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Welcome to NightTide's Author Snapshot! Snapshots are quick, engaging, bite-sized interviews with writers that we love! This week, we chat with the incomparable KC Grifant.

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1. Give us your best elevator pitch on your work.

My collection, SHROUDED HORROR: TALES OF THE UNCANNY (Dragon’s Roost Press, July 2024) features cosmic and weird stories about horrors that  lie below the surface, ready to bubble up and disturb the veil of our everyday lives. From the bowels of NYC to the mind-warping outer reaches of space, SHROUDED HORROR shows what happens when ordinary
people bump against the hidden terrors that sit at the boundaries of reality. The collection is a cross between Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, and an adult version of Goosebumps.

2. What was your first published work?

My first professionally published fiction work was an odd little story called “Out to Pasture,” a take on aliens shepherding humans for mysterious needs. It appeared in What Has Two Heads, Ten Eyes, and Terrifying Table Manners?: An Anthology of Science Fiction Horror exactly a decade ago. I still remember the thrill of receiving the paperback contributor copy in the mail.

3. Is there a story inside that you have seeds of but can't seem to connect that's dying to get out? 

A few, actually! One that haunts me is a dark fantasy novel I’ve written a few different ways over the years based on Minoan mythology. This one has been really hard to get out just right since Greek mythology in fiction has been fairly overdone. As it’s been a big part of my background, I’m trying to bring that personal connection of what that mythology meant to me growing up into a horror interpretation that feels fresh. Hopefully someday I’ll get it right.

4. How do you handle a rejected story?

I’ve had hundreds of rejections so it’s fairly mechanical at this point: I log it and immediately send out the story to a new market. Once in a while, I’ll set the story aside to consider if it maybe it didn’t achieve what I was hoping for. Stories are kind of like children–sometimes they need a pep talk (edit) or some other supportive measure before you send them out in the world again. Others end up living at home forever, which is OK too.

5. What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success to me is to keep writing. I aim to always be working on the next thing and evolving as a creator. External success–publications, accolades, acknowledgements, etc.–those are great because they help you connect with readers. But as with most creators, the most important thing is to keep your artistic self in focus so you can keep discovering new stories.ime.


6. Do you read your book reviews and if so, how do you deal with bad or good ones?

I scan all reviews and treat them like a massive, global writer’s workshop. Just as in a workshop, you don’t pay attention to the outliers; you look for common themes or remarks, whether good or bad. If the consistent comments are around an area that I could improve upon, I take it into account in the next work if it makes sense to do so. For positive recurring feedback,
I log those to revisit as a reminder when I need help focusing.

7. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The first draft is always a challenge because it’s so messy for me, and I don’t like those early stages when the plot hasn’t quite gelled. I wish I could be a plotter and adhere to a clean plan. The positive of the messy first draft is that it can be surprising and fascinating to see what direction the story and characters take.

8. The truth is often stranger than fiction. What has been the hardest scene or chapter you've had to write if you were channeling personal experience?

In general, it’s hard for me to write about grieving and loss because I feel anxious about that in my personal life. Parental-related distress is always tough, so I write any related scenes slowly with breaks.

9. What inspired your latest work? 

SHROUDED HORROR is a collection of short stories written over the last few years. The tales span cosmic, weird, feminist and quiet horror. Some of the inspirations include themes from the pandemic and group mentalities; issues around women’s autonomy and gender roles; and more broadly, societal expectations and strata. I also love thinking up new monsters or ways to twist expectations around the archetypical monsters.

10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 

Embrace the weird even more and keep going.

11. What's the best advice you've received from a fellow writer?

This has been said a few ways, but essentially: if it bores you, then it bores the audience. But I take this to mean avoid being outlandish for its own sake, which can feel random and unsatisfying as a reader. Rather, the sentiment is to look for ways to explore the weird and unexpected that feel organic to the story and fun for the creator.

12. What is your go-to comfort horror/Sci-Fi book? 

I was obsessed with Frankenstein in middle school (writing fan fiction before it was called that). Reading those pages as an adult immediately transport me to the feeling of discovering gothic horror and horror-sci-fi.

13. If you were to genre-hop, which genres would you most like to try writing? 

I do a lot of genre hopping now between fantasy, sci-fi, horror and weird westerns, but if I were to venture outside of that zone, I’d probably try mystery writing. It’s somewhat adjacent to horror and it would be fun to do a story with a speculative twist.

14. What's on your agenda these days?

I am excited to be a co-organizer for the StokerCon 2024 in San Diego, California, taking place at the end of May. In addition to dozens of panels and readings, StokerCon also features workshops, signings, networking opportunities and unique experiences, such as a film competition and awards banquet. Guests of Honor include Justina Ireland, Jonathan Maberry,
Rob Savage, Nisi Shawl and Paul Tremblay. With my fellow co-chairs, talented local authors Dennis K. Crosby and Sarah Faxon, and an army of volunteers, we’ve created a robust program and look forward to showcasing both emerging voices in horror and literary luminaries.

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Request an ARC of KC's latest work here!

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