Thursday, December 14, 2017

Glass Witch ★ Yawatta Hosby (Interview)




The dark, three story house loomed overhead as I stood in the property’s driveway. Droplets of water fell from above, threatening to undo the curls in my hair and the makeup on my face.



I propelled myself out of the rain and up the steps. The old wood creaked under my heels as I glided to the tall front door and unlocked the house.
Today was a huge day.
I couldn’t believe my good luck.
It was my very first interview for Wicked Shorts: a blog I hosted about speculative fiction, weird fiction and horror and the person I was interviewing was quickly becoming a personal hero of mine.

Yawatta Hosby was a strong, impeccably well written author of thriller and suspense novels. She was the real deal, and she’d be here in less than ten minutes.





She and I thought it would be fun to do the interview at my friend’s house while he was out of town (I was house-sitting anyway, so why not?).

My friend, Nathaniel, was a big fan of Miss Hosby’s as well, and he’d been upset that he would be out of town on business during the interview.

His house was creepy, but being that I’m a horror author, (wink), I suppose it was only right that I knew a guy who lived in a large, unsettling mansion…

Twelve bedrooms, three stories and over 200 years old. Nate thought he’d won the jackpot when he bought it, but I suspected it was only a matter of time until he found out it was haunted.

I let myself in, turned on a few lights and headed to the kitchen to make tea.

I’d been here several times before. I’d even been in the basement once or twice, but I never really worried about the Glass Witch.

Once I put the pot on the stove waiting to boil, I clicked to the living room, heels and all, to remove the sheets that protected the furniture. Nate had been gone for three weeks so far, and he planned to be gone for two months all together (hence the couch coverings and other subtle ways to keep dust from falling on all his stuff).

A knock at the door caught my attention.
She was early.
I sprang to the entryway and swung open the front door.


Rain pelted the area beyond Nathaniel’s front porch without mercy.

“Miss Hosby!” I gushed. “It is so nice to meet you. I can’t tell you how excited I am to do this interview. Especially here of all places.”

I ushered her inside. I was already way over-talking, too excited to zip my lips like a normal person. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm; and when that happens, I usually just embrace it.

“Get in here girl!” I squealed. “It’s raining like cats and rabid dogs!”

“Boy, you said it. Just the walk up the driveway was like going through a water park.” She held out her hand for me to shake and offered me a warm smile. “Avrin, it’s nice to meet you in person.”

“The pleasure is all mine. I’m so glad we could make this happen.” I shook her hand and admired her checkered boots.
“Please, call me Yawatta.”
“Well, Yawatta, at least it’s dry in here.” I hung her trench coat and wool cap on Nate’s rack by the door.

“This place is amazing,” she said, stepping into the foyer a bit farther.

“Have a look around.” I told her. “This house has it all.”

We listened to rain pelting the roof as she let her eyes feast on the fancy hand-carved fleur de lis that rounded every dark wooden door frame in the house.

“Spooky, but fancy at the same time. More so than I thought it’d be. I like it.”
“It’s definitely creepy.” I added, looking around the dark, lofty interior.
“It’s the perfect place for an interview.”

I wondered how informed Yawatta was about the house and the Glass Witch, and the crazy rumors that surrounded this place. It was all hogwash, of course, but fascinating nonetheless.

When she didn’t mention any suspicions, I gleefully looked forward to telling her the story.

“Just through here is the living room.” I waved my arm to showcase fancy, ancient furniture that decorated the living space. Mahogany armchairs with ornate cushions from eons ago sat on either side of two couches facing each other. The couches were separated by a dark coffee table that matched the chairs and probably belonged in a museum.

The lack of comfortable cushions forced us to sit upright.

“Nathaniel, the guy that owns this place, he’s obsessed with Witches like me.” I looked around the room and then back at Yawatta. “Legend has it a real, honest to God, bona fide Witch lived here.”


She rubbed the back of her neck, her body tense.
“You're kidding?”


“Nope. Agatha Glaser. They called her the Glass Witch. She was an old maid that lived here, nearly 200 years ago.” I wiggled my eyebrows playfully. “Maybe we’ll see her.”



“Maybe.” Yawatta’s smirk was mischievous, but her body seemed to relax.

“Shall we begin?”
“Ask away,” she said.

I pressed the big red record button on my cell phone. Once we began the interview in earnest, the butterflies began to settle in my gut. 


