Ok, who are you?
My name is E. A. Black, but I go by Elizabeth Black on Facebook. I write erotica and romance as Elizabeth Black. I write horror and dark fiction as E. A. Black. Most readers don’t want romance mixed with horror, hence the two pen names. In addition to “Wicked Women”, my horror has appeared in “Zippered Flesh 2”, “Zippered Flesh 3”, “Teeming Terrors”, “Wicked Tales: A Journal of the New England Horror Writers Vol. 3”, “Stupefying Stories”, “Fark in the Time of COVID: The 2020 Fark Fiction Anthology”, and more. My short story “Infection”, which appears in ‘Zippered Flesh 3″, won mention on “The Solstice List 2017 Best Of Horror.”
I live with my husband, son, and two cats in Rockport, Massachusetts, a small town a few blocks from the ocean. I’m a transplant from Baltimore, Maryland, and I love the small town life. It’s a far cry from the big city.
What is your story about?
“The Fetch” is about a teenaged girl named Julie who is coping with being a lesbian. She is in love with her best friend, Linda. She and Linda are in a new school now, but Linda has made new friends and has become popular, leaving Julie behind. Julie remains an outcast who is tormented by bullies, including Linda’s new boyfriend. She wants to reveal her feelings, but to do so is risky. Julie wants to go back to the way things were when they were close – telling ghost stories, listening to pop music, watching TV, using a Ouija board, and holding seánces. Linda isn’t interested in any of that anymore. She’s busy with the cheerleading squad and spending time with her boyfriend, who is captain of the football team. She’s moved on and has left Julie behind. Many people can identify with that kind of poor treatment from a close friend.
This story is also how the horrific sometimes meets the mundane. I’m sure many readers can relate to using a Ouija board or holding seánces. Both were sometimes viewed as toys or games, but they have their sinister side. Julie is willing to do anything to win back her best friend, but at what cost? While Julie loses control of her life, what does she do to take that control back?
What inspired your story?
I wanted to write something frightening and upsetting involving the supernatural, but I also wanted the story to be realistic. The reader can imagine something like this happening, which makes it all the more unsettling. Also, many people were bullied in school, and they can relate to a character like Julie. I wanted put the reader in Julie’s shoes to experience and feel events from her point of view. I also wanted to introduce an unusual supernatural creature, so I chose a fetch, which is a spirit from Irish folklore.
What drew you to writing?
I became interested in writing at a young age. I didn’t pursue it seriously until I saw a call for submissions from Scarlet Magazine in the U. K. This erotica magazine was looking for stories, so I submitted a sexy retelling of Cinderella. Suffice to say life with the Handsome Prince wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I subbed and promptly forgot about it. Imagine my surprise when it was accepted! That story appears in my new collection, “Happily Ever After: Twisted Versions of Your Favorite Fairy Tales” which is available on the Kindle. Stupefying Stories published my first short horror story, “The Oily”, a few years later. While I’ve published many short horror stories, I have yet to publish a novel. I’m working on one now, entitled “Hell Time”. That one is also about a troubled teenaged girl.
Who are your favorite authors?
Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe. I grew up in Baltimore so liking Poe was a given since he died there. I even have the Poe family recipe for egg nog! Poe loved egg nog. I’ve interviewed many of my favorite writers which was a real treat. These writers include Joe R. Lansdale, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Paul Tremblay, the late Billie Sue Mosiman, and Josh Malerman.
Ok, it’s 2020. What guilty pleasures are helping you cope?
Lots of Britbox. My husband and I are currently binging “Death In Paradise” and “Red Dwarf”.
I’m also trying to get in the Christmas spirit which hasn’t been easy this year, since 2020 is one big dumpster fire. It snowed today, which inspired me to dig out the Christmas decorations. I’ve been playing Windham Hill and Narada Equinox New Age Christmas music, Celtic Christmas carols, Meowy Christmas (cats singing Christmas carols, LOL), and of course “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Anything to improve the bleak mood I’m seeing everywhere.
What’s your favorite line or snippet from your Wicked Women story?
This is my favorite snippet. It takes place during a Ouija board session between Julie and Linda:
“Will I get an “A” in math?” Julie asked.
The planchette moved to “no”.
“Figures,” Julie laughed. “How about this – will I find true love?”
At first the planchette did not move. Then, it slowly slid between the words “Yes” and “No.”
It sat directly in front of Linda, pointing at her. The meaning couldn’t have been more obvious to Julie, but it was lost to Linda. Julie had hoped the board was telling the truth and not toying with her feelings.
“I don’t get it. Is that a yes or no?” Linda asked.
“I’m not sure.” Julie lied. “Let me try again.” She called in a loud voice. “Will I find true love?” Julie often wondered why mediums who conducted seánces and used Ouija boards in the movies shouted so much. Were the spirits deaf?
I’ve noticed mediums on TV, in books, and in movies often spoke in loud voices as if the spirits were hard of hearing. Why was that? It’s something I’ve always found amusing, and no one ever seems to address it.
What are you currently obsessed with?
Trying to stay sane during COVID. I have bipolar disorder which has reared its ugly head during lockdown. Add Seasonal Affective Disorder to the mix and I’m a bit of a mess. I relax by reading – currently Shirley Jackson’s biography – and by baking and watching TV. As noted above, my husband and I are hooked on Britbox. We’re going to binge more of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, starring the late Jeremy Brett. I can relate to him since he suffered from bipolar disorder as well.
What are your writing mantras, rules, and/or rituals?
I have a talisman for poets and writers that I wear when writing. I also do my best writing in the morning. I must have something to drink – coffee, tea, seltzer water, or champagne. Especially champagne! Sometimes I listen to music while I write, but not always. When I do, most often it’s dark ambient, trance, or New Age instrumentals. When COVID wasn’t an issue, I would go for walks on the beach with my husband. The crashing waves and seagulls calling inspire my muse. I live near some very rustic New England beaches since I live in Lovecraft Country. If Innsmouth were a real place, it would be a ten minute drive from my house. Once COVID restrictions lift (whenever that will be…), we will return to the sands.
Shirley Jackson’s opening lines in “The Haunting of Hill House” are sheer perfection. I strive to write like that.
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”