Diane Arrelle first made her appearance in the release of State of Horror: New Jersey. Her next appearance will be in the upcoming Paying the Ferryman this spring. Join us as we visit with her today as the feature author for Women in Horror Month.
Charon Coin Press: What drew you to the horror genre?
Diane Arrelle: Growing up in an extremely rural section of New Jersey that was full of ghost legends and of course the Jersey Devil, I was hooked at an early age. Also, my brother had a collection of horror comic books and I would sneak up to his room whenever I could and read them. My family loved the twilight zone and we’d watch it together every week which was a great influence on me.
CCP: Do you have a favorite monster/horror character?
DA: I loved the Bride of Frankenstein as well as the original Frankenstein monster, I always pitied them both, tragic, lonely creatures.
CCP: Do you have any advice for other female writers who want to write horror?
DA: In a field where woman’s voices are being appreciated more, write what you enjoy and what inspires you, don’t just jump on the newest craze unless it is something you really want to write. Monsters of the week come and go, but the monsters that you feed can be immortal.
CCP: What do you look for in a good horror story?
DA: “What I look for in all writing, character, plot, and setting. All I want when I read is to be sucked into that world and believe what I am reading. I want to forget that I am reading, I want total involvement. BUT I do hate slasher fiction. Gore upsets me, I don’t enjoy it at all.
CCP: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
DA: I loved reading so much that I wanted to write just like all my favorite authors. I loved creating stories in school although I never really tried writing until college and that was on a dare.
CCP: Who is your favorite horror author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
DA: I loved Harlan Ellison, his work was just so intense. I enjoyed reading early Dean Koontz as well, he had such a talent for building the suspense and scaring me with the anticipation.
CCP: What are your favorite horror films? What book would you love to see on the big screen?
DA: I loved The Mummy, lightweight horror but fun to watch.
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.
DA: Like many creative people, I’ve had a ton of jobs. The first money I made was drawing pictures when I was about seven year old. I knocked on the door of every person who ever politely admired my artwork and forced them to give me a quarter for one of my masterpieces. That was the only time I could say I was a professional artist. I waitressed on and off for years and probably got fired from just about every diner in South Jersey ( a combination of attitude and ineptitude). I taught for my first 10 years out of college and traveled every break, twice I just got in my car and drove cross country returning when I needed money, then I’d go waitress until school started again and I could get paid. I now need to hit 5 more states to do the entire US. The best and most creative time I ever had writing was when I worked night meetings for a daily newspaper. I’d write at the paper until about 2:00 AM then go home and write fiction until about 4:30. At 7 AM I’d get my son up,drive him to preschool then go back to sleep.
CCP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
DA: I find getting past the first two pages difficult many times. I’ll start a story and have to walk away. Sometimes after a long walk or drive I can go back and finish it, sometimes I take several years to get back and finish it. I love have time limits, deadlines that makes me work.
Diane Arrelle’s Bio
Writing under the name Diane Arrelle, Dina Leacock has had almost 200 short stories published and two books. Her book, Just A Drop In The Cup, a collection of short-short stories is still available. She currently has stories in Sha’Daa Pawns, Contrary Cats, and Infective Ink.
Diane lives on the edge of the Pine Barrens (home to the Jersey Devil) in Southern New Jersey with her husband, one of her two children, and of course her obligatory writer’s cat. She is proud to be one of the founding members as well as the second president of the writers’ organization formerly known as The Garden State Horror Writers and she is also a past president of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. Growing up extremely rural and listening to nightly horror tales from her older siblings, Diane naturally turned to horror writing since she became afraid of just about everything. To support her writing habit over the decades, Diane held a wide variety of jobs including teaching, driving a school bus, waitressing, being a mystery shopper, writing for newspapers and for the last 15 years being a Senior Citizen Center Director.
Although she went out looking several times in her younger days, she has never actually seen the Jersey Devil and really doesn’t want to.