“Okay, first question: What's the most difficult part of your artistic process?” I asked her, nervously checking through my notes.


“The editing. I believe in ‘first drafts are allowed to be crappy’. With that though, comes the responsibility of polishing up the story. It’s a very slow process for me. Sometimes it can take me years to complete revisions on a single novella. But, this is also due to the fact that I rely on critique partners and beta-readers. I have to give them time to read my stuff and send feedback before I can make any changes for my editor.” She explained.



“That was a great answer!” I flipped through my cards. “You’re really good at this.”

The teapot began to whistle in the kitchen and I excused myself to grab our refreshments. Just as I returned, something made the floorboards creak above us.

Yawatta looked up and so did I.
“I thought you said your friend was out of town,” she said, her eyes searching mine. She scooted up in her seat like she was debating making a run for it.
“He is.” I forced a smile. “I’m sure it’s nothing.”
I needed to change the subject.
Fear tickled the back of my neck as I sat our tea tray on the coffee table and poured us both a cup of steaming Earl Grey.
“Ready for question two?”
She tried a sip of tea, closed her eyes and savored the taste.
“Sure, go for it!”

“Do your stories start with characters first, followed by the story? Or is it the other way around?”

“My stories always start with a character thinking or doing something. My character’s mood often sets the tone for the rest of the novella. I think, in order for readers to care about my characters, they have to know them a little first.”
She took another sip of tea and continued.

“The story follows after characterization, usually in the form of dialogue or plot. My scenes are dialogue heavy. Conversations help with showing the dynamics between relationships. Is the main character lying to someone? Is the main character hiding their pain so he isn’t a burden to the person he’s talking to?”

We were interrupted by another noise. Another creak. This time, it came from the dark, shadow-shrouded staircase behind us. Yawatta’s brow took on the seriousness of her tone. “Are you sure this place being haunted is just a myth?” Thunder rumbled outside and the rain came down harder, then something loud clattered in the basement. My eyes widened, and I didn’t answer her question. “Pardon my French, but, what the hell was that?” “Are you pranking me?” Her hands trembled making the teacup rattle in her hands. “Scout’s honor, I’m totally not playing around.” She put on a brave face despite her obvious trepidation. “We’re just freaking ourselves out. I’m sure it’s nothing.” I said, more to assure myself than Yawatta. “Let’s just go down and see what it was, then we can both put our minds at ease.” She stood up, waiting for me to lead the way to the basement. “C’mon,” I added. “It’ll be fun. And spooky.” I sighed, grabbed my cell phone for light and showed my guest to the door that would lead us downward into darkness.

“So, tell me this: What has being an author taught you about yourself?”

“That I don’t write in fear.” “Writing in fear is the worst.” I commented. I could hear her boots on the stairs as she tiptoed down the steps behind me.
“It is. I’m not afraid to disgust or upset my readers by the actions of my characters. The horror genre allows that.” “I love horror. Just never thought I’d be IN it…” Now she laughed.
It was a nervous chuckle. Something born of discomfort and unease.
“I’ll never forget the reactions of some of my readers about Chapter 28 of Twisted Obsession. Or how some readers hated Adam so much from One By One that they thought I, myself, was sexist. Absolutely not.”

“It is strange to think that such horrifying prose could come from a lady as nice as yourself. What about other people? Has being a writer taught you anything about them?”

“How supportive other authors are. I don’t view things as competition. Of us trying to get the same readers. It’s nice to see that others share the same sentiment. I love interacting with bloggers and writers on Twitter. I’m also cool with local authors in my area.”

“Oh wow, that’s cool. Never done that before, how does it work?”

“Well, we network by letting each other know about book signings. In November, every Saturday, I meet local writers participating in NaNoWriMo at a popular cafe. I love the support, and I love the friendly community among indie writers.”
“Me too. I’ve met so many great people it’s kind of breathtaking.”

The light from my phone tried its best to illuminate the huge basement, but it just wasn't up to the task. There were columns every few feet. These weren’t the fancy Corinthian kind of columns one would find upstairs with hand carved designs on them. These columns were utilitarian and meant to hold up the house. 

All of the bricks were dark, covered in a light dusting of mold or from just being ancient, and some of them had scratches on them.

