Today’s feature author is near and dear to Charon Coin (and me too). It is Margaret L. Colton, an editor of two upcoming anthologies- Paying the Ferryman and Carpe Noctem: Truly, Madly, Deeply– contributing author to the State of Horror series with stories in New Jersey, North Carolina, and upcoming Louisiana, and Editor-in-Chief for the overall press. Not natively a horror author, her first story appeared in State of Horror: New Jersey, launching her into the genre and solidifying her hold on horror stories. She has a fun perspective on how that came about at a recent feature on another blog WiHM celebration. With great joy, I would like to introduce you to one of today’s features, Margaret L. Colton.
Charon Coin Press: What drew you to the horror genre?
Margaret L. Colton: I enjoy many different genres, but really had moved away from horror in general as a reader. However, I found myself working with several horror writers and remembered how much I enjoyed horror stories. A good friend of mine encouraged me to take a chance and write a horror story and here I am.
CCP: Do you have a favorite monster/horror character?
MLC: I am drawn to vampires and witches. Ever since I learned about the Salem Witch Trials, I have been fascinated with witches—real, imagined, especially the hysteria around them. So much of it is about female empowerment and how that can be so frightening to the establishment—like up-tight Puritans. Then there are vampires which are just sexy fun. I also really enjoy the psychological horror of a “normal” person being horrifying. What makes them a monster? The things we do to each other can be a million times worse than an imagined monster.
CCP: Do you have any advice for other female writers who want to write horror?
MLC: A story is a story is a story. Write a good story. Give your characters depth, have a meaty plot and don’t be afraid to take a chance. Visisting the darker side can be fun and challenging, but the key is to have a good story. Don’t take no as an answer. If you want to write, then write—in whatever genre you want.
CCP: Who is your favorite horror author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
MLC: Favorite is hard because there are so many I enjoy, especially some of the indie authors out there, but if I had to choose just one it absolutely must be Edgar Allen Poe. The sheer horror in his stories blows everything else away. He doesn’t need a quick thrill or tons of gore to worm his way into the psyche. His stories lead you down this dark path, slowly building, pulling you deeper with each step, until you can’t even believe where you end up or what happened. He is the master of horror.
CCP: What do you look for in a good horror story?
MLC: I want a story that pulls me into it with characters who are doing everyday things, living everyday lives and the scare just builds throughout the story. It’s like I know where it is going and both the characters and I still have to take the journey. I like the understated horror- again going back to Poe. The most terrifying things are happening, yet it is so understated that it hits you later—love that! I guess I really look for well-developed characters to take me on the journey.
CCP: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
MLC: I love to read. I have always loved to read and from there it went to horrifying bad poetry of a teenage girl—truly frightening. I have done TONS of academic writing over the years, but never really considered writing fiction myself until I started editing. I have had a multitude of ideas in my head and even outlined a novel, but needed that push from my friend to really try to put a story together. After completing that first story, the others in my head insist on being written.
CCP: What are your favorite horror films? What book would you love to see on the big screen?
MLC: I love “Interview with the Vampire” as far as monsters go, but “What Lies Beneath” scared me. Harrison Ford is a great bad guy.
CCP: What are three “Good to Know” facts about you? Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details.
- I look for real-life inspiration for my stories, so if you cut me off in traffic you may become a victim in the next story. Writing horror can be a great stress reliever for real life and I can be vindictive.
- I love all things ocean. Some have referred to it as an obsession, I choose to think of it as a healthy appreciation for the majesty of nature. Plus who doesn’t love dolphins? When I run away to be a recluse it will be in Hawaii.
- I am not photogenic. I cannot take a decent picture to save my life. That’s right I’m the one who sneezes as the pic is taken, or my eyes are closed, or I’m stung by a bee. It just doesn’t work for me.
CCP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
MLC: Finding the time to write. The ideas are there, the characters are talking, but I don’t have time to tell the story. Then it goes away and there is a blank screen staring at me. When I figure out how to write in the shower, things will be great.
Margaret L. Colton Bios
Margaret L. Colton is an avid history buff, especially in the areas of Medieval Europe, Ancient Greece and American History, she loves all things history. She has been imparting her historical knowledge on her students for the past 12 years, teaching not only historical subjects but psychology as well. She teaches in the same district she graduated from. Even though she has two Master’s degrees in education, the writing community called to her.
Before beginning to write again after many years, she began editing and recently started ML Colton Editorial Services. Currently, she has a short story in State of Horror: New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana and others set to be published early next year. Besides dabbling with some short stories, she is the Editor-in-Chief at Charon Coin Press and has anthologies coming out early year entitled Paying the Ferryman, and Carpe Noctem: Truly, Madly, Deeply.
She has two beautiful daughters and a granddaughter who share her love of books and fun and some amazing friends around her. Even though she lives in Missouri and is a rabid Cardinals fan, she loves to travel to some of her favorite places like New Orleans, Florida and Hawaii.