself up on the counter by his elbows.

I hadn’t considered her to be a possibility there. But perhaps…

“That is a possibility,” I reply. “But how does one ask their wife about that?”

“I dunno. Just come right out and ask?”

I sigh, trying to figure out how to word it. As I think, I hear the soft beep of the door unlocking. In walks Gemmy, our son strapped into the baby harness on her chest. She didn’t have any classes to worry about today, and so took Daniel to the park. I pull myself off of the bar stool to greet them, hearing the creaks and groans of my joints.

I’m only nearing 30. I should not be hearing these sounds from my body just yet. It makes it seem like I should have some gray hair (and given my previous experiences, I’m actually quite amazed that I don’t)

Thank you so much for your time, Kayla! If you would like to find out more about K. Matt, check out the links below.





The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Margarita Felices

Stacey – Hi, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Margarita – I live in Cardiff, Wales, home to castles, mountains, rugby, Doctor Who and Torchwood, with my partner and three little mad dogs and I work for a well-known TV broadcasting company. I love living in Cardiff because, for all its modernisation, there are still remnants of an old Victorian city. I love writing and will always partly base my stories in Cardiff because it has such character. When I can, I go out to the coast and take photographs, we have a lovely castle in the city centre and a fairy tale one just on the outskirts, so when I feel I can’t write anything, I take a ramble to those locations and it clears my head.

I have a TV production background.  I used to be a professional photographer and decided to move into the TV world. I started off working on our local news programmes and then moved on to Arts, Factual, Drama, back to Factual, back to Drama (Torchwood, Dr Who and a few regional shows). Now I work for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and we produce some of the music for well-known TV shows, Doctor Who for example!  I’ve learnt so much from working there about Marketing and Promotions. It’s been an absolute blessing.

I am Gothic; I love the fashion, the architecture and the music. The club in my novel is real. While writing Judgement of Souls 3, I got all of my club material and clientele ideas from there; I wouldn’t have finished that section without it.


Stacey – When did you start writing?

Margarita – It was at a very early age to be honest. I remember writing a bit of fanfic when I was still in junior school.  (I won’t say which artist it was about). And it was inevitable that someday I would end up writing a novel. My English school teacher always limited me to no more than ten pages – it was hell for someone who could write and write and… well you get my meaning!

I was a reporter for the school magazine and later became its Editor. When I left school, I wrote short stories for women’s magazines and it paid my way through college. I later took a course in scriptwriting and came third in a BBC writing competition. (Long before I actually joined the BBC).


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?

Margarita – I started with Paranormal Romance/Gothic Horror. But I have written Christmas stories, an erotic comedy, a rock star romance short story and a creepy story about being in a coma. I have always felt a little frustration when it came to some Gothic Horror stories; the female characters are always weak and in need of rescue. I wrote a story that I wanted to read. One where I didn’t feel the need to eye roll and shout at the female to sort the problem out herself!

Stories come to you. They are not always the genre that you have been writing about. It’s nice to have some variety or you get labelled into a category and it’s hard to get out of that.  But I do love the paranormal because you can write whatever fantasy or situation you want. It doesn’t have to mirror too much reality.

My first full length novel, Judgement of Souls 3: Kiss at Dawn is the first story written for the trilogy. But I wanted to do things a little different; so I began by writing the ending to the trilogy in the hopes that it would tease your curiosity into knowing how they all got there. My research included a visit to one of the main synagogues in London to talk about the Hebrew Bible that I use ‘loosely’ in the trilogy and it’s worked out really well.

Judgement of Souls 2: Call of the Righteous, concentrated on a 300-year history of my vampires and their search but also introduced The Righteous, a secret organisation started by the Church to find, and kill, all supernatural and paranormal beings. It also involved over 300 years of mortal history including the French Revolution – did you know that it was a vampire who started it?  I have also visited most of the locations that I use in the novels so I have first-hand knowledge of the locations I place my characters in. It’s been extremely fascinating.

The first part Judgement of Souls: Origin; was probably the hardest part to write. It involved a lot of Crusader battle history, uniforms, locations, even dialect, but I’m no stranger to research.

The series has been optioned twice by US Producers and I’m looking for funding to get these books on the big screen and it’s just a matter of time – I’m keeping everything crossed.

I’ve written a few short stories too that I am very proud of…  they have been such fun to write. Ordinary Wins is having some great reviews on Amazon. It’s about how an ordinary woman who won the heart of a famous drummer in a rock band… check it out.