I stepped away from the safety of the stairs and reached a hand out to lightly trail over the scratches on the bricks.
“I’m so gonna use this place in a story,” Yawatta whispered.
“It’s huge down here.” My voice echoed into the darkness and I could see why Yawatta had kept her’s low. 

Our eyes followed the light around the room. 
Nothing looked out of place. 

Everything was neatly tucked away and organized just as Nathaniel had left it, three weeks ago. A tiny window near the ceiling of the basement offered an infinitesimal amount of light, which we desperately needed. A flash of lightning forked in the sky beyond the window, revealing something in the corner..
A woman.
Dressed in all black. 

I yelped and scrambled back. By the time my eyes adjusted to the lightning, the shadow of the woman’s silhouette was gone.

“What!?” Yawatta jumped, her voice trembling as she followed my eyes to the corner of the basement. “What’d you see?”
“Nothing.” I lied. “The lightning. I thought I saw something that wasn’t there.”

I waved light over the corner in question. There was nothing there now but boxes.
“The lightning is playing tricks on your eyes.”
“Since I’ve been taking care of this place, I’ve been down here a few times. Never been freaked out until now.”

“Well, everything seems to be in order.” Yawatta tried to say this with an upbeat tone, but I could feel her worry growing and her confidence fading quickly.

“I guess we won’t be in any immediate danger if we go back upstairs and finish the interview.”
We took one last look at the space under the first floor and then went back upstairs.
Standing on the middle step, I turned around and glanced at the corner again. I swallowed a knot in my throat, realizing I was letting my fear take over. 

Of course I didn't see the Glass Witch earlier, right?
The living room felt much warmer after being in the basement.
And lighter too. 
We sat back down on our respective couches.

“So, how many hours a day do you usually write?”

“I tend to write 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day. After working my full-time job, I’m often tired and just want to relax once I get home. However, on the weekends, I always go to my favorite cafe and write 4 to 5 hours a day.”
“That’s so cool. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to write in a cafe. I’m super shy.”
She waved her hand. 

“Ah, there’s nothing to it. You just go in, sit down and start writing. I’m shy also, so if I can do it, you could too.”
Yawatta looked as if she was about to say more, but stopped abruptly.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.
She nodded.
“For a moment, I felt dizzy and I thought…”
“What?”
“Thought I saw something, but it was probably just the storm.” She swallowed thickly.
“Right.” I faked a smile that didn’t reach my eyes for her benefit. “I’m sure it’s the storm.”
I had to stay on topic.
If we talked about the Witch… started pontificating, we’d just turn ourselves into nervous wrecks over something that couldn’t possibly exist.
So I asked her another question.

“What in your writing life are you excited about right now? Have you surpassed any goals or completely surprised yourself in any way recently?”

She seemed distracted, but answered wonderfully despite her trepidations. “I’m pretty excited for challenging myself to write 52 short stories.” “52? Whoa, that’s a lot!”
“My local writing buddy and I took the advice of Ray Bradbury: “for 52 weeks straight, write a short story every week.” We only have 4 stories left! 4! Being a commitment phobe, I’m proud of myself for sticking with this long-term goal. We haven’t missed a week at all. Not only are we writing short stories, every week we critique each other’s work as well. I feel like I’m growing as a writer.”
“That is wonderful and an excellent idea. With the new year coming right around the corner, I think you've inspired my first resolution for 2018!”

“Have you ever read anything that just completely changed your outlook on something?”

“I read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None as a teenager.” Yawatta remembered the book fondly. “It was a very dark murder mystery. The first book I had ever read that all of the characters ended up dead.” I smiled as I listened intently. “Reading the final chapter shook me to the core. I was impressed with Agatha Christie’s writing style, so much so, that her book was inspiration for my first published story One By One.”

“Speaking of Agatha Christie, have you ever killed a character off and regretted it?”

Yawatta bit her lip. Her eyes focused on the area behind me, but I refused to turn around. The Glass Witch wasn’t real. “No, I’ve never regretted killing a character. Every death in my horror and suspense books were necessary to prove how far the villains would go.” “Oooo,” I joked. “That’s cold.” She chuckled. “Cold, but necessary.”

“Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?” I asked.

