Multi-genre author, photographer, and fiber artist Kim McDougall enjoys writing for adults, young adults and children. She's the author of the novellas, Angel Venom and The Stone Beach, as well as various short stories in the dark fantasy and horror categories. Kim is also the founder of the new, growingly popular Blazing Trailers, a site featuring book trailers and previews.
Thanks for this interview, Kim. You write both adult horror and sweet picture books for children. How do you switch modes when writing in these so totally very different genres?
Well, I like to think that my 'voice' doesn't change much, even if the subject matter does. My stories tend to have a lyrical or old-fashioned tone. I've always been fascinated by the darker side of emotions and what drives people to extremes. This is how I started writing. But I'm a curious person by nature and I love animals, so children's fiction gives me an outlet for these types of stories.
Tell us a bit about your horror and dark fantasy stories and novels?
I read a lot of submissions guidelines for magazines and it struck me as odd that many fantasy editors say "No vampire stories." I love vampires, but I realize that they have been done to death (pardon the pun). Still, this inspired me to write a series of vampire stories that I could slip by those editors. I've written four so far, and they've all been picked up for publication. The most recent one is "Black Bet's Home for Toothless Vampires," a dark, humorous tale in this month's Necrotic Tissue Magazine. The editor of Necrotic tissue said he didn't even like vampire stories, so he was impressed with this one.
The others are "Luminari" which is an exploration of how far one man will sink for the love of a vampire. This is available at Eternal Press.
"The Raft" is a psychological fantasy in the old-style, about a two men adrift at sea. One of them believes the other is a vampire. This is in the latest Twisted Tails III anthology, Pure Fear from Double Dragon. The last one is coming out in 2009 in the next Twisted Tails anthology. It's called "Megan's Baby," and is the darkest of all. I also have a novella from Double Dragon called Angel Venom. This is a dark fantasy about man who goes into the wilds of Frontier to convert the savages to his religion, but finds his faith under fire instead. It has all the grandest themes: Love, war, religion and angels that bite. You can read excerpts and see the trailers for all my stories at my site site.
Do you read horror? Who are your favorite authors?
I read more dark fantasy than horror, but I like Clive Barker. My favorite would be Neil Gaiman. His children's fiction is quite frightening too. Coraline was a great novel, but too scary for my daughter so I read it myself. I also love Edgar Allen Poe. When I read his stories, I can imagine him next to the fire, reading them aloud to a rapt audience.
What is the scariest novel you've ever read?
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. I read it as a teen and I couldn't sleep for weeks. I reread it later, and thought it wasn't so scary after all. Perhaps, it was because this was my first exposure to horror fiction. The scariest movie I ever saw was Pan's Labyrinth. A wonderful story, but shockingly violent and frightening. The violence is not random, however. It is inherent to the plot and the character development.
How much violence is too much violence in a YA horror novel?
In any story, violence needs to be relevant to the story, or it's too much. I'm not a fan of "splatterpunk" or violence for the sake of violence. There needs to be purpose and redemption behind the violence to keep my attention This is even more important for YA fiction. Being a writer of children's fiction is a great responsibility. I would never write a story that I wouldn't want my daughter to read some day.
How do you celebrate Halloween?
Halloween around here is all about the candy! A few days before Halloween we make 100 candy bags to give away. We also like to carve elaborate pumpkins. And roasted pumpkin seeds is a yearly treat. Our pumpkins are hand picked from the pumpkin patch (no grocery pumpkins for us!) and we always get lost in the corn maze. My eight-year-old daughter doesn't like anything scary, which is strange since she was nursed to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that means we don't do haunted houses yet.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
I invite you to visit my three sites:
This is my children's site, with fun and games and a writing contest for kids. You will also find information on my YA paranormal novella The Stone Beach.
This is my adult fiction site, with information on all me releases as well as trailers and some poetry.
This is my new endeavor. This site is dedicated to book trailers. Here you can easily browse for books, watch trailers, read excerpts and reviews.