I co-wrote a naughty little piece of erotic comedy called The Decoys with my best friend. We had the most fun. It’s about two Welsh girls who decide to spend their redundancy money and go on holiday to the South of France hoping that it was just like the films they love to watch from the 50s and 60s. Turns out it’s not. That is until they meet Matt and Dani who have just robbed a yacht of a very sought-after necklace and need a place to hide. They also need to get the necklace out of the country and these two girls seem like the perfect ‘decoys’.

And my latest is called Trancers. Travis has been planning this holiday for months. He intends to drive from one end of the USA to the other. Until a 16-wheeler interrupts his journey. Lucky for him there’s a hotel sign just up the road that he can stop at and assess the damage to his rental car – at least he thought it was a hotel. Have you ever wondered where people go when they’re in a coma? Travis is about to find out.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Margarita – I enjoy the escape and the adventure. It’s like meeting new friends and taking an amazing journey with them all. You can’t wait to get back to them, have conversations with them and a lot of laughs along the way. I enjoy the interaction with other authors or with the reader. And I always like the reviews because it’s extremely rewarding to an indie.


Stacey – What scares you?

Margarita – I suppose it’s sitting at my desk some day and getting absolutely no inspiration for new stories. Or that my work will be criticized. Or that my publisher will reject my latest story. Perhaps it’s also that I won’t have enough time to finish the ideas I’ve got written down or that I don’t get to the end of my current work. It’s the thought of time passing too quickly with no written results.

And spiders.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Margarita – It comes from all directions if you stop and listen to what’s going on around you.

Sometimes it’s a piece of music and the way that maybe just one line makes you think. I wrote a story called The Trancers and I got the inspiration for that story from a song called Hotel California. It’s been in my head for years and I never managed to get anything down on paper. And then one day I woke up and started to write, and by the end of the day I had a pretty good plan as to where this story had to go, which direction it had to take. Other times it could be a conversation I may have overheard or even something on TV. For Judgement of Souls 3, I attended the club that I wrote about so got a lot of inspiration from there too. I keep a notepad and pen next to my bed because I have been known to get ideas or even new dialogue for current characters in the middle of the night.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

Margarita – It might sound bizarre, but I tend not to read other work while I write. You see, even subconsciously, you may get an idea and spend all night writing it and then n the early hours wake up remembering where you’d read it from and have to start all over again. But I have always been a fan of Anne Rice and Stephen King. Anne Rice writes beautifully, you can feel each and every emotion, even breath the same air as those characters and I could only wish to write half as well. Stephen King can scare the life out of you on every page. His attention to scary detail is something to be enjoyed while you read each page with great trepidation hoping you don’t have those words enter your head while asleep!


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Margarita – I tend to always know how that story will start, where I want to be by the middle and have an ending. I know where my characters will be from start to finish. The rest is written with catch lines on each page. For example, my character has to meet this person page three. My character has to have done this by the time we reach another page.  And so on.  I usually have about 30 pages with just a sentence on each page and fill it all in as I go. And I tend to read and re-read everything I’ve written and edit heavily as I go. And I may also leave writing for a few days, or weeks if I have to and then return to it with a fresh mind, especially if I don’t like the direction I’m taking.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

Margarita – Other than the short stories I had published while at collage in the 80s and 90s, Judgement of Souls 3: Kiss at Dawn, (which was published in 2011) was my first real full length novel. This story took so long to write. It started off being so different to what it is today and it wasn’t intended as a trilogy, it just turned out that way. I realised once I had almost finished it that my characters had a back story and it needed to be told or none of it would make any sense.

The novel though began life being called Gothic Dreams and my lead character Rachel was not to be trusted. She was in fact the Max character who is now the villain in the published novel. But halfway through writing it I realized that she wasn’t like that at all, so I started again. New characters were introduced and new situations, Max was introduced.

I’ve read so much vampire literature that I wanted a story to be totally different – this is not your ordinary vampire story. It’s not all about blood sucking beings.  It’s revenge, its romance, it’s a treasure hunt for one of the most important vampire artefacts and the winner will get the ultimate prize. I have written characters with a real history and also a common goal, mortal and immortal coming together and you live with them in their 300-year journey. It has a different perspective to any vampire story that I have ever read. It’s blood, sex and rock ‘n roll.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?


