For this week’s author interview, I would like to welcome writer Dina Leacock. Dina is the successful author of hundreds (yes, hundreds) of short stories. She and I recently discussed her incredible bibliography as well as why she enjoys writing dark fiction.
A few icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I loved so many that I had to become a writer. My favorites were Harlan Ellison and William Tenn but there were just so many great writers and great books. I loved short story collections. I think I read just about every author from the Golden age through the 1970s. By the 1980s and 90s I was writing fiction in what little spare time I had, I was writing a lot of nonfiction working for newspapers, having a few columns and freelancing, and I had two young children so time was precious.
What attracted you to the horror genre, and what in your opinion makes horror such a distinct medium?
I have always read horror, my main source of reading material was my brother’s library which had a lot of SF but tons of horror and horror comics. I grew up in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey so it was a heavily wooded area, very dark and very scary. And my brother and sister loved to scare me with stories. So I naturally turned to horror, because I had a never ending source since everything scares me. I never run out of scary thoughts.
You’ve had around 200 stories published as well as a couple full-length books. How do you keep yourself motivated to keep writing, especially when it comes to the rejections that authors so often must endure?
I’m really stupid. Seriously, rejection just never bothers me; I just send the story back out. I had one story that was rejected 27 times before it was published in a really tacky magazine. The kicker to this tale is that the story, which is short, humorous and seasonal, has been published 7 more times as a reprint. I just knew the story had merit, so I didn’t care about the editors who didn’t like it. I had confidence in my story. My second book is a reference book on writing which is now out of print, but I’m thinking of resurrecting it. And I now have about 210 or so stories published.
If forced to choose, which part of the writing process is your favorite: developing characters, plotting the story arc, or establishing setting?
Writing the story. Each one is different, the process changes but I usually have the plot figured out before I start writing and then the story takes on that life of its own and changes by the time it’s completed.
Out of your published pieces so far, do you have a personal favorite?
I have a couple and oddly enough they are the ones having a hard time finding a home. I loved my story, “To The Farm,” which has been up for a Derringer and won the Spinetinglers Monthly Contest. Usually my favorite pieces are both speculative, usually dark and very funny.