Sinister Reads chats with Claire Fitzpatrick

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest story?

Hiya. I’m Claire. I’m an author of speculative fiction and non-fiction. I won the 2017 Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism for ‘The Body Horror Book,’ which I produced, edited, and co-wrote. I work for the government, which means I obviously have no soul. I have a six-year-old daughter who is starting grade one this year, which is crazy!  I’m a submissions reader for Aurealis, and I run Oscillate Wildly Press, a small indie publisher. My collection ‘Metamorphosis’ is due to be published by IFWG Publishing sometime this year, which is just awesome. Um…what else, what else, what else? I have pet cacti. They don’t have names yet, but they’re pretty great pets. They don’t scream in my face or poke me when I’m sleeping like my daughter does. Sheesh. That kid. Gosh, she’s a handful. My latest story is ‘Metamorphosis,’ published in Midnight Echo 13 (title story of my collection). The story is set in the near-distant future where puberty, or growing up, is monitored as a form of population control. ‘Metamorphosis’ follows a theme I have used within a few of my stories – the fear of parental abandonment coupled with Peter Pan Syndrome. I write a lot about child/parent relationships, and I consider this story part four of my short stories ‘Madeline,’ (first published in ME 11), ‘Synthetic,’ (first published in Breach Issue 6, republished in Phantaxis Issue 7), and ‘Scarab’ (first published in Breach Issue 7), a quartet of sorts. This story leans more towards SF, though contains elements of body horror, which is what I generally write.

What inspired you to write this story?

When I was a teenager, I read the book series ‘The Shadow Children’ by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The idea of hiding people away, of pretending people don’t exist, always interested me. One day, out of the blue, I was on a bus and started thinking about the book series. But this time I started thinking not just about population control, but body control – the control of how a body develops, how it grows, how a child becomes an adult. So I just started writing, and ‘Metamorphosis’ is what I came up with. I liked the idea that puberty was more than just the usual changes that occur in the body, that it was something out of your control, literally – that if you didn’t go through puberty you became something else, something monstrous, something to be hidden away and examined. I also sprinkled ideas of ‘be careful what you wish for’ throughout the story. There are consequences for growing up too fast, which are very real in ‘Metamorphosis.’

What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?

Always be open with yourself, and truthful. A good story has parts of its author within it. Go beyond ‘write what you know’ and write who you are, what you’re afraid of, what concerns you, what excites you. Almost all of my stories are in some way autobiographical. Always add a little bit of you into the mix.

What does the horror genre mean to you?

Gosh. Horror is something that is flexible, malleable, and adjustable. It is something to be pulled apart and put back together. What scares people so often changes. The horror genre should not only scare you, but excite you, encourage you to ask questions. I think of it as the agnostic of the writing spectrum. Horror is akin to Solipsism – you can never be sure what else is out there, only what’s inside your own mind. And that’s the scary thing. Horror encourages exploration, internal investigations, and philosophical questions. Why are we scared? What makes humans scared? What makes a human? Horror is usually metaphorical, and taps into our inner most fears and desires as individuals and as a society. The scariest monsters in this word are the humans themselves. Hmm. I think I’m scared of myself.

Who is your favourite author and why?

See, my favourite book is ‘Black Foxes’ by Sonya Hartnett, but that’s not horror. Overall, I love Clive Barker. I think he’s incredibly creative. I love that is work, his imagination, is limitless. His universe is so immersive. His writing is not only bloody but supernatural, religious, erotic, romantic. He writes such beautiful and terrifying prose. Clive Barker encourages questions, encourages fantasies, and turns humanity inside out. And for me, that’s what it means to be human.

 

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

Midnight Echo 13

 

Are you on social media? Please supply links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClaireJean1239

Twitter: @CJFitzpatrick91

Instagram: wetoo.arestardust

Website: www.clairefitzpatrick.net/

 

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