Margarita – My lead in the Judgement of Souls trilogy is Rachel and I have a certain attachment to her – how could I not? I have spent ten years writing with her and I’m happy she got the ending she deserved.  But I haven’t really finished with her. I intend to write a ten-episode TV feature with her and Daniel.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Margarita – Not that I can recall. It’s like watching a film. You have to get to the end because even though the story may start off slow, it could pick up and be amazing on the last quarter. I also leave reviews, because it’s those pointers that help indie authors. Readers may not think it’s worth doing, but it is.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?

Margarita – The Haunting of Hill House. It had so many possibilities to be so much better and I was so disappointed in the end. I’m more a supernatural/paranormal watcher than a slasher type watcher and the trailers for Hill House appealed to me, shame that the trailers ended up being better than the actual series. I hear that there’s now a series 2 being planned?


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

Margarita – I’m torn between Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker.  I’d really like to know what really inspired them to write the stories that are classics with us now. Get a more in-depth knowledge of their thoughts and nightmares that inspired the characters. I’d certainly like to know why Bram Stoker had Dracula kill Mina’s best friend Lucy knowing what she meant to Mina. To me it’s the only flaw in that story, I know that Dracula was heartbroken when Mina left to join Jonathan but I want to know why he would choose to do it. And I’d really like to have been around when Mary Shelley woke up after her nightmare to recall her story to Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

Margarita – Don’t give up. If you have a story that is dying to be told, then work hard to tell it. But make sure you are doing your best work and you get an editor that can help you make the most of your manuscript. Don’t pay anyone to publish your work. The point is that they pay you.

Don’t give up even though you may get rejection letters. I had so many over the years I could paper a room! One publisher didn’t even bother writing a rejection letter, she simply scribbled, ‘No thanks’ on the bottom of the covering letter I wrote her! If everyone thought like that there’d be no books, no films. Keep writing, even if its dribble! Then read, re-read and edit. Try and write a little each day if you’re unable to spend too much time writing. One hundred words a day is seven hundred a week, twenty-eight hundred a month and one hundred words a day is so simple!

And, carry a Dictaphone or a notebook and pen!


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Margarita – Max motioned to Stoner to bring her towards a locked door. Opening it, Stoner pushed her in. She tripped and fell to the floor. The walls of her new cell trembled as the door crashed behind her. Then a six-inch by eight-inch hatch in the top part of the door opened and Max looked in.

Rachel looked up at the hatch. “Do you think shutting me in here is going to prove anything Max? I’ll stay in here until tomorrow night then I’ll get out and come after you. What’s this going to prove?”

From the shadows behind her, came a rustling noise and quickly stood , preparing to be attacked, her fangs starting to protrude in defence, but as the shadow came closer, it spoke…


It was Daniel.

Max smiled as he looked on. “What time do you think it is then?” He mimicked looking at his watch. “I can tell from your eyes that you haven’t fed yet. Isn’t it about time that you did?”

“Max, please!” pleaded Rachel, she ran to the hatch in the door. “Don’t let this happen!”

“Don’t let what happen?” asked Daniel.

“You didn’t think I was going to leave you in there all alone did you?” Max beamed.

Rachel took a deep breath. “I’ll resist it, I know I can.”

“Resist what?” said Daniel. “What’s going on, what aren’t you telling me?”

“That very soon,” said Max in a flash of excitement, “she’ll need to feed, her whole body will feel like it’s on fire, and she won’t be able to resist throwing you up against a wall and draining every drop of blood in your body.” He looked at Rachel through the slot in the door, his hard, determined expression tinged with a feeling of triumph as he saw the pleading look in her eyes. “She won’t be able to help it, in the end she’ll turn.” He looked away and then added under his breath, “then we’ll see just how much you love your mortal.” Then he closed the opening in the door, the sound of it echoing in the small, now darkened room.


Thank you so much for your time! If you would like to find out more about Margarita or her work, check out the links below.


Amazon Page:

JOIN the JOS Facebook pages.

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Follow me on Twitter: @felicm60

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The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Em Dehaney

Stacey – Hi, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?


Em – I’m from the UK, I was born in a riverside town called Gravesend but now I live out in the country with my husband and two kids (no pets, other than fish).


Stacey – When did you start writing?


Em – I’ve always written. When I was little and people asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, I always said “author”. It’s only in the last four years, since my son was born, that I started to take it seriously and try to get things published.


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?


