To paraphrase Forrest Gump (and his momma): “twisted is as twisted does”- so grab your ebook copy of Twisted Tales (or a print copy by clicking here) – it’s a Readers’ Choice selection of short fiction from Readers’ Circle of Avenue Park. Literary lies, epic yarns – it’s an eclectic collection of stories by authors from around the globe.
In today’s Meet the Authors series I’m delighted to welcome to the blog Elizabeth Horton-Newton. She has had a life-long interest in serial killers and all things horror. Fascinated by the inner workings of the criminal mind, she allowed her imagination to run will in her tale for this anthology.
Your story ‘Old Habits’ appears in the Readers Circle of Avenue Park’s recent anthology Twisted Tales. What made you decide on that story?
I’ve been fascinated by serial killers and their deviant behaviors for a long time. The criminal mind is like a web that forms based on both nature and nurture. While many adult serial killers were victims of abuse as children, that isn’t necessarily true of all of them. As a society their aberrational behavior frightens us and we seek to explain it, to define it rationally as though we will be able to identify them in our midst. I have read stats that say there are as many as 50 to 100 serial killers in the US alone at any given time.
Now, overall that isn’t a huge percentage. But you have to wonder when you look at your next door neighbor if there might be something you are missing. Look at the BTK killer, Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dahmer. They moved around freely in society, interact daily with co-workers, school mates, the mailman, and others. Gaunt Thibideaux was just a kid in a small town who had a bad habit that he kept secret for years. He could be the old man who waves at your kids while he’s mowing his lawn.
Did you find writing a short story easier or harder to write than what you’ve written in the past?
I have always enjoyed writing short stories. I’ve been writing since I was a child and my stories were always novel length. I dabbled a little with short stories in college and got a lot of praise from my professors. But twenty years ago I decided to challenge myself with writing stories as short as five hundred words to see if I could do it. I love Stephen King and he, along with Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, DH Lawrence, and John Cheever, are possibly some of the best short story writers in my opinion. I wanted to try and capture that intensity they express in their short stories. I hope the more I work at it, the better I may get. I doubt I’ll ever be as brilliant as they are but I like to aim high.
Who has been an important influence on your journey as a writer?
Oh that’s a tough one. I started reading Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when I was about seven years old. I fell in love. As I got older my taste expanded to Harper Lee, Daphne du Maurier, Stephen King, and the author’s I previously mentioned. My fourth and fifth grade teachers encouraged me to write. Two of my college professors absolutely encouraged me. Professor Malley and Dr. Spector at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, were amazing English professors who loved sharing my work with classes. When you have readers telling you they think you have a gift you grow.
What’s your next project?
I am currently finishing a book called “Stolen” about a teenage girl who discovers her parents are not her parents at all. Soon she finds she and her mother were in the Witness Protection Program and her mother was murdered. The program lost track of her and she was raised by a gypsy couple. To compound things, her mother was a gypsy and it seems her father, the head of the clan, is searching for her and seems to want to kill her. But there is a lot more than meets the eye. There is a drug cartel, a sexy Irishman who rescues her, corrupt police officials and a home for unwed mothers. You have to read it to see how it all comes together. I also have a short story coming out in an all woman anthology about women who overcome some difficult situation. The anthology is the first in a series called “Gems of Sisterhood” and this edition is “Gems of Strength”. It will be out later this spring. My story is about an abused woman who has escaped her abusive husband, but he finds her. I leave the rest to your imagination.
Please share a little more of your writing background.
As I said I have been writing since I was little. I have two full length books out now and short stories currently available in three anthologies. I’ve written articles on domestic violence for the YWCA and a variety of organizations that advocate for abused women. My blog “Between the Beats” is on WordPress. I do a lot of book reviews, occasional short stories, and opinion pieces.
Where can readers reach you?
Author Website: www.elizabethhorton-newtonauthor.com
Blog: Between the Beats- http://elizabethnnewton.com/
Stumble Upon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/newliz0201/likes
Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Horton-Newton/e/B00NSET8JY/
Stay tuned for more Meet the Author interviews. If you like what you read in Twisted Tales you’re invited to leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!
Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Kurt Wallander and Japan Noir and you have a new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s Son and The Thief’s Mistake – and sign up for my monthly newsletter at josephmarkbrewer.com