Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare. Her debut novel, The Eighth, was published by Dark Regions Press.
Stephanie describes The Eighth: After Paimon, Lucifer’s top soul collector, falls in love with a mortal girl whose soul he is supposed to claim, he desperately tries everything in his power to save her from the Devil’s grasp. But what happens when a demon has to confront his demons, when he has to turn to something darker, something more sinister for help? Can Paimon survive the consequences of working with the Seven Deadly Sins-sins who have their own agenda with the Devil—or will he fall into a deeper, darker kind of hell?
Did something in the real world inspire The Eighth?
One night while I was procrastinating on the internet instead of writing, I took one of those tests to find out which of the seven deadly sins I was. I can’t even remember what the result was now, but I know that I didn’t agree with it, and when it came down to it, I couldn’t really pick which one I identified with the most. That got me thinking: was there possibly an eighth deadly sin? One that I felt was worth sinning for? Dying for? That’s what got me writing. That’s where The Eighth began.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Without giving too much away, my favorite scene is the creation of the eighth deadly sin, mostly because that’s when readers really get to know — and see — The Seven (the keepers of the deadly sins).
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
The Eighth was my MFA thesis at Seton Hill University, so its writing process was vastly different than anything I had worked on before or since. I worked with two mentors (Scott Johnson and William H. Horner) and a handful of critique partners. It went through six drafts by the time Dark Regions bought it, which was shortly after I got my MFA in January 2014. I was writing anywhere from 30-60 pages a month then, and because prose was such a different direction for me at that time (I consider myself a poet first and foremost), I would brainstorm and outline chapters by writing them as poems first, and then write them as prose. It was a wild ride, but worth every minute.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
For me, it was getting to share the beautiful cover art by Samuel Araya, which I just felt matched the storyline perfectly. He’s an extremely talented artist. I encourage everyone to check out his artwork when they get the chance. Here’s the link: www.ArayaArt.com.
What do you have planned next?
Right now, I’m working on an apocalyptic science fiction poetry collection—which has been challenging, but a lot of fun to write—and I’m also finishing up a weird horror novelette that I’ve been working on-and-off on for about three years now. Once I finish up these projects (which I think will be by fall), I’m going to get back to working on the sequel to The Eighth.
You can pick up a copy of The Eighth here: https://amzn.to/2NAkZGZ
Ways to connect with Stephanie:
Amazon Author page: https://amzn.to/2uWwBMS
Facebook: Stephanie M. Wytovich