Angela Sylvaine – Women in Horror Month

In conversation with Angela Sylvaine

As 2019 came to a close, I travelled to Denver to attend the launch of Terror at 5280’, an anthology published by the Denver Horror Collective. It was at this event that I first met Angela Sylvaine. We both had stories in the anthology, and we signed each other’s books. At this time, we were both fairly new in the genre, so it was wonderful to connect in person. A few months later, I had the opportunity to hear her read at A Bloody Valentine, an event I hosted in Colorado Springs to celebrate Women in Horror Month. When I finished my term at HWA Colorado (the Horror Writers Association’s Colorado Chapter), she stepped up. Over the years, we’ve kept in touch and supported each other’s projects, celebrated each other’s successes—something that I think is true of many women who write in the genre. And so, it was a true pleasure to have the opportunity to read her debut collection The Dead Spot: Stories of Lost Girls, which is coming out this May. I can’t wait to see what she does next! –Carina Bissett


About Angela Sylvaine

About Angela Sylvaine

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who writes speculative fiction and poetry. Her debut novel, Frost Bite, a ‘90s sci-fi horror comedy, is available now, and her debut short story collection, The Dead Spot: Stories of Lost Girls is forthcoming. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in or on over fifty anthologies, magazines, and podcasts, including Southwest ReviewApex, and The NoSleep Podcast. She lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains with her sweetheart and three creepy cats. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.


Interview with Angela Sylvaine

BISSETT: What was your first experience with horror?

SYLVAINE: My first horror memory is of the movie Cat’s Eye, which I would have seen around age seven or eight. After watching it, I very vividly remember seeing the little troll push open my bedroom door and stand at the foot of my bed. I hid beneath the covers, very upset that I didn’t have General to save me. There began my love of frights, and likely my love of cats as well. 

BISSETT: What attracts you to horror as a genre?

SYLVAINE: I’m a very cheerful person and was raised to always wear a smile, to always be agreeable, to never let on if things aren’t okay. I think I was attracted to horror early on because it let me explore the fears hiding behind the smile. To this day, reading and writing horror helps me confront darkness and monsters in a way I can control. It helps me gain the fortitude to fight the ugliness of the real world. Plus, it’s fun! Who doesn’t like to get their blood pumping from a good scare or laugh out loud at some great gory massacre?

BISSETT: Who or what terrifies you?

SYLVAINE: So many things! People may think horror writers don’t scare easily, but I think many of us scare even more easily than most. I’m scared of the dark, mirrors, tight spaces, heights, silence, and public speaking of course. Also, real life human monsters that you might come across for no reason, and of course losing the people I love. I could go on and on. 

BISSETT: Your debut collection The Dead Spot: Stories of Lost Girls is coming out in May. Last year, you released your debut novel Frost Bite. How were the experiences of writing and releasing these books different? How were they the same? 

SYLVAINE: They were very different for a few reasons. Frost Bite is a ‘90s sci-fi horror comedy creature feature. So, it was a lot of fun to write because of the silly plot, action scenes, and heaps of ‘90s references. Since it is a novel that takes place in a fictional town with lots of set pieces and characters, it also took a lot of outlining and planning. 

The Dead Spot is a short story collection, and most of the stories had already been written. Some were previously published, and I had regained the rights to them, and others were unpublished but fit nicely with the theme. So, The Dead Spot was more about figuring out the best way to arrange the stories in relation to one another and craft the most cohesive collection. Writing each of the stories was much different than the novel because the tone of them is much darker—there are no silly alien infested prairie dogs to be found. 

That said, both the novel and the collection were fun and challenging in their own ways, and each helped me grow as a writer!

BISSETT: You are a quickly rising star in the horror genre. What advice do you have for writers at the beginning of their journeys?

SYLVAINE: That is very kind of you to say. If it is true, it’s only because of the mentorship and support I’ve received from the horror community. There are so many people, like yourself, who spend their precious time and talent lifting others up, and it’s a beautiful thing. As far as advice, I would say be kind, to yourself and to others. Try not to compare yourself to others. Every writer starts at the bottom and has to build up their skills and their resume, even the ones who eventually become giants. There is far more rejection and disappointment in this industry than there is acceptance and celebration, so try to remember that and give yourself credit for every small step forward. Remember, too, that this isn’t a competition, it’s a club. We can all have success, however that looks for each one of us, and should root for one another. A strong, supportive horror community is the rising tide that lifts all bookish boats (You’re thinking of Georgie’s little paper boat, aren’t you? Me too, and I love that for us).  


