I interviewed Sonora Taylor last year about her book The Crow’s Gift. She returned the favor by inviting me to stop by her blog to talk about 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, as well as my Alondra stories. We met through the clandestine Ladies of Horror Facebook group.
Sonora Taylor is the author of four books, including Without Condition and The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales. Taylor’s work frequently appears in The Sirens Call. Her work has also appeared in Mercurial Stories, Tales to Terrify, and the Ladies of Horror fiction podcast. Her third short story collection, Little Paranoias, will be out October 22, 2019. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband.
Is it a knock on the door, or a gust of wind? A trick of the light, or someone who’ll see what you’ve done?
Little Paranoias: Stories features twenty tales of the little things that drive our deepest fears. It tells the stories of terror and sorrow, lust at the end of the world and death as an unwanted second chance. It dives into the darkest corners of the minds of men, women, and children. It wanders into the forest and touches every corner of the capital. Everyone has something to fear — after all, it’s those little paranoias that drive our day-to-day.
Did something in the real world inspire Little Paranoias: Stories?
Most of the stories were inspired by pictures or writing prompts I saw online. A couple, however, were inspired by things I saw in the real world. “The Note on the Door” is based on an actual door I saw daily on my way to work. It was a glass door attached to a house that was otherwise under construction. I squinted for a bit to see what it said, couldn’t read it, then walked off. But as I kept walking, I started to think up a story around someone seeing a note on a door and not being able to stop thinking about its contents. It culminated into a very short story, one that I find effectively sinister.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Oh gee — I always have a hard time picking a scene for this one! I have many, and especially so in a collection of short stories, where I have a favorite scene in each story. So, favorite scene 1 of 20 is… Just kidding.
If I had to pick one, I’d probably pick Penny Pinkerton’s story in “Weary Bones.” “Weary Bones” cuts between a primary character named Brandon and a cast of different women as they all react in different ways to a serum that promises a second life. The story focuses on death and grief — a barrel of laughs, I know. But Penny Pinkerton’s story was genuinely a laugh to write. I wrote it in tribute to the pulpier stories and movies I enjoy: stories that are a bit seedy, with people to match. I mean, her name is Penny Pinkerton! I can still see her blonde coif and neon pink lingerie. It was a fun passage to write.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
Little Paranoias: Stories is a compilation of stories I’ve written over the past year. Several of the pieces — mostly the flash pieces — were written for Nina D’Arcangela’s monthly picture prompt challenge on her blog, Spreading the Writer’s Word. Others were responses to calls for submissions. Some were rejected, and I chose to revise them and publish them myself, which gave me more freedom in terms of word count and style. “Hearts are Just ‘Likes’” was previously published in Camden Park Press’s award-winning anthology Quoth the Raven: A Contemporary Reimagining of the Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Some of the Little Paranoias pieces were also published in slightly different form in The Sirens Call, a bimonthly eZine, and in Mercurial Stories.
So it is a compilation of previously published stories combined with brand new, never-before-published pieces. My first two short story collections were four stories apiece, and none of those were published before. It’s exciting to release a collection that compiles stories I’ve published elsewhere — it feels like the next step in my writing journey.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
The enthusiasm for the cover reveal. I was really touched to see so many people sharing the cover and extending their congratulations on the upcoming collection. I hope they like the stories just as much.
What do you have planned next?
Right now I’m working on my third novel, tentatively called Seeing Things. It’s based on an idea I’ve had for a couple years now, where a 13-year-old girl discovers she can see the dead but, unfortunately, none of them want to talk to her. She’s left wondering why she has this gift if the dead seem to actively avoid her, which leads to her wondering why they’re avoiding her. The answers begin coming into focus when she goes to visit her uncle for the summer.
I’ve also started writing down ideas and a rough table of contents for my next short story collection: Someone to Share My Nightmares: Love Stories, which will focus on romantic horror.
See what Sonora has been up to by checking out her website at https://sonorawrites.com
You can see all her books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2maReUO
Or order a copy of Little Paranoias: Stories here: https://amzn.to/2mdTri6. It comes out tomorrow!