The Spooky Six is Haunting Megan Taylor at the UK Ghost Story Festival!
I’ve brought plenty of “cheese on toast” (to complement my customary pot of tea) for this Spooky Six interview with author Megan Taylor!
(Interested in haunting the UK Ghost Story Festival yourself? Check out the exciting lineup of the festival events here: https://www.ukghoststoryfestival.co.uk/schedule and purchase your tickets here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/ukghoststoryfestival.)
Megan Taylor is the author of four dark novels. Her first, How We Were Lost, an unsettling coming of age story, was published by Flame Books in 2007 after placing second in the 2006 Yeovil Prize. This was followed by The Dawning, a domestic thriller set over the course of a single night, in 2010, and The Lives of Ghosts, a mystery about repression, inheritance and motherhood in 2012 (both published by Weathervane Press). Her fourth novel, We Wait, published by Eyrie Press in 2019, is a haunted house story, exploring first love, prejudice and betrayal.
Megan also writes short stories, some of which form her collection, The Woman Under the Ground (Weathervane Press, 2014), beautifully illustrated by Nikki Pinder. Further stories have been shortlisted in various competitions, including the Brighton Prize and The Walter Swan Short Story Prize and Tin House’s Shirley Jackson competition. TSS Publishing released Megan’s Waiting for the Rat as a chapbook single after choosing her as one of their Selected Writers, and Megan’s short stories can also be found in a variety of other publications including Neon Literary Magazine, The Invisible Collection from Nightjar Press, and the Dark Lane Anthologies. Most recently, her work has appeared in Undertow’s Weird Horror #5 and GONE, a crime anthology from Red Dog Press.
Megan lives in Nottingham, where she provides Creative Writing workshops and courses when she isn’t busy playing with her own stories.
To find out more, please visit www.megantaylor.info or her Amazon page, www.amazon.co.uk/Megan-Taylor/e/B004XIOAQU/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 or connect with her on Twitter @meganjstaylor.
You can also read Megan’s short story, “Your Neighbour’s Packages”, online in the World Goedam Collection, http://www.bifan.kr/eng/program/project_10.asp, which united strange and scary tales from UNESCO Cities of Literature across the world, or listen to The Dining Room Ghost, from the Classic Ghost Stories Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-48-the-dining-room-ghost-by-megan-taylor/id1480201597?i=1000474062515.
Willow Croft: “Hey, look at that derelict Victorian mansion . . . let’s go explore it!” What’s the most unusual setting you’ve read about in a horror/thriller book, or included in your own creative works?
Megan Taylor: Yes! Let’s go in (though you first). I’m a massive fan of haunted houses from Hill House and Manderley to Catriona Ward’s Rawblood mansion and the unforgettably creepy Adela’s House by Mariana Enriquez, though the eerie submarine setting in Julia Armfield’s weird and wonderful Our Wives Under the Sea totally blew me away.
A (somewhat) traditional haunted house forms the heart of my novel, We Wait, but I’ve also set short stories on a boat and in a coach and a rickety lift, and a treehouse plays a role in my current novel in progress.
Willow Croft: “It was a dark and stormy night . . .” What are your go-to comfort foods, drinks, or other ways to wind down after a long day (or night) of writing?
Megan Taylor: It depends. Sometimes I want to run out for drinks with friends, and other times, I’ll collapse with my cats and trash TV and too much cheese on toast.
Willow Croft: “Did you hear that noise?” Everyone, even us horror/suspense writers, have our night terrors. What is it that frightens you the most?
Megan Taylor: I’ve never been a big fan of snakes (sorry snakes; I know it’s irrational), and when I was pregnant with my first child, I made the mistake of watching Romero’s Living Dead movies. All that relentless slaughter clashed with my changing body and hormonal brain, but that was a very long time ago and so far, my apocalypse survival plan seems to be working. The zombies haven’t got in yet.
Willow Croft: “I’m sure it was nothing. But I’ll just go outside and check, anyway. Alone. With no weapons.” Have you ever gotten writers’ block? If so, how do you combat it? Do you have certain rituals or practices that help get you into the writing (or creating) mindset?
Megan Taylor: I’m very lucky in that while I sometimes get in a tangle, I’ve rarely felt blocked. Most of my days begin with writing. For me, first thing’s the best time to escape and I often write in bed, though a long walk usually provides a solution when it comes to loosening any writing knots.
Willow Croft: “Don’t go into the basement!” Are you an impulsive pantser or a plotter with outlines galore? What other writing/industry advice would you share with your fellow writers & creators?
Megan Taylor: Although I tend to begin with an idea and several scenes in mind that will lead to a particular ending, I’m mostly a pantser. I like to keep things loose and see where my characters will take me, even as I’m applying the thumbscrews.
My main advice is to just keep going, keep reminding yourself why you love writing, and don’t be shy about accepting the support of other writers, and offering it too.
Willow Croft: “Ring ring!” It’s the middle of the night and the phone mysteriously rings. Which notable writer, or person from history, would be on the other end of the line?
Megan Taylor: I’d love to hear from Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King would be great, especially right now as alongside my new novel, I’m trying to finish a short story inspired by Children of the Corn. If it’s a ghost phone, then it would be fabulous to chat to Shirley Jackson and Daphne Du Maurier, though I’d probably be so intimidated by their spooky genius, I’d be too afraid to speak.
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“Bringer of Nightmares and Storms.” Horror writer Willow Croft is usually lurking deep in the shadows of her writer cave, surrounded by formerly feral (but still fierce!) cats for company. Visit her here: http://willowcroft.blog, or check out her other services here: https://kirsten-lee-barger.mailchimpsites.com/.