For this eighth, Easter episode of Writer’s Spotlight, we have Patricia Stover – another member of the Scribes’ Circle and fellow A Journey of Words author whom I have gotten to know over the past year. She is also in the A Haunting of Words anthology with me, due out in June/July 2017. Her fun-loving, friendly demeanor lulls you into expecting nice, fluffy, happily-ever-after stories from her. What you get instead is creepy, terrifying tales that are sure to keep you awake at night!
Give us a short introduction to you.
I am a stay at home mom from a small town in Oklahoma. I attended college at MSC, where I received my Associates in Science. I also attended SOSU, where I studied English and Writing. I have a three-year-old boy, who keeps me busy when I’m not writing. I have one published short story in Scout Media’s, “A Journey of Words” anthology and another that will be published in the, “A Haunting of Words” anthology. I write mostly Horror and what you might call Weird Fiction. I love the outdoors, fishing, camping, and traveling.
How long have you been writing, professionally and/or as a hobby?
As a young adult, I would write cheesy poetry and journal. However, it wasn’t until I was around 24 and attending college that I really found my love for writing. I was attending MSC working on my basics for nursing. I took a writing course as one of my required arts. My professor was head of the writing department. The class was asked to write a short screen play, around two or three pages I believe. Seven pages later my screen play was still unfinished lol. I handed in the assignment, positive it would receive an F since unfinished. The professor loved the story and suggested I take a creative writing course. I never thought writing would be something I would enjoy before that. I took the creative writing course and several literature courses. I fell in love with writing and literature. I looked forward to attending my classes. I had been a nurse aide for years before that and thought being a Nurse was my calling. It had never occurred to me I could be a creative person. Once I finished my Associate’s degree I went on to try for my Bachelors in English and Writing. I met my husband, got married and pregnant, so school went on hold. After I had my son I stayed at home with him. I was thirty-two when he was born. An idea for a horror novel hit me while driving one day and I thought, “I’m going to sit down and write this book.” I wrote day and night and three months later I had the first draft of “Hitchhiking with the Devil” written. Somewhere along the way I joined a writing group, Fiction Writing. I wanted to learn more about writing, and since I wasn’t in school I thought the best way would be to research it on the internet. An article I read suggested joining a writer’s group. The “A Journey of Words” anthology was open to submissions. I had one written that fit the theme, so I polished it and had it edited and it was accepted into the anthology.
In what genre(s) do you write?
I write horror, dark fiction/weird fiction. Although I hope to expand into other genres.
Do you outline your stories ahead of time, or do you let the story grow as you write?
I cannot outline to save my life. I wish I could, I feel like it would make writing so much easier. But an outline stops the flow for me. I guess it’s a mental thing.
Which authors have influenced and inspired you the most?
Probably Steven King and R.L. Stein, I loved the goosebumps series growing up. Also, I watched a lot of twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, and other shows like that, which I think had a strong influence. I like anything weird.
Do you write in other ways, such as poetry, songwriting, technical articles, etc?
I do dabble in poetry a bit.
How has your life experiences affected your writing?
I think it is impossible for life experiences not to affect writing. We always put a little of ourselves in our stories, even if we don’t mean to. I don’t think there is a way around that.
What scene that you’ve written has moved you the most, and why?
I think the scene in “Hitchhiking with the Devil” where I had my MC kill her best friend. That would be one of the more emotional scenes, but the creepiest one so far is the ballet scene, which I have yet to decide if it will stay in the book.
Beta Readers – Yes or No? Why?
Yes. I like to have an outside opinion, but I have certain ones that I know their work and trust them.
What inspires your story ideas?
Everything lol. Hitchhiking with the Devil was inspired by an old man that lives in my town. I drove by him one day while taking my son to the pumpkin patch. He usually drives his lawn mower around town, but that day he was hitchhiking. I thought to myself, “I should pick him up and give him a ride.” Then I thought, “What if he kills me and cuts my body into pieces and throws it into the river?” And then I thought, “It’s sad that you can’t even give a person a ride these days because you don’t know what kind of person they are.” That is where the idea for the antagonist came from.
Do you belong to any Writing Groups?
I am a member of the Scribes Circle, a member of Fiction Writing, and I really need to get my membership to the HWA, but I am a procrastinator lol. I am a part of the group and follow them diligently.
Tell us about all of your works in progress (include your favorite snippets).
Hitchhiking With the Devil
“You think you can leave! There is no escape. I am everywhere and everyone. I know all your desires and your darkest sins. You cannot run from me.”
Joey revved the engine.
“It doesn’t matter who you think you are!” she yelled.
“You can’t hurt us.” She revved the engine again.
“Because you’re not fucking real!” Joey hit the gas.
Night of the Eye
Lilly sat on the toilet, practicing fractions in her head. One-fourth plus one-half equals three-fourths, one-half plus one-half equals one whole, or one. Fractions were easy, way easier than history. Who cared about history? Mrs. Cresternek wanted you to remember a bunch of dates about a bunch of old dead people, boring. The bathroom door slammed, jarring Lilly from her history daze. A familiar feeling overwhelmed her. Her spine tingled and hairs stood like tiny soldiers on the back of her neck.
Her fingers slipped through her belt loops, she stumbled onto the toilet and screamed. The eye peered at her from beneath the bathroom stall. A black cat-eyed pupil focused on her. She searched the stall. No escape.
“Hello, anybody in here? Janitor … anyone here?” A voice sounded through the door. Lilly tried to scream. Her throat clenched, silencing the sound before it could be released. She was paralyzed beneath the eye’s power. Footsteps pounded toward her. The sinister ball slid under the divider, releasing her from its glare. A pair of brown work boots stood at the stall door now. They lingered there. Heavy breathing sounded from the other side. Her hand trembled as reached for the latch.
The janitor groaned. Lilly jerked her hand back. The latch wiggled. Lilly pulled her knees to her chest and closed her eyes. “Click,” the door creaked. She scrunched her eyes tighter. The stall shook. Lilly’s heart strummed against her chest. The work boots disappeared. Muffled groans echoed off the tiled walls and glass shattered.
“God! N—” The Janitor’s screams turned to gurgles. Burnt flesh drifted into Lilly’s nose. The bathroom went silent. She sat on the toilet, knees to her chest, crying. When she found the courage to look at what was on the other side of the stall door Lilly fainted.
The Janitor’s lifeless body lay on the cold green tile. His eyes disintegrated from his skull. Only a bloody glob of nerves and mucous rest inside his head. The viscous soup dripped down what remained of the janitor’s face into a puddle on the floor.
Have you been published?
“Creepers” is featured in Scout Media’s, “A Journey of Words” anthology. It is about a greedy and bitter old woman who will stop at nothing to win a gardening contest. She stumbles across an unusual green house. Violet purchases some seed that will give her what she “needs”.
My short story, “Plastic Boy”, will also be featured in Scout Media’s, “A Haunting of Words” anthology, due to release this summer.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about you?
I can’t think of anything else. I’m really not that interesting. Lol
Thanks, Patricia, for taking the time to share a little piece of you with us!