Em – I don’t really like to be pinned down to one genre, on what I write or what I read. It’s mainly a mixture of horror, historical and dark/urban fantasy. I guess I like the dark, the weird, the magical and the supernatural.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?


Em – When a story is finished! Also, when someone reads my work and likes it. There is no better feeling for a writer than getting a message out of the blue from someone (other than your mum or your best friend, they have to say they like it) saying they thought your story was cool.


Stacey – What scares you?


Em – In terms of typical “horror”, I have had a werewolf fear since I watched An American Werewolf in London when I was far too young. My real-life fear is anything bad happening to my kids. I’m also not a fan of flying, which is a real pain because I love travelling.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?


Em – I get a lot of inspiration from local history, but I’m like a magpie, picking up little titbits all the time that I can fit into my stories.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?


Em – Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, the Poppy Z. Brite books by Billy Martin, Angela Carter, Stoker, Lovecraft, Ben Aronovitch, Roald Dahl,


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?


Em – Undisciplined! I have two young children so I have to cram my writing time on whenever and wherever I can.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?


Em – It was actually a poem called Here We Come A Wassailing, in the 2016 Burdizzo Books 12Days Anthology. It was through this that I met Matthew Cash and became his partner in crime at Burdizzo. We now release a few anthologies a year, with stories from our favourite writers who we like to call our Burdizzo Family, as well as our own novels and short stories. We like to support new and diverse writers.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?


Em – I have a real soft spot for Mikey, the main character in my story The Mermaid’s Purse. He is a kid with a hard life, an abusive mother and no friends. Things change for Mikey when he finds a baby shark on a trip to the beach, and his life is never the same again. His story can be found in my collection Food of The Gods. I would really like to pick up Mikey’s story as an adult, I’m intrigued to see where he ends up after the events of The Mermaid’s Purse.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?


Em – The first time I tried to read Stephen King’s The Shining, when I was about 11 or 12, I had to stop reading. The Overlook Hotel was too much for me back then, but I did go back to it and finish it as an adult. Nowadays, I am quite ruthless with books. I don’t have a huge amount of time to read, so what I do read has to grip me. If I lose interest in a book early on, I tend to give up and move on to the next one. My TBR pile is massive, as is often the case with authors.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?


Em – I’m loving zombie comedy The Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix. I’ve been catching up on a lot of horror films from around the world that I’ve missed over the last few years, and I really enjoyed the Canadian film Pontypool and Finnish Christmas horror Rare Exports.


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?


Em – I’d love to know the real identity of Jack The Ripper, and to see how his murders were investigated. I used to work in a police Serious Crime Department, so the failures of the Police in this case interest me greatly. What could they have done better? Why did they never catch the killer? Was there some great cover-up or conspiracy?


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?


Em – Never give up. Write as much as you can. Try and finish a story before moving onto the next one (this is a lot harder than it sounds). When I first started writing I joined the site Scribophile, where you post your writing and get it critiqued by other writers, and you in turn critique the work of others. It was a great place to improve my craft, and get used to taking critique. As a writer you need to develop quite a thick skin and get used to rejection, but if you love writing, it is all worth it.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


Em – This is the opening paragraph from my latest release, After Us.


“The dead never stayed buried in New Orleans. The rich built houses to store their cold ones when the end came, to stop the tide of bones. But not everyone can afford a mausoleum. The poor had to place their dead lovingly into the damp earth. Bodies interred below sea level had a habit of reappearing whenever Lake Pontchartrain flooded. Coffins would poke through the sodden earth and embalming fluid flowed through the streets like blood.

No, the dead never stayed buried in New Orleans.”


Thank you so much for your time Em! If you would like to find out more, about Em or her work, check out the links below.


A perfect corpse floats forever in a watery grave.
A gang member takes a terrifying trip to the seaside.
A deserted cross-channel ferry that serves only the finest Slovakian wines.
From the dark and decadent mind of Em Dehaney come eight tales of seafoam secrets and sweet treats. Nothing is quite what it seems, but everything is delicious.
This is Food of The Gods.


The dead never stayed buried in New Orleans.

After Us, The Flood is a nightmare tale set amongst the drowned buildings of Hurricane Katrina.




The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Amanda J Evans

Stacey – Hi Amanda, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Amanda – I’m Amanda, I’m an Irish author living in the republic of Ireland with my husband and two children.


Stacey – When did you start writing?

