Interview with Joanna Koch, Contributing Author to Doorbells at Dusk Halloween Anthology
What is your story title and favorite scene from your story in Doorbells at Dusk(the Halloween anthology)?
JK: My story in Doorbells at Dusk is called “Offerings.” I lifted the title from “The Golden Bough.” My favorite scene is not dramatic or chilling, but for me it’s the turning point that the story hinges on. It’s when Blaine takes a piece of candy from the piles the girls have made. It’s more of a moment than a scene and it tells me everything I need to know about Blaine. It signals that if the ritual can be broken, Blaine might be the one who can do it. She’s not going to pass the curse on to someone else to save herself and she’s not going back to the life that led her into the trap. She finds a creative solution. I like that about her.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
JK: Less than ten years ago. I’m compulsively creative and always wrote privately as an adjunct to other projects, mostly in visual art. I reached a point a few years ago where I was just DONE with being coy and decided to commit myself to words. I still can’t believe I did it.
Do you like writing short stories or novels?
JK: I love to read and write short. The intensity of the experience is concentrated and amplified in shorter works. If I were smart enough to write poetry, I would. With that said I have a first draft of a novel simmering on the back burner and some longer stories fermenting on the shelf, so maybe I’ll get into those projects soon.
How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?
JK: The first story I ever sent out got published. I’m implausibly lucky in writing. The third story I sent out was published in a book and the thrill was essential for me to keep writing because I have no confidence. I’ve had many rejections since then, and if I’d started out by getting rejected I might have quit. Getting published kept me working and helped me take writing seriously. In the past few years I’ve learned to edit, focus on craft, and think about the reader. I’ve learned to approach writing more like a dialogue, whereas my visual art was more of a monologue.
What do you think makes a good horror story?
JK: Uncertainty, discomfort, blood and surprise.
What famous haunted house would you spend the night in? Why?
JK: I think Michigan has some haunted lighthouses, and I think there is an option to spend the night in one. I looked it up once. The idea of a lighthouse reminds me of the Poe story in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Wild Nights!”–all those strange sea creatures and drowned sailors. Super creepy.
What are you currently working on?
JK: Five to maybe ten short stories in various stages of progress. I jump from one to the other to keep things fresh and go through many drafts. I have four stories coming out in various journals and anthologies over the fall and winter, which is really exciting! The novel I ought to be working on is called “Flesheaters Anonymous.” It’s about a twelve step group for recovering zombies and takes place in the Bible belt, the region where I spent most of my childhood.
What is your favorite beer?
If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
JK: William Burroughs.
Joanna Koch Biography
Joanna Koch is a fan of folklore, fairy tales, and anthropology. Her short fiction has been published in journals such as Dark Fuse and Hello Horror and included in several speculative fiction anthologies. Joanna is an MA Contemplative Psychotherapy graduate of Naropa University who currently lives and works near Detroit. Find more about Joanna at her website.
About Doorbells at Dusk
Doorbells at Dusk, edited by Evans Light and from Corpus Press, is a treasury of brand-new short stories from both modern masters and rising stars of dark fiction, covering a gamut of horror, literary fiction and suspense that is sure to thrill both horror aficionados and casual readers alike.
Contributors include: Josh Malerman, Lisa Lepovetsky, Chad Lutzke, Amber Fallon, Curtis M. Lawson, Sean Eads, Joshua Viola, Ian Welke, Charles Gramlich, Joanna Koch and Thomas Vaughn, along with contributions from Evans Light, Adam Light, Gregor Xane and Jason Parent.
Halloween has always gone together with horror. The holiday gives many children their first taste of terror, and the discovery and overcoming of fears. For those who find they love a good scare, that first taste can grow into a voracious appetite.
That might be why you’re looking at this book right now. If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find the thrills you crave, packed into a collection of stories that are pure Halloween.
After the successful release of the three-volume Bad Apples: Slices of Halloween Horror anthology series, co-creators Evans Light, Adam Light, Gregor Xane and Jason Parent of Corpus Press were driven by their love of the haunting season to use everything they’d learned to create the ultimate collection of Halloween tales.
Carve your pumpkins and turn on the porch light, the night of frights begins with the sound of…Doorbells at Dusk.
Praise for Doorbells at Dusk
“Evans Light has pulled together a great collection of stories. There is not a disappointing one in the mix, and no two tales are alike.” – One Legged Reviews
“A delightfully rich collection, suffused with horror of many flavors and degrees, some subtle, some up- front. Whether you choose to sample one at a time, like bonbons, or devour the entirety, here’s a fine selection designed to keep you eager for (or fearful of) that special holiday, when leaves drop, woodsmoke scents the air, children quest for candy…and the Veil thins…” – Haunted Reading Room
“Doorbells at Dusk presents a fine sampling of tricks and treats for readers jonesing for some good and proper seasonal reads as the leaves turn color, a chill sets in, the world turns a little bit darker…” – Michael Patrick Hicks, author Broken Shells
Doorbells at Duskpublished on September 3 and is available NOW on Amazonin e-book and print and at book retailers worldwide. Add to your GoodReadsshelf!
About the Contributors
Sean Eads and Joshua Violaare writers from Denver, Colorado. Sean has been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award, Lambda Literary Award and the Colorado Book Award. His first short story collection was published in 2017. Joshua is the owner of Hex Publishers. His latest anthologies include Blood Business and Cyber World: Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow. His upcoming novel, Denver Moon, will also be released as a comic book.
