When I heard that author Latashia Figueroa was releasing a collection of short stories, I knew I had to read it. I grew up reading a lot of paranormal fiction as a child (R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike), so I knew that her short story collection, This Way Darkness: Three Tales of Terror, was right up my alley. And it does not disappoint!
Latashia was gracious enough to answer some questions about her recent release and writing process. I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to add This Way Darkness: Three Tales of Terror to your Goodreads shelf. And when you grab your copy remember: leave the lights on!
Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone:
Robert and Linda desperately want a child but are unable to conceive. Linda will do anything to get pregnant. Robert’s love for his wife brings them to an unconventional decision. They put the miracle of making a baby in the hands of a witch.
After her mother dies from cancer, Lorna Powel realizes she does not just fear death, she hates it. But there is someone who understands Lorna’s disdain for her fragile mortality. He knows because he has been watching her for a long time, waiting in the shadows to offer an alternative to death.
Brad Levee has joined eleven others on a life-changing spiritual retreat that was promised to bring them closer to God. But the charismatic leader, Aleister, has a different plan for his followers that will shed blood. And Aleister isn’t the only one Brad should fear.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I am very imaginative and I hope that shows in my writing. I worked in the fashion industry for over ten years and then I decided to pursue my writing. I am a thrill seeker (love heights – give me a roller coaster any day of the week), and I am a big music lover.
2. How does your upbringing influence your writing?
You know my mom was the one who encouraged me to write as a child. She worked pretty long hours but I remember leaving my tattered notebook on her nightstand and in the morning she would ask me questions about the story, with enthusiasm. “Keep writing.” She would say. In middle school I did a book report on Stephen King’s book Pet Sematary. I got an “A” and the teacher was impressed. My mom again encouraged me to read what I liked. So, I read books by Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe, Dean Koontz. She didn’t think it was strange that I liked all those dark stories; she just encouraged me all the way. And she still does.
3. Tell us about your latest book and how it came about.
This Way Darkness is a collection of short stories. But what you don’t know is that two of those stories are prequels to upcoming novellas. I started writing “The Retreat” two years ago and it was supposed to be a novel. I got sidetracked with another project. When I went back to writing “The Retreat” I couldn’t focus on the characters. So I stepped away and said, Okay, if you’re going to write these stories, start off small and see where they take you.
4. I am particularly interested in “Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone.” It’s my favorite story in the collection and I was really intrigued by Rose’s back story and how she came to be, and also, what happens to little Jenny. Is this something that you’re going to explore in another story?
I get that a lot. “Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone” seems to be a favorite for a lot of readers so far. I’m glad because this is one of the prequels I spoke about. It was fun to write. I plotted the entire story in my head in one day.
Once I began to write the story I couldn’t stop. Rose’s character should have a back story and I am planning something with her character. But right now I am writing about Jenny. What happens to little Jenny, or a better question, what happens to the next unsuspecting person she comes in contact with? Hmm, we shall see.
5. What was your favorite story in your collection and why?
If I had to pick a favorite I would have to say “Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone.” Creepy kids always makes a good horror book or movie in my opinion.
6. What are your main influences?
I think inspiration can come from something as simple as a quiet house on the street or a little girl riding her tricycle, or a particular music piece. I think writers pay more attention to the details of everyday life. And we should. There’s plenty out there to inspire us.
7. There seems to be a religious thread in your writing. Can you tell us about that?
My beliefs definitely play a big part in my writing. This Way Darkness is really about the choices we make and their consequences. In “Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone” for example, the protagonist Robert clearly knows that there will be consequences to his actions. He’s anticipating from the beginning and in the end his worse fears are realized. We hear that little voice telling us “No, don’t,” all the time. And we ignore it. We want what we want. Sometimes the very thing we are reaching for can do us more harm than we ever imagine.
8.What are you working on now and when can we anticipate your next project?
I am working on two projects right now. One of them is the follow up to “Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone.” I’m hoping to have it done by this fall.
9.Do you write in other genres?
I write what I love to read and that is Horror, Paranormal and Thrillers. I do like mysteries as well. At this point I cannot see myself writing a romance novel, unless I throw in a few demon-possessed lovers.
10.Most of us are trying to juggle full time jobs, family, writing, and marketing ourselves. How do you manage to find a balance?
Yes, especially since marketing is a full time job. You just have to set aside a few hours a day; even if it is just one hour. If not, your writing suffers. You become bitter, disillusioned and before you know it you’ve closed your laptop and broke all your pencils. If you really love to write, you have no choice but to write, and you will find a way to make time.
11. What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a great sense of humor. I can be very silly. I think when you tell people you write horror they’re expecting a certain presence. I love to laugh, have fun. I like being around people and enjoy company. Just don’t piss me off or I’ll chop off your head and throw it in the woods. Well, not really. But I’ll put you in one of my books and have one of my characters do it for me.
Thanks for the interview, Quanie! Here’s to you and much success.
As a child, Latashia was told the house she lived in was haunted. Perhaps that is the reason the dark and macabre, the strange and unknown captivates her mind and often refuses to release. Since those malevolent little thoughts constantly haunt her, she has decided to explore them. And although her stories may be disturbing, Latashia assures she is perfectly normal. Her husband disagrees.
This Way Darkness is Latashia’s debut short story collection.
She is currently working on a novella.
Beyond writing, Latashia loves the arts, is a self-proclaimed wine snob and is obsessed with roller coasters. She lives on the east coast with her very supportive husband.
Learn more about Latashia Figueroa on her blog writeofmind.wordpress.com
Connect with Latashia online!