Amanda – I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book, ‘The Little Elf Fairy’ when I was eight and have been writing on and off since then. I only began to take it seriously in 2016 and have been improving my craft ever since.


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?

Amanda – I love to write stories with magic and romance in them and stories that always have a happy ending. I love the idea of good versus evil and that good triumphs. I love stories of hope and worlds with magic and witches, wizards, evil demons. Anything that takes me out of the ordinary.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Amanda – For me it has to be the joy of watching the words fill the page and seeing the story emerge. I write as if I’m watching a movie in my head and I never know what is going to happen next. It makes writing more exciting for me and I get to be the first reader of a great new adventure.


Stacey – What scares you?

Amanda – Death and failure, and rejection are my big fears. Having lost my father to suicide when I was thirteen the fear of death is something that has gripped me very tightly and I worry about losing someone else I love.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Amanda – That is a really difficult question to answer. I don’t know where my ideas comes from. I’m what they term a pantser in the writing world, where I don’t plan or plot. I literally pick up my pen and write the words that come to me. My brand is believe in happy ever after and a lot of my stories focus on death and grief and the suffering of those left behind and their unwavering belief in finding a happy ending. I guess you could say my father is the inspiration behind my writing and my belief that happiness is still possible even when you’ve lost everything.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

Amanda – I grew up reading Roald Dahl, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchet, and Enid Blyton. I also loved fairy tales and one of my treasures is the complete book of Hans Christian Andersen tales bought for me by my grandfather when I was ten. Reading preferences have changed over the years but I still love books that have magic and supernatural elements in them. I love the new modern fairytale retellings that have become popular especially the darker ones.


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Amanda – I don’t necessarily have a process. I write every morning. I handwrite everything first so I literally just pick up my pen and continue my story from the previous day. I don’t plot or plan and prefer to let my characters tell me their story. I like to think of myself as a transcriber, putting down on paper what the characters in my head tell me.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

Amanda – Finding Forever was the first book I published on 31st January 2017. It’s a romantic suspense novella. My first traditionally published story was Moonlight Magic published by Owl Hollow Press in their Under the Full Moon’s Light Anthology in 2018. This was an urban fantasy story featuring a young witch coming into her powers and it was 7,500 words.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Amanda – I have a few but I think my favorite couple so far have been Kate and Drake from my novel Save Her Soul. Kate is determined to get revenge on the man who brutally murdered her sister and Drake is trying to stop her because she has been cursed. If she gets her revenge, she will unleash hell on earth. This book had so many great twists and turns and a love story that spanned 500 years. It was exciting to write, and Kate was such a strong character even when faced with making the most difficult choice of all. I’m also really fond of the couple in my new book, Winterland, who have a great many challenges to face as well.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Amanda – I try not to do this and give every book a fair chance. Some books start slow and then pull you in half way through. I like to give every book at least 30% and if I do stop reading or can’t finish a book then it will be for a very good reason. If I can’t connect with the main character or don’t care enough about the outcome. It very seldom happens though.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?

Amanda – Birdbox on Netflix is probably the last one and before that, The Haunting of Hill house which was amazing.


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

Amanda – That’s very easy. I’d go back and spend time with my father.


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

Amanda – Take your time. There’s no rush. Don’t get sucked into thinking everything has to happen quickly. Write because you love to write and not to make money. Be gentle with yourself. There will be days where you don’t feel like writing and that’s okay. You don’t have to write a novel in a month or three months. You can take as long as you need, just always remember why you want to write in the first place. Never lose the joy. Ask for help and advice and read. Most writers are very generous with their time and will answer questions. Most of all, don’t give up. If becoming an author is your dream, go for it.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Amanda – Thank you. I’d love to share an excert from Hear Me Cry. This novella was published on the 16th May 2018 and won the Book of the Year Award at the Dublin Writers Conference 2018. It is a dark fantasy romance retelling of the Irish legend of the Banshee.



Existing in Irish folklore for centuries, Banshee, or bean sidhe, means “woman of the faery”. It hasn’t always been my name, and I haven’t always been the messenger of death. You see, I was cursed, so my mourning call now heralds death. They say love is the cure for all, but it was love that cursed me. You think you know about me, but it’s time I tell the real story.


