|Photo Credit: Doug Walton|
I always knew I had a lot in common with author Stephanie Faris. We're both journalists who write fiction. We freelance to supplement our writing income. We're both crazy about the '80s. She's a nice person and I love nice people.
But I was shocked to learn that Stephanie--who may just be the nicest blogger-writer on the planet--has a dark side.
I immediately knew I had to interview her about it.
1) I'm sure some of your fans would be surprised to discover you're interested in horror and the supernatural. What sparked your interest? Would you ever consider writing darker fiction?
I know. It’s a strange mix for a middle grade/chapter book author who generally has cutesy, girly covers, isn’t it? I landed my agent with a middle grade series called Ghost Patrol that was inspired by my fascination with ghost hunting. The series was about a team of tween ghost hunters.
It started around 2002 or so, when I was driving into work and heard this ghost hunting series they were doing on the Rick and Bubba Show. I was hooked. A couple of years later, Ghost Hunters debuted on SyFy and for a long time, I was hooked on the show. I even took a ghost-hunting class once as research for Ghost Patrol!
2) Has anything supernatural ever happened to you? Details, please. :)
No! Isn’t that horrible? I’ve been on so many ghost tours and even in the ghost-hunting class we did a hunt and…nothing. The instructor said I have that skeptical mind and I think he’s right. Even though I’m fascinated by other people’s stories, I’m just not the type of person who sees dead people. I wish I could! I have a feeling you aren’t going to see such a thing on a ghost tour, though. You have to be alone in a house overnight before the ghosts will come out and play.
3) What creepy unsolved mystery keeps you awake at night?
This isn’t really a ghost story, but I’m fascinated with the show Disappeared on Investigation Discovery. There are these haunting stories of people who just vanish without a trace one day. They’ll even have surveillance footage of them in their last moments. There’s something about a person just disappearing and never being found that definitely spooks me. I can’t watch the show when I’m home alone!
4) Do you believe in ghosts? UFOs? Nessie? Why or why not?
I’m fascinated by everything, so I close my mind off to absolutely nothing. Ghosts and life-after-death stories are so interesting to me. UFO stories fascinate me, too, especially the one they depicted in Fire in the Sky. Something had to have happened there. As for the Loch Ness Monster—that sort of thing doesn’t really interest me. It’s not that I don’t believe they exist. Monsters just don’t do anything to impress me. Now stories about the Mothman reel me right in—especially all of the events that happened around that big bridge collapse in West Virginia in the '60s.
5) What's the scariest movie you've ever seen? Best scary book?
I remember seeing The Blair Witch Project in the '90s and realizing the scariest thing in the world was when their friends had disappeared and they heard sounds of someone yelling from far away later that night. It’s what you can’t see that’s scariest. In a sense, the Paranormal Activity movies have done that, too, but for me, it hasn’t ever been as scary as The Blair Witch Project was in the theater. Books? I’m going to point to a short story because it really freaked me out when I read it as a teenager—The Boogeyman by Stephen King. It was in one of his anthologies and I’m surprised it doesn’t still keep me up nights!
6) Any go-to horror authors you love? Why do you love them?
Stephen King will always be my favorite, although I’m not sure he’s quite as scary as he used to be. These days he’s a little more literary, I think. But when I read the beginning of Under the Dome, I thought, “THIS is the Stephen King I remember.” I found out later that he started the book years ago. That made me realize just how he’s changed. I do miss the Stephen King that kept me up nights, but I love his newer work, as well.
7) Please tell us about your latest book. What is it about? When does it come out?
It’s called 25 Roses and it’s a middle-grade novel, written for the tween market. When I was in high school, we did a carnation sale for Valentine’s Day. We bought flowers for classmates and sent them with a little card attached. In 25 Roses, the girl coordinating the sale gets the idea to purchase some of the flowers out of her own money and send them to the students who don’t normally get flowers.
Thanks for such an awesome interview, Stephanie. I feel the same way about that Mothman...brr.
Have you ever had a paranormal experience? What scary books and movies give you nightmares? Are you a fan of King as well, or do you think he's lost his touch? Please share your thoughts in the comments.