Amber Fallonlives in Massachusetts with her husband and two dogs. A techie by day and horror writer by night, Mrs. Fallon has spent time as a bank manager, motivational speaker, produce wrangler, and butcher. Her obsessions with sushi, glittery nail polish, and sharp objects have made her a recognized figure. Amber’s publications include The Warblers, The Terminal, Sharkasaurus, Daughters of Inanna, So Long and Thanks for All the Brains, Horror on the Installment Plan, Zombies For a Cure, Quick Bites of Flesh, Operation Ice Bat, and more.
Charles Gramlichlives in the piney woods of southern Louisiana. He is the author of the Talera fantasy series and the SF novel, Under the Ember Star. His stories and poetry have been published in magazines such as Beat to a Pulp, The Horror Zine, and many others.
Joanna Kochis a fan of folklore, fairy tales, and anthropology. Her short fiction has been published in journals such as Dark Fuse and Hello Horror and included in several speculative fiction anthologies. Joanna is an MA Contemplative Psychotherapy graduate of Naropa University who currently lives and works near Detroit.
Curtis M. Lawsonis a writer of unapologetically weird, dark fiction and comics. His work includes It’s A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World, The Devoured, and Mastema. He is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, and the organizer of the Wyrd live horror reading series. He lives in Salem, MA with his wife and their son.
Lisa Lepovetskyhas published fiction and poetry widely in the small press, professional publications and anthologies. Her work has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Cemetery Dance and many other magazines, and such anthologies as Dark Destiny, Blood Muse, and HORRORS!, among others. She earned her MFA from Penn State, and her most recent book is VOICES FROM EMPTY ROOMS, a collection of dark poetry.
Adam Lightresides in northeast Florida with his beautiful wife and daughter, and their aptly, though perhaps not so imaginatively named Walker hound, Walker. He haunts a cubicle by day, writes horror stories at night, and virtually never sleeps. He is the author of several short horror stories, some of which have been published in his first collection Toes Up: Horror to Die For. He also has stories in the Bad Apples anthology series and Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love.
Evans Light is a writer of horror and suspense, and is the author of Screamscapes: Tales of Terror, Arboreatum, Don’t Need No Water and more. He is co-creator of the Bad Apples Halloween anthology series and Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love. Evans lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, surrounded by thousands of vintage horror paperbacks, and is the proud father of fine sons and the lucky husband of a beautiful wife.
Chad Lutzkelives in Battle Creek, MI with his wife and children. he has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. His fiction can be found in a few dozen magazines and anthologies including his own 18-story collection Night as a Catalyst. Lutzke is known for his heartfelt dark fiction and deep character portrayals. In the summer of 2016 he released his dark coming-of-age novella Of Foster Homes and Flies which has been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, James Newman, John Boden, and many others. Later in 2016 Lutzke released his contribution to bestselling author J. Thorn’s American Demon Hunter, and 2017 saw the release of his novella Wallflower. His latest, Stirring the Sheets, was published by Bloodshot Books in spring 2018.
Josh Malermanis an American author and also one of two singer/songwriters for the rock band The High Strung, whose song “The Luck You Got” can be heard as the theme song to the Showtime show “Shameless.” His book Bird Box is also currently being filmed as a feature film starring Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, and Sarah Paulson. Bird Box was also nominated for the Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the James Herbert Award. His books Black Mad Wheel and Goblin have also been nominated for Stoker Awards. Unbury Carol is his latest novel.
Jason Parentis an author of horror, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, and dark humor, though his many novels, novellas, and short stories tend to blur the boundaries between these genres. From his award-winning first horror/mystery novel, What Hides Within, to his widely applauded police procedural/supernatural thriller, Seeing Evil, Jason’s work has won him praise from both critics and fans of diverse genres alike. His work has been compared to that of some of his personal favorite authors, such as Chuck Palahniuk, Jack Ketchum, Tess Gerritsen, and Joe Hill. Jason grew up near Fall River, Massachusetts, the setting for several of his novels. He has lived in New England most his life, currently residing in Rhode Island.
When he is not writing fiction, Thomas Vaughn is a college professor whose research focuses on apocalyptic rhetoric and doomsday cults. Most of his writing seems to stray through the realms of literary horror and dark magical realism. He has been fortunate enough to have stories accepted in four different magazines and anthologies in 2018 so far. He wrote the story in this one just for you.
Ian Welkegrew up in the library in Long Beach, California. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in History from California State University, Long Beach, he worked in the computer games industry for fifteen years where he was lucky enough to work at Blizzard Entertainment and at Runic Games in Seattle. While living in Seattle he sold his first short story, a space-western, written mainly because he was depressed that Firefly had been canceled. Following the insane notion that life is short and he should do what he wants most, he moved back to southern California and started writing full time. Ian’s short fiction has appeared in Big Pulp, Arcane II, the American Nightmare anthology, and the 18 Wheels of Horror anthology, amongst other places. His novels, The Whisperer in Dissonance (2014) and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated End Times at Ridgemont High (2015) were both published by Ominum Gatherum Media.
Gregor Xaneis the author of Taboogasm, The Hanover Block, and Six Dead Spots. His work has been featured in Stupefying Stories, Dead Roses, and the popular Halloween anthology series, Bad Apples. He is perfectly symmetrical.
About Corpus Press
Corpus Press is a publisher of Horror and Weird Fiction, specializing in modern pulp that emphasizes plot over gore. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the press has garnered praise from SCREAM Magazine, Cemetery Dance, Horror Novel Reviews and Hellnotes for its BAD APPLES: SLICES OF HALLOWEEN HORROR series, the anthology DEAD ROSES: FIVE TALES OF TWISTED LOVE, and for its short story collections and novellas.
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