Hey there everyone.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and had the most enjoyable time over this festive season!
Today I have another Author Interview to share with you all with a very unique individual. She has just published a Horror collection, so for all you fans of the genre out there, I’m sure you will find plenty to enjoy within.
Please give a warm welcome for author Claire Fitzpatrick, as she gives us some insight into her writing life.
Thanks for reading folks and enjoy yourselves 🙂
Hi there Claire, a sincere pleasure to have you here today to discuss your latest book release, along with your own passions, influences and writing experiences.
Nice to be here! I’m thrilled. 😊
Firstly, let’s start with your new book release, a collection of “Body Horror” Short Stories called “Metamorphosis”. Can you give us some insight into what links the stories in this collection together and give us a summary of the gripping tales that we will find within?
Sure! ‘Metamorphosis’ is a collection of seventeen speculative fiction stories, most of which are body horror. Many of them are connected through the themes of metamorphosis itself – be it puberty, the afterlife, biological anomalies – all forms of change and differentiation that affects the characters in different ways. Here’s the blurb:
Madeline will never become a woman. William will never become a man. Does June deserve to be human? Does Lilith deserve a heart?
Seventeen stories. Seventeen tales of terror.
If imperfection is crucial to a society’s survival, what makes a monster?
Most of the characters undergo some form of metamorphosis, or awakening, and two of the stories are loosely connected.
“Simply heroic.” – R.J. Joseph [reviewer]
“Wonderful carnage among the formalities and forced smiles.” – Aaron Dries, author of ‘A Place For Sinners‘.
“Visceral and demented, full of flesh that twists and transforms and even sprouts feathers, Fitzpatrick’s stories will either sicken or delight.” – Brian Craddock, Shadows Award-winning author of ‘Ismail’s Expulsion.’
If you could invite any one of your characters to dinner, which one would it be and what would you cook for them?
That’s a hard one! There’s a character in my novel ‘Only The Dead’ who’s a kickass motorcycle riding Vietnam War protester who’d make a hell of an interesting conversationalist. She’s outspoken, brash, and doesn’t care about what society thinks of her. Her name is Cassie, and I’d probably cook her something spicy, like my jalapeño tomato seafood gumbo. It’s so good. I practically burn my nostril hair while cooking it, but I know it’d be right up her alley.
If any of your short stories were to be made into films (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
Most of my stories are semi-autobiographical, so that’s a hard choice! Can we go back in time? Maybe 90’s Winona Ryder. If not, maybe Anna Popplewell, since we both have dark hair and freckles. (Fun fact: most people think I’m a natural redhead, but I’m brunette. I just have pale skin and freckles! My mother’s family is Scottish, and my father’s family is Irish. My last name is Fitzpatrick, after all. If that doesn’t indicate I have freckles, then I don’t know what will!).
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your style of writing?
Probably a raven, or a crow. I have four tattoos, and one of them is of Hugin and Munin, Odin’s ravens. All of my tattoos are of Norse/Icelandic mythology. So, let’s go with a raven! I also feel a spiritual connection with birds.
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing? Do you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
I write a lot of body horror, which has been a great way to stand out from the crowd. My stories have been called ‘graphic and disturbing,’ ‘flinch-inducing,’ ‘brutal, erotic, and unrelenting’….so I’m guessing the theme that crops up is body horror. But it doesn’t just crop up, it’s right there in your face, which is what I love about writing visceral horror.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
I think the hardest thing about writing is actually finishing a story. I have so many unfinished stories! They need to go in their own folder on my laptop. I come up with all these brilliant ideas that go nowhere. I often get distracted by other projects, and then when I come back to my stories, I have no motivation to write, so I have to force myself to finish them which can be really hard. The easiest thing is dialogue. I spend a lot of time on public transport, and I take notes about people and what they say. I have snippets of conversations I have written on scraps in my handbag and all over my house. Another reason why my house is super messy!
Who are some of the authors, musicians, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
I’m super inspired by the authors Clive Barker, Isobelle Carmody, Anne Rice, and Mary Shelley. I even named my daughter Isobelle. With music, I’m inspired by so many bands. I can’t name them all. Gosh. Music is such a major part of my life. I’m listening to A Perfect Circle right now. But The Smiths are my favourite band. I love their depth, their humour, their sombreness, their darkness. I love the interplay between dark and light. I read so many different books, I’m not limited to genres. I probably read more non-horror than horror books. For poetry, my favourite poet is Stan Rice. He wrote such graphic, vivid poetry. It’s a shame he passed away so young. But his poetry is super influential. I’m also inspired by a lot of artists, and artwork. Carolee Schneemann is one of my favourite artists. Unfortunately, she died this year. But she was an influential performance artist, and physically immersed herself in her artwork. Super inspiring.
Do you listen to music when you are writing and if so, then what type of music do you listen to?
