Welcome to the fourth blog in this series, where we'll explore the stories behind the stories in ID Press' inaugural anthology, Purgatorium - The Element of Horror.
The anthology will be released on January 22nd at the Copper Branch Restaurant in Brooklin (see the invite here), and is currently available for purchase through Amazon (in both hard copy and e-copy formats), as well as Kobo. In this series, we'll be talking about the stories in the order in which they appear in the anthology. Today, we tackle Kate Arms and her story, Blood Pies...
Where did it come from?
Blood Pies started as an entry to a writing competition. I was looking to stretch myself and a friend had recently completed the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge, so I joined her when she signed up for The NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. And a challenge it was. In the first round, writers are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment and have eight days to write an original story. I spent the first three days dealing with family chaos, and the next three days making a dozen false starts at a story. What I submitted at the end of eight days included the pizza delivery guy but was only vaguely on the subject and really questionably in the genre.
As a competition entry, it was a dismal failure.
But the underlying story appealed to me. So I kept working on it.
The best part of the process was researching the Spanish curse words and pizza slang. I spent too many hours following those words down the rabbit holes of linguistic anecdotes on the internet. I should set my muse the task of finding another story or stories to use all the phrases I found but didn't use.
The story was a beast to write. Nothing came easily about it. I couldn't visualize the action, the characters didn't want to reveal themselves, the mood and tone eluded me, and a crucial stylistic shift was suggest by an editor in the very final stages of editing. The entire process was technical and painstaking work sprung from a sense of inspiration beyond knowing what would happen in the final scene. Luckily, I had some very good critique partners and readers who kept pointing out what wasn't working. In the end, I am happy with this story, but it took a long time getting there.
When Kate isn't wrangling text into stories, she is corralling kids, directing plays, or running a private coaching practice where she helps people avoid the kinds of relationship and career troubles that she creates for characters in her stories. After four years of dragging her kids to the rink all winter long, she started playing ringette last year and is pleased to report that she is capable of skating forwards and backwards without falling over, and has been known to score when the opposing team leaves a huge, gaping hole in the net for her to shoot at.