Today I have one of the authors, Andrea Stanet, author of “Lucid” here for an interview, as well as an excerpt from Lucid.
Shadows follow you in the darkness of the night and the eerie sensation of being watched crawls up your spine. Your sanity pulls apart at the seams as the terrors stalk their victims, leaving you too frightened to turn off the light.
These twisted stories will leave you breathless, dreading the horrors lurking around the corner.
Seventeen authors. Seventeen tales of terror. Infinite nightmares.
Watch your back.
Stories featured in this anthology:
– Every Thorn by Rene Folsom
– Dead Ringer by Jason Brant
– Autumn by Elizabeth Collins
– Don’t Kiss the Dead Fred by A.E. Killingsworth
– Affliction by S.L. Dearing
– Lucid by Andrea Stanet
– Donations by Bart Hopkins
– Bernice by Chad Foutz
– Destination: Death by Eaton Thomas Palmer
– Powerless by Laurie Treacy
– Freezer Burn by Jon Messenger
– The Watcher by Lindy Spencer
– Immortal Luck by Magen McMinimy
– Izzy’s Assassin by Nicole Clark
– Say My Name by Michael Loring
– Damaged People by Nicki Scalise
– Blog Stalker by Phil Taylor
What made you participate in the Stalkers contest?
The thriller genre interests me, but I had never really attempted to write it, so it was an interesting challenge. My initial idea came pretty quickly, so I decided to go for it.
What is “Lucid” about?
“Lucid” is about a girl, Joey, who is about to graduate college and struggles for self-determination while living with her overprotective family. Taught lucid dreaming as a child to ward off nightmares, the nightmares start to return. At the same time, her cat starts to behave very strangely. She realizes she’s not alone in her dreams and has to use dormant skills to save herself from her dream stalker.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is pretty bizarre if you ask me. It probably isn’t in reality, but it seems so disorganized and roundabout that it’s hard to imagine why anyone else would want to work this way. I am allergic to outlining and am a classic “pantser.” My ideas usually start out as a single image based on an event or a dream. For this story, the image was of a cat attacking a girl. We have two cats, one of which can be a beast when he wants to be. I normally take him for walks when it’s warm enough, but at the time I started “Lucid,” I had been slacking off, and he attacked my daughter. We started watching a lot of My Cat from Hell so she wouldn’t be afraid to walk through the house. The first draft has the cat as the villain because of course when I think of a stalker, I immediately think of cats. Doesn’t everyone? But by the second and third drafts, I wanted the cat to play a more heroic role, which I didn’t get right (or as right as I could get it by the deadline) until the final (fifth) draft.
After I find the initial image, I like to play. A blank screen is like a big old playground, so I just run around, see if I meet any interesting friends, try to find some fun adventures, and eventually come up with a first draft. That first draft will then go through several transformations. I bounce a lot of ideas off of my husband, often before he’s even awake on a weekend morning, otherwise off of my writer friends because they won’t judge me for all the craziness I come up with. The transformation process can be a little frustrating. Until the story is “right” there’s always a nagging, “naah, something’s still off here,” feeling. Sometimes it’s more of “what were you thinking?” sensation.
I rely a great deal on feedback from different trusted readers who will tell me when I’m leaving out things and then help me pound them out of my head. It’s honestly not as violent as it sounds.
Short answer, I just write, decide what I wrote it terrible, rewrite, less terrible, rewrite…until there’s an actual story I’m okay with attaching to my name.
What is your favorite genre/s?
Favorite genres to read are fantasy, paranormal romance, and some horror. However, if the story is good enough, I’ll read just about anything.
Favorite genre to write is easily contemporary fantasy, but I also really enjoy mixing elements that don’t instantly scream, “perfect pairing.” Fairy tales and psychics; steampunk zombie dragons. You would almost think I’m just pulling things out of a hat. While I often make decisions by rolling dice or flipping coins, I absolutely do not pull story ideas out of hats. Pinkie swear.
At the gym, I stumble into the arms of the hot personal trainer I’ve lusted after for ages. I smile and gaze into his eyes, willing him to sense my desires.
The room dims.
The skin on the trainer’s face sags, lengthens, melts. Scarlet tendons and muscles contrast against white bone. He grins. Misshapen lips pucker and stretch toward mine. I scream and try to shield my mouth. His grip on my wrists feels like handcuffs. My head thrashes from side to side. I fight to pull my hands away.
A voice disrupts my escape efforts. It has an unnatural quality, an echo, and seems far away. “Flirt with a stranger.” A chuckle follows.
Faces only melt in dreams. This isn’t real.
I find a focal point—the leg-extension machine—and force deep breaths into my dream-self’s lungs. When I turn, the trainer’s face will return to normal. I will wake up.
“Stop! Let me in,” the voice commands.
The air feels thick, as if the humidity level is one-hundred percent. I can’t breathe.
A shadow passes in front of the machine as I shift my gaze away from the equipment.
I am transported to my room.
I see myself in bed, face buried in my pillow. I glide closer and note the way my back rises and falls, the way one leg pokes out from beneath the sheet, the way one arm tucks under my chin. Several brown strands have escaped the braid trailing out behind me.
My door rattles. I pause. Around me, I try to gauge my bearings—wide dresser, tall bookshelf. Reflecting in the dresser’s mirror, my open laptop sits on the desk next to my queen-sized bed. The Florida room, perpendicular to the far window, is dark. A fluffy, monogrammed robe, with my initials—J.S. for Joey Santiago—hangs on the back of the door like a ghostly blob.
A series of thumps and scratches follows a pitiful yowl.
My breath catches in my throat, and a jolt travels through me.
A freelance writer from upstate New York, Andrea Stanet has been published online and in print since the late 90s. While she typically writes contemporary and urban fantasy, her reading interests span all genres. Andrea is currently revising two fantasy novels that she hopes to have published in the near future.
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