Chapter 1

Border patrol was always boring. Walking up and down along the veil, eyes peeled in case any human should cross. I hated it, especially the south patrol. Nothing ever happened. To make matters worse, I was alone. No one to chat with, the rustling leaves beneath my feet the only sound. It was just me on the border of the Summer and Autumn Courts, walking between the crisp leaves and blooming flowers. I wanted to be where the action was, where the rest of the warriors were stationed. The north. It was colder and rougher terrain, but at least they saw action. I was stuck here watching the leaves fall off the trees, the large branches shielding me from the blazing sun. Nothing to look at but forest and fields of flowers. Poppies as far as the eye could see.

“Why couldn’t I have been sent to the north?” I sighed as I kicked a pile of leaves. “It’s not fair.” I knew why. It was because I was short, slight, and female. But I could take any of the male warriors and they knew it.

I turned to march along the trail again, the sunlight bouncing off the rippling veil that kept the faery and human worlds separate. The humans couldn’t see or feel the veil, but to me it looked like a pool of clear water suspended in mid-air, rippled from the breeze that blew against it. It has a bluish tint to it as well. It was about the only pleasant thing to look at. The trees lost their appeal after an hour and the poppies, if I didn’t see one again for the rest of my life I wouldn’t care. Who needs fields and fields of them anyway? The Summer Queen must have run out of ideas. I scoffed as I marched through the trees. What’s the point in being a trained warrior if I never see battle, never get to kill a human?

I’d never seen a human, but I had heard the stories. Vicious beings who loved nothing better than to capture a fae and torture them to death or, worse, enslave them for eternity. I shuddered at the thought.

“Help! Help!”

The shouts echoed. I jumped, turning on my heels to see where the noise was coming from.


“It’s coming from inside the veil,” I mumbled as I raced forward. My mind conjured up images of fallen fae, my brothers, trapped and pleading for help. Instinct kicked in and I jumped through the barrier between our worlds, awakening all my senses.

My feet sank into lush green grass and I crouched low, blinking rapidly as bright sunlight assaulted my eyes. I tossed my dark curls over my shoulders and turned my head left and right, looking for the threat. It was quiet. Tall oaks trees covered the ground on both sides, a short pathway through them where the veil had spat me out. In front of me was a vast expanse of water, surrounded by hills and mountains. The grass here was greener than I’d ever seen. I pushed to my feet, looking behind me at the rippling veil. I could only see a small opening from this side, the rest hidden in the canopy of trees. No wonder no humans ever made it through to the other side.


I spun. The shouts came from the water. Two hands poked up through the surface, waving frantically before they were swallowed, pulled beneath and into the darkness.

Running toward the embankment, I kicked off my shoes and plunged into the water. Fae normally weren’t very good swimmers…except for me. I loved the water. It called to me on a deeper level, obeying my commands. I don’t know why and no one seemed to be able to explain it either.

I opened my eyes to look through the darkness. Another of my talents. When I saw legs kicking, I forced my body in that direction. The water clung to my clothes, trying to drag me into the depths. The figure started to sink again, arms raised. I was too late.

I pushed myself as hard as I could. Grabbing a fistful of hair, I tugged upward so I could get a firm grasp on the body. I kicked my legs and we rose to the surface. My head emerged and I sucked in a deep breath, my arm secured tightly around the person’s neck. We weren’t too far from shore.

I pulled the body onto the grassy bank and bent over to catch my breath, refilling my lungs, coughing up the water I’d swallowed. I pushed my wet hair back off my face, forcing it behind my shoulders. The water dripped down my back as I tried to calm my breathing.

I looked down at the body. A male. His lack wet hair covered his face but I caught a glimpse of freckles across his high cheekbones. His full lips were blue. I brush the hair out of the way and gasped when I saw his ears. A human male. He was motionless.

I bent down, watching his chest for movement. Nothing.

I knelt beside him and placed my fingers on his neck. No pulse. It shouldn’t have bothered me, he was human filth, but it did. He wasn’t breathing. Death was taking him and I could save him. I shouldn’t want to, but it felt wrong not to try, not to give him a chance to fight.

Sucking in a deep breath, I leaned over and placed my hands over his checked shirt, pumping hard on his chest.

“Come on. Breathe.”

He remained still, his body cold.

“You can’t die. Not on my watch,” I said through gritted teeth.

I reached forward, looking into his pale face. He looked so peaceful, so normal. Nothing like the stories I’d been told. In fact, he looked quite harmless with his rounded ears. I gasped aloud before laughing to myself.

“I’ve rescued a human. Me, one of the queen’s guard, sworn to protect, and I’ve rescued a human.”