About The Dead Spot: Stories of Lost Girls (Dark Matter Ink, May 2024) 

Angela Sylvaine

“Whether formed in the guise of paper dolls, or forged from the wilderness, the girls in these stories may rise from the depths alone, but they return together, forever changed by the events that shape their stories. Angela Sylvaine strikes with a sharp and stylized wit, claiming her place as a rising star in horror. Filled with sweet surprises and gnawing desires, The Dead Spot is a success to be savored.” —Carina Bissett, author of Dead Girl, Driving & Other Devastations, and award-winning editor of Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas 

The dead spot: a corner drenched in shadow; an earthquake’s epicenter; the part of a roller coaster ride where the car rounds the final curve and all force dissipates, leaving those trapped beneath the safety bar feeling sick and hollow. From the beloved author of Frost Bite and Chopping Spree comes this heartbreaking horror collection about girls and women trapped by circumstance, manipulation, and obsession. The book includes a moving introduction by J. A. W. McCarthy (Shirley Jackson Award finalist for Sometimes We’re Cruel) and seventeen stories by Sylvaine. The stories include Astronaut Dreams, The Bride, New Hue, Playing Tricks, Sorry, We’re Open, Antifreeze and Sweet Peas, If Heard, Please Call, Starved, Return of The Wilderness Girls, Night Maere, The Dead Spot, Burnt Embers and Bluebirds, Mr. Chew, Crimson Clover, Unrestful Dogs, Clutching Air, Edge of Decay.


Carina Bissett

Women in Horror Month By Carina Bissett

Carina Bissett is a writer and poet working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. She is the author of numerous shorts stories, which are featured in her debut collection Dead Girl, Driving and Other Devastations (Trepidatio Publishing, 2024), and she is the co-editor of the award-winning anthology Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas. She is currently a Bram Stoker finalist for her essay “Words Wielded by Women” (Apex Magazine, 2023), a comprehensive retrospective of women in horror. Links to her work can be found at http://carinabissett.com.


Dead Girl, Driving and Other Devastations

 Dead Girl, Driving and Other DevastationsWomen in Horror Month

In this powerful debut, Carina Bissett explores the liminal spaces between the magical and the mundane, horror and humor, fairy tales and fabulism. A young woman discovers apotheosis at the intersection of her cross-cultural heritage. A simulacrum rebels against her coding to create a new universe of her own making. A poison assassin tears the world apart in the relentless pursuit of her true love—the one person alive who can destroy her. Dead Girl, Driving and Other Devastations erases expectations, forging new trails on the map of contemporary fiction. Includes an introduction by Julie C. Day, author of Uncommon Miracles and The Rampant

Praise for Dead Girl, Driving and Other Devastations

Check out Steve Stred’s Review of Dead Girl Driving here

“Carina Bissett is one of my favorite speculative authors writing today—magic and myth, horror and revenge, wonder and hope. Her stories are original, lyrical, and haunting—Shirley Jackson mixed with Ursula LeGuin and a dash of Neil Gaiman. An amazing collection of stories.—Richard Thomas, author of Spontaneous Human Combustion, a Bram Stoker Award finalist

“Carina Bissett’s collection is a thing of wonder and beauty. It is a true representation of Carina herself: whimsical, visceral, lovely, and fierce. You can hear women’s voices screaming while roses fall from their lips. Dead Girl, Driving and Other Devastations is a triumph.”—Mercedes M. Yardley, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Little Dead Red

“From fairy tale revisions to fresh takes on monstrous transitions and the absolute horrors of being female, no one knows how to write a story like Carina Bissett. Fierce yet fragile.”—Lindy Ryan, author of Bless Your Heart

“In a debut collection weaving folklore and fairy tale and told in magical, lyrical, irresistible prose, Carina Bissett inveigles readers with the breadth of her skill. A feat of woven wonder, with spells sketched in the air and strands stretched taut, Dead Girl Driving and Other Devastations is an enchanting tapestry of silken stories, the collection establishing Bissett as a world-class author of fabulism, fantasy, and horror. A must-read for lovers of Neil Gaiman, Angela Slatter, and Carmen Maria Machado.” —Lee Murray, five-time Bram Stoker Awards-winning author of Grotesque: Monster Stories

“Ravishing flights of fantasy.”—Priya Sharma, Shirley Jackson award-winning author of All the Fabulous Beasts and Ormeshadow

“Dark, often violent, Dead Girl, Driving & Other Devastations doesn’t lie to you about the nature of its stories. Between the title page and the Afterword lies a harrowing alliance of nightmare and fairytale. The pages are full of strange birds, resurrections, second chances, monstrous women, enchantments, and inventions. These stories explore a dark and permissive imagination, unafraid to disturb the monster at the back of the cave. It is a collection for the brave and forlorn, for those seeking escape, vengeance, transformation, or grace. There is wonder here, and freedom from shackles—for those fierce enough to wrench loose of them.”—C. S. E. Cooney, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Saint Death’s Daughter

“Carina’s short stories are absolutely luminous and deeply unsettling. Savour this collection like a fine blood-red wine. It’s absolute perfection and will linger long after the pages are closed.”—KT Wagner

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Author

  • Carina Bissett

    Carina Bissett is a writer and poet working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. She is the author of numerous shorts stories, which are featured in her debut collection Dead Girl, Driving and Other Devastations (Trepidatio Publishing, 2024), and she is the co-editor of the award-winning anthology Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas. She is currently a Bram Stoker finalist for her essay “Words Wielded by Women” (Apex Magazine, 2023), a comprehensive retrospective of women in horror. Links to her work can be found at http://carinabissett.com.

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