Genre Fiction and Why I Can’t Look at a Piece of Pie

As a writer, I’ve found that I really enjoy experimenting with different themes in fiction. My personal preference is to write in the horror, dark fantasy and science fiction genres because of the freedom and flexibility they provide. The settings I create (or write for) offer me the chance to explore heroic and villainous characters in new and interesting ways. You won’t find me writing a lot of gore or stories about “abuse.” I’m more interested in that little bit of light that resides in all of us — even the characters you least expect to see it in.

As an online marketer, I feel that sociology is part and parcel to what I do every day. From how people are (or aren’t) using specific tools to integrating online networks into your personal life, there’s no doubt that the internet has a profound and significant impact on our lives. I find that my own writing is influenced by popular trends and culture, which is why I tend to explore three-dimensional characters in my fiction rather than plots. Yes, plot is extremely important to my stories, but I prefer to write about the villain that will move mountains for the cute kittens or the hero who doesn’t like eating his peas.

My latest story will be published in just a few months for an anthology called Buried Tales of Pinebox. Dubbed “Pie,” this is a horror short story about a Skinwalker (i.e. an evil creature who skins people to assume their identity for a limited time) who is trying to help the FBI find a murderer in town to save her own skin. Literally. In this horror story, I had specific themes that I wanted to play around with. First and foremost, the main character is a villain, she’s just not “the” villain in this particular plot. Secondly, since Pinebox is a small town in Texas, I wanted to write a story where I ignored the “small town” tropes and focused on using the mundane to add in a horrific element. Even though I only reference it once or twice in the story as part of the subplot, I grossed myself out to the point where I can’t even look at a piece of pie.

What’s next for my writing? I just wrote an article for the Flames Rising horror fanzine about the origin of horror tropes, which is a prelude to writing a monthly column featuring a different strong female character in horror. I’m researching a fight scene for my free urban fantasy novel, but I’ve also got a lot of other things in the pipe including five big events between now and Labor Day. As soon as I get an idea of what panels I’m speaking on, I’ll update you with a schedule.

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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