The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Isabella Hunter
Stacey – Hi Isabella, it’s great to have you here on the Horror Tree! Alright, so in the spirit of getting the mundane questions out of the way first, tell our audience a little about yourself and where you’re from?
Isabella – I’m a British Author currently living in Manchester. I have been published in several horror and fantasy anthologies over the last few years. My writing it heavily influenced by Japanese myths and folklore with my personal favourites being the Kitsune and Jorogumo.
Stacey – When did the writing bug first bite?
Isabella – I started writing fiction in primary school, sending stories to my father and teachers. My dad loved it, but the teachers got a bit worried after the fifth horror story in a row. I’ve written consistently ever since then, posting on online blogs, and more recently publishing in anthologies.
Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?
Isabella – I’m a creative person and I love to share that with other people. I enjoy writing as a way of expressing the ideas and images that I have, but I also hope people do enjoy what I write as well. I love all forms of story telling though, I’ve done script writing, and even had a go at game development. I will do anything to tell the story I have imagined.
Stacey – What scares you?
Isabella – I have a massive phobia of vomit, that I’m currently going through therapy for, but that leads into a whole host of other fears. I’m scared of a lot of things including; hospitals, zombies, and the dark to name a few. I do love watching and reading things I know will scare me though.
Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?
Isabella – I have to say Kelley Armstrong is probably the person who has inspired me most. It was her work that made me want to write my own work and a particular scene in Dime Store Magic was one of the first times a book had terrified me. Her YA series Darkest Power is more supernatural horror than her adult series and they are some of my favourite books. I generally write in a second world fantasy setting though and I think Trudi Canavan and her Black Magician Trilogy was who made me fall back in love with it.
Stacey – What’s your writing process like?
Isabella – I am a big fan of brain storming to get my idea. As I normally write short stories I can do a summary of the plot and write it just based on a paragraph or two of information. Although I am working on a novel at the moment which is a much harder task for me. I came up with an idea and then kept hitting dead ends where I ran out of information on where it was going. I have to stop and do a bit more brainstorming when that happens to help me get back on track. Luckily I seem to be on the home stretch but this is new territory for me, so fingers crossed.
Stacey – Have you ever used a word or said a word aloud so many times it’s lost all meaning?
Isabella – All the time. At the start of this I was convinced British wasn’t right. Once I forgot the word town, I knew what it was and how to describe it, but the word had been almost erased from my memory. I had to ask my partner ‘what is the place that’s bigger than a village but smaller than a city?’
Stacey – Why do you think Horror and Halloween go together so well?
Isabella – Halloween is all about the weakening of the barriers between the world of the living and the world of the spirits. It’s only natural that it would pair perfectly with horror, that’s why so many horror movies take place at Halloween. Plus it is like a modern day masquerade, everyone is wearing masks, allowing people to reveal their true selves.
Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?
Isabella – I’m a bit stubborn so even if I don’t like a book I have to finish it. I do this with TV series as well. I feel like it is a cope out but when I was quite young I picked up Eragon, didn’t even make it past the first page. I couldn’t deal with books with glossaries of fantasy words at that point. I’ve been thinking of going back and trying to finish though. I even finished The Hobbit with a six year hiatus (I’d dog eared the page!)
Stacey –The first movie I saw at the cinemas as a child was Hocus Pocus. It’s stuck with me ever since. Name one horror movie that’s stuck with you?
Isabella – The Grudge. I watched it when I was nine when my dad rented it from Blockbusters. It terrified me. I was convinced I was going to get attacked whenever I turned the lights out (hence my fear of the dark). It was also my first run in with the On-Ryo myth which I’ve since written about as well.
Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?
Isabella – I would love to meet Angela Carter. She is one of my favourite authors and The Bloody Chamber had a massive influence on many of my short stories. It was my first experience with magic realism and opened up a whole new style of writing I hadn’t given the time of day to.
Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?
Isabella – I know it’s said all the time but it’s true. Keep writing. Keep submitting. I’ve been writing for pretty much my entire life and I’ve published for two of those. I have had countless rejections to getting more acceptances than rejections in the year. Also, just because one person doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean everyone will hate it. I’ve had the same piece rejected, saying I clearly don’t know my subject matter to others thanking me for submitting to them and allowing them to publish it. Keep at it.
Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?
Her muscles clenched and she curled up on the chair as pain ripped through her back. She reached around and felt something moving under her kimono, under her skin. It pushed hard and she pulled her hand away. It punctured her skin and ripped through the back of her clothes. She let out a long screech as her claws scraped across the wooden table.
There is a paragraph from The Spider Sister which is my first ever published horror story. The entire story is free to read on the Tell-Tale Press Library.
Thank you so much for your time Isabella! If you would like to find out more about the author, check out the links below.