“To be honest,” she began. “I’ve never viewed writing as a kind of spiritual practice, but I like that concept. I always view writing as using my creativity to create a fictional world and all the characters living in it. So, I guess in a way, all authors are Creators.” “Characters can be so real sometimes. I know I bore my family constantly, always prattling about my characters. But you're right, it is like creating your own small, world. Your own moment in time.” I took a deep breath then continued.
“I have one last question for you, and it’s a zinger. In fact, I tried to answer the question for myself the other day, and I still can’t.” Yawatta’s eyebrow raised. I could tell she was up for a challenge. “Ask away,” she said playfully.

“If people reading your books only take away one message, what would you like that to be?”

“I hope my readers take away the message of “trust no one.” Characters lie. Characters cheat. Characters manipulate. Don’t trust my characters, and don’t trust me. I love shocking twists at the end of my stories and won’t hesitate to throw readers for a loop. Just ask the people who read Twisted Obsession…”
As if on queue, the front door swung open and out of the rain came Nathaniel.
He fought to close the door. His blondish brown hair dripping with rain water. He was breathing heavily and staring at me with wide, roaming eyes.
“Oh man, Avrin, I’ve been trying to call you for the last hour.” He panted. Yawatta and I rushed off the couches and to his side.
“Okay, Nate, just breathe.” I turned to Yawatta who was still in shock from Nathaniel’s crazy entrance. “He’s got asthma, this might take a second.” She grabbed her coat off the rack in the entryway and wrapped it around his shivering shoulders. I helped him get to his inhaler and and after a few puffs, he began to talk.
“I meant to have you cancel your interview.” “But why?” Yawatta and I both asked in unison. “It’s not safe here.” He panted and hit the inhaler a few more times. “I had a psychic come out and cleanse the house. They were to come out the day after I left for London. I forgot to tell you.”
“Yeah, but that was three weeks ago. Why the rush now?” “Because she’s missing. The psychic who came here. This was the last place she was. Her co-worker knew it and came here looking for her. The co-worker left a note, said where she went.” he swallowed hard, still fighting to breathe. “Now she’s missing too. I just got off the phone with the police. I told them I’d meet ‘em here.”
“Well, we certainly haven’t seen any policemen or any psychics since we've been here, that’s for sure,” Yawatta told him, her voice calm and soothing. I could tell she didn’t feel calm, but she was trying to be zen for Nathaniel’s sake. Nate blushed.
“You don’t understand. If the rumors are true. Agatha Glaser is trying to get back. The legend says three souls.” “That’s ridiculous Nate.” I rubbed his shoulder and he rolled his eyes at me.
“I’d rather be safe than sorry. Why don’t you two get your stuff and I’ll treat you to Starbucks.” “Nate, you're off your rocker. Just calm down.” I mumbled, feeling a little embarrassed for him.
He ignored me and turned to Yawatta. Held out his hand. “It’s nice to meet you. One by One was phenomenal.” She shook his hand and thanked him for the compliment. “Long story short, we need to…” The towel fell off his shoulders as he clutched his heart mid-sentence.
“Nathaniel?” I tried to touch him, but his skin, clothing and all, was hot to the touch. I yelled his name as he groaned in agony.
“It’s the Witch. The Glass Witch.” He fell to one knee, leaving burn marks on his own antique floor, and when he did, we saw the Witch behind him, her noncorporeal arm wrist-deep in his chest, sucking the life out of him.
The longer she held him in torture under her spell, the more his skin burned and sizzled until Nathaniel, my friend, was no more. His corpse hit the floor, steaming and then bubbled into ash.
The Glass Witch’s head turned towards me, her arm out, ready to grab me. Her eyes were two hollow black orbs. Her lips were hard to see at first, but they became fuller and pinker as Nathaniel’s life force passed into her. Skin bloomed over ghostly arms and legs.
The woman in the black dress from the basement stood in front of us. The Glass Witch. Agatha Glaser. She smiled.
“Run!” I screamed. Yawatta and I sprinted towards the back of the house. “Which way to the back door?” she asked quickly as her checkered boots pounded against the wood floor along with my high heels. I pointed. It was straight ahead and to the right.
I flung myself against the door and undid the lock. We raced outside into the rain, panting, our breaths hovering in the frigid air. The back door hung open. “How much experience do you have with ghosts, Yawatta.” “Me? Not much.” she breathed. “Me neither. But I’m not willing to bet that Agatha Glaser can't still come after us out here.” The cold rain soaked us to the bone. I covered my face. I couldn’t believe my friend was dead.
“We need to wait on the cops,” Yawatta said. I nodded. We ran to my truck and shoved ourselves inside. “I can’t believe we saw a ghost.” she exclaimed, still breathless. “Neither can I. But I don’t think she’s a ghost anymore.” I brushed wet curls out of my face. “What a horrible first interview.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say horrible. Definitely something to write about.” she patted me on the shoulder. “I’m sorry about your friend.” I rubbed my temples. “Thanks.” I tried to hold back tears. “Me too.” Yawatta pointed to the front door of Nathaniel’s house. “Oh my gosh, there she is.” Her voice trembled.
The Witch looked like a normal person. Her black dress looked clean, her eyes were normal, (although hateful looking) and she held a lit candle in her hands. “She took Nathaniel’s life and it somehow brought her back.” “T-t-that’s impossible.” I stuttered. “Is it?” Yawatta asked. “All the missing people, plus Nathaniel, that’s three. Three souls to bring her back into the world of the living.” I tried to speak, but was stymied by confusion and brain overload. Yawatta kept her cool. “It’s hard to believe, but just look at her.”
We watched in amazement as Agatha Glaser stared back at us from the doorway. Her lips moved, pronouncing syllables that we could hear even over the rain and in the truck behind closed windows. I could see the Nathaniel’s ghost standing behind her. Two women I didn’t recognize stood on either side of him.
“What is she doing.” I whimpered behind the wheel. “Looks like a spell.” Yawatta said. “We need to get the heck outta here.” We stared at the Glass Witch and her troupe of ghosts for a few beats in numb silence. I sighed heavily and turned to my new friend. “I can’t just leave her here.” “What do you propose we do against a Witch who just sucked up other people’s life forces to become real again?” “Put her back where she came from.” Yawatta’s eyes widened, then she shrugged, as if resigning herself to the task of a full on ghost hunt. “It’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.” Disclaimer: This is an actual interview with Yawatta Hosby and the Glass Witch is in no way real.

