Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Wicked Bag of Horror Tales - Ellie Garratt's Passing Time


A Wicked Bag of Horror Tales
Thank you for hosting me, Nicole. I'm honoured to be passing time with you and your readers today.

As with all writers, one of the more common questions I am asked is 'Where do you get your ideas from?'

I wish I could answer that question and then bottle it–I would be able to take a sip every time I needed an idea. The truth is there is no definite answer for any writer. The arrival of a story, scene, character, or plot seems to happen by some unknown magical process, often while you are doing the most unimaginative things–such as hoovering or waiting in a grocery store line. But sometimes they are actually given to you.

In 2010 I answered a call by Wicked East Press for their A Wicked Bag of Horror Tales anthology. However, this wasn’t a straightforward submission call. Eight writers were selected at random out of those who expressed an interest in the anthology. Then those eight writers, one of them being myself, were asked to submit a horror story prompt. The twist was each writer was given one of the other writers’ prompts. I can tell you I agonised over a prompt to submit, and was so nervous I submitted two. But that was nothing compared to coming up with a story for the prompt I was given.

My prompt was The run-down diner on a lost highway holds the horror within. Sounds easy enough. Well it took me over a month to come up with an idea, and where it came from was a complete surprise.
I was looking at road-trips in America–my other half and I were considering a trip that took in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. While viewing a map of that area, I glanced upon Death Valley. My immediate thought was that’s where my diner should be! Then I thought, but there has to be something sinister about this diner. It can’t just be rundown; it needs to be stuck in a different era such as the 1960s. And just for good measure, I’ll fill it with Russians. Because why would an American diner in the middle of nowhere be full of Russians?
And so that is how my idea for Dinning in Hell, the middle story from Passing Time, came to be. It appeared out of nowhere.

Are you ever asked where your ideas come from? Have you ever come up with an idea in an unusual or odd way? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Book Blurb
Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.

In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop.

A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter?
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About The Author
A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time is her first eBook collection and contains nine previously published stories. Her science fiction collection Taking Time will be published later in the year.
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7 comments:

LM Preston said...

Oh I simply love the cover on this one! I've already added it to my to be read list but may dive in since it is a collection of shorts to enjoy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Writing from a prompt is difficult. But you proved not impossible.

Ellie Garratt said...

LM - thank you! I hope you enjoy it.

Alex - it did seem impossible at one point, but I got there in the end.

Elise Fallson said...

It's funny how inspiration can strike at anytime and come from anywhere. (:

Ellie Garratt said...

It is Elise.

SA Larsenッ said...

I didn't know that's how you got into WEP. That is really cool...and creative, on their part. So happy you write short stories. That is how I started writing. I still love writing shorts. Been thinking about writing a new one, actually.

Congrats on this amazing collection!

Mary Preston said...

I love reading of course, but I also love my craft work.