How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
The first story I wrote was in middle school and it was about a rogue vampire clan who killed a young girl’s parents, which then caused her to spend the rest of her life tracking them down so she could avenge her family. It was super violent, and my teacher actually sent the story, and me, to the guidance counselor. *smirks*
How many books have you written?
I’ve written five poetry collections with Raw Dog Screaming Press (Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, Brothel, and Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare) and my debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.
Tell me about you.
I’m 29 years old, obsessed with dogs, and recently married to my best friend. When I’m not writing, I work as an Adjunct Professor at Point Park University (Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing) and then I teach/lecture in two graduate programs: Western Connecticut State University’s MFA Program for Professional and Creative Writing and Southern New Hampshire’s MFA Program for Creative Writing. Also, if I can spare a few hours here and there, I work as a writing tutor at Point Park as well.
What’s your favorite book you have written?
This is a really tough question for me. I think I’m most proud of The Eighth because it was my life’s goal to write a novel, and Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare was my bravest foray with writing. But honestly, writing Hysteria was so much fun that it’s hard for me not to show favoritism towards her. I mean, that book allowed me to explore abandoned lunatic asylums, sit in the jail cells of prisons, and walk through the hallways of a haunted geriatric hospital. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve always been a voracious reader, so in a lot of ways, it seemed natural to start to want to tell my own stories. Furthermore, as a kid, I was obsessed with mythology, particularly Greek and Egyptian history, and reading stories about the underworld and Hades and mummies buried in decorative tombs was clearly a gateway drug to me when it came to writing horror and dark fantasy.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to travel, read, and be in nature, take pictures, garden, and write every chance I get. I’m a big wine fan, and Dennis and I are total foodies, so trying new cuisines and cooking is high on my list as well. I also really enjoy art, music, and theatre, and I collect rare copies of Alice in Wonderland.
Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
I like to buy/do something that represents either the theme or the research I did for that particular project. For instance, when I finished writing Mourning Jewelry, I went out and bought a gorgeous 19th century Romanian Gypsy portrait of two children that hangs in my office. I researched and looked through a heavy amount of wake photography while working on that collection, so this seemed appropriate, and to this day, it’s one of my favorite pieces of art I own.
Where do you write? Quiet or music?
For the most part, I write in my office at home, but sometimes I’ll write on campus between teaching classes. Regardless though, I always write on my laptop and I have to have music on, sometimes even a movie playing in the background. I work better in chaos, and if that’s not enough, when I’m home, my dogs are usually in my lap or asleep on my feet, too.
Anything you would change about your writing?
I’ve spent the bigger portion of my writing career writing poetry, which is something that I will always do no matter what, but I made myself a promise last year (my new year’s resolution) to write and concentrate more on prose, so that’s what I’m aiming for moving forward. Once I tied up the few projects I’m working on now, I’ll be diving back into the sequel to The Eighth.
What is your dream? Famous writer?
My dream is to travel. My husband and I have a huge list of places we want to explore, and I pretty much want to go everywhere and see everything, all the while writing, drinking good wine, eating great food, and taking fabulous photographs. Plus, I think traveling and going to places you aren’t familiar with is good for the soul, not to mention good for your writing.
Where do you live?
Oh yes! I have two dogs: an English Bulldog named Edgar Allan Poe and a Pit bull named Apollo. They’re my world.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love the world building. To me, it’s so much fun to create the landscape, history, and rules of a place that only I know about and control. It feels a lot like playing pretend as a kid, and I like to think I have an even bigger imagination as an adult.
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere. Music, art, other stories, conversations I have with people, the weather, an injury I might get, nightmares, death, birth…there are stories all around us just waiting to be picked out of the sky and grown into something. It’s all about finding what calls to you.
What is coming next for you?
I’m about halfway through with my next poetry book, an apocalyptic science fiction collection titled The Apocalyptic Mannequin. I’m also finishing up a weird horror novelette that I’m been working on for about three years now. Aside from that, I have a story titled “The Girl with the Death Mask” coming out in Fantastic Tales of Terror, and another story “The Monster Told Me To” appearing in Tales from the Lake, Vol 5, both out this year from Crystal Lake Publishing.
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.
Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.
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Latest release: Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare
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