Hello my Freaky Darlings,
Sarah Lotz is a screenwriter and novelist with a fondness for the macabre and fake names. Among other things, she writes horror/thriller novels under the name S.L. Grey with author Louis Greenberg, a YA pulp-fiction zombie series with her daughter, Savannah, under the pseudonym Lily Herne, and quirky erotica novels with authors Helen Moffett and Paige Nick under the name Helena S. Paige.
Her latest solo novel, The Three, will be published in May, 2014. She lives in Cape Town with her family and other animals.
1. What drives you to write?
Neurosis. And the fact that I am unemployable and have never wanted to do anything else (except become a rally driver maybe).
2. What attracted you to writing horror?
This is such a difficult question! I can’t come up with a clever answer, other than to say that this is the way the stories come out. I suppose it’s because I’ve been reading horror/spec fiction since I was a child, and wanted to write books that might give readers the same delicious scary-but-safe buzz I get out of it (I’ll get there one day …)
3. Who are your favourite horror writers?
Gah. So many. Top of my head, Stephen King, Sarah Pinborough, Kaaron Warren, Peter Straub, Joe Hill, Simon Bestwick and Alison Littlewood.
4. Which horror novels do you think every horror fan should read?
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson; The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker; The Hellfire Club, Peter Straub; World War Z, Max Brooks; The Girl With All the Gifts, M. R Carey; Slights, Kaaron Warren; The Language of Dying, Sarah Pinborough (not strictly horror, but damn); The Stand, Stephen King; Dark Matter, Michelle Paver; Horns, Joe Hill; James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl.
6. What would make you pick up a novel by a new author?
A recommendation by a friend or a mention on Twitter – my timeline is filled with incredible book bloggers who really know their stuff.
7. Who is your favourite fictional character?
Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. Even though I’m arachnophobic, the thought of her death still makes me weep (pathetic, I know).
8. Do you plot your stories or does it just unfold before your eyes?
Both. Each novel is different. The next S.L Grey novel, which has a murder mystery element to it, needed very careful plotting. That said, it’s far more exciting not knowing for sure where a novel is going to end up (although my editor wouldn’t agree with me).
9. Do your characters take on a life of their own and do things you didn’t plan?
Yes. Constantly. It really makes me want to kill them off (sometimes I do).
10. Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?
Yes. Probably too much – I can get obsessive. One of my characters in my next solo book is from the Philippines, and I’ve been trying to learn Tagalog, which is taking things a little too far. On the upside, I now know how to investigate an air crash, perform an autopsy, cold read, and survive a zombie apocalypse, so it’s all good.
12. Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter. I’m no longer on Facebook after an awkward stalker incident.
13. What really pisses you off about writing?
Nothing about writing pisses me off, but I know loads of really talented authors who are unable to make a living from their craft. It drives me crazy that the rates for freelancers (for example) are still the same (or less) than five years ago. This is a particular blight in SA. If writers and writing are continually undervalued, then we’re going to miss out on a whole bunch of talent and potentially important novels in the future.