Conducted by Lydian Faust
Lydian Faust (LF): Can you tell me a bit about your life, and if your upbringing shaped your writing?
Shannon Felton (SF): My childhood definitely had a huge impact on my writing. My parent’s divorce was hard on my entire family and I spent my teenage years in fostercare. By the time I was emancipated at sixteen, I’d been placed in twenty-one different homes and had exposure to a large variety of people and backgrounds. I draw on that experience a lot in my writing, being mindful not to exploit the horror for entertainment, but to hopefully show in a meaningful way that reality can be just as terrifying as the monster.
LF: Tell me a little about your newest release – what horror genre would you say it falls into?
SF: My newest release is my debut novella, The Prisoners of Stewartville, out February 2020. It’s a dark fiction, grunge lit with paranormal elements. The story takes place in the early nineties, in a town overrun by poverty, drugs, and crime. And while there’s a very literal theme of prison, I also wanted to explore how people can become imprisoned by things such as addiction, hopelessness, and fear.
LF: Do you ever write to music? If so, what bands/artists?
SF: I nearly always write to music and usually songs that capture the mood of what I’m working on. For Prisoners, “Hotel California” by The Eagles and “The Kids Aren’t Alright” by The Offspring were on repeat a lot. For my upcoming short story, “Angel Dust” (Midnight in the Pentagram, March 2020), I listened to “The Angel Song” by Great White.
LF: You can take one horror villain (from book or film) out to eat — who do you take and what’s on the menu?
SF: Trashcan Man. We’d barbecue.
LF: What are your top 3 favorite horror books?
SF: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Beloved by Toni Morrison, and Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King. Each of these stories feature a female protagonist who has been uniquely shaped by a difficult experience of womanhood, but the horrors they face are universally powerful.
And I need to cheat and add The Willows by Algernon Blackwood. The atmospheric horror was excellent and still spooks me to this day.
LF: What’s the scariest thing about being a new author? The most thrilling?
SF: The scariest thing was leaving behind the realm of possibilities. Alone, with just myself and the page, the future was still wide open. There was time to change, improve, dream. Once I became published, the course was set, win or lose. People say writing a book is a lot like giving birth and they’re right. Once the baby arrives, there’s no going back and starting over if you make a mistake. You just have to live and learn and go with it. Luckily, Silver Shamrock Publishing have been great to work with and have helped guide me in the right direction. And I also have this thing I made, and I love it, so that’s pretty great too!
The most thrilling thing has been seeing the cover art for the first time. Elderlemon Design did beautiful work for The Prisoners of Stewartville, and it was truly an amazing experience seeing my story expressed through the eyes of someone else. It made me appreciate the story in a totally new and different way, which wasn’t something I had anticipated at all, and it was a gift.
LF: What do you hope to accomplish in 2020?
SF: I hope that my writing continues to improve and I can put stuff out there that people will enjoy. I also hope to learn more about who I am as an author, and to gain more professional experience, so that I can better help and support other authors as well.
LF: Thank you so much for chatting with me, Shannon! Welcome to the Horror Community!
SF: Thank you! The Horror Community has been fantastic. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Shannon Felton lives in Buckeye, Arizona with her husband, their four children, and three dogs. Her short story “Devil’s Dip” currently appears in the horror anthology Midnight in the Graveyard. Follow her on Twitter – @ShannonNova3 – for more news on her upcoming releases.
Lydian Faust is a writer of horror and dark fiction. She is also painter who likes to lay it on thick. Ms. Faust lives in one of the murder capitals of the United States of America. Her hobbies include nachos and alien conspiracy theories. You can find her at www.lydianfaust.com