Amber Fallon's The Terminal is available on Amazon.com
Gef: So where did the inspiration for The Terminal come from? A particularly maddening holiday flight, perhaps?
Amber: Close! I wrote the first half of the Terminal on a spring vacation to Alaska. On the way there, we had a connecting flight in Chicago and there was an incredibly annoying woman in front of us in the boarding line (I bet you can guess what she was wearing!) . As a horror author, I immediately started envisioning her death in fun and creative ways and the rest, as they say, is history.
Gef: Was this a story you had intended as a novella from the get-go, or did the story length only come into play through the editing of it?
Amber: I can't honestly say that I ever have intentions (lengthwise, anyway) when I start writing. I just put the words down and see where they take me. I will say this, though: The story isn't over.
Gef: Compared to writing short stories, how did your writing process for The Terminal differ?
Amber: Most of my short stories are written in a single sitting. The Terminal took several months, which meant that I had to live in that headspace, with those characters, for a lot longer than I was used to. That had the unexpected side effect of making me grow more emotionally attached to them than characters I could rid my brain of after a day or two.
Gef: Along with the novella, you have a chapbook of Joey's Story. Was his point-of-view originally included in The Terminal? What made you want to explore the events through his eyes as well?
Amber: No, Joey exists as both a foil and a McGuffin. Without revealing too much about the book... I needed something to happen which meant that I needed someone to do it. Joey was that someone. The idea for the chapbook came from a friend joking about how Joey was the only character I'd written that was less likable than Dirk, my protagonist. So I wanted to explore him more as a character.
Gef: When it comes to horror, what would you say is the biggest misconception about it, and what is its saving grace?
Amber: I find that a lot of people assume that all horror is of the blood-and-guts variety. While The Terminal definitely falls into that category, I write and read much that does not. I'm not quite sure why the stigma exists... but I do know that a book marketed as a thriller or as dark fantasy has better chances than one marketed as horror, even if they are otherwise identical. As to a saving grace... Stephen King. His books (and by extension, other media) are so popular that they somehow manage to escape the stigma. Also more mainstream, popular horror properties like The Walking Dead have that effect. If those things draw more people to my favorite genre, I'm all for it.
Gef: What was your initial draw to horror?
Amber: Oh, that's a good question! My mother loved Poe and would often read his stories to me when I was very young. When I got to be a bit older, I raided both of my parents' libraries and discovered more Poe, Lovecraft, Shelley, Stoker, Wells, and Jackson among my mother's books and lots of King, Ketchum, Koontz, Barker, and Straub among my father's. I loved the stories I read (even if I didn't always understand them) and from there sought out more.
Gef: Who do you count among your writing influences?
Amber: JF Gonzalez was a huge influence on me. From the moment I read Clickers, I fell in love with his fun, energetic storytelling. Brian Keene is another inspiration. Guy N. Smith, Ruby Jean Jensen, David Robbins, Thomas F. Monteleone, Poppy Z. Brite, Mort Castle, Rick Hautala, Shirley Jackson. Even if they didn't have a direct impact on my narrative style, they impacted something about the way I write.
Gef: What is the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?
Amber: I'll give you both! Worst: That you have to stick to just one project at a time and finish it before starting something else. For me, I work far better having at least two things I can bounce back and forth between. That way, if I get stuck on something in a particular story, I can take a break from it and go work on something else until I figure it out. That's also how I combat the dreaded Writers' Block. Thing I wish would go away: That you have to work with an outline. That just isn't true. Some people work better seat-of-the-pants style. And even those that do outline sometimes do it very differently: everything from short, couple sentence plot points to very complex detailed high school English paper style outlines. Just like anything else in life, figure out what works best for you and do that.
Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?
Amber: There is a sequel to The Terminal in the works! I also have a story appearing in Fossil Lake IV: Sharkasaurus. And my next book will be coming out from Eraserhead Press next year. My website (www.amberfallon.net) is a good place. It has links to my various social media accounts as well as news, episodes of my podcast, book links and more!