Welcome to another interview. This week we have Stephanie Wytovich with us. She is most known for her poetry, and I will say no more. Take it away, Stephanie.
-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?
Novels in general made me want to become a writer. Even as a child, I couldn’t be found without my head in a book, and now it’s very seldom that you’ll run into me without one in my hand, or at least tucked safely away in my purse. I started with poetry and then moved on to prose, and when I look back on it, it’s always been horror. I’m not sure what drew me to it as a child, but as an adult and in terms of poetic and genre influences, I owe a lot of my background to Edgar Allan Poe.
His style of writing, and his portrayal of the gothic has always mesmerized me, and he pulled me into horror with the subtle squawk of a raven because he showed me that while the genre is gruesome, that there’s still a tragic beauty unto it. Personal favorites of mine include, “Ligeia,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Bells”, and “A Dream within a Dream.” I also tip my hat to Sylvia Plath for poems like “Lady Lazarus,” “Fever 103,” “You’re,” “Daddy,” and “The Rival,” for they swept me into the addiction that is the breakdown of the mind, and ever since I started reading them, my prose has grown to introduce character’s with psychological demons and fears.
As for the erotic content of my prose, I am/was highly influenced by Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse. She was able to write something so horrible, but so appealing that you couldn’t help but be drawn in and disgusted at the same time. Everyone wants a good gross out in horror, but my mindset with it is very strategic. I want to turn you on, get you hot as you read the scene, but then slowly have you question and circle around to what you’re reading. When you realize that it’s sex with a corpse, or oral with a severed tongue, it’s not only shocking, but it literally leaves a sick, sour taste in your mouth. That’s the beauty of a good gross out- not just severed limbs and tubs of blood but a mental mind trick as well.
-What genre(s) do you write?
I write Horror and Dark Fantasy, but at times with heavy helpings of Paranormal Romance, although there’s nothing romantic about what goes on in my stories. Love tends to be a perversion to highlight the horror.
Horrotica Magazine will be publishing my poems “Hysteria” and “Clean Break” this August.
I’m also in the process of putting the final touches on my poetry chapbook, HYSTERIA. It’s a collection of 100+ poems, one of which I collaborated with Mike Arnzen on, and it details the breakdown of the mind in terms of obsessions, fetishes, social stigmas, oddities, and personality defects. It will soon be looking for a home, despite the fact that HYSTERIA lives within each and every one of us.
-For other aspiring writers, any tips?
Write every day, even if it’s only a sentence. It took me three days to write the first sentence to my novel, but damn, it’s a good one if I do say so myself. Also, never throw away your work. You never know when you’re going to need it, even if you only siphon the idea from it.
-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?
I love Horror, and I devour it constantly, but I also read a lot of what I like to call “Addiction Fiction,” or stories about real life horrors. For instance, Ellen Hopkins has put out a number of novels, written in free-verse poetry, that I’ve consumed several times. The same goes for Augusten Burroughs, and James Frey. Since I write psychological horror, I like to delve into novels that detail the breakdown of the mind on as many levels as possible, and this also steers me in the direction of True Crime with novels like Al Carlisle’s I’m Not Guilty. The Development of the Violent Mind: The Case of Ted Bundy.
-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
I’m quite fond of a lot of the pieces that are going into my poetry collection, HYSTERIA, however the world hasn’t seen most of them yet because they are laying in wake until the right moment. In terms of what I’ve published, I would have to go with “The Necklace” because while it’s short, it hits pretty hard, particularly in the neck region. Look for it here.
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an Alumni to Seton Hill University where she was a double major in English Literature and Art History. Amongst having numerous publications, the most recent being her poem “When The Dead Wake Up,” she enjoys painting and playing the piano. She is currently attending graduate school to pursue her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, and is working on a novel. She plans to continue in academia to get her doctorate in Gothic Literature.
Want more from Stephanie?