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Sadie Hartmann, Mother Horror Chats with Sarah Read

Sarah Read's collection of short stories, OUT OF WATER is available today! I read this book a month or so ago. Look for my review in the next issue of Black Static Magazine!

Sadie: Hi Sarah!


Sadie: Yay! Okay, let's get started. First, I'd love to just get to know you. Maybe like a day in the life of Sarah Read. What does a typical Friday look like?

Sarah: Well, I usually wake up around 3:30, against my will, but my brain is just awake about then. I answer emails till my family starts to get up around five. Then we all take turns getting ready for works and schools. I work at the library on Fridays, sometimes at the reference desk, sometimes in a class or storytime. Then I come home and do freelance work till the kids are done at school. Then it's family time till they're in bed. Then I read or write or do more freelance work, or--if I'm lucky--I have some free time and hubby and I kill monsters together.

Sadie: I love that you are a writer that works at a Library and your last name is Read. Is Read your "assigned by the fates" name or a pen name? Because that's too cool to be true

Sarah: It's my married name! I hadn't intended on ever changing my name, but it was such an upgrade that I took it. It's mine now.

Sarah: Ha! Totally appropriate. It's awesome when someone's name reflects what they do for a living like that. I was going to tell Night Worms readers that my first story I read by you was Bone Weaver's but then I realized I read your work in Suspended in Dusk II, That story is also in your new collection!

Sarah: It is! Still Life with Natalie.

Sadie: I love that story. You set this mood almost instantaneously. And as I read your new collection it dawned on me, Are you a collector of things, Sarah?

Sarah: Haha! Of book and pens, yes. I collect fountain pens! And I have ten large bookcases full of books. Several layers deep full.

Sadie: Yes! I just got the feeling from learning about your protagonists through their stories that maybe collecting and curiosity is a theme that runs deep for you, would you say that about your own work?

Sarah: I would! Curiosity is definitely a thing for both me and my stories. I'm annoyingly curious. Research is my favorite part of the writing process, and I'll chase those threads down to their frayed ends.

Sadie: Yes! Several of your characters in the short story collection maybe went too far in the spirit of curiosity--can you maybe tell us about what frightens you? What subjects are you curious about what you might also be fearful of

Sarah: People scare me more than anything, really. A lot of the scary things in my stories are not the source of the danger. Hunger and poverty scare me. My family had some very rough years a few years back, and there's nothing on this earth that scares me more than the thought of my kids not having what they need. Honestly, I don't know if anything ever scared me until they came along! Now I'm afraid of everything, on their behalf. Oh, and germs really scare me, too.

Sadie: I 100% feel that in my core. I thought I was good with horror until I started reading like "parenting horror" from Tremblay and Jeremy Johnson...

Sarah: Tremblay destroys me every time!

Sadie: YOU Sarah! You destroyed me  

Sarah: I am so sorry about that. And also delighted, but you know, sorry.

Sadie: For readers of this interview, I have to say there was a story in Sarah's collection OUT OF WATER called MAGNIFYING GLASS and it was the scariest one! Horribly sad and scary at the same time. Warren felt like my own 14-year-old. Well, actually there were several others that scared me, Ha! Can you tell me more about the story UNDERWATER THING

Sarah: Oof. That's the last piece I added to the collection. It almost didn't get put in, because it was...ugh. Scarlett liked it, but I wasn't sure. It's also the oldest piece in there. I never sold it anywhere, or even submitted it, because...ugh. I actually wrote that piece 15 years ago. It was a difficult POV to write from. And went to some dark places that we, as horror writers, are advised not to go.

I've called it my unsellable story forever. seemed to fit here. My original book title was: Underwater Things Out of Water, for this piece. But I changed it.

Sadie: It is very very dark and it totally fits with this body of work collected...but ugh, as you hurts. That story just aches. And it touches on the human monsters you touched on...wait, writers are advised not to go to certain dark places?? Tell me more!

Sarah: Haha, well, you'll see a lot of submission calls that specifically say that they won't consider any stories that contain violence against children. And you'll see a lot of readers and writers who say they'll stop reading when sexual abuse comes up in a story. And then I took the added risk of telling it all from the perpetrator's perspective. There are going to be a lot of people who won't like or read that story, but that's okay. I still needed to write it, and I wanted to...I guess give agency to the dead.

Sadie: Well here's a fact: I am one of those readers that gets triggered by bad stuff happening to children but in the hands of trusted writers, I allow it. You're in that trusted writers circle ❤

Sarah: Thank you, Sadie. That means a lot to me to hear that from you!

Sadie: You could just about throw anything at me! And that's why I want Night Worms readers to hear from you and buy your work, let's talk about The Bone Weaver's Orchard! I love Charley so so much, Sarah--is he inspired by anyone you know?

Sarah: He's not, no. He's a bit me! And a bit Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden. He's mostly just himself.

Sadie: He's amazing. I love him and I love his story. I was hoping to ask you if there will be any other books from this world?

Sarah: Actually...I was talking with my editor, and there will be two more books. One is a prequel that tells the story of how the house became Old Cross. And one about Charley after the events there.

Sadie: OH. MY. GOD. That just made my whole life!!

Sarah: Haha! I'm already working on the prequel. Well...technically I started it BEFORE Bone Weaver.

Sadie: I'm actually freaking out!! This is why author interviews are the best! I love you Sarah Read!!

Sarah: Haha! Well, I love you, too. Charley isn't in the prequel, though, sorry to say.

Sadie: That's okay, I'm very excited about the OLD CROSS origins!

Sarah: The building really is the secret main character, haha.

Sadie:  So! 10 more minutes! You have THE BONE WEAVER'S ORCHARD and OUT OF WATER avail. now through Trepidatio, and what does 2020 look like for you?? Are you going to any events?

Sarah: Well, I haven't entirely given up hope that I might make it to StokerCon UK. It's actually being held about 30 miles away from where Bone Weaver is set! And I've never been there. I just need to find the right crossroads, so I can sell my soul for a plane ticket. I also go to WisCon every year, since it's close to home. And apparently there will be a Scares that Care in Wisconsin next year, so I may make it to that!

Sadie: I too would like to sell my soul to go to UK Stokers, and  I'm not missing SCARES ever again

Sarah: As far as new work, I have a few short stories in the pipeline for next year, but otherwise I'll be focusing on writing new books. Ooh, I hope I'll get to meet you there, then!

Sadie: That's all so exciting! Your fans will show up for everything you do. Yes! I want to meet you!

Sarah: It will happen!

Sadie: Well Sarah, thank you so much for being here with me today and taking time away from family and writing and hunting monsters with the hubby!

Sarah: Thank you so much, Sadie! It was lovely to get to chat with you!


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