HS: First of all, thank you for taking the time to chat with Harrowscape! Your book Horror in Red:
Where anger and love and passion meet in a deadly hue... is a collection of poems, which, as the title suggests, explore the darker side of humanity, and, in some cases, inhumanity.
Tell us a little bit about what went into the writing of these poems. Did you have a specific theme or themes in mind? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
AR: The overall theme of the collection, to me, is the concept of a snapshot in horror. Zooming in on one specific instance or moment of fear or dread and expanding on it to the fullest extent. That way you get the full range of thoughts and emotions all at once.
As for writing, I have always wanted to be a writer in one form or another. Whether it be story books or writing songs, writing has always been in my future, but I have always had a special connection to poetry.
HS: What drew you to the horror genre? Who are some of your greatest influences?
AR: My mother wrote horror screenplays and showed me a lot of horror films when I was young. At first I was horrified, then I became fascinated with them. All the blood and guts in the slasher films, the building intensity in psychological horror, and the overall perfection in the classics, it all clicked and resonated with me better than anything else. Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King have to be my greatest influences. I have many other favorites: Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, anything in the Southern Gothic genre, but in my mind nothing beats Poe and King.
HS: Something that has always interested me is how different writers approach the actual process of writing. How do you write? Do you have a daily routine that you follow? A special place you like to go to? What inspires you so much that you just have to drop everything and write?
AR: I try to write at least one poem a day, they usually round out to about 10 a week. I don’t have a specific place. I just carry my notebook around with me everywhere in case the mood strikes. Fear of loosing an idea is my greatest motivation to pause life and write. To me, there is no worse feeling then loosing a great idea because of my hit-or-miss memory. I always have to be sure that I at least get it down.
HS: A few of the poems I particularly enjoyed are: “The Crimson Kisses,” “My Beautiful,” “The Prince in Darkness,” “Off White Flesh,” and “Carmine.” Did you have any favorites in this collection? Any that were particularly difficult or just flat-out fun to write?
AR: “A Demon’s Desires” has to be my absolute favorite poem in the collection, simply because I put so much time and effort into it. There was sweat, blood, and tears in those verses. The poems that were the most fun to me were “The Eye’s Truths” and “Half Past” because they are both based on different Poe short stories. I based “The Eye’s Truths” after his obsession with eyes. Whether they be cloudy or milky or piercing, I’ve always noticed he had a thing about eyes that weren’t quite right. “Half Past” was based on “The Masque of the Red Death.” It was my favorite short story as a child, but instead of focusing on the party and the events that follow, I chose to focus on the horrible disease described in the first paragraph that set everything in motion. It’s one of the poems I am most proud of.
HS: I’ve noticed that a lot of your poems juxtapose beautiful and horrific images. “Garden Springing From the Ill Mindset”, for instance, has beautiful flowers springing from blood, from salted earth, from rotting corpses. Is that something you do consciously? Is there a message in that?
AR: I like to balance the beauty and the horror to bring out the strengths in both. To me, intermixing them pulls out the power in the extremes. The message in “Garden Springing From the Ill Mindset” is that every single flower in the poem has symbolism behind it that combats or accentuates the source of it. Lilies (which symbolizes innocence and purity) growing from a dead child’s face, and many more examples. And even though the reader may not know all the meanings behind the flowers, the nameless character does. All they see is the horrific result. Which to me sums up the nature of insanity, there is a system to the madness that we just don’t get, but all we see is the results of the faulted system.
HS: Do you write prose as well? Do you have a preference for one over the other?
AR: I don’t usually write prose in poetry, but I love using it my short stories. It adds that sense of realness, it’s less calculated and processed. And it helps a lot when you’re trying to add a sense of fear or urgency.
HS: What else are you working on at the moment? What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
AR: I am currently completing a new poetry collection, called Horror in Black. It should be available in the next few weeks. And I am also working on a small collection of short stories which will be available in the near future. I haven’t figured out the title, but when it’s available you will be the first to know. J
HS: Do you have any advice for the beginning writer?
AR: I would say the best advice I could give is just to do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, and don’t let doubts make you crumble. Writing is creating life, even whole worlds with simple words. You deserve to share your world with people and people deserve to read it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of leaving your mark on the world.
HS: Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into your world, Amethyst. I’m looking forward to seeing what else you have in store for us!
For those of you who would like to give this collection of dark poetry a try, you can purchase it on Amazon for Kindle, by clicking Control+Click here: Horror in Red. You can also find her on Facebook here.