TOD 068 Kay Chronister: Arms that Hold You in the Middle of Nowhere

In this podcast Anya Martin interviews Kay Chronister about her debut collection Thin Places (Undertow Publications), plus a short The Outer Dark Symposium Indiegogo update. The interview was recorded on Wed. April 21, 2020.

Show Notes

In this podcast, Anya Martin interviews author Kay Chronister about her debut collection Thin Places (Undertow Publications) beginning with her quarantine experience as an English literature graduate student, her dissertation on early Gothic women writers in the 17th century (although ‘Horace Walpole snuck in’), and her ‘pretty obsessive Clarissa phase’.  Discussion then shifts to the origins and evolution of Thin Places from the pleasure of working with editor/publisher Michael Kelly to dissecting the stories in the collection, carefully trying to avoid major spoilers. Topics covered include frail human men and monstrous women, ‘sympathetic’ but controlling male narrators, how a story inspired by Robert Frost’s ‘The Hill Wife’ evolved into a powerful multilevel folk horror tale about domestic abuse set in Appalachia, her desire specifically to write a Swamp Gothic haunted motel story, unexpected twists in a Jane Eyre gender-swap, time spent in Cambodia which spawned a cultural appropriation ghost story, pickled babies, ‘if Flannery O’Connor guest-wrote an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, invisible confinement, Shirley Jackson, outsiders and forbidden history, the mathematics of hidden cruelties, her longterm desire to find the right story to title ‘Thin Places’,  the thin line between Gothic and Weird fiction, and more. Kay reads from her story ‘Russula’s Wake‘ (0:46:20) and concludes with what’s next in her writing including a Weird ‘anti-Western’ novel and her recommended contemporary Weird authors Helen Oyeyemi, Usman T. Malik, Alyssa Wong, and Genevieve Valentine, as well as a favorite older classic book, Isak Dinesen’s Seven Gothic Tales.

The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird is the only annual conference centered around contemporary Weird fiction. Health-safety allowing, the fourth annual symposium will be held August 14-15, 2020 at Silver Scream FX Lab and Hotel Indigo-College Park. Find out more at TheOuterDark.org. Browse and support The Outer Dark Symposium Indiegogo campaign here.

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Additional Links

Kay Chronister – ISFDB Summary Bibliography

The Monk by M.G. Lewis (Valancourt Books; introduction by Stephen King)

2000 Maniacs (1964) trailer

READ MORE ONLINE: ‘Further North’ (Clarkesworld, #106, July 2015)

Show Credits

Hosts/Producers: Scott Nicolay and Anya Martin

Co-Host, News from The Weird: Justin Steele

Co-Host, Reviews from The Weird: Gordon B. White

Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker

Music: Michael Griffin


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