All the time. I used to be a music journalist. My favourite band is The Smiths, and I love 80’s postpunk and goth. So Bauhaus, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Human Tetris, The KVB, Sad Lovers & Giants…. I also LOVE Bjork, Lana Del Rey, Alice In Chains, and Rammstein. I am always listening to music when I’m writing, and doing everything, really. Cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes, walking to the shops…there’s always music playing at my house. I probably annoy my neighbours!
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I’m currently working on my PhD, so I’m an expert researcher! For my fiction, I mainly research human anatomy and ways to dismember bodies. I’m sure if the police looked through my internet search history, they’d arrest me on the spot. But I need to research human anatomy to make sure the graphic, visceral elements of my writing are anatomically correct. This is either done through websites, videos, books, journal articles, victim testimony (for graphic accidents) – anything I can get my hands on.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I write to live and live to write. If I’m not writing, I don’t know who I’d be. I started writing when I was young, around nine or ten, and would write down stories in spare exercise books. I also grew impatient waiting for the fifth Harry Potter book to come out, so I ended up writing my own book – ‘Harry Potter and the Magic Broom.’ I still have the book somewhere. I suppose I just needed a way to get down my thoughts and feelings. I tried writing in a diary, but that didn’t work. Writing stories felt natural and came easy to me. I was also really depressed as a teenager – I started self-harming when I was 12/13 – so writing was a healthy way to deal with my emotions, and to turn my pain into something creative and meaningful. It’s still that way, today. I write about my Epilepsy and Borderline Personality Disorder. I also have a 7-year-old daughter with Autism, and writing relieves the frustration that comes with that. I have no idea how I’d deal with my problems if I didn’t write.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
I paint when I have writers block. I’m also an artist, and when I’m not writing or working on my PhD, I’m generally painting. My house is filled with my books and artwork. I don’t actually have a TV – there’s a canvas where the TV should be. I’m a super messy person. There’s books and artwork all over my loungeroom! Haha.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I have Epilepsy – I’ve had it since I was 12 – so I would tell my younger self to not give up hope. Yes, life is going to get incredibly difficult.
What are you views on audiobooks and would you consider having your book made into an audiobook? If so, then who would you get to narrate it?
I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I think audiobooks are great. I love listening to audiobooks of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories – I probably wouldn’t be into Lovecraft if I didn’t listen to the audiobooks of his work first before reading it, as his writing style can be quite dense. Plus, it’s much creepier to have someone read you his stories. If someone was going to turn ‘Metamorphosis’ into an audiobook I’d love to have a woman with a deep, husky voice narrate it, someone like the singer Emilie Autumn. Yes, she’s American, but she also has a deep voice, which would be perfect for my stories.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on a novella tentatively titled ‘Therianthropy’, which I started almost two years ago now. I’ve almost finished a first draft. It’s taken me a while, since it’s a dark fantasy novella, and the plot is quite dense. The whole thing is very muddled, and I need to work on my main character a little more. I started it as a mentorship project with the Australasian Horror Writers Association, and I’ve had some great feedback and assistance with it. Just gotta figure out an ending. I honestly have no idea at the moment! It could be the biggest pile of crap, or there could be a gem there. I just need to figure it out.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Be honest in your writing. Write about what makes you happy, what makes you sad. Write about everything you feel, even if it hurts you to do so. Writing is an incredible form of catharsis, and if you take the time to be honest with yourself, you’ll end up with an amazing piece of writing that you’ll be proud of.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for joining us Claire and for sharing your writing experiences, we all look forward to reading your stories very soon 🙂
Thanks so much!
Claire Fitzpatrick is an artist and award-winning author of non-fiction and speculative fiction, specialising in body horror. ‘The Body Horror Book,’ which she co-wrote and edited, won the 2017 Australian Shadows Award Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism. Her debut collection ‘Metamorphosis’ was released by IFWG Publishing Australia in 2019 to positive acclaim. She’s also an occasional illustrator and has designed the cover for two Breach Magazine issues – Issue 8 and Issue 12.
Claire’s poem ‘Rainbows’ was commended in the 2004 Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition. Her short stories ‘The Dog’ and ‘Happy Birthday, Ebony’ both won first place in the 2016/2017 UQ Writer’s Club Short Story Competition.
Claire has been a panellist at Continuum 13 in Melbourne, at Monsters After Dark in Brisbane, and at Conflux in Canberra. She has a Bachelor of Government and International Relations and a Postgraduate Certificate in Writing, Editing, and Publishing. She is the owner and operator of Oscillate Wildly Press. She taught Introduction To Horror Writing at the Queensland Writer’s Centre in 2019.
Claire is also a performance artist. She performs serious pieces under her own name, and comedy under Consuela Beaverhausen. For someone who writes horror stories, she’s surprisingly funny. Sort of.
She lives in Brisbane in a house full of books and a six-year old who reads Roald Dahl. She’s currently researching Autism and hedgehogs for her PhD. It makes sense. Trust her.
You can connect with her via the following Social Media channels:-
Facebook:- Claire Fitzpatrick (FB)
Instagram:- @wetoo.arestardust (Instagram)
Twitter:- @CJFitzpatrick91 (Twitter)
You can buy her book Metamorphosis here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.