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eSpec Books interviews Carol Gyzander, co-editor of Even in the Grave.
eSB: This isn’t your first time editing an anthology. What is it that you enjoy about the process that keeps bringing you back? What is your favorite part?
CG: The collaboration is wonderful. I’m always thrilled to work directly with authors on their stories when needed and lend an extra set of eyes and different viewpoint to their efforts. It’s tremendously rewarding to help a good story get even better!
Working with co-editors is terrific, as well. When I first started out as Editor for Writerpunk Press, we had several editors who worked together. I reviewed all the editorial comments and acted as the liaison between author and editor; I learned quite a bit by studying what other editors suggested about a story with which I was also involved.
eSB: Do you foresee more anthologies in your future? If so, what is the next project you are excited to get started on?
CG: I’m thrilled to be editing an anthology for Crone Girls Press, starting up this summer. They’re a horror press, so yeah—it will definitely be horror stories. More info later, when I can share more!
eSB: Okay, first off the top of your head, who is your favorite ghost and why?
CG: I’m a child of the 60’s so I have to say that Casper, the Friendly Ghost, was my buddy as a kid since he was on cartoons and in comic books, and he always made a new friend. But let’s be honest. He’s not terribly scary! Even his uncles/brothers the Ghastly Trio “scary” ghosts, were just kind of jerks.
eSB: Do you believe in ghosts, and why? Is there an experience in your life you can share with us that strengthened that belief?
CG: I do. Actually, there are two experiences! My grandmother Alva appeared to me in my apartment after she passed away. She was sitting at the table, getting ready to play a hand of gin rummy, which was our favorite pastime together. It was comforting.
My family has a story about my other grandmother, Mother Evelyn, as well. She passed away from Alzheimer’s after being in a nursing home, where she would frequently try to escape—saying that she had to get to the train so she could get home. Well, one of my cousins dreamed he was visiting our great-grandmother, who had also passed. They had a delightful visit until she heard a train whistle and told him it was time for him to leave because Evelyn was on her way. He woke up from the dream in the middle of the night—at the exact time and day that Evelyn passed away.
eSB: What drew you to appreciate the horror genre? What inspired you to write in it?
CG: Writing cyberpunk was my gateway drug to horror! As well as meeting folks in the HWA NY Chapter. I’d been writing cyberpunk novellas, which are typically dark. A standard theme is that the common, downtrodden person tries to improve their lot in life in a tech society where all is controlled, only to find out they have made things worse than when they started. Then I attended a reading by the HWA NY Chapter in NYC and realized that horror was just a half-step further! But I don’t think I would have made the leap without meeting the wonderful folks in the chapter.
eSB: You are an author, as well. Other than horror, what genres do you write in? Tell us something about your other works and what makes those genres different from writing horror.
CG: I also write science fiction and mysteries. Sci-Fi can be hopeful or dark, or vary somewhere in between, but I always love the “what if” aspect where you can change one small thing and set up a different world. As for mysteries, there is a lot of similarity as I feel that every story has some kind of mystery at its heart. If we knew everything about the subject, then why would we read it?
eSB: What is your least favorite aspect of being an author/editor, and why?
CG: My least favorite part of being an editor is having to turn down stories! We are all aware that there will be more stories available than can fit in any given volume, but I know what a rejection feels like, and I hate to have to say no.
As an author, it’s that last phase where I’m trying to wrangle my piece into final shape. I feel like I should be done, but I know it still needs attention. From “this wonderful idea,” it goes through “this cool story I’m working on” to become “my WIP”—and when it finally turns into that “%^$#@ story,” then I know I’m almost done.
eSB: What is one thing you would share that would surprise your readers?
CG: I spent almost fifteen years in uniform. Not the military, but as both a Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader! I went from den leader through the volunteer ranks in my local Boy Scout units, then district, then local council as a leader and trainer. I also staffed the WoodBadge adult leadership training course multiple times (I’m a Buffalo!), finally as Senior Staff. I was qualified to be a Course Director but left scouting to care for my father with his Alzheimer’s. I followed the similar path with Girl Scouts. What can I say? I’m bi-scoutual.
eSB: What are some of your other anthologies readers can look for?
CG: With Writerpunk Press, I’ve edited a series of anthologies that are ’punk stories inspired by classics, including Edgar Allan Poe (Merely This and Nothing More: Poe Goes Punk) and classic horror tales (Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk). Our latest is punk tales inspired by myth, folklore, and legend (Taught by Time: Myth Goes Punk). Easiest to find these on my Amazon Author.
I have a story, “The Yellow Crown,” in Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign, from Hippocampus Press, edited by my EITG co-editor, James Chambers.
eSB: As a horror editor, where do you find support for your craft?
CG: Definitely the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and more specifically the HWA NY Chapter. HWA has many educational programs, including the annual StokerCon convention, where one can meet and learn from many other horror authors. Check out horror.org for more info.
eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?
CG: I’m thrilled to have a cryptid novella, Forget Me Not, coming out with the Systema Paradoxa novella series from eSpec Books in late spring of 2022. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the press provides books to the Cryptid Crate subscription program. Every box includes really cool stuff related to the cryptid theme of the month!
Carol Gyzander writes and edits horror, dark fiction, and science fiction. Her stories are in over a dozen anthologies, including a dark fantasy story, “Deal With the Devil” in the alternative Beatles anthology, Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles, edited by Michael Ventrella and Randee Dawn.
A recent story, “The Yellow Crown” is in Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign, from Hippocampus Press. This weird historical fiction anthology, edited by James Chambers, explores the madness of Robert W. Chambers’ classic work of weird fiction, The King in Yellow (1895) and those under the sway of the Yellow Sign.
She’s the Editor of Writerpunk Press, where she’s edited four charity anthologies of punk stories inspired by Poe and classic horror. Their latest anthology is Taught by Time: Myth Goes Punk.
Carol is Co-Coordinator of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) NY Chapter and one of the co-hosts of the monthly HWA NY Galactic Terrors online reading series. As HWA Chapter Program Co-Manager, she helps support chapters in the US.
Learn more about Carol Gyzander:
Website * GoodReads * Amazon * BookBub
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