The laughter died in my chest. “What do I do? Do I let him die? He’s probably dead already.”

I shook my head, my hands trembling. I couldn’t let him die. Not like this. Battles were different. In battle, I could cut him down in an instant, but he was defenceless right now.

I leaned forward and felt for a pulse once more. I thought I felt a flutter, but it was faint.

“You can’t let him die, Isla,” I whispered.

I knew I’d never forgive myself if I did nothing.

Pumping his chest once more, I waited for him to cough, breathe, something. It didn’t happen.

I inhaled deeply and steadied my nerves before placing my lips to his and blowing air into his lungs. My body trembled as I pulled back.

He suddenly gasped, water spluttering from his mouth. I grabbed him and rolled him onto his side so he could breathe easier. He was heavier than I expected. No sooner had I moved him than a searing pain shot through my body and I collapsed on the ground. Uncontrollable heat coursed through my veins, like fire ripping through haystacks.

I screamed and tried to fight it. He’d tricked me, poisoned me. I should have let him drown.

The pain started to recede, sweat dripping from my forehead as I brushed my dark curls hair away. My throbbing hands felt like red-hot pokers as I waved them through the air. My heart raced. Something was wrong. I felt different, changed. I ran my fingers across my face. It felt the same, strong chin, full lips, small button nose, and pointed ears. The lake danced in my vision, blurred and distorted.

“Go hálainn,” the voice croaked.

I shook my head. A spell perhaps?

“Go raibh maith agat,” he spoke again, but I couldn’t understand it.

My hands tingled as I held them out in front of me. Veins popped out on the surface of my skin, which was red and swollen.

“What have you done to me?” I shouted as I turned to look at the human. “What poison did you use?” My voice was strained, my throat closing in as I sat up.

“Ni thigim. Are you all right?” He sat up and reached for me.

I flinched, but as soon as his fingers touched my arm, the burning stopped, my vision clearing.

“Cé tusa?”

My gaze met his and I gasped. His eyes were so blue, so mesmerising. I was trapped in them. I felt a pull inside me. It was so strong, I couldn’t resist. My hand reached out to touch his face. I couldn’t stop it. The moment my fingers brushed against his skin, my mind exploded. Lights danced, magic flared, and I fell backwards.

“A Cailin, an bhfuil tu go maith?”

I forced my eyes open, seeing his face hovering over mine. “I c-can’t unders-stand y-you,” I stuttered, trying to regain control.

“I asked if you were okay,” he said, his voice like honey, soothing my body and mind.

I swallowed. “What did you do to me? What poison did you use?”

“Poison?” He shook his head. “I didn’t do anything. You saved me. You…” He paused.

My body slowly began to feel like mine again and I sat up to look more closely at this human.

“I don’t understand. When I touched you, something happened. I thought you poisoned me.”

“Why would I do that?” he asked, leaning toward me, my eyes focusing on his full lips.

I jerked back. He stopped. His eyes roamed my body before coming back to my face. Those blue orbs pierced mine, making me feel the pull again. The longing to touch him. It had to be magic, an entrapment spell.

“What did you say when you woke up? Did you cast a spell on me?”

“A spell?” He laughed.

“You spoke strange words.”

“I spoke my language. Irish. I said you were beautiful and I thanked you for saving me. You’re not from these parts, are you?”

My instincts warned me not to answer, so I pushed to my feet. “I have to go.” I looked around for my shoes, spotting them near the water’s edge.

“Wait,” he said, grabbing my arm.

As soon as he touched me, the heat travelled throughout my body. My vision blurred, my body swaying.

“I got you,” he said as he pulled me to him.

His touch felt soothing, my body melding into his. The heat intensified, and darkness took over.


Thank you so much for your time, Amanda! If you would like to find out more about Amanda and her work, check out the links below.


Amanda J Evans
Romance, Paranormal, and Fantasy Author

Believe in Happy Ever After


Find me on:






Books By Amanda J Evans


Hear Me Cry – A Fantasy Romance Novella 
Winner of the Book of the Year – Dublin Writers Conference 2018



Save Her Soul – A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance

Virtual Fantasy Con Awards 2017 Silver Award for Best Paranormal Book 



Finding Forever – A Romantic Suspense Novella

Summer Indie Book Awards 2017 Winner for Best Thriller


Surviving Suicide – A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind



Nightmare Realities – Spooky Short Stories for Ages 9-16






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