Gina Easton is no stranger to THE DARK SIRE Literary Magazine. Her short story, Tainted Love, graced our first issue and her short story, Skin Tight, appeared in Issue #4. For fans of the Horror genre, Tainted Love delivered everything anyone could ever want. It was a story that sent chills down your spine. Where Tainted Love delved into the depths of hate, depravity, and revenge, Skin Tight was the perfect marriage of Psychological Realism and Horror, where real and imagined are blurred and the sane becomes unsane. Ms. Easton’s work is by far well worth the time to read and re-read. I had to interview her to get to know more about her work.
TDS: Welcome to the Creative Nook! I’ve been looking forward to this. I loved Skin Tight and would like to start there. What inspired Skin Tight?
Gina Easton: I thought about what might happen if a part of us we take for granted (like our skin) suddenly morphed into something menacing and how that could turn into an interesting horror story. I have found that often the best horror stories contain an element of a seemingly benign aspect of life, in this case a vital body organ, that becomes a sinister and threatening force.
TDS: Do you have a favorite line or part of the story?
Gina Easton: I think I enjoy the part in the story where the psychiatrist, Dr. Usher, begins to understand that his patient, Alex, may not be suffering a delusional disorder, and that something far worse is unfolding.
TDS: Readers love to know a writer’s creative process. Could you explain the creative process you follow when you begin to write?
Gina Easton: I’ve heard that some authors plan out a story from beginning to end, and shape the story according to the ending they desire. For me, things are never that well-organized in my mind. When an idea occurs to me that I feel will turn into a story, I just begin to write it. I honestly have no idea where it will go or how it will end. It’s hard to explain, but the story develops a rhythm of its own, and the characters decide the outcome.
TDS: That makes excellent sense. There are a lot of writers who like to write organically. It’s a freeing experience. Speaking of other writers, what authors inspire you?
Gina Easton: My biggest inspiration has been Ray Bradbury, a true master of dark fantasy. I started reading his work when I was quite young and was captivated by his rich imagination and powerful story-telling. And of course, Stephen King, who is a phenomenal short-story writer as well as novelist. He creates characters that are so real and believable. Clive Barker is another writer whose works I enjoy. And, just to prove that I read genres other than horror, Diane Setterfield, Hilary Mantel , CJ Sansom, Joyce Carol Oates and John Hart are masters at their craft. I also enjoy mystery stories and have several authors whose books I read.
TDS: It sounds as if you’ve read a plethora of books. Is that how your career as a writer began?
Gina Easton: Writing has always been my passion, although it remained a hobby for a good part of my life. I worked as a registered nurse for many years, a career that was very rewarding. However, a disability forced me to give up that line of work. I turned my attention to writing, recognizing that now I had the time and energy to devote to this passion. I had my first short story published in 2019. Since then, I’ve had eleven more accepted. And my first novel, Black Jack, will be released on Dec. 21, 2020, and a second novel will be published in early 2021.
TDS: Congratulations on your first novel! That’s a very big accomplishment. Like Stephen King, you are a short story writer and a novelist. We’re very proud of you. Let’s celebrate by talking novels. What is your favorite book to read?
Gina Easton: That’s almost impossible to say. I have enjoyed so many books, but one of my treasured ones is Swan Song by Robert McCammon. It is a compelling and beautifully written story, and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.
TDS: It’s been very nice talking with you. I can’t believe we’re done already. One last question. Do you have any advice for fellow authors?
Gina Easton: I’m not sure if you mean writers who have not yet been published, but that would make sense, as those who have been certainly don’t need any advice from me. For those authors who are still waiting to be accepted, my advice is, “Don’t ever give up.” If you have the ability to tell a good story and you want to share it, just keep sending it out. We have all dealt with countless rejections; they are an inevitable part of the publishing industry. The answer is to persevere with your passion and not allow anything to deter you.
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Ms. Easton’s first novel, Black Jack, releases TODAY. The novel takes a look at Jack-the-Ripper as a demon intent on wreaking chaos and horror in the East End of London. THE DARK SIRE is looking forward to reviewing her book. If it is as chilling as Skin Tight and Tainted Love, it looks to guarantee a sleepless night or two.
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