31 Nights of Fright: An Interview with writer Clare Castleberry

Tonight ,part one of our double entry, we have writer Clare Castleberry!

FoF: First and foremost, tell us about yourself.

CC: I grew up in the swamps of Louisiana with a police officer father and an artistic bar-owning mother. I had a wild imagination and had lots of time for horror movies and books as a kid. I’m currently a librarian and author and live in New Orleans. I travel quite a bit and am also an artist. 

FoF: What do you do? And why do you like it?

CC: I write horror, thrillers and some erotica. I’ve always been utterly fascinated by anything taboo. The video store in my small hometown had a separate horror section, and going there always felt like trespassing. Like a lot of eighties kids, I wanted to be like Stephen King. I got my first short story published when I was 11, so unfortunately for my parents, I was hooked. Plus, the publisher paid me fifty bucks—a lot of money for a kid back then. I thought I was super rich.

FoF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?

CC: For me, inspiration comes from dreams, daily walks, watching people and the news. I try to write at least a little bit every day, but sometimes things happen and I don’t get to it. I tend to be more productive if I have a deadline. I worked with two great anthology editors last year, Kay Oliver (Map to Desire) and Richard Lamb (Bloody Ribbons), and they were wonderful about keeping everyone on track and were such a joy to work with. I guess I appreciate someone pushing me. 

FoF: What drew you to horror in the first place?


When I was a kid, I used to sneak into my parents’ living room and hide in the shadows while they watched horror movies. I got busted one night while they were watching Halloween 2, and by then, I was addicted. So like the good parents they were, they fed my addiction by bringing me to the video store and the library.

It seemed like horror was always within easy reach for me and life always pushes me towards like-minded people. I had an amazing college professor who taught a Women in Horror class. Later, when I moved to California, I got to rub elbows with horror master Norman Partridge, a library compadre. I’ve made some great connections with the Twitter horror writing community, too. 

FoF: What is your favorite horror work? (Movie, Show, Art, Book, whatever you want)

CC: Book: Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite or Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

Show: Tales From the Crypt

Movie: There are so many favorites, but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will always have a special place in my heart.

FoF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?


Two things! I’ve gotten to see some of my short stories turned into shorts on Wicked Whirlpool, a public access show based out of Santa Cruz. 

My short story, Hungry for Control, was published as a standalone by Zombiegasm Press. It was later included in Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 1 by Comet Press, and I was really thrilled. 

FoF: What role do you think your specific style of art plays in the community overall?

CC: While I love the gore and jump-fest scares of the 80s, atmospheric horror films like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Suspiria or Wicker Man always got under my skin and inspired me. I’ve been told my writing is atmospheric and has a bit of an “old school” element to it. I’m totally cool with revitalizing some of those early elements of horror. Thomas Ligotti and many other authors did it best in my opinion, though. I’m just trying to keep up.

FoF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight? (Commissions, flash sales, new project?)

CC: I’m putting the final touches on a new novel. It’s about a depressed artist who tries to commit suicide multiple times, but is never successful. When she witnesses crimes committed by a group of crow shape shifters, she starts to understand why she is the way she is—and why the crows want to use her for her weird “ability.”

FoF: If you could do anything with any horror franchise, what would it be?

CC: Definitely some sort of pro-woman spin on Texas Chainsaw Massacre–Leatherface gets whipped into shape by a cruel dominatrix, perhaps? 

FoF: Anything else you’d like to say?

CC: Thank you for promoting horror!

Thank you so much to Clare for taking the time to interview and for that awesome look into her writing.

You can stay in touch with Clare at her website or on Twitter and Goodreads!

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