WIHM 2022: An Interview With Cassandra L. Thompson
The Horror Tree Presents An Interview With Cassandra L. Thompson
- As you are in the middle of publishing The Ancient Ones trilogy, how has the world you’ve created evolved over time?
I actually came up with the idea for The Ancient Ones when I was sixteen, and it took until I was thirty to finally sit down and write it out. I finished it within a year, then I finished the next two the following year. So from the completion of one to three, nothing changed very much, but from sixteen to thirty, incredibly so. As an undergrad, I majored in History with a concentration in mythology, so the more I learned, the more I wanted to include in my stories.
- How is your aesthetic an extension of who you are creatively?
I love to use visuals to tell as story, almost as much as I love words. To me, my physical appearance has always been a way for me to express myself creatively, and I believe that extends to my surroundings.
- What are you most proud of professionally?
That I was able to create something as meaningful as my small press, Quill & Crow Publishing House. I always say “we are more than just a publishing house,” because it’s true–we are a collective of creatives bonded by our love of all things Gothic and macabre. We have forged some pretty strong friendships over the years, and it’s their support that gives me the energy to keep moving forward. Publishing is an extremely difficult business to be in, and the fact that I’ve been able to last this long means so much. While we are still growing in the public eye, our integrity and heart is something I’m very proud of.
- According to your website, Quill and Crow Publishing is aiming to bring back poetry and to push Gothic into the mainstream – in what ways will Quill and Crow Publishing do so?
Every piece of art we push, whether it’s our daily #CrowCalls poetry prompts (which have survived steadily for over a year) or our publications, encourages people to explode the Gothic and nurture a love of poetry.
- What is the spark you look for as an editor?
There are a few things that catch my eye. I appreciate a good plot, but I mainly look for depth, rich prose, and intriguing characters. I also tend to look at the professionalism of a submission. If all those things come into play, I’m more inclined to work with that person.
- What’s next for Quill and Crow Publishing?
This year, we will be releasing several Gothic horror anthologies and continuing our monthly online literary magazine, The Crow’s Quill. We will be debuting a few short story collections towards the end of the year, with the final addition to The Ancient Ones Trilogy dropping October 31st. We are in the process of acquisitioning novels for 2023-24, and are really excited to see where all this takes us.
- From your perspective as a woman in horror, what is something that needs to be said about the horror industry?
I think there has been great strides made towards inclusivity in horror, but there is always more work to be done. Stereotypes and prejudices still remain. I’m hoping as time passes, more people will understand and appreciate more women horror writers, especially BIPOC writers and those in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Who are some fellow women who need to be spotlighted and why?
If you would like to keep up-to-date on all things horror, I highly recommend following Sadie Hartmann (Mother Horror). She is my go-to for all things horror related. I also would recommend following the Ladies of Horror Fiction on Twitter and Instagram. Both Sadie and the Ladies review and highlight traditional and indie horror written by women. My list is endless when it comes to women writers who should be spotlighted, but Rebecca Jones-Howe, R.A. Busby, Kristin Cleaveland, and Cynthia Pelayo are a few strong favorites.
- What is the future for women in horror?
I see women continuing to impact the industry in meaningful ways. I’m excited to do what I can to encourage this.
- Describe your corner of the horror community and what it offers.
I’m part of a small group that hangs out in the secret room of an old Victorian manor’s library, drinking absinthe and telling ghost stories.
- What is the biggest strength you see in the horror community?
I love how darkness can bring people together in such amazing ways. For most of us, there is little judgment, and there is a protectiveness of others in the community. I’ve witnessed people banding together to out predators/people who hurt others in the community so everyone feels safe to enjoy the genre. I think that’s a really powerful thing.
- Where can the horror community improve?
Honestly, I don’t feel qualified to make any judgements since I’m perched in my small corner.
- What draws you to the horror genre?
Since I was very young, I had a preoccupation with fear and death. I found a strange comfort in the unknown and paranormal. It built from there. As a genre, I think horror explores the human condition in bold ways. I particularly like the connection between Gothic horror and the history of women; it was a way that women could express the darker aspects of femininity when it was unacceptable to do so in life.
- What aspect of horror do you dislike?
The only part of horror that I get discouraged by is when sick individuals use it as an excuse to harm and exploit others. But that happens everywhere, even in the most innocent-seeming collectives. As I mentioned before, I think the community as a whole does a great job of ousting such individuals when we see it.
- Where do you see horror evolving in the next couple of years?
I’m hoping to see more women villains and women protagonists without falling to the “last girl standing” trope. I would love to see more and more diversity in horror, especially in leading roles.
- What’s next for Cassandra L. Thompson?
The sky is the limit, always.
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The Horror Tree is a resource for horror authors which was created in 2011. The main goal when starting the site was to include all of the latest horror anthologies and publishers that are taking paying submissions. A resource useful for both new and experienced publishers alike looking for an outlet for their written material!