You may not be familiar with the name of today’s guest-blogger, but I can guarantee that you will be very soon. Alison has already appeared in a number of high-profile magazines with her short stories and was recently chosen as one of the authors to be included in the Never Again anthology from Gray Friar Press. I met the very personable Miss Littlewood at this year’s FantasyCon and I can honestly say that she is an absolute delight to talk to – plus her smile is infectious.
Here, she talks about how and why she started writing.
Hopping Aboard the Horror Train
When I was younger, I didn’t read much horror. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it – I borrowed my brother’s James Herberts and Stephen Kings – it was just that I wanted to read EVERYTHING. (Unless it came packaged in pink covers and swirly writing, that is – I never was much of a girly girl.)
But when I started writing, something happened. One day – this is way back in 2004 – I thought I’d try the BBC’s ‘End of Story‘ competition. This entailed, fittingly enough, finishing a story begun by a famous author. And I read through the story starters, racking my brains as to what I’d write, until I got to Sean Hutson’s. Suddenly my head was full of ideas. Assassins? Severed thumbs? Nightmare train journeys, redolent of hell? Oh, yes. This was the one for me.
I discovered that dark fiction was the most fun you can have with a pen, and I wrote that story with a smile on my face – or rather, a slightly twisted but very gleeful grin. It never really left.
I’ve been writing horror and dark fantasy ever since, along with the occasional visit to the land of science fiction. And the more I write it the more I love it, so the more I want to read it…and the more I want to write it…and so it goes on, or at least until the bookshelves collapse.
Of course, sometimes I think I write the dark stuff because I’m a born worrier. I’m always thinking of the worst thing that could happen – why not use that to feed my story ideas? (Let’s face it: it’s about time that one started to work in my favour.) At other times, I think it came out of nowhere. But then I remember how much I used to love fairy tales when I was a kid.
Back when I was about five I devoured them, cried over them, loved them. One I remember in particular is The Red Shoes, by Hans Christian Andersen. It’s the story of a child who dreams of her dancing shoes when she should be praying in church. And so she’s cursed to dance – but dance ceaselessly, relentlessly, until she’s exhausted and bleeding and the best option she can think of is to beg a passing woodcutter to chop off her feet.
Ouch. Sometimes, I think it was there all along.
Now I’ve been fortunate to have had stories published in Black Static, Not One Of Us, Dark Horizons, Murky Depths – and New Fairy Tales. Recently I was included in the Never Again charity anthology from Gray Friar press.
I’ve also become a serial first drafter of novels, but recently managed to finish one, so hopefully it won’t languish in the dark forever…
Well, I for one hope that that novel doesn’t languish in the dark for too long, either…..
Many thanks to Alison for taking the time to write this little piece, and I sincerely wish her all the success that is bound to come her way. You should definitely be on the lookout for anything by this up and coming author, before she hits the big time.
Alison’s website can be found here.