DamienAngelica Walters is the author of the forthcoming The Dead Girls Club, Cry Your Way Home, Paper Tigers, and Sing Me Your Scars, winner of This is Horror’s Short Story Collection of the Year. Her short fiction has been nominated twice for a Bram Stoker Award, reprinted in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and published in various anthologies and magazines, including the Shirley Jackson Award Finalists Autumn Cthulhu and The Madness of Dr. Caligari, World Fantasy Award Finalist Cassilda’s Song, Nightmare Magazine, Black Static, and Apex Magazine. Until the magazine’s closing in 2013, she was an Associate Editor of the Hugo Award-winning Electric Velocipede. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescued pit bulls and is represented by Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency.
1) So, what’s new from you?
My forthcoming novel, The Dead Girls Club. The official cover copy from the publisher:
Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face...
In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real--and she could prove it.
That belief got Becca killed.
It's been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night--that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She's done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn't seen since the night Becca died.
The night Heather killed her.
Now, someone else knows what she did...and they're determined to make Heather pay.
2) How did it come about?
I had an image of a woman receiving a half-heart necklace in the mail, a necklace she knew no one could’ve possibly sent to her. And from there, I saw four girls sitting in a dark basement, telling scary stories. It didn’t take long to realize that it was a more mainstream novel, something with a psychological suspense backbone.
3) Tell us about the process of how you created it.
The novel has two timelines – now and 1991. I wrote the opening scene as described above, which takes place now, and then wrote the entire past timeline. When that was finished, I returned to the present.
4) What was your favourite part of the process?
When the pieces of the two timelines fell into place, fitting together like a puzzle.
The past timeline was fairly easy to write, inasmuch as any writing is easy, but the present timeline was another matter. Figuring out who was behind the central mystery and why was difficult, and then it ended up changing because it didn’t quite work. Even after that was sorted, getting all the clues and red herrings in place was tricky.
I ended up rereading many of my Agatha Christie novels during the process, taking note of how she hid things, both true and false, within the narrative.
And lastly, because of the story changes and the subsequent revisions, making sure nothing was left that referenced anything that was ultimately changed or deleted. (And never mind that I’ve gone through it with a fine-toothed comb, I’m still terrified that I missed something.)
6) Is there a theme running through it?
Indeed, but I’ll leave that for a reader to uncover.
7) If you had to sum this book up in three words, what would they be?
Every truth lies.
8) Where can/will we be able to get hold of it?
It will be released in hardcover and ebook on December 10, 2019 and is up for preorder now at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. And if you’re a NetGalley reviewer, it’s available for request.