(Or is she?)

*Insert evil laugh here*




Read more by Yawatta Hosby:


Rae faces a dilemma when her brother, Kenan, announces a man wants to buy their log cabin in Virginia. A place abandoned after they helplessly watched their parents tortured and killed inside. Reluctantly, Rae agrees to sign over the deed once Kenan mentions their six friends are taking a road trip with them for moral support. 

The next morning, two of their friends have disappeared. And worse, someone has sabotaged their two Jeeps, leaving them stranded. 

Alone in the woods, thirty miles from civilization with no cell reception, the weekend turns into a deadly game when a killer hunts Rae and her friends. They struggle to stay alive and discover the truth. 

Is someone stalking them, or is there a killer among the group?




ONE BY ONE  ended with Detective Brown disgusted and traumatized over the crime scene in the woods. He wants to find justice for those poor victims and vows to keep his daughter safe from the horrors of the world.
Sequel time--SIX PLUS ONE

Detective Brown can't keep that promise. Alta and her group of friends leave Voy on a road trip to Green Bank, West Virginia. They're filming footage for their alien-centric web series.

What should be a get-in and get-out situation for the weekend turns into a deadly nightmare...






Baby or no baby, Finia's determined to live life her way.



Too bad that doesn't fit Miki's version of a happy ending. He owns her. No leeway. If she fights back, then he'll make her regret it. 



Miki will get his perfect family by any means necessary.

8 comments:

  1. Hey Avrin,

    Thanks for letting me be a guest on your blog! I had fun with the interview, and I'd go ghost hunting with you in real life anytime :)

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pleasure was all mine! You were an absolute joy to work with thank YOU for being on Wicked Shorts!

      your friend,
      Avrin

      Delete
  2. What an amazingly creative, awesome interview!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it, we wanted to try something different with this post and I'm so glad we did!

      Thanks for reading,
      Avrin

      Delete
    2. Thanks Angel! I had fun doing this with Avrin. she's extremely talented and full of creativity.

      Keep smiling,
      Yawatta

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Awww! Thank you for all your help! (Hollie is an epic critique partner y'all)!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Hollie! Good luck with your 52 short story challenge!

      Keep smiling,
      Yawatta

      Delete

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Writer. Author. Blogger. Procrastinator... My novel, Trigram, is in the works, but in the meantime, I'll probably be working on short stories such as the ones on Wicked Shorts. (Wink)

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