Wicked Women Blog Hop: Renee DeCamillis

  1. Ok, who are you?

               I am the author of the psychological thriller/supernatural horror novella The Bone Cutters, published through Eraserhead Press as part of their 2019 New Bizarro Authors Series. I am an Editor for the 5-time Bram Stoker award-winning speculative fiction and dark fiction publisher Crystal Lake Publishing, and a writer for Phi3 Comics. I’m a member of the Horror Writers Association, the New England Horror Writers, and the Horror Writers of Maine. I am also a lyricist and poet, a life-long musician and singer, & a tree-hugging hippie with a sharp metal edge.

               I am currently hard at work finishing the sequel to The Bone Cutters.

               My short fiction appears in the Wicked Women anthology from NEHW Press, Deadman’s Tome: The Conspiracy Issue, Siren’s Call eZine Issue 37 the 6th Annual Women In Horror Month Edition, The Other Stories Podcast. My poetry appears in The Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Volume IV. I also have my first comic book forthcoming through Phi3 Comics, with a publication date TBD.

               I earned my BA in psychology from the University of Southern Maine, earned my MFA in Popular Fiction Writing from the Stonecoast Graduate Program and attended Berklee College of Music as a music business major with guitar as my principal instrument. I am a former model, school rock band teacher, creative writing teacher, private guitar instructor, A&R rep for an indie record label, therapeutic mentor, psychological technician, and preschool teacher. I am also a former gravedigger; I can get rid of a body fast without leaving a trace, and I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty. I live in the woods of Maine with my husband, our son, and a house full of ghosts.

2.) What is your story about?

               “Bad Trip Highway” is about a drug-fueled rock star on the drive of his life after he picks up a hitching carnie. All he wants is inspiration for his band’s next hit song, but he gets quite a bit more than what he’s looking for.

3.) What inspired your story?

               It all started in a creative writing class I was teaching at a high school for at-risk teens. To help the students find some inspiration to write stories, I filled two envelopes with various ideas: one was filled with different types of characters, and the second was filled with various situations. One situation I had included hit me as an idea I wanted to use to create my own story—picked up a hitchhiking carnie who wouldn’t get out of the car. Because I’m a musician and obsessed with music, I decided to make the main character, the driver, a musician/singer. The rest just grew from there.

4.) What drew you to writing?

               I’ve been writing since I was a child. For me it began as song lyrics and poetry. I used to just make up lyrics on the fly, and I’d run around singing all day. (I really wish I could hear some of that from back then. I can’t imagine what I used to sing about, especially because now I can’t improv lyrics to save my life.) I have an unnatural obsession with rhyming. It’s a bit of a sickness. (I often do it in everyday speaking without even noticing until after it flies out of my mouth; it really is a sickness.) I do still love poetry, but fiction writing takes up what little time I have to write. Maybe once my child is going to school and not being homeschooled, I will work more on my poetry as well. I did love stories as a child, but I never wrote much fiction of my own back then. The fiction I did dabble with for class assignments always involved musicians from bands I was listening to at the time. I actually found one a couple years ago that I had written in sixth grade, and it is quite terrible.

               My high school teachers told my mom repeatedly that I should pursue a writing career. My response to that when she told me: “No way. I don’t want to end up a drunk or drug addict and dead at a young age. I’m only going to college for music, and it has to be Berklee.” (Yeah, that was my teenage brain at work, thinking a career in music was less risky than a writing career. Ha!) High school was also when I published my first poem, but that’s nothing to praise; I was hooked into a publishing no-no just because I was so excited to get something I wrote published. I had no idea how to go about publishing something back then. I was duped into buying the book just so my poem could be included. Yeah, I was a desperate dumb ass. Live and learn.

               I didn’t start seriously writing fiction until I was in my early thirties. I was teaching at yet another high school for at-risk teens, and the stories we read for Literature class rekindled my love of stories. I distinctly remember it was after rereading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Black Cat” that I realized I wanted to write my own horror stories. The idea hit me so hard I cried. It was like I had finally realized what I wanted to do when I grew up—and I was in my fucking thirties! That’s when I decided to ditch working in the mental health field and go back to college for English Literature, and then I went on to earn my MFA in Popular Fiction Writing. I was late to the rodeo but I’m here to stay.

5.) Who are your favorite authors?

To include authors who first inspired me and authors of today that I love, the list is a bit long, and I’m sure I’ll forget some. Here’s who sticks out in my mind right now.

E.A. Poe, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Denis Johnson, Scott Wolven, Chuck Palahniuk, Joe Hill, Victor LaValle, Elizabeth Hand, Mary SanGiovanni, Kelly Link, Damien Angelica Walters, Paul Tremblay, Stephen Graham Jones  

I’ve only read one book by Grady Hendrix so far—We Sold Our Souls—but he’s a promising one that may get added to this list in the near future.

6.) Ok, it’s 2020 What guilty pleasures are helping you cope?

I got myself some Lyfted Honey, so I now spike my afternoon herbal tea with some medicinal ganga. It’s all herbs, so it’s all good. I’m drinking one right now.

This one isn’t quite a “guilty” pleasure, but I’ve been a bit obsessed with taking pictures this past year, with the intent of sharing them on social media since everyone is so separated right now. A lot of them are beautiful pictures of nature, images that make me happy and might help others feel a bit of happiness in these dark times. But the kicker is—I barely ever find the time to post them, and now my phone has over 3k pics. Not only do I not have time to post more, but I also don’t have time to delete the excess ones I don’t care to keep. Not cool.

7.) What’s your favorite line or snippet from your Wicked Women story?

This is my favorite snippet that doesn’t give too much away.

“I’ve always wondered why so many people warn against picking up hitchhikers. Why not help someone stranded and down on their luck? I’ve never been able to pass by a thumb without stopping to offer a ride. And every single person was grateful.”

8.) What are you currently obsessed with?

Stephen Graham Jones—I am on a mission to read/own all his books.

Music is always an obsession of mine.

Oh, and as I said above—taking pictures is an obsession lately.

9.) What are your writing mantras, rules, and/or rituals?

Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid. Don’t forget to take time to breathe and just brainstorm ideas. Try not to compare yourself and your productivity to others.

STAY THE FUCK OFF SOCIAL MEDIA—IT’S A TIME-SUCKER!

Just sit your ass down and write, even if you think you have no good ideas at the time.

When I sit at my desk to write, I always have my stained-glass lights on overhead: one red, one turquoise and purple. (It’s all about the colors, man.) When the weather is good, I like to get out in nature to do some writing. I have a favorite little cemetery where I hide away with my notebook, sometimes I’ll bring my laptop, and try to get some fresh ideas down. I find that a change of scenery is often a huge inspiration, stirring up ideas I may not have thought up in my usual setting. It’s good to change things up every now and then. Before the pandemic, I’d sometimes go to a park or a coffee shop, eavesdrop on people’s conversations and steal snippets of their stories or plop them into one of my stories. I’m definitely a people watcher.

10.) Favorite quote?

I have quite a few and they hang beside my writing desk.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

“The greatest tragedy in life is wasted talent.”

“Risk if you truly want to see the reward.”

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”

“Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.”

11.) Where can people find you?

Website

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/renees.decamillis

Also facebook

Twitter:    

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